Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dome Pondering - 2009 Year in Review


Well, here we are, within two minutes and taking a knee, being fouled and hitting our foul shots, and signaling for Mariano Rivera to shut the door on 2009. And with Rivera, we know that it is indeed over! 2009, like every year, has brought more happenings, tragedy, history, and personal change to us all. And although, a much difficult year than most of us have experienced, 2009 brought life in a special way that will help shape us for 2010. So before the buzzer sounds and the final out is recorded, lets look back on the year that closed out this decade.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dome Pondering – Year in Review History

Dome Pondering Year in Review Banner History -1

Crucial Moment of the Year:

2009 – US Airline Terrorist Attack Foiled

2008 – Collapse of Lehman Brothers and Buyout of AIG

2007 – Virginia Tech Shootings

2006 – Foiled Terrorist Plot in England


World Affairs Issue of the Year:

2009 – Michael Jackson’s Death

2008 – Global Economy

2007 – Death of Benazir Bhutto

2006 – North Korea Missile Crisis


Inspirational Story of the Year:

2009 President Obama’s Inauguration

2008 - Barack Obama's Acceptance Speech

2007 – Virginia Tech Recovery

2006 – City of New Orleans

Random Story of the Year:

2009 Somali Pirates Take Hostage of U.S. Ships

2008 - Myanmar Cyclone

2007 – Minnesota Bridge Collapse

2006 – Cory Lidle’s Death

Most Controversial Story of the Year:

2009 – United States Healthcare Reform

2008 - Government Bailouts

2007 – The Jena 6

2006 – Illegal Immigration in the United States

Most Overrated Story of the Year:

2009 – Bret Favre’s “Comeback”

2008 - Madonna/A-Rod Romance

2007 – Paris Hilton in Jail

2006 – Barbaro’s Broken Leg

Invention of the Year:

2009 - Twitter

2008 - Nintendo Wii

2007 – iPhone

2006 – Youtube

Comeback of the Year:

2009 – Alex Rodriguez

2008 - Britney Spears

2007 – Alex Rodriguez

2006 – Jay-Z

"I'll Kill For This" Award of the Year:

2009 – Employment/Rebounding Economy

2008 – Hip Hop Music

2007 – New Management for New York Knicks

2006 – Playstation 3

"Just Go Away" Award of the Year:

2009 – Jon and Kate Gosselin

2008 - Anti-Obama/Democrat Supporters

2007 – Britney Spears

2006 – Britney Spears

"Largest Fortitude" Award of the Year:

2009 – Chesley B. Sullenberg III (Sully)

2008 - Barack Obama

"We'll Miss You" Award of the Year:

2009 – Michael Jackson

2008 – Yankee Stadium

2006 – Dave Chapelle

"What Were You Thinking?" Award of the Year:

2009 – Kanye West

2008 – Governor Elliot Spitzer

2007 – Michael Vick

2006 – Michael Richards

"What a Shame" Award of the Year:

2009 – Taconic Parkway Crash

2008 - Caribbean and Gulf Coast - Hurricanes Ike and Gustav

2007 – Barry Bonds and the All-Time Homerun Record

"Welcome to the Scene" Award of the Year:

2009 – Taylor Swift

2008 – Usain Bolt

2007 – City of Boston

2006 – Global Warming

"This Should Have Been Done Before" Award of the Year:

2009 – Public Outcry Against The MTA

2008 - Regulation of Wall Street Executives

2007 – Writers Guild Strike of America

“The Incredibles” Award of the Year:

2009 – Usain Bolt

"We Need to Fix This" Award of the Year:

2009 – Global Economy

2008 – Global Economy

2007 – Homeowner market and mortgage crisis

2006 – Genocide in Sudan

Biggest Letdown of the Year:

2009 – Dominican Republic National Baseball Team

2008 - Clay Bennet's Move of Supersonics to Oklahoma City

2007 – 2007 United States Women’s Soccer Team

Idiot of the Year:

2009 – Bernie Madoff

2008 - Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich

2007 – James Dolan

Dome Pondering Person of the Year:

2009 – Chesley B. Sullenberg III (Sully)

2008 - Barack Obama

2007 – Every American Soldier

2006 – Stephon Marbury/Steve & Barry Co.

