Thursday, September 30, 2010

What Happened to Human Decency?

Often in suicide cases, I have no sympathy and empathy for any person that decides to take their life. No matter how hard life becomes, ending your own life is for lack of a better phrase, a cop out.

However, when it comes to the tragic story of Tyler Clementi, a part of me has sympathy for the victimized young man. Not because his life was ended, but because he was a victim of a growing epidemic in this country.

In fact, the story is one that emits sadness as well as an awareness to examine how truly heartless, inconsiderate, and selfless our society has become. Clementi, obviously ashamed after not only his sexual encounter with another man was revealed on the internet, but the identity of his sexuality, decided to end what many friends and family described as a talented and bright future.

This was a life that was baited into being cut short. Suicidal thoughts that were forced into his mental well-being by two individuals who found the humiliation of another person to be simply, humorous.

No matter the choice of Clementi’s sexual preference, the mere invasion of someone’s privacy along with a willingness to publicly humiliate them in their most intimate and private moments is despicable. Nothing short of of a scumbag move. Maybe even beyond that.

And while the family, friends, and acquaintances of Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei describe them as “good” people, nothing about their decision to publicly humiliate another person reflects that description.

This has nothing to do with Technology or “cyber bullying.” Technology doesn’t kill anymore people that guns do. We control computers. We control guns.

And no, this has nothing to do with bias or discrimination towards homosexuals. This is not about gay rights, hate crimes, acceptance, or anything related to the gay and lesbian community.

This is about human courtesy and human decency - a dying component of our generation and society.

A concept that is not about being a “good” or “bad”, but having respect for the basic human rights for all of mankind.

Ravi and Mei didn’t think that was important. In an age where encouraged self-centered behavior continues to grow, Ravi and Mei conformed to the world’s direction. What was important was being cool, humorous, and well known in their tweets and videos about their discovery. Ultimately, they wanted to be the center of everyone’s attention.

Well, they sure have it now.

Hopefully, living with this on their conscious for the rest of their lives was well worth the notoriety, and the laugh.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dome Pondering Import - “Going To Bat For NCCADV”

Yesterday, yours truly played in a charity softball game that raised money for the Nassau County Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The game which saw the Lynbrook Baptist Church against the Lynbrook Volunteer Fire Department, raised $6,215 for the charity group. The event gathered a community crowd that saw the Lynbrook Baptist Church defeat the Volunteer Fire Department 21-20 with a walk-off three run homerun. After playing  an entire summer where we went winless, we finally won in a dramatic game that many were just hoping we made it competitive. A true underdog story that occurred on television, and in front of the community. A simple game for charity, but one of the best sports stories and experiences that I have ever been apart of in my life. Below is the article from the Lynbrook Patch along with some pictures from the event. 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Dome Pondering Movie Review: The Black Balloon (2008)

DPTheBlackBalloon What is it about?

Thomas Mollison learns to come to grips with living with his autistic brother while attempting to live through a normal adolescence.

Who is in it?

Rhys Wakefield – Thomas Mollison

Luke Ford – Charlie Mollison

Toni Collete – Maggie Mollison

Gemma Ward – Jackie Masters

Friday, September 24, 2010

Until Five…

DPFiveI have until five!”

It’s a moniker coined by Bryan Danielson (now Daniel Bryan of WWE fame) when he would let the referee know of the officiating rule count when it came to a choke hold. It’s also a phrase that comes to mind on a day like today where my tag team partner and I celebrate our five year anniversary.

The two reasons for the same phrase aren’t exactly related, in fact, they are quite inverted and contrary. While Danielson often let go before the count of five, my tag team partner and I are not only holding on, but entering a new phase in our lives as we prepare to wed exactly a year from now.

I often joked with my roommate in college that it would be nice to return for a wedding several years later for someone I actually knew as opposed to the many distant invitations I have accepted over the years. Often, we would joke that a “five year plan” should suffice for such an event. Well, a couple of years later, he is still dating, and well, my now fiancé and I just completed five years.

We had until five, and, we went until five.

And looking back, I am reminded of the many who doubted we would even last. I understand that college is full of rumors, skeptics, haters, and people who are about as fascinated with questioning everything as they are with being pessimistic; yet, some of our closest friends fell under these descriptions. We have outlasted many of the “in” couples, defied the haters, and have continued on…until five.

