Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dome Pondering Movie Review: Thank You For Smoking (2006)

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What’s it about?


Nick Naylor, a big chief Tobacco spokesman, spins, deliberates, encourages and debates on behalf of cigarettes, while remaining a role model for his son, and learning to live with himself.

Who is in it?

Aaron Eckhart – Nick Naylor

Katie Holmes – Heather Holloway

Robert Duvall – Captain

William H. Macy – Senator Ortolan Finisterre

Maria Bello – Polley Bailey

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Final Crossroads For Hogan

HulkHogan_Grani_11651517_400_0_0_0x0_290x400 So Hulk Hogan is back in professional wrestling. And he’s back with Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling, although his role has yet to be released. In most cases I would say that I wouldn’t be shocked by such news, given the past political decisions of the Hulkster, however, today’s news conference at Madison Square Garden caught me, much like everyone else, by surprise. 

Hogan, the biggest star ever in the wrestling industry, has been in the news over the past few months due to other issues besides his career. Most of Hogan’s problems were tied to family issues that were compounded by more family problems, only to be multiplied by other family problems. He lost his house, his wife, and saw his son spend time in prison. He lost it all. 

And much like I’ve stated before, some of Hogan’s problems were due to the fact he was not able to separate Terry Bolea, from Hulk Hogan (Life of Hulkamania Brings Down Terry Bolea). And just recently, and further stated in his new book, Hogan even at one point contemplated suicide. Yes, suicide. In the story which has made it’s way through headlines, Hogan points to a random call from the daughter of boxing legend, Mohammed Ali, Laila Ali, as the person to save his life.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The True Force of Power, Sex, And Lust

phillips0723 So what’s the deal? Really, what is with all of the affairs and the cheating that seems to be consuming our society today? Now I am not naive, I understand a portion of the core of our culture revolves around a sexual nature. After all, sex sells right? And I understand that such behavior has been occurring since biblical times, yet, it amazes each and every time it does.

Earlier this year, we were on edge when news broke regarding Coach Rick Pitino and his affair at Louisville University. Yours truly touch based briefly on that issue. (Louisville Decision More of The Same Stuff). Pitino’s personal life is non of our business, however, like I did then, the issue should still be today if parents would want a man with that past essentially guiding their son through some of the most important years of his life?

However, let’s let that be, because now we have two other high-profile men in David Letterman and Steve Phillips, who either have admitted, or have been caught for adultery.

Now, I’m no stone thrower, and I’m not perfect. We all have made mistakes. We all have sinned. And we all have fallen short of the glory of God. With that being said, I’m not casting judgment on Letterman and Phillips for their actions (and now misfortunes).

Both men have had great damage done to their families, and in Phillips’ case, now has to deal with a pending divorce. The issue that I have a tough time wrapping my head around is indeed the family issue. Both admitted to prior wrong doings and affairs, and seemingly have been forgiven for them. However, the latest flings with much younger women, were the last straw, and has destroyed their reputations, their images, and most importantly, their family. Yet, the sad part is, there are thousands of cases with everyday-normal men who are doing the same deed without public knowledge and scrutiny.

The lyrics from Nickelback’s song entitled most fittingly, “S.E.X.” rings true.

Yes, sex is always the answer, it's never a question
'Cause the answer's yes, oh the answer's yes
Not just a suggestion, if you ask a question
Then it's always yes, yeah

We have witnessed issues in the past where images, reputations, and families have been rebuilt in the case of Kobe Bryant (of that we know of). Hopefully, we can see more like that.

I wish and truly pray for them in their recovery. Our society is already lacking quality fathers in households everywhere, and it seems we are losing quality men and leaders as well.

In the end, it is amazing to witness and understand the true force of power, sex and lust.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Little Taste of That Missing Excitement: Free Agency Growing Again in Professional Wrestling

nigelNigel McGuinness is now a member of the Total Nonstop Action Wrestling Roster. Set to debut on tomorrow tonight’s edition of iMPACT, McGuinness will now go under the name of Desmond Wolfe. McGuinness err…Wolfe is one of the best kept secrets on the wrestling circuit, dominating the reigns of Ring of Honor (ROH) wrestling, and impressing international hotbed crowds such as Japan, with a flair of charisma and arrogance.