Fighter of the Year:

2009 – George St. Pierre (UFC)

2008 - Anderson Silva (UFC)

2007 – Floyd Mayweather (Boxing)

2006 – Chuck Liddell and Tim Sylvia (UFC)

Pay Per View Event of the Year:

2009 – TNA Turning Point

2008 - WWE One Night Stand

2007 – TNA Bound For Glory

Pro Wrestling Match of the Year:

2009 – AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe vs. Christopher Daniels – TNA Turning Point

2008 - Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair – WWE Wrestlemania XXIV

2007 – Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness – ROH Driven

Pro Wrestling Tag Team of the Year:

2009 – Beer Money Inc. (TNA)

2008 - The Miz and John Morrison (WWE)

2007 – The Briscoe Brothers (ROH)

2006 – AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels (TNA)

Female Pro Wrestler of the Year:

2009 – Awesome Kong (TNA)

Male Pro Wrestler of the Year:

2009 – Randy Orton (WWE)

2008 - Shawn Michaels (WWE) and Kurt Angle (TNA)

2007 – Bryan Danielson (ROH)

2006 – Edge (WWE) and Samoa Joe (TNA)

Sports Event of the Year:

2009 – Super Bowl XLIII – Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Arizona Cardinals

2008 - 2008 Olympic Summer Games

2007 – AFC Championship – New England Patriots vs. Indianapolis Colts

2006 – FIFA World Cup ‘06

Coach of the Year:

2009 – Joe Girardi – New York Yankees

2008 – Joe Maddon – Tampa Bay Rays

Team of the Year:

2009 – New York Yankees

2008 – New York Giants

2007 – New England Patriots

2006 – St. Louis Cardinals

Dome Pondering Sportsman of the Year:

2009 – Mariano Rivera

2008 – Michael Phelps

2007 – Tom Brady

2006 – Tiger Woods and LaDainian Tomlinson

Monday, December 28, 2009

Dome Pondering Import - “Not Just Tiger’s Temptations”

Here is an article that was sent to me. The writer, former Major League Baseball player Doug Glanville, touches base on several issues that face professional athletes. More specifically, the temptations and the type of lifestyle that quickly evolve when one enters the world of professional sports. Glanville sheds new light on the Tiger Woods saga from the perspective of a professional athlete.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Dome Pondering Movie Review: Inglourious Basterds (2009)

DPInglouriousBasterdsReview What’s it about?

A series of events in Nazi-ruled France bring a Jewish-American rogue militia (The Basterds), a surviving French-Jewish Woman, and the entire Third Reich to ahead.

Who is in it?

Brad Pitt – Lt. Aldo Raine

Melanie Laurent – Shosanna Dreyfus

Christopher Waltz – Col. Hans Landa

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A New Yorker’s Note To The MTA

DomePonderingMTA1 Its stories like this one (MTA votes for Major Service Cuts to Fill $383M Budget Gap) that often causes yours truly, and well everyone, to shake their heads in disbelief. After hearing about the possible cuts in service by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), and the outrage and backlash it has created from the public, I have decided to write a letter MTA Chairman, Jay H. Walder.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dome Pondering Movie Review: Fast and Furious (2009)

DomePonderingFastandFurious
What’s it about?


After the death of his girlfriend, Dominic Toretto and Brian O’Connor (Now working for the FBI) team up to bring down a heroin importer, and also in attempt to free his name.

Who is in it?

Vin Diesel – Dominic Toretto

Paul Walker – Brian O’Connor

Michelle Rodriguez – Leticia Ortiz

Jordana Brewster – Mia Toretto

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Watching and Waiting For The Next Big Wreck

alg_mtv_jersey-shore What if I said to you, in order to become a columnist for a well-known, nationally read newspaper, all you needed to have were years of experience as a prostitute, how would you respond?

Or if you wanted to appear on a television show watched by over two million people weekly, with the opportunity to eventually have your own show, qualifications began at being Italian, tanned, muscular, and completely arrogant with the ability to fist pump being a plus; what would you say?

Unfortunately, (and I do mean unfortunately) that is the reality (or lack thereof) we live in. One where Ashlee Dupre now offers relationship advice as a columnist for the New York Post, and being a “Gudio” puts you amongst the stars.

As a person that holds education and experience in the highest regards that it should, it is downright insulting to see where some of our forms of communication has gone. Gone are the days when journalism and acting took years of training, education, and paying your dues. Now, it seems just about anyone can fill those voids, as long as it creates controversy.

Capture Ashley Dupre, known for being part of a high-end (whatever that means) prostitution ring and for her exploits with former Governor Spitzer, is given a job and her own column titled, “Ask Ashley”. In her columns, Ashley  answers and reacts to various relationship questions and situations. Really? Obviously, the New York Post is known for their outlandish covers, stories, and articles. A lot of what is printed in the Post is just above the line that separates newspaper journalism and trashy tabloids. Dupre’s addition is nothing more than a sad attempt by the New York Post to create attention.

