Friday, April 29, 2011

Pondering Picture #4

DPNFLPlay60
Press Pass For NFL Play 60/Draft Week at Hudson River Park

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Unity Road Writings – The Mystery Partner

DPUnityWritingsMysteryPartner150 days to go.

So, with a nice round number as on hundred and fifty days to go, yours truly has sort of gotten on the ball, so to speak, in regards to 9.24.11. With the days coming and going, and several aspects of the day shaping up, I followed up on my vow to begin increasing my participation beyond 30%. And with that said, I’ve begun the process of putting together Team Robo, or “The Squad” as it has slowly become known as. For those of you who haven’t caught on yet, yes, I am referring to my groomsmen.

With Team Robo in tact with it’s core members, consisting of my closest friends throughout my life, and yes, my tag-team partner’s brother, the team has always felt incomplete. Like my last Unity Road Writing post (End of This Road, On The Road), there still seemed to be a void on Team Robo heading into Lethal Lockdown (or War Games for you old school wrestling heads).

Team Robo had a mystery partner.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Retain or Release: New York Knicks 2010-2011

DPKnicks10-11

After a crushing sweep at the hands of those evil Boston Celtics, the unbelievable ride of a season that was the 2010-2011 New York Knicks is now over. From that deflating 3-8 beginning, to a playoff push with a killer pick-and-roll of Felton and Stoudemire, to the big trade, then a long losing streak full of doubt, into another high heading into the playoffs, the season was a rollercoaster of emotions. And of course, the playoff excitement, only to be swept. A rollercoaster ride indeed.

However, after a 41-41 prediction in the preseason outlook (Five Keys to Knicks Season 2010-2011), a 42-40 finish is greatly accepted, and hopefully, an indictment on where things are (finally!) headed. The “You. Us. We. Now.” promotion was one to re-connect the fans with the product, and not only has the Knicks done that, but they have created a sense of interest for the next few years.

With that said, let’s take a look at the off-season decisions that the New York Knicks face, and some personal opinions on where the team should take the roster.

Carmelo Anthony: Retain – Ummm, is this even a question?

Renaldo Balkman: Release – Let’s find a way to get Balkman out of New York for the second time ASAP. Maybe a trade of Balkman and $3M for a second round pick? Who knows, maybe we can find another Landry Fields.

Chauncey Billups: Retain – Obviously, as I write this, Billups’ $14.2M has been picked up. Regardless, Mr. Big Shot should be brought back no matter how high the price tag. The reason? This team needs a veteran point guard that has been around the block, and that can manage two superstars. Also, who’s out there as an alternative? Jarret Jack? Sebastian Telfari? Hey, for one year, I’ll take that chance.

Derrick Brown: Retain – For a waiver wire signing, Brown showed a lot of athleticism and ability to step out and knock down the three ball. I’m very intrigued, and I’m not the only Knick fan.

Anthony Carter: Release – I absolutely hated Anthony Carter when he was part of that Miami Heat team, led by Pat Riley, that battled my Knicks teams of the past. However, Carter is another guy that is intriguing because of his experience, leadership, and toughness. If no options are out there, bring Carter back as the 10th-12th guy off the bench. However, upgrading at the backup point guard position is a critical need for this team.

Toney Douglas: Retain – Douglas is slowly becoming a great player, and will continue to do so under the tutelage of Chauncey Billups. What he is not, is a true point guard. We learned that this post-season. Still feels good to say that.

Landry Fields: Retain – Really, I want to release the post trade-Landry Fields, and retain the one before the trade. Fields really was exposed in the playoffs, and it is becoming more apparent that Fields misses Raymond Felton, who allowed Fields to simply fill the lanes, which he excelled at. Nonetheless, Fields is still a steal, and hopefully will look to improve on his Cinderella rookie season.

Jared Jeffries: Release – I really like Jared Jeffries, I really do. I know that is contrary to popular opinion, but the Knicks needs to get away from decent players, and begin filling the bench with guys who can win now. After all, with Stoudemire and Carmelo, the 4-5 year window has begun. No more waiting. Time to go for it all.

Roger Mason: Release – A great veteran. Mason really showed up own after D’Antoni stopped messing with him (see:D’Antoni). However, when it comes to Mason, see the above explanation of Jared Jeffries.

Amar’e Stoudemire: Retain – No question. The man that started this revolution. The Knicks are back!

Ronny Turiaf: Retain – Only because I don’t think there is much option. With a $4.3M player option, Turiaf most certainly will pick up the option, especially with a lockout looming. Although, Turiaf is a solid interior guy whenever he is healthy. Of course, that is whenever, he is healthy.

