Monday, June 27, 2011

Dome Pondering Import – CM Punk’s Shoot Promo

As Raw went off the air tonight, many pro wrestling fans were left staring at the television with their jaws dropped, their eyes wide open, and a prolonged “oh my gosh” feeling. Upon knowing that CM Punk is set to walk away from renewing his contract with the WWE, he delivered a shoot promo that was probably the greatest of the past five, maybe ten, years. Punk let it all hang out from airing his true feelings about his treatment, and his time with the company. It made for riveting television right before his mic was cut off as Punk was just about to delve into McMahon personally, along with the WWE’s Anti-bullying campaign. Kudos to the WWE for allowing Punk to air as much as he did as well. Anyhow, for those that missed it, or for the diehards that simply want to watch it again, below is the awesome promo by CM Punk.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Unity Road Writings - Find One That’s Golden, And Never Let Go

89 days to go.

So as the days now head into double-digit territory, the anticipation continues to grow, and the reflection continues. While chatting with a friend, the topics of girls of the past came up. He proceeded to attempt to warn me that I will soon be “limited to one woman”, and that I will have to find new ways to keep things between myself and my tag-team partner fresh. All of this in a way to attempt somewhat scare me, or make me think twice about this supposed “hard work” that lies ahead.

As he continued, I simply responded with a single statement, “hey, I’m getting married, I don’t need to pretend, or play games anymore…the chess match for me is over”. Right there he knew I was right. While he still has to impress, still has endure the “feeling out process”, and still has to “figure things out”, I just have to be myself. And sure, marriage brings many new barriers and trials, however, I can thoroughly be myself through the entire process.


And while we went back and forth in this conversation, I began to think about the past. It’s very natural to think about the past, and the other girls and situations that that were in helping me get to this point.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

An Honest Look At Legalizing Gay Marriage

DPSameSexMarriage

History was made last night. And while it seems the majority of those around me are celebrating this radical change and momentous occasion, I lack the the same type of enthusiasm. Truthfully, I’m not excited at all. At. All. There is a part of me during this history changing time that feels disappointed, and the other part of me knows that this is more that just a milestone for “change”, of the positive kind.

Of course, I am talking about the passing of the bill here in New York State that will now legalize same-sex marriage.

I've always been brutally honest with this little blog called Dome Pondering, and in the past I have admitted that I do not support same-sex marriage.

I understand that I am now in the minority, but I still (and will always will) remain firm to this belief. Even though, it seems many have either have had a change of mind, or have just gone with what has become popular, almost fad-like, in supporting the same-sex marriage cause, I still remain true to the sanctification of marriage being between a man and a woman.
I have no reserve in saying that today. None.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Farewell To Friday Night Lights

DPFNL2 Well, after delaying the inevitable, I have completed the the fifth and final season of Friday Night Lights. A time I knew was to come eventually, as stated in my farewell ode to the one and only season of Lights Out, has indeed come, and the feeling that I have is one of anger, joy, and sadness.
 
DP devotees already know about my strange addiction to the Friday Night Lights platforms – book, movie, and television show. I love all three platforms, the sayings, the mottos, the dialogue, the morals, and all of the subliminal messages and underlying messages of American life the three presented. Heck, the current DP design is based off of Friday Night Lights!

So yes, I am addicted. And because of that love and raw emotional connection the stories of each platform has with me, my first emotion is that of anger. It is very upsetting to watch a program as great as FNL (An Emmy Award Winning Series) along with the cult-like following that fought for the show every season despite a poor slot (ironically on Friday Nights), continue to defy being cancelled season after season before eventually having to call it quits. Yet, networks continue to run “trial” shows like The Voice and numerous mind-numbing types of reality shows (Looking right at you NBC!).
Read more »

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pondering Picture #8

DPHughes [Courtesy: APic] Phil Hughes rehab start in Brooklyn.

Sometimes we just need to start over to get things back on track.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Remembering The 2010-2011 NBA Season

DPNBA201011Season
The 2010-2011 NBA Season is now over, and the Miami Heat are NOT your 2010-2011 NBA Champions. Sounds good to me! Just kidding. Well sort of.  In a season that was one of the most anticipated as long as I can remember, the NBA has solidified itself as a brand that is back. With more stars than any other sport, and of course the most polarizing storyline in all of sports - the Miami Heat - the league is in great position today, and moving forward.
And in a season where so much was made of the Miami Heat, and most notably, LeBron James, the story of the Dallas Mavericks and, especially, Dirk Nowitzki deserves top billing. While the Heat dealt with several off the court issues and countless psycho-analysis, Nowitzki played one of the greatest NBA Finals yours truly has seen since the days of Michael Jordan. Simply phenomenal. And as we take a look back on the 2010-2011 season, here is one last cheers to the Dallas Mavericks organization on an effort that will be memorialized for seasons to come. Here are some other moments yours truly will remember from the 2010-2011 NBA Season:

  • LeBron James announcing that he was “taking his talents to South Beach”. Ugh…
  • The Miami Heat celebration. Double ugh…
  • The anticipated Celtics/Heat opener and hearing the Celtic fans chant “Ov-er-Ra-ted” at LeBron and company. A rare moment for myself enjoying listening to a Boston crowd.
  • Watching Kevin Love transform into Wilt Chamberlain against my New York Knicks, and going for a remarkable 30-30 game.
  • Blake Griffin having his coming out party, and his superstar initiation ceremony game into stardom, by throwing down dunk after dunk, specifically one om Timofey Mozgov, and another sweet one on Danilo Gallinari
  • …and how nasty was that dunk on Mozgov? Wow.
  • LeBron James’ return to Cleveland, and the monster game he had in his return…
  • …and the way the Cleveland Cavaliers refused to fight back in front of a passionate crowd that night.
  • The Knicks having yet another wonderful week scheduled by the NBA, and coming up short three times against top opponents.
  • And oh yeah, ESPN refuses to show this, but how about my man Amar’e Stoudemire dunking on LeBron down in Miam…er South Beach (that is the cool phrase for the place, right?).
  • The Los Angeles Lakers destroying the Cleveland Cavaliers by 55 points.
  • The Melodrama, and the constant debate of what is a fair trade to acquire Carmelo Anthony.
  • The Spurs switching up their style, and becoming the best regular season team in the NBA.
  • …then bowing out to the exciting Memphis Grizzlies.
  • Kevin Garnett being ousted for his over-the-top antics by Spike Lee, and Charlie Villanueva.
  • The Cleveland Cavaliers losing 28 straight games…a North American record. Maybe they were burning Cavs jerseys after “The Decision”, and not necessarily LeBron jerseys?
  • The sudden resigning of Jerry Sloan.
  • The Heat constant drama. Whether it be their inability to beat teams over .500, their inability to close games, or their inability to be liked, it was all Heat, all the time!
  • Serge Ibaka being robbed in the dunk contest in one of the greatest dunks ever in the history of the contest.
  • JaVale McGee’s side-by-side backboard dunk.
  • Demar Derozan insane athletic ability.
  • And of course Blake Griffin, period.
  • And yes, a very entertaining dunk contest this year.
  • Carmelo Anthony finally being traded to my New York Knicks for what seems like bunch of players, staff, cab drivers, hot dog vendors, shares of Bank of America, Ellis Island, Nathan’s, and anything else Jim Dolan could have sent to Denver to land the superstar.
  • …and those awesome commercials welcoming home Carmelo Anthony.
  • …and yes, the night he debuted. Awesome night.
  • …and while we’re at it, the year the Garden returned.
  • The sudden trade of Deron Williams to the Nets. And the realization that the Nets and their move to Brooklyn is very real.
  • Nick Young’s insane 360 layup. A for sure nominee for DP “That Was The Greatest Play You Will Ever See By a Shortstop” Award.
  • Chris Bosh crying after more regular season Heat struggles.
  • And crying again, this time in public, on the floor, on his knees, after the final game of the NBA Finals.
    I like that he cares, but that’s embarrassing.
  • Playoff basketball finally returning to Madison Square Garden.
  • The Knicks being swept, yet, battling through all their injuries to make it a “close sweep”.
  • The Heat warming up (no pun intended), and LeBron James becoming superman in the NBA Playoffs.
  • The Los Angeles Lakers being swept by the Mavericks in the 2nd round.
  • An amazing, amazing, amazing, NBA Finals.
  • Despite shrinking from the moment, which included an 8 point performance, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade havj g the audacity to poke fun at Nowitzki’s illness in game 4, otherwise known as “cough gate.”
  • And finally, Dirk Nowitzki’s amazing run that captivated a nation through his will to win, his sheer determination, and most importantly, his likeable humility.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

College Baseball: A Time Remembered Forever

DPCollegeBaseball2 I miss college baseball. I miss everything about it. From the double headers, to the sound of the metal bats, to the sheer camaraderie and overall enthusiasm surrounding the game. It was a special time for yours truly. For four years, I had the opportunity to enjoy college baseball. And while it was at the DIII level, I knew that it was nothing to be scoffed or taken for granted. In fact, I barely played, and was often one of the few men out of the bullpen, but I simply just enjoyed being around the field, around the game, and around the atmosphere.