Since the days of the Monday night wars, and the wrestling boom period of the late 90’s and the earlier part of this decade, wrestlers and free agency were a hot topic amongst wrestling fans. Who was going where? Who would resign? Surprise debuts, and sad farewells. The busts, the surprise signings, and all the evaluations that comes with free agency. It seems lately, things have opened up. Wrestlers have options once again (though not as equivalent as in the past), and fans are excited to see some different options. 

Monday, October 19, 2009

Dome Pondering Movie Review: The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

day_after_tomorrow_ver4
What’s it about?


After a climatologist warns global leaders and officials of the pending dangers and damage of global warming, he must save the world from it’s sudden arrival, all the while rescuing his son from the inevitable new ice age.

Who is in it?

Dennis Quaid – Jack Hall

Jake Gyllenhall – Sam Hall

Emmy Rossum – Laura Chapman

Dash Mihok – Jason Evans

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Remembering A Blueprint

Professional wrestling has come a long way since it’s inception in the early 1930’s, and its pivotal evolution as hybrid-sports and entertainment in the mid 1980’s. With a collection of various talent, wrestling took off, and has yet to look back. We can name many who have paved the way and given their bodies, souls, and livelihoods for the current business we all enjoy. From Hulk Hogan to the Iron Sheik, the 80’s brought us many who were and are a blueprint in the wrestling business. 

Yesterday, the wrestling world lost one of those blueprints in Captain Lou Albano. The Captain, a wrestler in his earlier days (1950’s) became famous for his legendary crazed tactics and personality, and as a manager of various Tag Team Champions.

Besides his ability to manage various champions, and talent as a promo guy and “mouthpiece” as is said in the wrestling business, Captain was one of the first guys that crossed over onto the big screen, appearing in “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” with Cindy Lauper. The Captain truly had a connection with fans of the past and the mainstream media, as wrestling fans of the past that no longer follow the current industry, such as my father, were saddened of Captain’s death. 

The death of Captain Lou Albano is one that was shocking, and at the same time very eyebrow raising.
Captain, is of a kind that is dying – wrestling managers. Male wrestling managers. The art of helping wrestlers who are unable to “cut a promo” or convey themselves in front of the camera had various managers to help them along. Guys such as Albano, Bobby Heenan, Jim Cornette, Jimmy Hart, Colonel Parker, Master Fuji, and others were great in that role. Today, the industry has demanded more from wrestlers in schools, academies, and camps across the globe. And yet with more demands, there are still tremendous talents that still and will struggle in verbal communication when the red light comes on. Today, they are usually paired with attractive women with no art or flair for the role. It’s all about the ratings now, and blueprints like the Captain are being wasted – but that makes for another piece on another day.

Nonetheless, the Captain will be missed. However, the memories, contributions, and guidelines will not be forgotten.

Captain Lou Albano (1933-2009)

Friday, October 09, 2009

Why Did Derrion Albert Have To Die? (Part II)

On a day where Barack Obama receives the prestigious award of the Nobel Peace Prize, violence continues to show itself and it’s (unfortunately) intricate role in today’s society. In a recent interview with CNN, An-Jannette Albert, mother of Derrion Albert who was slain in Chicago, reacts to the unwarranted, unexplainable, and unbelievable death of her child.

Albert’s interview, which will tug on your heart and your emotions, is highly recommended watch. Albert is filled with emotion as her response to Derrion’s death is heartbreaking, raw, and most importantly, real. Albert serves up the type of in your face truth regarding the current generation, our lack of caring, and our inability in addressing the issue.

I truly believe the most honest words that Albert said were, “I’m scared.” And let’s be completely honest, a lot of us are. Without going down the road of sounding like an aging adult in this world, it is safe to say the conscious of this generation is absent, their restraint is almost non-existent, and the level and matter of discipline received from elders is obsolete.

The current generation has a minuscule respect for various things, and the adults of today are afraid to address it. We are afraid of their capabilities. We are afraid of their connections. We are afraid of situations described by Ms. Albert, and the events surrounding Derrion Albert’s death.

