When “Casablanca” was released in 1942, no one expected it would stand out among the hundreds of films churned out by Hollywood yearly, let alone achieve the iconic status it has. The film did reasonably well at the box office, but it wasn’t until it won the Academy Award for Best Picture that people began to take it seriously. Over the decades, “Casablanca” has earned an enduring place in movie-lovers’ hearts, with its star-studded leading players, supporting cast of popular ‘40s character actors, memorable dialogue, and iconic theme song, “As Time Goes By.” “Casablanca” regularly makes it to the top of the lists of the most popular movies of all time, and was one of the first films nominated by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry. It remains a personal favorite, and I never miss an opportunity to watch.
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While Uranus exactly conjunct the Moon for the Lunar Eclipse on Election Day warns us to expect the unexpected, loss of control of the US House of Representatives does seem likely. Redistricting alone, in the wake of the 2020 census, should grant the Republicans ten more seats, more than enough to change the balance of power in the lower chamber and wrest the Speaker’s gavel from Nancy Pelosi, even if all current Dem incumbents not caught up in that redistricting shift keep their seats.
So it’s in the Senate where the real drama will unfold. Currently split 50/50, Democrats maintain control (assuming they are all acting together, not always the case with consensus refuseniks like Manchin and Sinema in their ranks) due to VP Kamala Harris’ ability to break any ties in the administration’s favor. Earlier this year, the likelihood of Dems holding their fragile majority, perhaps even picking up a seat or two, seemed fairly high. But recent polling suggests Republicans are closing the gap, threatening Dem incumbents in some states, perhaps failing to pick up seats from retiring GOP senators in others. I’ve chosen three contests to profile, the winners of which will likely determine who ultimately controls the US Senate: Pennsylvania, Ohio and Georgia.
On 1 June 2022, a Fairfax, Virginia jury found for plaintiff Johnny Depp in a defamation suit brought against his former wife Amber Heard, awarding the actor $15 million in compensatory and punitive damages. Heard, who had countersued for defamation, was vindicated on one count, and received $2 million in compensation, though no punitive damages were awarded.
On Tuesday, May 17th, 2022, the Keystone State of Pennsylvania holds its Primary Election, fraught with import for ultimate control of the US Senate. GOP incumbent Pat Toomey is retiring, and with his seat up for grabs, there’s a good chance for a Democratic pick-up, which could reinforce their Senate majority. Far ahead of the pack for the Democrats is current PA Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, polling at over 50%, with current US Representative Conor Lamb trailing with just 14%, and two other “also ran” asterisk candidates. Most of the drama in the race has been on the Republican side, with three main contenders attempting to out-Trump the others in appealing to the all-important MAGA crowd. Trump himself has endorsed celebrity candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz, the controversial heart surgeon-turned TV doctor, in a move “Rolling Stone” magazine aptly hailed as “Fraud Endorses Quack.”
The 2022 Kentucky Derby came to a startling and unexpected “Wow!” finish, as long shot Rich Strike came from behind in the last furlong to cross the finish line ahead of favorites Epicenter and Zandon. At odds of 80-1, Rich Strike’s victory was the second-greatest upset in Derby history, and paid off handsomely for the few clairvoyants who saw it coming. And it almost didn’t happen; as of 8:45 the previous morning, Rich Strike wasn’t even slated to run, but a last-minute scratch by Ethereal Road opened up a spot with two minutes to spare before the 9 AM deadline for registration.
In the aftermath of the slap seen ‘round the world, will anyone remember who actually won Oscars at the 94th annual Academy Awards? Will anyone care? Moments after presenter Chris Rock uttered a rather tasteless joke about Jada Pinkett Smith appearing in “G.I. Jane 2” (based on her shaved scalp due to alopecia hair loss), hubby Will Smith, nominated as Best Actor, strode to the stage and smacked the comedian full on the face, then returned to his seat, and yelled at Rock to “Keep my wife’s name out your fuckin’ mouth!” Minutes later Smith accepted his Oscar, tearfully apologizing to everyone except Chris Rock for his violent outburst.