See, as a child, I was born with two club feet, a congenital deformity that causes the foot to be completely rotated at the ankle. While my right foot happened to work itself out, my left one never did, and needed surgery to correct it. After several surgeries, and a pin inserted into my left leg, a fixture still in my foot today, my foot was placed in a cast for almost a year to correct. After removal, the doctor stated the surgery would cause permanent lack of development in the area from my left calf to foot area, and because of that, being physically active would be difficult if not non-existent.

Fast forward twenty years, wearing a uniform on any field was an accomplishment in my eyes. Simply being able to defy those odds, and overcome the constant pain, baseball was worth it. I love baseball. And I still do. And while I never was that great of a player, or the greatest runner, I can punch the keys away today knowing that I worked as hard as anyone to not only stay on the team, but improve to the point where I had my moments during this special time. In fact, not only did I manage to overcome physical disabilities, but I also managed to pick up pitching at the collegiate level, and stick with it for the duration of my college career. An accomplishment looking back on, that I think is crazy, but amazing, as well.

So yes, I was a slightly below average player, and considering my lack of experience compared to my teammates on the hill, I managed to pick up one collegiate win (although on a technicality that the starter did not go the qualified amount of innings) in my hometown of Brooklyn, NY. I also enjoyed a half-season of being perfect (Yes, I sported a 0.00 ERA for while). And was able to watch my college roommate, and 1/3 of my best man trio for my wedding, play some of the best third base that I’ve ever seen in my life.

Looking back, I just enjoyed it. And sometimes, the moments where I took the game a little too seriously, mostly my senior year, I wish I could just go back and change.

As the Regional and now Super Regional NCAA Baseball tournament are wrapping up, I find my self wrapped up in every game. I enjoy just sitting there watching the same nuances of the game that I enjoyed during those four years. The sitting on the buckets. The spitting of seeds. Playing with the different grips on the baseball. Yelling “baaack” for every pick off attempt by the opposing pitcher. And the list can go on and on. Every game, every moment, every pitch, many of these memories come flooding back to me.

Watching these teams play, I enjoy the spirit, the fun, the thrill, and even the sheer urgency of a senior laden team on the railing looking on during an elimination game. It’s a certain relational experience that can’t be had watching a Major League Game.

It’s not often that I give major kudos to collegiate sports, but I really believe of all the NCAA post-seasons there are, collegiate baseball is the best. The best team wins. No computers. No fad/gambling pool creations. And no RPI’s and fluke victories. Just a bunch of kids playing with a chance to make it to Omaha (which is such a cool concept), to be crowned National Champions. DPCollegeBaseball

I’ve never had the privilege or the ability to play at that level. Heck, I barely hung on at the DIII level. However, the NCAA baseball tournament will always relate to every person that laced up a pair of spikes. There is a line in the movie, Friday Night Lights, that refers to grasping the moment of a special time saying, “After this, it’s just babies and memories”.

Those memories – triumphs, failures, and obstacles – during this special time will always remain. And every year, regardless of what school name is written across their chest, we will all live vicariously through the collection of student-athletes who are now in their time.

A time they too will soon realize, will stay with you forever.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Reviewing the Rebranding of TNA

DPImpactWrestling It seems every so often in the growth of Total Nonstop Action, the company comes to a fork in the road where they must decided where to go next. Recently, the company decided to rebrand their flagship show as “Impact Wrestling”. The change not only came in the name of the show, but the overall cosmetic look of the show, and of course the catchy and clever slogan of “Wrestling Matters”. 

While the “Wrestling Matters” slogan was in direct response to the WWE dropping the word “Wrestling” from their company name, I thoroughly do like the direction. Wrestling should matter, and for a company that has the most talented roster in the world, wrestling is where the focus should be. 


Unlike most wrestling columnists and “experts”, I wanted to give TNA a full four weeks along with a pay per view showing to comment on the new branding. And while the overall production of the company is great, I’m still wondering about the direction of the company. It still seems like the company is still in a transition period. 

Slowly but surely, the company is beginning to focus on the in-ring product, and lo and behold, the X-division seems to be gaining some attention.

And I’ll be honest, up until recently, I wondered if the company’s name will be Impact Wrestling moving forward, or if the TNA moniker will remain.

