Sunday, June 28, 2009

Dome Pondering Movie Review: Funny Games (U.S. 2007)


What it's about?


A film that touches on society's interest for thrill and violence. Two polite, articulate, yet violent psychopaths mentally and physically torture a father, his wife, and their son on their next stop in a spree through numerous vacation homes.

Who is in it?

Naomi Watts - Ann

Tim Roth - George

Michael Pitt - Paul

Brady Corbet - Peter

Devon Gearhart - George Jr.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Death of Michael Jackson


It's a headline so shocking, that it seems unbelievable. Despite a tumultuous past couple of years, it always seemed that Michael Jackson would be around. He was part of our childhood, our upbringing, our lives. He was pop culture as we knew it. Now that is no more...and it still feels a little surreal.

(UPDATED 6/28) -There is not much that you can say regarding the events, or tragedies that have occured this week. As the years go by, and the experiences continue to confirm the valididty of deaths coming in groups of three, there was an eerie feeling upon hearing the hospitlization of Michael Jackson following the deaths of Ed McMahon and Farah Fawcett.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Dome Pondering Movie Review: Miracle (2004)


What it's about?

The story of Coach Herb Brooks and the 1980 Unites States hockey Olympic team at its journey leading up to one of the greatest upsets in sports history.

Who is in it?

Kurt Russel - Herb Brooks

Patricia Clarkson - Patty Brooks

Noah Emmerich - Craig Patrick

Friday, June 12, 2009

The New Digs In New York

From 1923-2008 Yankee Stadium was the premier sporting venue in the United States. With various memories and moments, it connected with everyone that has visited, toured, or even driven by the "House that Ruth built." About 8 miles across the bridge and down the Grand Central Parkway, Shea Stadium once stood as the ugly, horrendous, yet very useful, second stadium of New York City. Used in the past for football andconcerts, and most famous as the home of the New York Mets, Shea never appealed to many, other than Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves.

Despite the memories, father time marches on, and both stadiums are no longer in existance. New York City unveiled two new ball parks for the 2009 season. As the season nears the half-way mark, yours truly finally had the oppurtunity to view both ballparks. After my experience, personal assessment seems to fall in line with critical reviews.

Despite the grandeur that Yankee Stadium is, by no means will it have the same feel of it's original version - and it didn't. Despite the unbelievable presence that is felt when walking up to the monumental structure that is the "New House in the Bronx, the aura and goosebumps are no longer. However, such feelings will come over time as the organization and its fans build and create new memories in the new building.

Nonetheless, the new house commemorates and expresses Yankee Pride in a classy way via The Great Hall. Upon walking in, you are bombarded with banners, memorabilia, videos, and other elements that remind you of where you are - Yankee Stadium. As you make your way towards the seat, you cannot miss the return of the friese, the humongous LCD screen in center field, and its two surrounding screens which provides you with every possible stat and score for the game, as well as other games around the league.



Despite it's early reputation for playing like a little league field, the new Yankee Stadium is a modern-art gem that will only grow in exclusivity once the memories come with the years.

Over in Queens, CitiField stands next to a rubble that once was Shea Stadium. As you walk up to CitiField, the building reeks of old school flavor, patterned after the old Ebbets Field. As you enter, that retro feeling continues into the park with the main entrance dedicated to Jackie Robinson, a field that is unique with its right field upper-deck hangover, and its backstop brick layering. CitiField is an amazing place, and for Mets fans who have spent their entire baseball lives over at Shea, it feels heaven-sent.



However, critics of CitiField have made it known that the stadium has very little Met-character to it, a criticism yours truly agreed with. The field, despite its beauty and retro-style, has very little Met-homage and/or feeling to it. In fact, walking around the stadium sometimes feels like the home of another team (hint: Dodgers).

