Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Why did Derrion Albert Have To Die?

All schools were violent. This is one of the sure things I believed several years ago, when I, myself attended High School. I was pretty sure that most High Schools across America dealt with the same issues such as violence, gangs, and slumping graduation rates. In some form or another, I felt that the typical high school that was displayed on television with the perfect teachers, various extra-curricular activities, and huge hallways did not exist. I always felt like those high schools, where the biggest problem revolved around prom themes and graduation venues, were indeed fiction.

After all, How could I not think this way? After being born and raised in the midst of Brooklyn, NY, and attending one of the most violent high schools in the state, it was my world. And when I turned on the television to escape this world, to see what was out there, I see images of school shootings in Colorado. So it couldn’t have been a racial issue. I see schools in California filled with gang warfare. So it couldn’t have been just New York City. I see schools in Wisconsin dealing with bomb threats on a daily basis. So it couldn’t have been an inner city issue. So what could it be?

After closing the door on my high school chapter, I was able to experience various other high schools. Those of which my now college friends had once called theirs. As per usual, the grass seemed greener on the other side. With beautiful campuses, supporting communities, various opportunities, and yes, NO metal detectors upon entrance, it seemed like the proverbial TV high school. Maybe that was the school, right? Maybe most schools are like this, and I just happened to attend one of the bad apples.

Wow, was I wrong.

The high school, although beautiful, rich, and filled with head starts many other education centers I knew of did not have, was riddled with a drug abuse situation. One that until this day, I don’t believe has been curtailed.

Yet, as I sit here punching the keys today, I am reminded of the above scenarios, thoughts, dwellings, and lessons after reading of the death of Derrion Albert.

Derrion Albert was the victim of a large fight outside of a Chicago school which left him dead after being viciously beaten. After reading reports and responses, I am left stricken for thought on the matter. When will this end? And to second the statement written in an article by Maureen Downey, why exactly did Derrion Albert have to die?

WARNING: Video of Derrion Albert Video Being Beaten

It almost seems answering the question with that of a shoulder shrug does it more justice than attempting to pile together a fallacy-filled response.

Too many times we place this on the shoulders of the black community. It seems easier that way. Blacks are in inner-cities. That’s where most of these schools are and that’s that. Well, it is the problem of the black community…and the white…and the Asian…and the Latin and yours, and mine, and all of ours. As I said before, this stuff occurs everywhere, and it’s time that we, as a society, stop pointing fingers, and start creating solutions.

The scene in the video that showed was an image that I too, and many other children have seen in their schooling experience. The many riots, gang jumpings/initiations, stabbings, and fights that resemble the chaos that took Derrion’s life.

And as all those images comeback, and after all that I managed to put on this screen, the one question that remains deep in my thought is, why did Derrion Albert have to die that way?

Why did/does anyone have to die that way?

And most importantly, is this problem rooted? Or just the way man, and human nature is?

Still, no answer…for either.

Yet, the comments made by the Reverend Michael Pfleger at Derrien’s funeral may provide some help for someone who may. He stated:

“What kind of person, what kind of individual, has such rage and such anger and such madness. We’ve got to get to the hearts of our children, because nothing, nothing, excuses or justifies the actions of an individual who would beat another individual. Nothing justifies that in this society.  It’s time for guns, and it’s time for two-by-fours to stop being the way we treat each other.”

Monday, September 28, 2009

Finally On The Same Page With UFC President, Dana White

 
Before I begin, let me just say, it’s not often I agree with Dana White. I’ll repeat, it’s not often I agree with Dana White. 

After all, White does more flip-flopping, trash talking, irrational, and unnecessary comments as your typical “flip-flopping, trash talking, irrational, and unnecessary commenting” individual. As the President of the UFC, White embodies and exuberates the confidence in his promotion as the number one Mixed Martial Arts organization in the world. 

He’s bold, he’s brash, and he speaks his mind. But that’s why I am so intrigued by him as well. I enjoy different opinions, and White often offers his.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dome Pondering Movie Review: Madagascar (2005)


What’s it about?

Four animals are spoiled by their upbringing and current lives in the New York City Central Park Zoo. After the realization of their monotonous lives, one dares on a mission to seek the wild. After an occurrence of events, all four animals end up stranded in a region known as Madagascar.

Who is in it?