Bill Walker: Retain – Walker has a lot potential. a very athletic and solid defender when motivated, and can rebound the basketball. Now if D’Antoni can get him to stay aggressive, and quit settling for so many perimeter shots…

Shawne Williams: Retain – It is quite amazing the story of Shawn Williams. Remember when everyone ripped Waslh and D’Antoni when they selected him over Patrick Ewing Jr. out of camp? Well Williams developed into the best player off the bench, and also my favorite New York Knick. Tough, gritty, and knocks down the three with consistency.

Shelden Williams: Release – Williams had a few decent games, but he is not the Knicks answer in the front court. The Knicks need more athletic and agile big men to fill out this roster.

Donnie Walsh: Retain – The guy is one day going into the DP Hall of Fame as I’ve said so many times! The architect stays! And oh yeah, give him full autonomy Dolan!

Mike D’Antoni: Retain – Here is the biggest wild card of them all. All the talk about firing D’Antoni needs to stop. The guy has had 63 players over the last 3 seasons. He has had his teams blown up in the middle of each season. And he has never had an opportunity to work with a group he knew was not just here as trade bait.

However, on the other hand, D’Antoni has shown this year that he needs help on coaching and stressing the defensive side of the ball. He has also shown a continuing habit of benching and playing guys for no apparent reason. For most of the season, Roger Mason rode the pine, until he decided he’d dust the veteran off for a run. Irony may have it, in the closing game of the Knicks season, with the entire season on the line, D’Antoni put Mason in the game. Too confusing.

D’Antoni, gets the keeper tag here, but next year, all excuses and training wheel-ridicule must come to an end. It’s time to improve. It’s time to produce. It’s time to win.

Man…the season is over, but it feels good to have such high expectations again. Can’t wait for next season.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Dome Pondering Movie Review: Chop Shop (2007)

DPChopShopPoster What is it about?

A young adolescent boy, Alejandro, works, lives, and hustles in and around a Queens Auto-body shop in attempt to make a better life for his 16 year old sister and himself.

Who is in it?

Alejandro Polanco – Ale

Isamar Gonzalez – Isamar

Ahmad Rasvi – Ahmad

Carlos Zapata - Carlos

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Simple Sight

DPPlayofflogo It’s something very simple. Something very minuscule. Something often overlooked, and for some, often taken for granted. On Friday, I will get to see something that I haven’t seen for seven years. A sight that at one time seemed like a sure thing. However, for yours truly, it is something that I now appreciate, and on Friday night, when I see it again, I will never take it for granted ever again. I am talking about that simple NBA playoff logo on the floor of Madison Square Garden.

Casual readers here at the DP and DP devotees know how much the I love my New York Knicks, and how much the last seven years has caused me so much misery and pain. However, this year, the sky is now clear, the W’s are on the board, and finally, playoff basketball is back in the Garden again.

[Blog side note: And while we’re on this topic, let me just say, from this Knicks fan, and probably them all, thank you Donnie Walsh. Someday, you will be immortalized here at the DP (if that validates anything), and yes, Jimmy Dolan, if you fail to exercise the option to keep this man around, please trust, you will again be the favorite for 2011 Idiot of the Year. Just blogging.]

Now, the first two games in this opening series against the hated Boston Celtics have been hurtful. Yes, downright heartbreak. As Mike Breen stated during game 2, “Knick fans almost forgot how exhilarating playoff games can be, yet, how crushing the losses can be as well.” Yet, I’ll admit, its the type of hurt I’ll gladly accept.

Afterall, nothing can be worse than what Isiah has put us through, right?

Nonetheless, as we come home down two games to the Celtics, I cannot wait for game three in Madison Square Garden. I cannot wait to see the bright lights on that stage, to hear the roar of that Garden crowd, and to feel the goose bumps when the introductions are made.

Nothing will ruin Friday night.

Not these Celtic fans that apparently live in New York and have very little knowledge (or allegiance for that fact) of the Celtics prior to Pierce, Garnett, and Allen.

Not the fact that Stoudemire and Billups are doubtful.

Not even spoiled Lakers fans (and “Lakers” fans) that take logo for granted.

And hey, maybe not even a another crushing loss.

Nope. On Friday night, that logo will be back on the floor of the Garden. A simple sight that represents so much for Knick fans.