Although, both stadiums have their positives and setbacks, the new Yankee Stadium and CitField are stadiums that are exciting and modern, with a touch of retro that make them both must-see sites. We are fortunate to be in a generation where New York City is home to two new ball parks, with a new football stadium on the way, and the renovation of Madison Square Garden scheduled to begin shortly. It is essential to harbor the memories from the old buildings, while experiencing the new structures, that will embrace new memories well beyond our lifetime.
All photos courtesy of snapshots.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Dome Pondering Movie Review: The Final Season (2007)


Welcome to the first installment of movie reviews here at the DP. It has been a section that yours truly has had brewing for a long time, but wanted to make sure the time, creativity, format, effort, and most importantly, zeal was right in doing so. For years films have garnered a variety of criticism, praise, hype, and disregard. Despite a sure definition, yours truly plans to contribute (by clarity or disagreement) to the area of gray regarding movies, films and documentaries. With that said, let's dive right in and look at the section's initial review: The Final Season.


What it's about?

The True story about Kent Stock, and the 1991 season of the Norway High School baseball team. After politics and envy force the school to merge with a nearby (and larger) district, Stock replaces his mentor, Coach Jim Van Scoyoc, a move to ensure the team's failure, and to break the spirit and tradition in Norway. After winning 19 titles in 23 years, Stock must overcome the doubt and fractured spirit of the town, the loss of faith in its own players, and is saddled with the pressure of continuing and most of all, preserving Norway's winning tradition in it's final season.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Dome Pondering Import - "Baseball's LeBron"

This is an article written by Tom Verducci in the recent edition of Sports Illustrated covering a very interesting and developing story in American sports. With the recent success of stars such as LeBron James, Tiger Woods, and Freddy Adu, baseball may be on the brink of adding their own name to that very talented list. Bryce Harper. A sixteen year old phenom that is impressing many talent evaluators at every level, and have many thinking he could be the next big thing. It's an article worth the read as his story and name could develop as fast as his budding star.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

On The Brink of Immortality


Many athletes know what it is like to be amongst the greatest in their respective sport. In every era, every generation, good, great, and remarkable players come through, do their best, and if they are lucky, participate in a moment which resonates throughout history. However, few athletes reach the pinnacle in their sport where their name is synonymous with dominance and greatness, comprehended in every household worldwide, and significant in any generation. Yes, few athletes reach that level. A lot are good. Many are great. Some are Hall of Famers. But, only a few are immortalized.

During the current 2009 baseball season, we are on the brink of seeing two athletes who have dominated for years, solidify their status as timeless. In a sport such as baseball where numbers and milestones measure the importance of the individual, these two athletes are on the brink of crossing milestones that will not punch their ticket for baseball's Hall of Fame, but immortalize them for years and generations to come.

For years Randy Johnson and his tall, wiry frame has made the life of hitters in both the American League and National League miserable. The big 6'10'' lefty, whipping a high 90's fastball and a wicked slider, frustrated opposing hitters (especially lefties) and anchored every staff he's ever been on. Johnson's flair for dominance began in Seattle in moments such as leading a young Mariners team into the ALCS in 1995, or becoming the hired assassin for the Houston Astros, and leading them into the playoffs in 1998. Let's not forget Johnson's performance in 2001, slamming the door on the Yankee Dynasty and earning a co-World Series MVP honor.

What has ultimately made the Big Unit's career one to marvel, is the length of dominance and the factors that accompany it. Johnson has been pitching for twenty-plus years, and at the age of 45, is still a respectable starter. A feat that seems almost Nolan Ryan-esque. Johnson has done all of this in what has presumably been regarded as the steroid era. Assuming he's clean of any substance, Johnson's career in this era will go down as second to only that of Greg Maddux - which in it's own right is a honor.

After a career of five Cy Young awards, a perfect game, a no-hitter, 10 All-Star selections, and second on the all-time list for strikeouts (4,843); Johnson's career will be enshrined forever as he approaches (currently at 299 wins), and reaches the pinnacle of 300 wins.

Mariano Rivera. The name itself resounds images of dominance, class, integrity, and championship pedigree. Rivera, the ultimate closer, and the best one that has ever lived is already amongst the names that will live on for ever. As the guitar strikes for Metallica's "Enter Sandman", fans, players, coaches, and even the hot dog vendors are aware that the game is over. He has been that dominant. He has been that automatic.