Ben Stiller – Alex

Chris Rock – Marty

David Schwimmer – Melman

Jada Pinkett-Smith – Gloria

Friday, September 25, 2009

Cornrows Create Controversy

Philadelphia Police Officer Thomas Strain was taken off the street earlier this month after he showed up to work with his hair braided in cornrows.It amazes me sometimes the scenarios and situations that are often reported in the news. A great deal of the time, it is not due to relevance and credibility of the news that is being reported, but the event that happened. Another one of those types of stories occurred this past week. It has been reported by the New York Daily News and Philadelphia Daily News that Thomas Strain, a white police officer in Philadelphia, was pulled of street duty, and ordered to change his hair style by his black superior. Now, what makes this situation so peculiar is that several of Strain’s fellow comrades also sport that same cornrow look, but are black, are still on duty. The report can be read here.

Despite the common tone of the story, there is something about it that raises several flags about our society.

First and foremost, let’s acknowledge the underlying, and obvious truth that cornrows are ethnical, and synonymous with blacks. In some areas, and some countries in fact, cornrows are indeed cultural. So with that said, yes I understand the double standard in the story.

However, my biggest gripe is with that double standard. Exactly what year are we currently living in? I’ve never been in full support of employers frowning upon specific ethnic and cultural appearances such as cornrows and dreadlocks. If kept orderly and professionally presentable while keeping the credibility and safety of the occupation in tact, they should indeed be allowed. Though, that is a discussion for another time.

Yet, we are all in agreement that if hairstyles are subject for employment suspension or termination in various fields, those rules and guidelines should be universal. Hairstyle compliance should not and cannot be judged based on ethnicity or gender.

With that said, the other alarm that goes off is the obvious discrimination that is taking place. Strain is obviously wearing cornrows in support of a specific lifestyle that he chooses to support. And well, hey, there is nothing wrong with that. Our world, despite the stereotypes that some may have and their inability to get passed them, is becoming more and more diverse everyday. If a white man decides to wear cornrows – cool. It is all cool.

After all, it is 2009. We have seen a white rapper, and a black country singer.

Blacks now play golf, Asians now play the center position in basketball, and Latino’s sing reggae.

And how about this, the leader of the free world is a man of color.

All situations stereotyped before towards specific ethnicities. All broken. All in some way, made this world a better (and civilized) place.

For years we were relegated to dress, act, speak, talk, and live our lives a certain way because of race and ethnicity. That has to, will, and must change. Stereotypes are a sickness, and its only cure is through education and blurring the lines between us.

And as for The Philadelphia Police Department, to second the quote made by a police officer in the story, “I can’t believe we are wasting time and energy on this.”

For I’m sure there are much larger issues to be attended to in the city of Philadelphia than who should be allowed to wear cornrows.

Monday, September 21, 2009

No Debate When It Comes To Being Phenomenal

Over the last few years, there has been a great deal of pessimism running through the wrestling industry. From the lack of serious competition, deaths, various arrests, and finally admitting the wrestling boom period of the late nineties and of this early decade is over, the industry has taken many hits, or shall we say, body slams.

Nonetheless, through it all, and as it always has, the business continues on. In fact, we have seen the emergence of a solid number two company, a possible number three (Ring of Honor), a growth of interest in international companies (Dragon Gate & NOAH), and the emergence of other independent organizations.

Yet, with the advent of the internet and the growth in opinion due to blogs, advanced reporting, and instant communication; debates, differences, suggestions, and sheer, "know it all" gestures surround the varying aspects of the wrestling industry.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Dome Pondering Import - Boxing, MMA Battle for Fight Fans Attention

On September 19th, boxing and mixed martial arts will both have events rivaling one another for the first time ever. With the current upswing MMA is enjoying, and the slow rekindling flame of periodic fights that still exists in boxing, the debate between the two sports continues. Which is the better option? More popular? Better fighting science? More athletic? Here is an article that discusses the two great sports, and their current status in fighting for the fight fan's attention.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Music Takes Back Seat (Once Again) at VMA's


After taking a year off from controversy, the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards were right back at it, and it didn't take long for the train wreck everyone anticipated to occur. An event that is notoriously known for its emphasis on fashion, rivalries, drama, and creating edgy television to go along with its programming, MTV got its wish in the so-called "Kanye West Invasion".


West, always known for his outspoken ways (even when not appropriate or relevant) interrupted the show (or made the show, however you look at it) when he insisted on letting the world know during Taylor Swift's acceptance speech (Best Female Video) that he thought Beyonce's video was "one of the best of all time".

