Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Dome Pondering Movie Review: The Education of Charlie Banks (2009)

DPEducationofCharlieBanks What’s it about?

Charlie Banks, now a college student, experiences and must deal with old problems when the past he thought he escaped from in high school shows up on his campus, and teaches him what he cannot learn in a classroom.

Who is in it?

Jessie Eisenberg – Charlie

Jason Ritter – Mick

Eva Amurri – Mary

Chris Marquette - Danny

Monday, March 29, 2010

Leaving The Building For The Last Time

DPHBKGoodbye I’ve said it before here on the DP, and it has been said for years in the wrestling business – never, say never. And once again, the wrestling universe has come to a crossroads where “never, say never” will be tested. After Wrestlemania XXVI, in which we might have seen the great Shawn Michaels wrestle his final match, and a following Monday Night Raw which saw him bid his farewell, the question on everyone wrestling fans mind is: will he ever return?
And can you blame us? As is the case with most wrestling retirements, they rarely last. (e.g. Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Mic Foley and on and on). Michaels, who said during his farewell speech last night  that he will do everything in his power to stay retired, will now have the burden of staying true to that statement, as well as defying the ever so popular, “never, say never” concept in professional wrestling. 

However, if Michaels does indeed stay true to his stance of staying in retirement, he should be applauded. In this industry, few rarely leave the business on their own terms. Whether it be by injury, death, or in the cases of many, hanging on in every way imaginable, the pro wrestler’s career, no matter how successful, ends with the only expression possible to describe it – a sorrowful shake of the head. 

Yet much like his ability, legacy, and career, Michaels is different. After years of being a difficult person to deal with in the industry, a description Michaels apologized and owned up to in his speech, Michaels cleaned up his life and career through faith. Now a reborn man in the Christian faith, Michaels is hanging up the gear and boots to be at home with his wife and children. 

Michaels retirement feels similar to Ric Flair’s once regarded retirement (36 Years: A True Gold Standard) to which every wrestling fan was sad to see the greatest World Champion of all-time leave. However, as caimed before, wrestling retirements do not last as Flair could not stay away from what he has done for 37 years, professional wrestling. Flair returned to pro wrestling in late 2009. 

Yet, with Michaels retirement, it means much more to yours truly. Unlike Flair, I was not around to witness the prime years of Flair’s career. Yes, there are always tapes, DVD’s, and YouTube. However, the feel of the moment, the feel of the experience, and the feel of that certain connection was not there.
With Michaels, it is. 

As I’ve stated to some, I’ve aged with Shawn Michaels. Much like I have with Bret Hart and the Undertaker. Much like I have with Derek Jeter when it comes to baseball. I’ve seen their entire careers, and witnessed their greatness in the current time. 

And on a Monday Night Raw where Bret Hart officially said his good-byes to the business, and Michaels made his farewell, another part of my childhood was covered with dirt.
Two of my absolute favorites – gone. 

DPHBKGoodbye1Wrestlemania won’t be the same. Professional wrestling won’t be the same. 

Not many will understand the feeling, and I’m guessing only those in similar situations such  as mine will understand, but if indeed Shawn Michaels is gone forever, never to set foot in a squared-circle again, he deserves a huge Thank you. 

Thank you for the entertainment. 

Thank you for coming into our homes to take us away from reality. 

And Thank you for your sacrifices.




Monday, March 15, 2010

March Madness 2010 - The Official DP Bracket

Well, it’s March, and with that comes the madness of the NCAA Tournaments (Yes, plural, for those women basketball aficionados out there). And as American tradition, and even gambling junkies may dictate, March Madness brings the annual attempt to predict the occurrences and happenings of the tournament.
With the games set to begin tomorrow night with the play-off game to see who will be crushed in the first round, the DP has decided to get in on the hype and madness and unveil the official 2010 Dome Pondering NCAA Men’s Tournament Brackets.

And for those of you who recall an earlier prediction of Texas over Kentucky, 89-88, as made in the 2009 Year in Review, the tournament brackets did not set up that way – and yes, Texas isn’t as good as thought before conference play. Then again, who is?

With that said, here goes…

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sex Addiction: Real Diagnosis or Lame Excuse?

The issue of “Sex Addiction” is one that has become quite popular after the Tiger Woods saga. A topic that has been around for sometime now has become a forefront issue, and still has varying public opinions on the “addiction”.

In the past year, we have seen many public figures admit to being “Sex Addicts” in Tiger Woods and Steve Phillips, as well as shows dedicated to the topic such as Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew. Yet, despite the sudden boom in being a “sex addict”, there still lies many doubters over whether this is a serious addiction, or just another sham to explain our society's lack of responsibility and self-control. And for that reason, we’ll keep the title within quotes.

Today, ESPN.com featured a very interesting and powerful ten minute clip from their superb documentary series, Outside The Lines. The piece touches base on former basketball player and coach, Winston Bennett, and his struggles with “sex addiction”, and how it affected his life, and those that love him.

The aspect that really brings the situation out is Bennett’s ability to openly share his life. Most have used “sex addiction” as a reason to escape from infidelity and twist the situation into making themselves the victim.