Where we’ve been. Where we are. And Where we are going.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Pondering 10 – Edge Career Memories

On April 11th, 2011, Edge, due to injury, was forced to retire from pro wrestling forever. And as stated in Goodbye, and Thank You, Edge, the announcement of his retirement was bittersweet. Nonetheless, as another wrestler that yours truly has grown with as they became a superstar (in Edge’s case, a Rated R Superstar), the memories will go on forever. From the early days on WWE Saturday Night Shotgun and WWE Velocity to of course, headlining Wrestlemania, there are plenty. As we celebrate the end of a great career for Adam Copeland, here is the Pondering 10 list of my favorite Edge career memories:

Friday, April 15, 2011

Goodbye, and Thank You, Edge

DPEdgeRetirement
Courtesy: WWE.com
This one definitely came out of nowhere. While watching Raw this weekend, the graphic that showed Edge’s impending retirement was one that caused immediate interest. I knew, all die-hard wrestling fans knew, that Edge (real name Adam Copeland) had made comments a couple of months earlier stating he would retire in a few months due to physical reasons. As the ten o’clock hour hit, Edge’s Alterbridge music hit (in m opinion, the best in pro wrestling) and he made his way to the ring, everyone knew that this “retirement” was now for real.
As he stood in the ring with a live mic thanking the crowd for all that they did for him as well as going through the highlights of his career, it was a bittersweet feeling.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Stupid. Disgusting. Unbelievable.

Often times I am blown away by the sheer stupidity in some of the cases and crimes that are reported on the nightly news, or become mainstream stories. About half of those times I shake disgust in what seems like a senseless crime, or a crime that just forces you to wonder about the morals and sense consciousness, or lack thereof, that human beings have. And yes, there are those few times where some of these cases cause an uproar that is blatantly unnecessary, and in many ways baffling in thought that there is a defense.

The story of the Cleveland, Texas gang rape is a story that just carries all three of the descriptions below. It has blown me away with it’s stupidity. It is disgusting. And it has an unbelievable share of protestors defending the guilty. 

For those of you who are unaware of the Cleveland, Texas gang rape saga, feel free to click here (and here) for precise details on the story. How twenty-eight men can gang rape an eleven year-old girl repeatedly is indeed mind blowing. The fact that the men range in age from 16-27 is absolutely disgusting. And get this, the town of Cleveland, Texas is split (yes, split!) on who to blame in this situation – the 28 young men, or the 11 year old girl.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pondering Picture #3

DPPicture3
Come prepared and bring along your absolute best. Every. Single. Day.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Career Of Manny Ramirez: Why Should We Care?

MannyRamirezWhyShouldWeCare As the news broke that Manny Ramirez had retired, I must admit, I was indeed shocked. It was so sudden. So abrupt. So, in the middle of an attempt to prove to the world that he was indeed still a productive player.
And then, I learned why he decided to retire: for violating (and failing) once again, Major League Baseball’s drug policy. Yeah, not a shock anymore. The biggest shock of them all is the continued mercy and pass that Manny Ramirez continues to receive.
I will admit, steroids, drugs, or PED’s aside, Ramirez is one of the greatest right handed hitters I have ever seen. And as a Yankee fan, I’ve seen that swing too many times do a lot of damage. And while his reputation as being the fun and aloof superstar made him into a character, his work ethic as a hitter can never be questioned. You will hear it all the time from everyone that has penciled his name into a lineup: Mike Hargrove, Grady Little, Terry Francona, Joe Torre, Ozzie Guillen, and Joe Maddon. Unfortunately, the praise for Ramirez ceases there.
DPMannyRamirez
During the good times for Manny Ramirez
Ramirez’s character, the same one that made him into the larger than life star, is the same one that caused his crippling legacy downfall. Ramirez, a guy who has been all about himself and the money, attacked clubhouse personnel with the Red Sox, faked injuries to force trades, and did some of the silliest (and most unprofessional) acts in the game. Apparently, it was “Manny being Manny”, but as I stated after the first time he was busted for violating the policy (No Excuse: The Fall Of Manny Ramirez), if we believe that statement, then we are all fools.
Here is a guy – the only guy ever – to have failed MLB’s drug policy twice in the post steroid era!
The only person!
One could could go as far as asking if he ever was clean? Truthfully. 
Yet, we continue to ridicule, bastardize, and alienate our once heroes during an era when it was common. Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, anyone?
And even those that have admitted, and have moved on to prove that PED’s were not the cause for their careers. Alex Rodriguez? Andy Pettitte?
Yet, we continue to ask the proverbial Hall of Fame question with Ramirez’s name to it. The answer is obvious.
No.
Heck no.
Hey, just calling it like it is.
I think Tim McCarver had the best line to describe Manny Ramirez during last Saturday’s telecast of the Yankees and Red Sox when he called Ramirez’s career, “irresponsible”.
And honestly, that is the best way to put it. A waste of God-given ability and talent.
Players like Ramirez, I clump in with the likes of Allen Iverson, Tracy McGrady, Stephon Marbury, and the Randy Moss’ of the world.
Extraordinary talent and zero responsibility. 
In the end, Ramirez will never see the Halls of Cooperstown, may become one of the saddest stories in the history of the game – including the fall of Aaron’s homerun record, and ultimately, the biggest confirmed PED user we know of. FILES-BASEBALL-USA-DOPING-DODGERS-RAMIREZ
And honestly, in some odd way I admit I’ll miss seeing that swing…
However, in true “Manny Being Manny” fashion, he won’t care.
That sums up the career of Manny Ramirez.
And because of that, thus is the reason we shouldn’t care either.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Lights Out For Lights Out

DPLightsOut Why does every modern television show that I immerse myself into becomes cancelled controversially?

