Earlier today, the Supreme Court came to the monumental decision on marriage (I’m deliberately not referring to this as same-sex marriage), namely deciding whether homosexuals have a right to constitutionally marry or whether state bans on same-sex marriage can remain in place. It’s perhaps as monumental (at least close to) as the 19th Amendment that passed in 1919 that allowed women the right to vote. It’s perhaps as monumental (at least close to) as the Voting Rights Act in 1965 that allowed blacks the right to vote. This could – perhaps like those other two monumental decisions – change the way an entire group of Americans are treated in this country. This could finally mean equality for all: women, minorities, and the LGBT community.
I mean, after all, we’ve recently seen the way that racism has nearly ceased to exist in America since 1965. We’ve seen the level of equality that women have achieved since 1920. I mean, we have, haven’t we?
Nobu Sushi, in case you haven’t heard of it, was created by a man named Nobuyuki Matsuhisa. “Nobu” as he is commonly known, started in an apprenticeship in a sushi bar in Tokyo, travelled from Tokyo to Argentina, back to Japan, and then to Alaska before finally settling down in Los Angeles. In L.A., Nobu opened his first restaurant called “Matsuhisa” in Beverly Hills. From here, he met his now good friend Robert De Niro (yes, that De Niro), and on De Niro’s urging opened the first ever Nobu sushi in New York in 1994. Now, Nobu Sushi exists on five continents – 32 restaurants in 28 cities around the world – and has been listed as one of the Top Ten Restaurant Destinations in the world by the New York Times (1993), among other honors. Nobu himself has been named One of the Most Influential Chefs of the Decade by Madrid Fusion (2009) and a nine-time nominee for Outstanding Chef by the James Beard Foundation (1997, 1999-2006). One of those 32 locations is in Stadium 2 at Indian Wells Tennis Garden in California, home of professionl tennis’ BNP Paribas Open (the proclaimed “fifth major”) every March. Stadium 1 of the Gardens holds the claim as the second largest tennis stadium in the world behind Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York. The Desert Sun, the newspaper of the Palm Springs area, reported in March of 2014 that the BNP Paribas Open brings in approximately $5 million a year in revenue from approximately 450,000 fans, and that’s just part of the estimated $350 million a year the tournament brings to the entire Indian Wells community per year.
In other words, Nobu – and Indian Wells – is kind of a big deal.
It’s Never Too Late…
Back in March, after Roger Federer won the Dubai Duty Free Championship, I mused on the joys of seeing the Great One play in a manner reminiscent of the Federer we remember. In the comments, I expressed my opinion that if Federer doesn’t win a Slam this year, he would never win another. After the summer (and really the year in general) that Fed has had, I – along with many others – find myself choking on my words, almost wondering why I ever doubted him to begin with. We all speculated the demise of his tennis career and the end of his indomitable reign of greatness. Yet no one told Roger Federer; or at the very least, Federer chose not to listen, thankfully.
It says a lot about his level of play, even now, that when he struggles you still hear announcers saying the phrase, “He’s still human.” And rightfully so. The guy is 33 years old and says he plans on playing for another five years. The fact that he’s still playing at the level he’s playing is inhuman. And he’s doing it while toting around two sets of twins! At the end of last year, having only one title win all season, pretty much everyone seriously speculated that Fed would not win another major in his career. Federer didn’t even make one major final last year, his best result being the semis in Melbourne. Also, he finished the year with an abysmal 4-10 record against top 10 players.
Fast forward to now. Going into the US Open, Fed has appeared in four consecutive finals of tournaments he has played in (Halle, Wimbledon, Toronto, Cincinnati), winning two of those (Halle, Cincinnati). His loss in Toronto just happened to make him the final victim of the best week of tennis Jo Wilfried Tsonga had pretty much ever played in his life (Tsonga took out four top-10 players that week: Murray, Dimitrov, Djokovic, and Federer – Try doing that again, Jo.) That 4-10 record against top-10 opponents last year has flipped around 180 to an amazing 12-4 record against top-10 opponents this year. And while his loss at Wimbledon to Djokovic – in one of the greatest matches I’ve ever had the privilege of watching – was heartbreaking (I’ll never forget Fed crying at the award presentation), it seems that final did more for Federer’s confidence than it did for Djokovic’s. Federer knows he lost that match in a handful of points, and now with Nadal out of the US Open, he has to feel like he can beat anyone this year, including Djokovic.
Note: I need to reiterate what is stated in my about me page: the views expressed in this article are solely mine and do not represent the views of any else, most notably my employer. Many people who read this will disagree with what will be discussed. If you are someone who gets easily offended by differing ideologies, this may not be the best article for you.
I’ve delayed writing this post because I believed I needed research to support every idea I’m about to express. To give you an idea, I initially decided to write this post nearly four months ago, and it’s taken me this long to realize that there is no amount of unbiased research that can make this article a persuasive article. So, rather than using this as an opportunity to persuade anyone, this is going to be me expressing my beliefs. I’m sure I will get comments of people refuting or supporting me, and I’m sure for every point I make someone can find research supporting and refuting it. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that if anyone was capable of indisputably resolving these issues, they would no longer be issues. As such, what follow are my thoughts, my feelings, and my musings, nothing more and nothing less. There will be some research included, but mostly just my opinion. Here we go…
Apologies for the delay in the arrival of the post. Truth is, I was having trouble finding an inspiration for a post. I thought about writing my thoughts on Indian Wells and Sony Open tournaments, but didn’t really feel compelled. I also thought about discussing Wrestlemania 30, but given that I haven’t ordered the WWE Network and didn’t order it on Pay-Per-View it would be hard to give a comprehensive detailing. So my mind wandered over a variety of topics. Then, amidst my wonderings, a song from a film in my childhood reverberated through my thoughts. Sure, sometimes songs cross our minds and fade. This song, however, has been in my mind for the last several days. Thus this idea was born: I’m going to write about the 12 most influential/memorable films to me personally from my childhood (I was going to do 10, but couldn’t figure out which two to eliminate). One thing you’ll learn about me (if you haven’t already) is that I absolutely love film. Going through this list, keep in mind that I’m not saying that I am calling these the greatest movies of my childhood, merely the ones I remember the most. Enjoy.
“Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine.” – Beethoven
The word art, in the sense I’ll be talking about it today, is defined by Webster’s in the following way:
“The quality, production, expression or realm, according to aesthetic principles of, of what is beautiful, appealing or of more than ordinary significance.”
The main phrase of that definition is “more than ordinary significance.” This post is to recognize two artists – one ending his career and one nearing the end of his career – who have over the period of their illustrious careers sparked our imaginations, showed us beauty in ways we never expected and reminded us of the power of our dreams. They are the pinnacle of their respective arts, and have over the years wowed us with their expertise and mastery of their crafts.
“Uncertainty is one of the essential seasonings of life.” – Thomas Hornbein
For those of you who don’t know who Tom Hornbein is, take a look. Please do so before you continue reading this entry. You need to understand what this man has accomplished in his life – and it’s importance to mankind as a whole – before you can really understand not only the quote above, but what will follow in the rest of this article. Did you look? Good. Now let’s continue.