Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dome Pondering – 2010 Year in Review

DP2010YearinReview copy

The completion of another year is once again upon us. And with the completion of each year, late in December, that means the time for the Dome Pondering Year in Review is here! The DP Year in Review is our biggest post of the year. It is our Super Bowl. Our World Series. Our Wrestlemania. Our Oscars. And Our Grammys. The 2010 Year in Review will not only be our biggest YIR yet, but most likely, the biggest post in the history of Dome Pondering.

And while 2010 has brought many different thoughts, feelings, reactions, and opportunities to the table for each of us in a special way, the year has been an especially good one for Dome Pondering. For the first year ever, we have surpassed the 100 post milestone for a year – and that includes the old Dome Pondering, pre-Blogspot. As a site, the DP has also seen an increase in hits, visitors, and followers from 2009, the growth of a Movie Review section, and the addition of several new sections, including the latest – The Pondering 10. For all of the success endured here, I thank you. Thank you for coming here to the DP, and even greater thanks for continuing to come back.

With that said, let’s get down to business, give out some Pondys, make some predictions, and solidify some final comments on the year that was 2010.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Pondering 10 – All-Time Video Games

The industry of video gaming has increased drastically over the last two decades. From Nintendo, through Playstation, to the now motion-interactive gaming that is the Wii, there has been many videogames over the years that has caused us to spend hours and hours of time twiddling our thumbs – literally. The following Pondering 10 is a list of my favorite video games of all-time. Now, I’ll admit, such a list will be skewed because of my interest in sports video games. I rarely play fighting games, and even more seldom, play role playing games, therefore do not expect Street Fighter III, Zelda, or Call of Duty on this list. While there are some exclusions that barely missed this list such as R.B.I. Baseball and Tecmo Super Bowl for the Nintendo Entertainment System, Madden 2003, MLB The Show 07, and NFL 2k5 for the Playstation 2, and NBA2k10 and UFC 2010 for the X-Box 360, the rest of this list accurately affects the games that I have wasted, what could amount to years of my life, playing. Nonetheless, here is the latest version of the Pondering 10…

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dome Pondering Movie Review: Couples Retreat (2010)

DomePonderingReviewCouplesRetreat What is it about?

A group of friends follow one couple onto an island in support of their friends, a couple, who are in need of marriage counseling. Once on the island, the other friends, three couples, realize that participation in the resort’s therapy is not optional.

Who is in it?

Vince Vaughn – Dave

Kristin Davis – Lucy

Kristin Bell – Cynthia

Jason Bateman – Jason Smith

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dome Pondering Movie Review: Hot Tub Time Machine (2010)

DomePonderingMoviewReviewHotTubTimeMachine What is it about?

Four friends, each with problems in their current lives, travel back to the 80’s with the help of a hot tub time machine and a chance to make different decisions.

Who is in it?

John Cusack – Adam

Clarke Duke – Jacob

Craig Robinson – Nick Weber

Rob Corddry – Lou Dorchen

Friday, December 10, 2010

Why is Marriage Becoming Obsolete in America?

DomePonderingWhyisMarriageObsolete It is no secret to my readers, followers, and DP devotees that yours truly is set to get married in 2011. As a future newlywed, and an individual that is set to take the vows and responsibilities that come with marriage, I was stunned to read an interesting article on CNN.com on November 22nd. The article, which can be read here, is one written by Stephanie Coontz who looks at the state of marriage and it’s relevance in today’s society. The article is a followup on the recent study found in TIME magazine.

In a study conducted to spur her article, Coontz has found that 40 percent of adults feel that marriage is becoming obsolete, yet, most say they want to marry. Although her reasons are valid, there might be other underlying sociological reasons for the current distorted view of marriage.

According to a TIME/Pew research poll released, 40 percent of Americans believe that marriage is becoming obsolete, up from just 28 percent in 1978

Coontz, who does a great job in explaining the generational change in viewing of marriage in her opinion piece, concludes the change as being a difference of viewing marriage as a first step in adulthood in the past in comparison to the very last step in today’s day and age. Such a change is due to such sociological factors such as economics, careers, and personal growth. One of Coontz’s best statements in her articles is, “Couples increasingly want to be certain, before they marry, that they can pay their bills, that neither party is burdened by debt, that each has a secure job or a set of skills attesting to their employability.”