And as we move past five, the countdown begins until September 24th, 2011. Where six will happen and most importantly, where forever will continue.

Danielson may let go before five, but we’re holding on. Ring the bell if you want – repeatedly if need be – but we’re not letting go on this chokehold of togetherness.

Dome Pondering Movie Review: Pirate Radio (2009)

DPPirate Radio What is it about?

The story and adventures of a band of rock and roll rogue DJ’s aboard a boat in the North Sea. They produced and delivered a pirate radio station in the United Kingdom during the 1960’s when rock and roll music was outlawed.

Who is in it?

Phillip Seymour Hoffman – The Count

Bill Nighy - Quentin

Nick Frost – Doctor Dave

Kenneth Branagh – Sir Alistair Dormandy

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Equal Flames

Oh to look yonder, and see the blaze,

strong in appearance, scorching in feeling.

Every man, woman, and child with fuel,

drip, drop, pour, dump.

Who contributes to such mayhem?

Oh, to look on in disgust around me,

until I notice that my very hands are smoldering ash.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The One Word To Describe Braylon’s Decision

DPBraylonEdwards “Way to go Braylon, way to go!”

Those were the first words that exited my mouth upon reading the news regarding Braylon Edwards recent arrest for drunk driving. It’s the kind of response that reeks of sarcas, begs for a head shake, and the calling of a name that perfectly supports the current situation. At the time, stupid sounded like the best word. After all, what in the world was he thinking?

Ah mean, what’s with New York football players, who are wide recievers, and who wear #17?

In a world where we hear stories of drunk driving taking innocent lives too many times, not to mention the horrific story involving Dante Stallworth, which should hit home with Edwards, he ought to know better, right?

Maybe stupid isn’t strong enough, how about dumb?

After taking a few minutes to allow the immediate Jets fan emotional rant subside in me, the best word that comes to mind to describe Braylon Edwards’ decision was simply this – arrogance.

Michael Irvin once said, “In order to be a top flight reciever in the National Football League, you have to be selfish. You have to be confident. You have to be arrogant.”

It’s this type of arrogance that Edwards displayed convincing himself that he can handle a night out on the town, and that he did not need car service or a ride home from someone else. It was the same arrogance that Edwards that only grew and manifested itself from a great game the day before against the Patriots. A game which Edwards must have thought must had given him that superman-like shield, causing him to think he was invincible – a case that many athletes suffer from.

It’s an arrogance that is built upon the fact that the media slacks on holding football players accountable for such actions. We’re too caught up with fantasy leagues and worrying whether Edwards suits up in Miami this Sunday. It’s the type of accountability that creates unconditional arrogance, which triggers nothing but trouble.

Fortunately, while arrogance often clouds judgment and an lead to terrible outcomes (once again, see Dante Stallworth), luckily, Edwards’ arrogance did not lead to any harm or fatalities to others.

As for the labels of stupid and dumb, well stupid goes to the NFL that has a loop hole in their current collective bargaining agreement that allows such actions to go unpunished.

And dumb, well dumb definitely is for the decision of D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Vernon Gholston who were riding with the loaded up Edwards at the time of the arrest. Great decision guys. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dome Pondering Import - “Acceptance” By: Langston Hughes

Here is a poem written by one of my favorite writers/poets, Langston Hughes. While going through some of his work - something I occasionally do from time to time - I came upon this short piece entitled, “Acceptance”. The poem is one that I find to be very sharp in its point, while delivering a message of humor alongside it. What makes it remarkable, much like a lot of Hughes’ work, is his ability to get that point across in so few words to illicit so many thoughts.



Acceptance
By: Langston Hughes
God in His infinite wisdom
Did not make me very wise-
So when my actions are stupid
They hardly take God by surprise

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Ground Zero Mosque Debate Needs Alternative Solution

DP 9-11 Mosque Debate There is no question, that the day of September 11th will forever be a noteworthy day on the calendar. The phrase, “the day that changed our world forever” best describes all that surrounds the 9/11. So, as we take a moment to remember those that we lost on that ill-fated day nine years ago, we are also engulfed with the sensitivity issue around the future of ground zero. Yes, I’m referring to the controversial mosque that is slated to be built near ground zero.

With the debate growing day by day, so is the intensity and backlash as both sides are not content on compromising. The tension has risen to such a point that there is a growing sentiment of dislike, which is now entering discrimination.