Classless? Without a doubt.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Dome Pondering Import - Derek Jeter Ties & Breaks Lou Gehrig's Record

Off the heels on a post regarding witnessing and experiencing the careers of many greats, one name stood out more to me, and means more to me than many of the others that yours truly discussed in that post (Lucky Existence: Witnessing the Careers of Many Greats), and that was Derek Sanderson Jeter.

Unlike the other careers name in that piece, I had the opportunity to follow Jeter's career from the beginning to it's current status. Long before he was "Derek Jeter", and became a figure in pop-culture amongst casual fans, Jeter was that young prospect who was scheduled to take over shortstop, "according to scouts" in 1998.

However, that fateful injury to Tony Fernandez happened, and Jeter was in, and never looked back. From his first hit in Seattle, to the dynasty years, and now to a place in time where he is solidifying his legacy, Derek Jeter's career is one that I am privileged, and honored to witness.

And as taboo as his accomplishment of breaking the record of Lou Gehrig may seem, it is amazing to believe that we had the opportunity to see someone pass the names of DiMaggio, Mantle, Ruth, and Gehrig. It is still something I cannot wrap my mind around.

With that said, here are the videos of a Jeter tying, and breaking the record for all-time hits for the New York Yankees:

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Lucky Existence: Privelaged to Witness Many Greats


After the induction of Michael Jordan into the Basketball Hall of Fame, we are reminded of the various images and memories he has given to us over the years. As a die hard fan of the New York Knickerbockers, yours truly has experienced the greatness (and wrath) of Jordan's unbelievable athleticism, and most importantly, his tenacious competitive nature.

Despite my unfortunate feelings toward Jordan, I greatly respect and appreciate his talent, performances, and accomplishments. After all, Who wouldn't want to be like Mike? Nonetheless, Jordan, similar to Michael Jackson, has been an influential source for many around the world. From his athletic accomplishments, to his business ventures, Michael Jordan is one of the greatest and most iconic talents ever to grace this earth. The opportunity to witness and experience his career is an absolute privilege, and one that has to be chalked up to the mere timing of existence.


We are lucky to have witnessed MJ's career. With children today having to succumb to DVD's, Youtube clips, and ESPN footage to understand the greatness of Michael Jordan, we lose sight of how privileged we were.

And with Derek Jeter also approaching and breaking numerous records that place him amongst other historic names such as Ruth and Gehrig; those of which we only know through historical records; recent events this year force you to evaluate and appreciate the entire era we actually exist in. An era where we were/are privelaged to witness some of the greatest careers and names that one day will also be seen in historical records long after we are gone.

Michael Jordan.

Derek Jeter.

Denzel Washington.

Jay-Z

Tiger Woods.

Mariano Rivera.

Roger Federer.

Barack Obama.

LeBron James.

Michael Jackson.

Sarena and Venus Williams.

Names, of which decades from now, we will be able to explain to the next generation with experience, passion, and enthusiasm. Names that will mean more to us than their future status of historical records, statistics, hearsay, and/or short clips. Names that have, and will change our society after their time - and ours.

Generations usually have one or two of these types. Due to significant events, this year alone we are reminded of three. From the greatest entertainer ever in Michael Jackson, to witnessing the career of Derek Jeter, the New Yankees All-time hits leader, to arguably the greatest athlete that has ever lived in Michael Jordan, the individual living in this era can luckily say, "I lived through it."

Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11's Greatest Reminder



It has been eight years since the horrible events of September 11th, 2001. A date that will always be remembered for its assurance of the wicked ways of the world, and the evil actions it drives.

Every year, 9/11 is a constant reminder of how short our lives can be.

A constant reminder of the cost of freedom.

Most importantly, every September 11th reminds me of the power of God, his love, and his presence.

Despite the constant disputes from many non-believers, and even some of you reading these words right now, the presence and remnant of a steel structured cross is no coincidence. In fact, its design remained so perfectly, architects and designers insist it was supernaturally enforced.

September 11th remains a day where we are reminded that it does not matter how much the ground shakes, how much devastation occurs, or how much everything falls apart. God is the the alpha and the omega, the be all, and end all.

And that is the greatest insurance and security one can have in this evil world.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Dome Pondering Movie Review: Taken (2008)

What it's about?

The thrill seek of a former government spy with specialized skills that has 96 hours to save his daughter from being forced into the underground trafficking world of young American women in Europe.

Who is in it?

Liam Neeson - Bryan Mills

Maggie Grace - Kim

Leland Orsor - Sam

Jon Gries - Casey

Olivier Rabourdin - Jean-Claude