Point taken.

The current economic climate is one that has forced many couples to evaluate and plan their course toward marriage. It is indeed a wise move to do so. However, while many reports and statistical findings rely heavily on income, finances, and economics for lower percentage of marriages occurring, part of me believes there is more to the story of why marriage in the United States is becoming obsolete.

Part of me believes that our view on marriage has become distorted. We now live in a time where marriage, as we now know, is a last resort; a reason to have a whole day event about themselves; long-term couples who live together with children do not feel the need to wed; and couples who are wed, easily give-up on their marriage without attempting to fight through the challenges that comes with every marriage.

Heck, it seems our society is more enthralled with fighting for the opportunity of same-sex marriages than making the ones we have now work.

Let’s face it, we all have had our jokes and views of marriage. In fact, I’ve about heard them all as I draw closer to my own wedding.

“You’re life is over”

“You sure you want to do that?”

“There goes all of your fun”

And while the jokes are all in good fun, the reality is, some, if not many, truly believe those sentiments about marriage. Marriage has become a cynical topic for many. In fact, of the 40 percent that think marriage is becoming obsolete, a staggering 46% hope to marry someday.

Could it it be a case of envy? Who knows?

Or, could it be, and what I believe, that our culture has become so self-absorbed, that the thought of marriage is ridiculous?

Scary thought, but very much a valid point.

Nonetheless, marriage is rapidly on the decline in America, and for whatever reason, economical, sociological, or cultural, it is alarming.

I always told myself and my tag team partner that we would (and should) be more focused on developing a healthy and stable marriage rather than focusing on spending effort creating a “wedding event”. For a marriage is so much more than a glorified version of dating, or the status of a reception.

After reading Stephanie Coontz’s article and the results from a TIME/Pew poll, I’m afraid to know how many out there actually agree with that thinking.

* Click the following for TME/Pew Poll Results: Part I  Part II  Part III

Friday, December 03, 2010

Cavaliers Prove “The Decision” A Good One.

DomePonderingLeBronJames2 There is no question that LeBron James’ return to Cleveland epitomizes what the NBA product delivers – entertainment. The sheer drama in witnessing (no pun intended) his return was all that the NBA emphasizes, drama, intrigue, and amazing.

Last night we received all of those elements, except for one. Now, as I’m sure many of you DP devotees are aware of, I’m not too fond of LeBron James post-taking-talents-to-South-Beach. However, the manner in which he conducted himself in his return was flawless, and expected. He didn’t apologize for the way he left Cleveland. He dominated. He threw it in the face of the Cavaliers and the city of Cleveland.

On the other hand, the city of Cleveland was just as good, which was also expected. Although it seemed they were more focused on jeering LeBron rather than cheering on their Cleveland Cavaliers, the city of Cleveland brought creative signs, T-shirts, and chants.

The missing element from the entire atmosphere, was indeed the Cleveland Cavaliers – or maybe the heart of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

After the first seven minutes of last night’s game, the final was decided. Miami was not only going to win, but win big. The Cavs’ effort last night seemed so lackadaisical, that it almost seemed as if they were in awe of James. As if they still were in shock he was in another uniform. Dare I say, they played as if they were scared of the self proclaimed, King James.

As crazy as it may sound, a win over the returning LeBron James could have been the biggest win in the history of the Cavalier franchise. Instead, they came up short, lacked effort, and added to the long list of sport tragedies in the city of Cleveland.

And for the life of me I do not understand the Cavaliers' lack of energy and heart.

LeBron James in leaving to play for the Super Friends and Co. team down in Miami basically said to his former teammates, “you are not good enough, and you never will be.” I understand in the world of sports today with friends joining up on teams, player unions, and free agency that players are closer than ever, even somewhat like a basketball fraternity. However, James left insulting their ability, their will, and most importantly their heart.DomePonderingLeBronJames

You would think that’s all the motivation they would need, right? Actually, it should serve as bulletin board material for the year!

How did they respond?

Proving LeBron correct in his “decision”.

In fact, the Cavaliers chatted it up with LeBron during the game, often laughing and joking as he often walked over to their bench as freely as he liked. 

Where is the heart? The competitive spirit? Where was Coach Byron Scott, a throwback to when codes like this were not broken to tell LeBron to get his you-know-what away from their bench? Where were the hard fouls?