While the notion of being addicted to whatever it may be, alcohol, drugs, or painkillers, are understandable, real, and scientifically supported by the body’s dependency for the addictive substance, “sex addiction” is described as being a compulsivity within the mind that triggers a person to act on their resting thoughts.

Maybe I am being a bit cynical, and slightly sarcastic, but if that were the case, couldn’t we slap “addict” after about anything a person does that they shouldn’t act upon?

“Jay-walking Addict”

or maybe thoughts that constantly consumes a person’s mind such as:

“Baseball Addict”

I often describe myself as a , “professional wrestling addict”, hey, maybe it is a real diagnosis. That’s my excuse, I just can’t help myself, I just need to see body slams, clotheslines and chair shots.

In all seriousness, whether being a “sex addict” is real or not, is yet to be determined. However, in a society where many of our mistakes, wrong doings, and transgressions are finding there way to being placed in the “It’s not your fault” pile, its no wonder the next generation is lacking responsibility and self control.

However with that said, Winston Bennett’s story is one - out of all the many that has been told - that has truly brought “sex addiction” to a real stature. One where a man lost everything, admitted it, has received help, and has created a support system to keep him accountable.

For the first time in hearing a story about someone being a “sex addict”, I didn’t roll my eyes or listen in cynicism.

And if this “addiction” is real and just that – an addiction – I shutter to think how many people out their in our “sex sells” society that are not in the public eye are suffering from this.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Sabathia Effect

DPCCEffect Over a year ago, yours truly wrote a post titled, “Linked in More Ways Than One: Sabathia Can Influence R.B.I. Result on The Mound”. The piece touched on Sabathia’s opportunity to influence baseball’s impact in inner cities on a big stage like New York.

It’s been roughly fourteen months since that has been written, and the recent comments by Torii Hunter and personal experiences has sparked a review of Sabathia’s impact so far as a Yankee. Hunter, who has been very outspoken when it comes to baseball’s efforts of bringing the game to people of color in the sport, specifically blacks, made the following comments:

As African-American players, we have a theory that baseball can go get an imitator and pass them off as us. It's like they had to get some kind of dark faces, so they go to the Dominican or Venezuela because you can get them cheaper. It's like, 'Why should I get this kid from the South Side of Chicago and have Scott Boras represent him and pay him $5 million when you can get a Dominican guy for a bag of chips?' ... I'm telling you, it's sad

While, the issue of blacks in the sport of baseball has been a hot-button issue in the past decade and really not so much so moving into the 2010 season, Hunter has always been honest and forthright with his comments. And in this one, he was once again absolutely right.

Yes, they may sound harsh and direct in attacking Latin ballplayers, but the truth is just that – don’t confuse darker Latin players with that of blacks. Hunter, for lack of better words is saying, the issue of baseball lacking black participation is still there.

I’ve touched based on this issue several times throughout the history of the DP, and for the first time in a long time I believe there is some progress being made as stated here last April (Alive, Well, & Healthy: The Survival, Recovery, and Future of MLB).

With the likes of Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Curtis Granderson and the emergence of budding stars such as David Price and Jason Heyward, there are numerous faces that kids in the inner city can look to. However, non have, and has the most influence as C.C. Sabathia.

In fact, Sabathia’s effect can be huge.

Fourteen months since writing that original thought, C.C. Sabathia has gone on to contend for a Cy Young Award, have dominant playoff performances, and win a World Series title. All the perfect recipe for the beginning of what could be a huge attraction for blacks to the sport. DPCCEffect1

Sabathia recently commented that he waited one year to settle in and become comfortable in the New York – Metropolitan area before getting involved in the communities and promoting baseball through the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program (R.B.I.). This year, he begins do so by donating to the restructuring or building of new baseball fields, and hosting his own tournament.

Many claim that Sabathia’s gift of giving back and having an impact on communities that will begin this year should help make him much more marketable in the NYC area, as well as nationwide.

On a Saturday morning as clinics and practices are being held for the upcoming tee-ball, little league, and Babe Ruth seasons here in Brooklyn, yours truly has seen an influx of not only black faces, but number 52 Sabathia t-shirts, as well as an overwhelming sight of straight brimmed hats cocked to the side.

Never mind this year. Forget marketability. The Sabathia effect has already begun.

And the ironic (and exciting) part is, he hasn’t yet.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Dome Pondering Movie Review: Bart Got A Room (2008)

DPReviewBartGotaRoom What is it about?

After learning that  Bart, the biggest nerd in school not only got a date, but a hotel room as well, a high school senior and his parents becomes desperate and struggles to find a date for him leading up to the biggest night of the high school experience – prom.

Who’s in it?

Steve Kaplan – Danny Stein

William H. Macy – Ernie Stein

Cheryl Hines – Beth Stein

Monday, March 08, 2010

Dome Pondering Movie Review: Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead (2007)

DPbefore the devil knows youre dead poster What it’s about?

After two brothers organize the robbery of their parent’s jewelry store, their family is sent into a whirlwind of climatic events after the robbery goes horribly wrong.