This all falls in the hands of us all. Not just parents, but adults and communities alike. Jeff Mays had a terrific follow up article, and an even better story regarding his wife’s disciplining of a child for littering in a building. Mays claimed the girl indeed picked up the wrapper, and apologized as well. “She knew what she did was wrong, she just needed a responsible adult to remind her”, Mays quipped.

And its the truth.

We’re just afraid…

Instead, we attempt to dance around disciplining the correct way, laugh at the young one who made an inappropriate statement and  chalk it up as naive cuteness, and do what we can to be good cop, and become their friend.

As cliché, and somewhat lame as it may sound, some of the best lessons I’ve learned in my existence here on God’s green earth were from being yelled at, punished, and ultimately chastised for what were stupid, irrational, and unacceptable actions.

As our society continues to push free reign, it is important for us, as people, parents, communities, and a nation to step up, take back our streets, and help shape the next generation.

For this needs to end.

If there is anything I can draw on why Derrion had to die, it was to show us the reality of how much we are failing these kids and how much we are failing ourselves.

It’s time to step up. It’s time to stop being afraid.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Attempting to Script October: The 2009 MLB Playoffs

It’s that wonderful time of the year again – October. And with October comes non other than playoff baseball. And although the nation is up in mayhem over Bret Favre, the National Football League, and other things football, October is baseball. And much like years past, October is unpredictable. However, much like last year (Attempting to Script October: The 2008 MLB Playoffs), I will attempt to predict the happenings in this tenth month of the year, two thousand and nine. And hopefully, I’ll be more accurate than last year’s predictions.

After all, it's October. It’s playoff baseball. And it cannot be scripted.

Nonetheless, here goes…

2010NLDS

NLDS – St Louis Cardinals defeat Los Angeles Dodgers in Four Games

This series will be decided by the Cardinals top two pitchers (and possibly best 1-2 punch in baseball) in Carpenter and Wainwright. The Dodgers will manage to sneak a win in game three in St. Louis, only to be closed out in Game 4. Manny will have an anti 2008-like postseason, and will struggle throughout this series.

Series MVP – Chris Carpenter

NLDS – Philadelphia Phillies defeat Colorado Rockies in Three Games

These two teams have met before in the post-season under similar circumstances. The Rockies charging into the post-season, riding a hot streak. However, the Phillies are a completely different team than the one in the past that let the Rockies run all over them, and are primed to defend their title. The Phillies offense will be too much for Colorado, and will close this series out early.

Series MVP – Jayson Werth

2009_ALDS

ALDS – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim defeat Boston Red Sox in Five Games

The Red Sox, who have had the Angels number throughout post-season history will suddenly see a change in 2009. The Angels, who are due, will battle the Red Sox to the brink, and finally break their curse per say. Jon Lester will emerge as the Red Sox ace of the future, but the speed game of the Angels will be the deciding factor in this series.

Series MVP – Bobby Abreu

ALDS – New York Yankees defeat Minnesota Twins in Four Games

After dominating the series in the regular season (7-0), this season will resemble the same. The Yankees offense will be too much for the Twins coming off an emotional win for the AL Central Title. The Twins will manage to get one win in game three to avoid the sweep, but will be eliminated in the fourth game.

 

2009_NLCS

NLCS – St. Louis Cardinals defeat Philadelphia Phillies in Seven Games

This series will be filled with great pitching from the starters on both sides, and will ultimately be decided by the bullpen. The series will also see the return of Brad Lidge, who will come through in several situations, including returning a receipt to Albert Pujols for the 2005 horror homerun. Game seven will see Carpenter and Cliff Lee both pitch seven innings of shutout ball. The winning run will be driven in by trade deadline pickup, Matt Holliday.

NLCS MVP – Adam Wainwright

2009_ALCS

ALCS – New York Yankees defeat Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in Six Games

The Angels like they always have, will give the Yankees all they can handle in this series. Bobby Abreu will continue his hot post-season as he sticks it to his former team. The series will also see two stellar pitching performances by A.J Burnett which will eventually become key contributions to the Yankees series win.

ALCS MVP – A.J. Burnett

2009_World_Series_6

World Series – New York Yankees defeat St. Louis Cardinals in Six Games

This series, much like the post season, will be dominated by pitching. Carpenter and Wainwright will shut the Yankees down in the first two games. However, will head to St. Louis split, 1-1. In game three, Andy Pettitte will put together a vintage gem that will get the Yanks the 2-1 lead. In game four, the Cards will blowout the Yanks, a game where Rick Ankiel will go 4 for 6 with 4 RBI. The Yankees will then win the next two games, which will be tightly contested games, and closed out by the great Mariano Rivera.