At some point - and let’s be honest, as many would have love to see it – I expected J.J. Hickson or Anderson Verejao to knock LeBron down on his “royal” behind. Sending a message to James, and to the city of Cleveland that hey, “we’ll return the support.”

Nope. DomePonderingLeBronJames1

James sauntered into the lane as he pleased en route to a 24 point third quarter, finishing up with what seemed like an easy 38 points in three quarters. All that was left was for LeBron to do was river dance on the bench like he has done in the past during blowouts.

For a team that clouts, “All for one and one for all” as their motto in ads and on their website, this team got punked. Each and everyone of them.

In response to the loss, Daniel “Boobie” Gibson was quoted in a story on ESPN.com that James comments towards him, his teammates, and Cleveland Cavs officials during the game turned him off from James’ character and soured his friendship with the superstar.

Well that’s great. But it is a little too late to mount up the venom for James after he embarrassed you, your organization, and the city you play for.

March 29th, 2011 is the next return for James to Cleveland, however, that game will also be too late. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. On Thursday, all fifteen players on the roster made no impression at all, proving LeBron James and his “decision” to be a good one.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell – What’s The Purpose?

This will be one of the more controversial topics that I have covered in a very long time. It’s sure to be one that I’m sure that will cause rampant emotions, as well as add to the already growing debate in our society today. It is one that yours truly has many unanswered questions to, and would hope maybe this article, and your feedback would help provide some answers, results and responses to. The topic at hand is the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in our United States military.

As many of you know, the issue has been raised to the forefront by the gay community, which has been spearheaded by Lady Gaga. The issue is calling for gays to serve openly in the military. Recently, the House of Representatives has passed a bill that would repeal the acts and sanctions of the policy. However, as with everything regarding anything controversial, the repeal of the policy has been hung up in the Senate.

The way I have broken down this issue is freedom of well-being versus the compromise of military operations.

As I have always been here at the DP, honest, I will admit that I have never quite understood the fight to repeal this institute. I’ll actually go one further and say that I am not a supporter of same-sex marriages. However, nor am I a gay-basher, or some complete nut case that calls for persecution of the entire gay community.

I would hope those of you reading this post right now would keep an open mind instead of  completely writing me off. It is such sheer ignorance that keeps us as divided on this issue.

Nonetheless, I am always open to debate, listening, and understanding. And when it comes to the gay community seeking to repeal this institute, again, I don’t understand.

What’s the purpose?

That is my first initial thought. The thought and sticking point when it comes to this issue. What exactly is the purpose of wanting to serve openly in the military? What exactly would serving openly do for a gay or lesbian member of the military? Heck, What exactly does serving openly entail?

From my research and chatting with those who have served, this is the consensus that I received, it wouldn’t make a difference. One former Marine I discussed this with stated, “Even though we aren’t supposed to reveal our sexuality – gay or straight – we all knew who they were. Everyone knew. “The don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was there to keep things in order, as is the way of the Marines. They don’t want to hear about your preferences, whether it be cars, food, sports, women, men, or sexuality. You are a Marine, period. Not a straight Marine. Not a gay Marine. A Marine.”

Research has also stated that over 40% of the Marine Corps are concerned about ending the policy.

Why eliminate such order?

While I do understand that the policy was originally instituted to prohibit gays from participating, I do believe that gays should be allowed to serve this country. However, why is sexual preference even an issue? Freedom to display sexual orientation and preference should not be a deciding factor in combat affairs, thus the actual reason for the policy. And that goes for both sides of the argument.

Regardless of your sexual preference, the task at hand is to defend and serve your country, not to push forward your interests and political agendas.

Like I said, there are various issues when it comes to the gay community that I have a sure stance on, and some that,  well, can be changed if someone explained the reasoning behind it. The repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy falls in the latter.

Once again, what’s the purpose?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Pondering 10 – Favorite Breakfast Cereals of All-Time

Breakfast, the most important meal of the day, as so they say. With breakfast, comes many options and choices to fuel and serve as a catalyst for the rest of the day. One of those many options is cereal, which we all know, also comes in many different forms. From sweet to wheat, from fruit to bran, breakfast cereals come in all flavors and types, each individual with their own preference and choice as their favorite. The following Pondering 10 is a list of my favorite breakfast cereals of all-time.