In a career where Rivera has won four World Series, 6 AL Pennants, and has succeeded on the biggest and brightest stage imaginable (0.77 ERA in the Postseason -MLB Record), it's hard to imagine that he has done it all with one dominant pitch - that devastating cutter. With pin-point control and a fluid (and consistent) delivery, Rivera as made the ninth inning look like a joke for years. Sometimes its difficult to fathom. The world knows what's coming, yet, there is nothing you can do about it. If that's not dominance, I'm not sure what could be.

Despite his on the field accomplishments, Rivera has also been an embodiment of class. He's never displayed the heavy gyrations of celebratory gluttony after a game, or has been in the spotlight for any means of negativity. Instead, Rivera has mentored many teammates and peers throughout Major League Baseball on his cutter and mechanics, as well as coaching rookies in class A, and serving as an ambassador for Panamanian baseball. All in an effort to give back to the game.

Rivera is a gem that comes around every century. With many MLB records, and a spot in Cooperstown, it's easy rooting for a guy like Rivera to reach (currently at 493) the milestone of 500 saves. And although he may never reach Trevor Hoffman's moving target for the all-time saves leader, Mariano Rivera will forever be remembered as the greatest closer of all-time, and a name immortalized for the rest of time.

Monday, June 01, 2009

LeBron (Finally) Acts His Age

When it comes to LeBron James, we were all witnesses once again.
However, this time for a different reason.

Following the Cavailiers game six loss to the Orlando Magic, which eliminated them from the NBA Playoffs, James headed directly to the locker room. He showered, he dressed, he was out of there. No hand shake. No words for Olympic teammate, Dwight Howard. No words toward the press. Nothing.

Some have excused James' actions, and have chalked it up as a fierce competitor refusing to accept losing.

However, the truth is, after the loss to the Magic, James' took his ball and went home. He finally cracked what was once a perfect image, and showed his age.

James is phenomenal, period. There is no way around it or any other word to precisely describe how good he is. Let's face it, the dude is sick. Nonetheless, what makes him more amazing is his maturity and poise off-the-court at the age of twenty-four. James handles himself like a seasoned veteran with a savvy know-how for interviews, fan-interaction, showmanship, marketing, and business. He is the complete package. The second coming. One of the faces of the National Basketball Association.

All the reason why James' actions are unreasonable.

James stated the following day regarding his actions:
"One thing about me you gotta understand; it is hard for me to congratulate somebody after just losing to him. I'm a winner, that's not being a poor sport or anything like that. If somebody beats you up, you are not going to congratulate them beating you up. That doesn't make sense to me, I'm a competitor and that is what I do. It doesn't make sense to me to go over and shake somebody's hand."
Oh really?

Does it not make any sense to show a sense of sportsmanship towards your opponent?

Mixed Martial Artists, Boxers, and Fighters hug and congratulate one another after destroying one another.

Are you exempt from addressing the media, your league, and your fans because of your competitiveness?

Mariano Rivera, Joe Torre and others congratulated the Arizona Diamondbacks in their clubhouse, after they defeated the New York Yankees in the 2001 World Series. Both Rivera (Who blew the game) and others from the Yankees addressed the media as well. Tom Brady answered every question with out quarrel after his Super Bowl loss.

Would any athlete in a large market be able to get away with the same action?

How about if Kobe Bryant pulled the same stunt if he were eliminated?

Despite the leniency and favoritism he receives due to his like-able image, what LeBron James did was indeed a selfish act. For the first time in his already great, and promising career, he slipped up. He forgot about his responsibilities to his teammates; his coach; the Cavalier Organization; the NBA; the city of Cleveland; and his fans worldwide. He put himself, and his emotions first.

All of it, a tremendous amount of responsibility for a twenty-four year old. One that we often forget is indeed only twenty-four years of age. Although he will eventually learn from this, for the first time ever, LeBron James acted his age.