AutoMatters+: Outdoor World, “Blackhat” & “John Loves Mary”


Outdoor World

Every year at the International CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas I am totally surprised by some of the things that I encounter. This year’s trip was no exception.

Today’s CES 2015 experience actually begins at the end of my trip. I had already checked out of my hotel and was driving south on I-15, through the outskirts of Las Vegas. I decided to make a quick pit stop for dinner at the Silverton Resort Hotel & Casino.

The Silverton is connected to what looks like a huge log cabin. A sign on it reads Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World.

Inside the Silverton, I noticed a huge tank containing exotic fish — and a live mermaid! OK, she was not exactly a mermaid, but she was underwater in Mermaid Cove, entertaining little children who watched with delight from the other side of the glass.

Then I noticed an entrance to what struck me as similar to the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail area in Disney’s California Adventure. What lies inside is truly breathtaking.

Have you ever seen a Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World? I had not, despite passing by the outside of this one on numerous trips to Las Vegas.

If it were not for the retail elements, this could easily be a world-class natural history museum and aquarium. Inside the large two-story building you will find a fantastic taxidermy collection of wild animals posed within appropriate habitat dioramas, waterfalls and rustic Western settings. All of this is tastefully and appropriately intertwined with every conceivable type of sporting goods merchandise, as well as boats and ATVs. There are also indoor archery and shooting ranges.

I heartily recommend a visit to Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Las Vegas, or find a location near you. I spent several hours there walking around in amazement and shooting pictures. I heard that the location in Rancho Cucamonga even has a themed restaurant. If only there were one in San Diego County ...

Movie Review: “Blackhat”

In theaters now is “Blackhat,” a fictitious drama that involves international nuclear terrorism and high-level computer hacking. This premise should have been woven into an intriguing thriller, but unfortunately it is, instead, agonizingly slow-paced and violent. For the most part, I found it boring. Enough said about that.

Movie Review: “John Loves Mary”

For company while folding the laundry late last night, I turned on the TV in the laundry room. Soon I was intently watching an old (1949) black-and-white Warner Brothers film on TCM (Turner Classic Movies). “John Loves Mary” stars Ronald Reagan and, in her first movie role, Patricia Neal.

This delightful movie is set in New York City shortly after the end of World War II. From its title I expected it to be another boring film, but I was very pleasantly surprised. The longer I watched, the more I enjoyed it.

It is a romantic comedy about a soldier named John (Ronald Reagan) who returns from WWII and is warmly greeted by the woman he loves. Marriage is in their near-term plans. However, there is a problem standing in their way — and Mary knows nothing of it. Before he left Europe, as repayment to his best friend — the GI who saved his life — John married his friend’s long-lost English girlfriend!

It’s not like it sounds. John only married her so that he could legally bring her into the U.S. for his best friend to marry. John’s plan was to get a divorce within a few weeks of returning Stateside, so that she and John’s friend could be married and then live happily ever after. John assumed that his friend was still heartbroken over losing track of her, after unexpectedly being deployed to fight in D-Day before he could even say goodbye.

In the meantime, we learn that John’s friend, having been back in the U.S. for four years, has long since gotten over her and has married someone else. They are expecting a baby any day.

John’s future father-in-law, an influential U.S. senator with responsibilities related to the military, is moving heaven and earth so that John can immediately marry his daughter.

“John Loves Mary” is a really funny film. It reminds me that a movie with a good story does not need to have eye-popping special effects — or even be in color! It is available on DVD at and

As always, please write to with your comments and suggestions.

Copyright © 2015 by Jan Wagner – AutoMatters+ #368