First, it was Friday Night Lights (Set to conclude this summer), and now it is the drama series, Lights Out.

Yours truly doesn’t have many appointment-like television besides sports and pro wrestling, but Lights Out slowly became that kind of viewing for me.

For those of you who aren’t aware, Lights Out was a drama series about a former World Champion boxer, Patrick “Lights” Leary, and his comeback to reclaim his thrown amidst various struggles financially, physically (a battle with pugilistic dementia), supporting his family, and dealing with the inner workings and underground deals that happens in the world of boxing.

Like many other boxing shows/films, Lights Out at first was compared to the ever-so-popular, Rocky Series. However, even as a fan of Rocky, Lights Out presented a product that had much more depth than Rocky ever had. Rocky, which usually presented the character of Rocky Balboa as a standup guy with an immense heart that goes through the same struggle-train-overcome scenario, the character of Lights Leary, like many characters on the show, is very deep.

Lights, the former world champion who now suffers from pugilistic dementia and is financially broke from the mismanagement of his manager/brother, looks to get back into the ring to secure the futures of his family, especially, his little girls. Along the way on his big comeback, Lights does many wrong things such as dealing with organized crimes and shelving his dignity for a big pay day. The line, “sometimes people do LIGHTS OUT: L-R: Billy Brown and Holt McCallany in LIGHTS OUT airing Tuesday, April 5 on FX. CR: Will Hart / FX.wrong things, for all the right reasons” is one that comes to mind from the series.  Especially the eyebrow raising and jaw dropping line to his wife after he defeated "Richard “Death Row” Reynolds to regain his thrown:

“Who won the fight, Theresa?”

Crazy.

The other characters are also very deep, including Lights’ wife, Theresa, his brother, Johnny, and the always entertaining crooked promoter, Barry Word. And we can’t forget the character that was around for two episodes, but ultimately grabbed viewers like no other series, in Ed Romeo.

And how about the fact that a boxing film/series that actually presents the fights in real time, and not just highlights? It’s the little things like that that set Lights Out apart.

While highly acclaimed by critics, and absolutely loved by its viewers, the series performed very low in the ratings. Another similarity to another favorite and exiting series in Friday Night Lights. Yet, shows like Jersey Shore and other junk reality, mindless drivel television remains on television. Not throwing daggers, just blogging.

Ultimately, Lights Out will be highly missed. A show that actually produced great drama, great writing, and even better acting is gone forever.

Later this year, I’ll probably be writing another post like this as we turn out the lights on Friday Nights.

And as I write this, I just saw a commercial for “Mob Wives”.

Yeah, the art of television doesn’t exist anymore.

Pondering Picture #2

DPpics2
We rarely realize the amount of FAITH we show each day.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

A Year of Answering Never…

DPRockCena
Courtesy: WWE.com
The Rock vs. John Cena.
April 1st, 2012.
Sun Life Stadium, Miami, Florida.
Wrestlemania 28.
It seems almost fictional to believe that this match will occur a year from now, however, after last night’s Monday Night Raw, it appears this dream match will become a realiity for all wrestling fans. A match that can possibly have one of the biggest box office draws for a Wrestlemania pending nothing major occurs within the next year.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

The Unity Road Writings – End Of This Road, On The Road

174 days to go.

I received some really interesting news not too long ago and it really got the wheels in my head turning.

Ever since this wedding has been put together, I’ve slowly realized that I had to actually invite family and friends. Yeah, I know, imagine that, huh? As we move closer to the fall, my realization has grown into concern.

As we constantly and consistently run through the invite list, I grow with a subtle embarrassment, concern, intrigue, and reflection. See, my tag team partner, who has an amazing caring family, is all about Family. And I don’t blame her one bit for being so. Her family is one that is huge, and very close.

My family? It’s big, yes. However, I have no clue where or who they are.

My family, the majority who are of West Indian decent from the island of St. Vincent, are not your average, or even basic for that matter, type of family. Unlike most, the family connection line within my family is very broad and limited at best. And while I won’t lie, like many families, there are a few fall outs that have caused a lack of connection, with the main reason being simply due to geographic proximity.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Pondering Picture #1

DPPics1
A picture of a disabled elderly veteran during the morning commute. Hopefully, we all can be as passionate about what we did with our lives during our post Golden years.