Who is in it?

Philip Seymour Hoffman – Andy Hanson

Ethan Hawke – Hank Hanson

Albert Finney – Charles Hanson

Marisa Tomei – Gina Hanson

Friday, March 05, 2010

A Global Warning From Mother Nature

Mother Nature has done some serious damage in the last couple of months.
And She is letting us know about it.

Damage that includes thousands of deaths, the destruction of nations, odd weather patterns, the tilting of the earth’s axis, and the fear of what is to come in the future. After yesterday’s 6.4 magnitude earthquake in Taiwan, the current happenings has one wondering pondering, what exactly is going on on this planet?
After the destruction of Haiti, we all felt for the people in Port-au-Prince as the scenes and images of rubble and people in need still emanate in most of our minds. The large quake caused a flurry of scientists and experts to reexamine the earth’s core and shifting plates to gauge any patterns for after-shocks, or repeated high-level quakes. As reported, the discoveries reaffirmed patters they found two years earlier that a certain region of the earth from the Caribbean spanning into the Pacific ocean were susceptible to upcoming earthquakes. In fact, California was predicted to be due for a large magnitude-type of earthquake similar to Haiti in the next 30 years. 

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Never Never Land (Part III)

DPMondayNightWars
Hopefully it happens, so January 4th could be just the beginning, and Never Never Land can reopen every Monday Night.
- Never Never Land (Part II)
Wish granted. Never Never Land (Part I) (Part II) won’t be a state of feeling young again on  one specific Monday Night - it will become weekly, it will become the norm, it will become another part of history, and it will become real. Tonight was the final night for TNA iMPACT on Thursday nights before it moves permanently on March 8th, going head-to-head every week with WWE’s Raw

It seems like not too long ago I found my self posting an import from tnawrestling.com discussing TNA’s (then) big move to prime time on Thursday nights (Import: A Beginning of a New Era Thursday Night). As a true fan of the company that watched since its beginning on a summer’s night in 2002, TNA has grown tremendously in the face of doubters, and even the constant criticism it receives today, into new heights. 

On the other hand, WWE keeps on moving. The big machine keeps getting larger and larger with additional TV hours, larger venues, and expanded opportunities. Despite my deep investment in the TNA product, it was the WWE that I grew up on and what got me into this addiction called professional wrestling. 

Nine years almost to the exact date that wrestling fans saw the end of the old Monday Night Wars, where Vince McMahon finally purchased WCW, a new war is set to begin. TNA vs. WWE. Raw vs. iMPACT. 

DPNeverNeverLand3It almost seems too good to be true. Quite frankly, I don’t believe it has hit wrestling fans as of yet. And as WWE gears up for Wrestlemania XXVI in 24 days with the likes of Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker, and TNA iMPACT begins their quest for professional wrestling world domination beginning with a main event including Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair, one has to think they are young again. 

How can they not?!

Like any other industry, competition improves everything. And as stated in previous Never Never Land posts, the fans are the biggest winners in this. While I somehow enjoyed all shows being free from competition, which allowed a fan to see and witness everything, from the good to the ugly and all of the up and coming talent, this has proven to be the best format in the past, and it will be so for the future. 

Things are looking up again in the world again of professional wrestling. It is often said the wrestling business goes in cycles which include boom periods, and as history has shown, we are on the precipice of another, and I personally believe it is here.  

March 8th, 2010 – let the war begin…again!

If my tag-team partner thought my addiction to this business couldn’t get any worse (as evident in my title for her), like most significant others of wrestling fans, she hasn’t seen anything yet. 

She should just count her blessings that our cable provider doesn’t carry HDNet, which airs Ring of Honor (ROH) Wrestling …at 8pm…on Mondays.

Now that Never Never Land seems to be open again full - time, hopefully, it opens up its wonderful gates, and spoils us rotten.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

A Non-Hockey Enthusiasts Look at Interest in the NHL

DPNHLInterest As the dust settles after an epic gold medal game  between the United States and Canada, the focus now turns to the question of how will the sport of hockey be affected. Sunday’s game produced a television rating of 17.1, which made it the most watched hockey game ever in North America. However, we know that Canada’s interest in the sport will be there – always have, always will. It is the American interest in the sport that is at risk. Finding a way to capitalize off of the interest in the Olympics is the key to this problem, and how that can be translated to professional hockey, and the National Hockey League.

Does commissioner Gary Bettman  and the NHL have a plan? That is yet to be seen. Although, future interest in the sport cannot be determined, there are a few suggestions as a non-fan of the NHL that could peak my interest.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Pride Hurts: The Fate of the 2010 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team




What a game!

And probably for the first time in my life, I am saying that in reference to hockey. Yes, the United States vs. Canada gold medal game was one that made for great theater (or theatre, if you’re Canadian.). In fact, it was a game that felt momentous – something that would be looked back upon as we moved forward.
And with all of the national pride surrounding the game, the atmosphere itself had a certain aura that made it that much special. From the various storylines, the grand stage of the Olympics, the history between the two nations in the sport, and the greatest players in the world on the ice, the moment was there for the making.