World Series MVP – Robinson Cano

Monday, October 05, 2009

Five Keys To Knicks’ Season

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It’s been a long time since yours truly has mentioned his beloved New York Knicks. After all, there hasn’t been much controversy, wrong doings, and head scratchers which spur and fuel various rants. With the new era being spearheaded by Donnie Walsh and Mike D’Antoni, much of those rants have been silenced as the organization looks forward.

Nonetheless, it is a new season. A season where the culture under this new management has been in place for a year, expectations are known, and the future is one year away. Otherwise known as the Knicks “hump year” before the madness that is 2010, the Knicks must ensure that progress is being made for themselves (those with expiring contracts), for management (Walsh and D’Antoni) and the free agent class of 2010 (Lebron James and co.)

However, much like the team will attempt to do this year, I also, will try (but can’t guarantee) to leave 2010 speculation for another time, if not, at the end of the season. For the NBA season opener is about one month away, and it seems for the Knick fan, there is light at the end of this long, dark tunnel.

This year, the Knicks have an opportunity to turn some heads, and maybe shock some experts with an impressive 2009-2010 campaign. After viewing the opening pre-season game versus the New Jersey Nets, there are five keys that I believe will shape the fate of this season’s New York Knickerbockers.

1. Team Defense – There is no secret that last year’s team was dreadful on the defensive end. Teams scored at will, and the Knicks seemed to not be interested in the concept. Coach D’Antoni stated he might have contributed to that by emphasizing and establishing his seven seconds or less offense with little mention of defense. This year, camp is surrounded by the notion of defense. The Knicks can score. We know that. They led the league in points per game last year. If they can stop some teams, and maybe finish in the top 15 of opposing points per game (D’Antoni’s goal), a potential 35-40 win season could be probable.

2. Leadership & Chemistry – The team has had a complete overhaul in the last year from the mess that Isiah Thomas constructed. However, the team is young, and filtered with talented players who also have empty resumes regarding a winning pedigree. This year’s team has made an effort to build team chemistry, and guys like Chris Duhon, Al Harrington, and David Lee have already taken a leadership role in holding players accountable for a lack of effort. Such an intangible is one the Knicks organization has lacked since the departure of Allan Houston. Hopefully, this is maintained through April.

3. Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler – There is no question Gallinari is the most talented player on the roster. Gallinari is now 100% and the sky is the limit for the 6’11’’ sharp shooting athlete. Wilson Chandler showed last year that he can has a very promising future in the league as well. The continued development of these two will ensure the Knicks a cornerstone to build around for the future. However, they are also in the unusual position of developing, and playing key roles on their teams. If they can successfully meet the two requirements, which go hand in hand, the Knicks will enjoy more W’s than they did last season.

4. The Center Position – Last year David Lee shouldered the load at the center position. Although, in the offense it allowed Lee the luxury to beat many other legitimate centers down the court for easy buckets, on the defensive end Lee was mismatched. In fact, the Knicks were dead last in total blocked shots, and block shots per game. This year, the additions of Darko Milicic and Eddy Curry, who both have much to prove, will be interesting. If they can fill the void at Center and provide a defensive presence in the paint, it can go a long way in solidifying the first aspect stated above.

5. Absolutely, Seven Seconds or Less! – Last year, the team moved the ball well, played well, and performed the SSOL well in the first half. However, after team chemistry and the roster was depleted due to trades, instructing new comers on the SSOL offense became difficult and D’Antoni applied the breaks on his famed style of play. He allowed too much one-on-one to occur in the offense in desperation of making the playoffs. This year, the team will be intact from the beginning, and have plans to stay that way throughout the season. If D’Antoni maintains his style of play, and emphasizes moving the ball and lebron-knicks-300x203finding the open man, the Knicks can be assured a healthier and more prosperous season.

And well, if all fails this season…

6. Sign Lebron James in 2010 – No explanation necessary.

Regardless, the future for the Knicks is now.