The political (and legal) response from New York City Mayor Bloomberg and President Obama is that Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf and his proposal to build a mosque is acceptable. And quite frankly, it is. Adbudl Rauf has every right to build or transform any real estate or property he owns into a house of worship, not to mention, the freedom to practice any religion. Our Constitution protects and offers that ability and right.

However, while I understand Abdul Rauf’s legal right to freedom of religion, I agree that there is a certain height of sensitivity that is now September 11th and the area around ground zero. A grand mosque on the site is hurtful to families and victims of the tragedy. Some will go as far as saying that the mosque also causes a suspicious caution with fear that the Mosque will be a “celebration” for radical Muslims, as well as a center for radical recruitment. And to be honest, I can’t quite completely dismiss that idea.

However, when it comes to  going as far as Reverend Terry Jones from Florida and his "proposal” of having a pow wow of burning Qurans – give me a break. Reverend Jones has no other agenda, divine-like or political, other than his own.

So what is the best solution to this conflict?

If the Mosque is built, there will be a revolt towards Muslims and further discrimination against people of middle eastern descent.

If the Mosque is not built, Abdul-Rauf stated the following in an interview:

"My major concern with moving it is that the headline in the Muslim world will be Islam is under attack in America, this will strengthen the radicals in the Muslim world, help their recruitment, this will put our people — our soldiers, our troops, our embassies, our citizens — under attack in the Muslim world and we have expanded and given and fueled terrorism

Damned if you, damned if you don’t.

However, the least damaging conclusion to this situation might be the craziest option of them all – selling the property to Donald Trump. Trump offered Abdul-Rauf and his team of investors $6 million for the property, which is the price they paid for the property plus an additional 25%.

Trump admitted that purchasing the property is not a good business decision. Nonetheless, like everyone, he sees a potential explosion of human relations boiling. Trump stated:

"I don't even want this piece of real estate, but it would a way of solving a problem. Because it will end a very serious, inflammatory, and highly divisive situation that is destined, in my opinion, to only get worse."

Unfortunately, there has yet to be any type of interest from Adbul-Rauf and other principal investors.

Moving forward this situation has to be resolved. What started out as an issue of sensitivity and human concern versus legality and democracy, has now turned into one filled with anger, discrimination, and xenophobia. It is an issue that is ready to spill over. One that should be closely monitored moving forward. And most importantly, like Trump, one that needs an alternative solution.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Statistics and Numbers: Foundation of Thome’s Hall Bid

JT DP Unlike other sports, baseball is very dependent on the statistics and numbers each player produces. It also works the other way, where the statistics and numbers clearly define the type of talent a player is. Because of the nature of the sport, it is very unlikely for a potential Hall of Famer to go unnoticed. Regardless of team, city, or market played for, great players in baseball cannot be hidden. However, for some odd and unique reason, one has flown under the radar when it comes to Hall of Fame discussions, his name – James Howard Thome. You might know him as Jim.

Now you might be saying, “C’mon, Thome a Hall of Famer? Get outta here!”.

However, before you begin naming several names who are more worthy, or are more well-known (more on that in a bit) than Thome, take a look at Thome’s current career totals:

BA H HR OBP SLG OPS
.277 2205 586 .404 .559 .963

Not bad at all. In fact, comparable, if not, better than most note worthy names during his era, and better than some who are in the hall of fame. That’s without mentioning his 5 All-Star appearances. Thome’s season average is actually just as impressive as it breaks down a career of consistency, a word that is synonymous with all Hall of Famers.

BA

H

HR

.277 150 40
Who wouldn’t take those numbers every year?
Now I’m sure many of you reading this are probably thinking of that topic that hovers over any player from the past generation – steroids. Well let the record show, that Thome’s build has never seen unordinary growth. In all actuality, he has always been big! Let the record also show that Thome continues to mash HR’s (22 this year) at the age of 39. All during a time where steroid testing is as strict as it has ever been.
With Thome a mere 14 homeruns away from a milestone recently passed by Alex Rodriguez of 600, Jim Thome needs to begin receiving his due as one of the game’s best. While what he has done in his career seems to have been done quietly,  Thome’s resume and bid for Hall of Fame is simple. No commercials. No back pages of the newspaper. No fancy endorsements. Just a mere throwback to the great game built on hard evidence – statistics and numbers.