Somewhere, a hard working, knowledgeable journalist was beat out for that spot. And on what grounds?

On the other hand, there is the story of MTV’s Jersey Shore. It is the train wreck that everyone knew it would be, and continues to be every week. After a week of skipping through the late-night show carousel as guests, and discussing the offers for spin-off television shows they each (yes, each) have received, it really put things in perspective for me…

“Did these people really just use tanning, spiked hair, lousy accents, and poor dancing to become rich?”

And to answer my own question, “umm, yeah, they just did”.

And like that journalist that sits on the sidelines reading “Ask Ashley”, there is some actor, somewhere, that was passed over for fist pumping.

In perspective it sounds terrible. And it is. Yet, for some reason, we all watch. We all read.

As a culture we love this stuff. But when did it become this way?

When did we stop appreciating the journey, the art form, the talent, and the greatness that is out there, and become so caught up with waiting and watching the next big wreck?

Who knows? I guess I could always “Ask Ashley”.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Missing the Issue in President Obama’s First Year

useconomysml I’m beginning to worry about Barack Obama as President. There was no other way to begin this piece than to just get that out there. After all, there is no easy way of easing into that statement without alienating and offending a few supporters.

Yet, I do believe it is something that it is a thought that is often tip-toed around because of what President Obama means to this nation: hope. A change after eight years of futility under President Bush. However, because of that hope, President Obama has seemed to be given a certain amount of equity, a longer allowance of rope, than President Bush was ever given.

With that said, I’m not here to lead a full-on revolt against President Obama’s policies, leadership, values, or ideas for this nation. I’m not affiliated with any party. No blue stripes. No red stripes. At the same time, I will admit, I’m not gun-ho on politics. I am aware of what is going on, however, I do not fall into debating about the “politics of politics”, per say. I’ve always believed politics is not professional baseball. It is impossible to judge on a daily basis. However, for those, who since January 20th, 2009, have been hoping for his failure – shame on you. Your utter defiance represents your willingness to claim a political “I told you so” rather than improve this nation.

With all that said, as President Obama’s crosses the quarter mark on his term, there is indeed a body of work to review. And in review, President Obama has done a lot of terrific things. As for international relations, President Obama has help assure, and reconcile many relationships hurt over the past. Despite the silly controversies such as him bowing to Chinese leadership, which is as simple as a cultural thing rather than a sign of inferiority, President Obama has begun to restore a healthy vision of the United States by the rest of the world.

Here on the home front, President Obama has also engaged in many fronts in attempting to restore the nation. From climate control, energy emissions, the national economy, health care, home defense, and our two wars on terror, his plate has been quite full.

However, it seems President Obama has gone about the priorities of these issues all wrong.

The biggest issue that faces this nation heading into the presidential election was indeed the economy. A year later, and it is almost a safe argument that it is still the economy.

President Obama has pushed the issue of universal healthcare since February. And while it is true that a great percentage of our nation is uninsured when it comes to health care, it is not the priority. In fact, when the issue of health care reform, and employment benefits are on the table, they do not appeal to a nation that is currently out of work, struggling to keep their homes, and attempting to stay afloat.

After all, “I just lost my home, but luckily, I am covered if I get hurt!”

All sarcasm aside, it seemed rather inverse in importance, and it still does. With a healthy economy and sound job market, the issue of healthcare can be taken care off when most Americans have the opportunity to choose and select the type of health care they would prefer.

Also, what happened to bringing the troops home? I never believed either Presidential candidate would actually follow through on such a plan, but wasn’t that key to the Obama campaign?

I’m sure the solutions to these issues may be on the horizon, but the current situation worries me. OK, I’ll be honest, it scares me. I never expected President Obama to be a miracle worker, however, I did not expect things to continue on this path – in the wrong direction – for this long.

I can be patient. I can be supportive. And I will continue to employ both in regards to President Obama’s current presidency.

However, after a year of seeing other issues moved ahead of the issue, I am worried. And yes, I am scared.

How about you?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Metropolitan’s Mishaps Mirror Midtown

gal_backpage_091215 It seems every year Met fans are on edge about the way things are going with their team. Just waiting for things to finally get turned around. And to be truthfully honest, I don’t blame them at all. The way things have been for the last several years in Flushing, have striking similarities to that other organization over in midtown that also dons blue and orange – the New York Knicks.

The New York Mets, coming off a disastrous 2009 campaign, now find themselves left out of the hot stove season. In fact, after losing out on John Lackey (whom they never made an offer to) and seeing Roy Halladay move to the Phillies, the Mets could be set up of another disappointing season.

From the mishaps in design and character at CitiField to what seems like continued mismanagement, when does it end for the New York Mets? And most importantly, for their fans?

It is always fascinating when certain baseball fans complain about high-payroll teams and the luxury in abilities compared to smaller market teams. I’m sure you’ve heard the same rants about the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Angels, Cubs, etc…, yet never mentioned are the New York Mets.

The New York Met should be.

With a payroll in the top five in baseball, the resources of the Wilpon family, and the market that is New York City, one could make the argument the Mets should be the equivalent of their cross town rivals in the National League.

However, similar to the New York Knicks, pre-Donnie Walsh of course, the Mets have made several disturbing moves that have left them with aging, overpriced, and underproductive players with several gaping holes. And with Omar Minaya running the development system bare either by trades or poor drafting, the Mets are in a bigger hole than is realized. And we didn’t even mention the damage done by Bernie Madoff.

With season ticket sales significantly down and Met fans growing increasingly upset, the pressure to produce a solid product on the field is vital.

And with that, the Mets are now targeting Jason Bay in free agency. And there is the red flag.

The current, and reported demands of Jason Bay are for a five-year deal from $12-$15M per year. Many scouts and experts around the league already question Bay’s defensive abilities, and even wonder about his abilities to play at an elite level four years from now.

However, like always, the Mets are interested because it seems like a good addition. A can’t miss. A quick fix. A move that will appease their fans and impress the media. A move Isiah Thomas would have made as President of the Knicks.

Stephon Marbury. Quentin Richardson. Steve Francis.

Luis Castillo. Oliver Perez. now…Jason Bay.

There is a difference between making moves, and making the right moves. And everyone knows, including Met fans that this is just another move. While the Phillies are adding the best pitcher in the game, restocking a loaded development system, and adding the right free agents (Placido Polanco) to defend their National League title, the Mets are piling stones hoping to build a house.

And by missing out on Lackey, and flip-flopping between Matt Holliday and Jason Bay, the Mets express to their fans, a lack of planning, leadership, and knowledge.

Lest we not forget the coaching deficiencies, high payroll, mediocre results, lack of development, constant flux in talent, embarrassing management controversies, and many, many disappointments.

I may not be a Met fan, but I am a die-hard Knicks fan, and believe me Met fans, this situation looks very similar. There is still time to fix it. However, Knick fans thought that too, and well…we’re still waiting, and most of all, still hoping.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

1 Night. 2 Companies. 3 Hours: Fans will get the Pin.

raw January, 4th, 2010 – mark it down.

After almost ten years of enduring a wrestling-business environment where all aspects became cut and dry (WWE and everything else behind), things will be very interesting for one night. 

Yes, for one night, wrestling fans will enjoy a bit of nostalgia, and get an option on a Monday Night. Back is the excitement. Back is the can’t miss feeling. And, back is that soreness in your thumb from flipping back and forth for two-plus hours. 

January 4th, 2010. The Monday Night Wars are back...well sort of.

Now for those that have no idea what the Monday Night War are or mean, and you consider yourself a wrestling fan, before you read on, you need to take a moment to do a little bit of research. However, if you do, and are not aware of what is going on, TNA Wrestling is taking a chance (and a huge chance it is) and will be going head-to-head against Monday Night Raw for one night. 

Friday, December 04, 2009

Disappointing and Disgusting: Tiger Sheds New Light on Big Issue

tiger-woods As stated before earlier in the week, “Tiger, what a mistake.”
And a big mistake indeed. 

As the year comes to a close, and of all the happenings that 2009 gave us, this one is quite possibly the biggest head scratcher of them all. Yes Kanye, you are now off the hook. Tiger Woods and the infamous Thanksgiving night crash has gone from concern over the golfer’s condition, to the unveiling of a huge gap in character not seen before.
As the days progress, and the media sinks their claws deeper into his life and this story, the more that is uncovered about Tiger Woods, his extra marital affairs, and his secret life. And as this coverage continues, the more we are revealed to the real Tiger Woods. 

No, not the fist pumping, swoosh wearing, Buick driving, Gatorade drinking, American Express using, green jacket wearing stud of athlete that we all knew. But Tiger Woods, the man.

It is now apparent that the difference between "Tiger Woods” and Tiger Woods are as long as one of his 300 yard drives.

Now, it is not a secret that professional athletes are not roll models. It’s been stated so many times, and hammered home by Sir Charles Barkley. Tiger Woods isn’t, and will not be the last professional athlete that as had issues with infidelity. These athletes are valued based upon there ability and not their character. Whether it be a field, court, rink, or course, athletes are more respected between the lines than any other area in life. It’s a sad but truthful statement. Which is why the quality individuals should be applauded that much more.

Yet in saying that, there is a contingent that believes Tiger Wood’s current situation should be left private. A mere family matter that him and his wife would need to deal with. And while that is very true, I find myself completely on the fence with such an issue. While Tiger’s only obligation to the public is his ability to entertain through his exceptional golf ability, the words of Michael Kay on his radio show made a very good rebuttal to that thought where he made the argument that Woods has made his reputation, career, and life off of public perception. He entered into that agreement by taking on all the adulation when things were good. Now that he has messed up, it’s time to take that side as well.

After all, Woods has been treated rather graciously by the media. In looking at a comparison of Tiger’s dealings to that of what Alex Rodriguez has gone through, the scale is heavily tilted towards A-Rod. Woods has been heralded for his entire being. Since the age of two, when he was on late night shows hitting golf balls, Woods was groomed for the mega-star/athlete that he has become, which is what makes this situation very disappointing.

And while many, maybe even including you the reader, may think the biggest issue in this situation is Wood’s assets and career, then consider the following:

Woods is still the world’s best golfer. Heck, maybe ever. He is still worth millions, and he can overcome this financially (See: Kobe Bryant). There are reports at the time that this piece is being written that Tiger is offering his wife up to $80 million to stay with him over the next seven years. Whether true or not, there are Major Leaguers on the free agent wire possibly looking into a Tiger Woods gig. All kidding aside, at $150 million plus per year, he can get by.

On the other hand, the most frequent comment regarding the Tiger Woods saga is his “choice of women.” Many have criticized his cheating because of the appearance of his wife. The large speculation of why he would cheat surrounds Elin Nordegren’s supermodel looks. A similar response to when Kobe Bryant went through his situation in Denver, CO a few years ago.

The issue of appearance, and whether who is better looking amongst the women is not important. While Elin is very easy on the eyes, his wife is his wife, regardless of appearance. There is no justification for adultery and infidelity.

And with that said, and all that was covered, the biggest issue regarding this situation is the failure of quality men in our society today. I touched base on such an issue a few weeks back regarding the Steve Phillips Sex Scandal (The True Force of Power, Sex, and Lust), and with Tiger Woods falling before our eyes, it is more apparent now so than ever.

It is not a comment or issue centered around being a male chauvinist claiming that society needs males, or one where I am getting up on my soap box to tout a “holier than thou” proclamation, but an issue that is a continuing dilemma in our society, in our culture, in our communities, and even in our homes.
070503_tigerWoods_vmed_6p.widecWith news coverage being 24-hours a day, and living in the age of Maury DNA testing and lie-detector tests, we are constantly witnessing men failing due to ridiculous temptations. When does it stop? How much is enough? Do we even try?

What if Tiger put as much effort and concentration into his marriage and fatherhood as he does staring down a putt on the back 9 of Augusta? 
But I Digress.

I understand that no one is perfect. We all deal with our own issues, have our own skeletons, and we all fall short of the glory of God. However, when and why has being a good husband and father become such a rarity?

It’s a puzzling thought. And somewhat embarrassing.

And similar to my past reactions of those that have dealt with public transgressions, I wish and pray for the restoration of Tiger Woods. As stated above, “Tiger Woods” will be all right. He’ll golf, and use this to fuel him to dominate as well as an escape from it all. However, it is Tiger Woods that made the big mistake. And it is Tiger Woods that needs to be restored.

Let it be known that I am a big believer in second chances. Woods deserves one at his wife’s discretion. Yet, with true feelings as it stands today, Tiger Woods is a big disappointment. And the disappearance of quality men in our culture is downright disgusting.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Dome Pondering Import – “What if the Media Cared About Wrestlers as Much as They Do Tiger?”

The following is a post by Alfonso, Castillo, a contributor for Newsday. Castillo, a long-time wrestling fan, columnist, and journalist, often reports his opinions on the industry through his blog on the Newsday website. The blog, often filled with information and thoughts unable, and sometimes unfit for publication, is one that is highly recommended. In a recent post, Castillo examines the nature of the wrestling business, the way the media follows it, and the comparison and difference in star power between wrestlers and some “celebrities”. A good read, and a good dose of truth.