However, with some recent news, it seems the rebranding of the Thursday night show to “Impact Wrestling” has something to do with the fact that the company is currently in the works in developing a project called, All Wheels Wrestling, a projected new brand to be pitched to the Speed Network (who is interested in Wrestling programming). Currently, rumors are, with Destination X upon us, the new brand will be that of the X-Division, whose style brings that fast, wreckless, x-games-like pace that fans of car racing and motor cross would love. 
DPAllWheelsWrestling
If this does in deed come to fruition, I can understand the sudden rebranding for the company. “Impact Wrestling” can remain on Spike Television, while the new All Wheels Wrestling, which will be run as a separate brand (unlike the WWE’s brand extension), will begin on the Speed Network. And TNA, will remain as the company that produces both brands. 

Some naysayers, and of course, the typical “know-it-all” wrestling fans will bash the companies effort for more programming, when the obvious next step for the company is to take Impact Wrestling on the road more for tapings. However, I like the move, as it could possibly bring in added revenue, while giving a platform to an attraction that I not only love, but is the reason TNA became famous for in the X-Division.
And while I’m at it, there are a few other things I would love to see TNA do as they move forward: 

1. Make All Wheels Wrestling an all X-Division show. I know we just touched base on that, but it has not been confirmed on TNA’s part. I can’t leave that to chance. I long for the days of the X-Division again.
2. Hire more X-Division stars. It seems the company is currently scouting talent.
DPBoundForGlorySeries3. Begin elevating specific home grown talents such as Bobby Roode.
4. Either focus on the TV Title, or get rid of it.
5. Get out of the Impact Zone! The crowd is desensitized and somewhat spoiled to the product. What about a New York taping?
5. And finally, Be consistent! What ever happened to the ranking system?

The next couple of weeks should be interesting in TNA, especially as we now head towards Bound For Glory, and their new announcement of a 12 man ongoing competition leading to BFG, called “The Bound For Glory Series”. 

As TNA grows, it will be just as fun watching the rebranding of this company take shape.

Stay tuned.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Baseball’s Future, A Great Fear?

DPOrtizBatFlip After watching an amazing NBA Finals, and thinking back on all the attention, ratings, and media coverage the NBA has received over the past week, and even throughout the playoffs, it forced me to think about the sport of baseball, and it’s future. I know I have touched on baseball’s future in the past, but that was directly toward the lingering problem of the declining presence of African-American ballplayers in the game.

The question that got me thinking was raised on the Rucco and Lundberg Show on 1050 ESPN radio. Both hosts examined the state of the NBA, and how it is in a good state moving forward with so many young stars, and each of them being on many different teams allowing, along with the varied storylines, made for an overall good product. Then the topic of baseball was brought up and the question was raised, “outside of Yankees/Red Sox, what else does baseball have to offer right now?”

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Pondering 10 – All-Time Promo (Male) Wrestlers

The art of the promo is an ability that separates the good professional wrestlers from the ones that are memorable. The promo, is a moment of words, charisma, wit, and emotion all wrapped up to make the viewer that much more interested in the product, while making that specific wrestler a larger than life character. Over the years, pro wrestling has seen it’s share of wrestlers that were downright terrible on the mic. Those are the guys that have no business talking in public. However, the industry has seen guys that whenever a microphone is in front of them, and as Jeff Jarrett says, “the red light goes on”, you just hang on every word that comes out of their mouths.

In the following Pondering 10 list, yours truly will give his All-Time Promo Men Wrestlers. Before I do, just a mention of some of the few that didn’t quite make the cut: Bubba Ray Dudley, Scott Steiner, Arn Anderson, William Regal, Road Warrior Hawk, T.A. Magnum, JBL, Mick Foley, Jeff Jarrett, Goldust, Ted Dibiase, Mr. Anderson, and Dusty Rhodes. Of course there are a few other managers, but we’ll keep this list strictly for in-ring performers.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dome Pondering Movie Review: Notorious (2009)

DPMovieReviewNotorious What is it about?

The story of the rise and fall of Christopher Wallace, otherwise known as The Notorious B.I.G.

Who is in it?

Jamal Woolard – Christopher Wallace (Notorious B.I.G.)

Angela Bassett – Voletta Wallace

Derek Luke – Sean “Puffy” Combs

Anthony Mackie – Tupac Shakur

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

The Pondering 10 – Most Annoying Subway Occurrences

The world of the New York City Subway system is that of an interesting one. It is one that can be considered a separate culture onto its own. The system has its own forms of courtesy, its ways of progress, and its day-to-day rituals and routines that are second-nature to most New Yorkers. However, as always with every culture, there are various things that are cause for annoyance, with some of those being caused by a select few that refuse to follow the ways of the underground world (looking at those tourists). We all know public transportation can be very inconvenient, uncomfortable, and irritating because of those infractions of the common underground law. The following Pondering 10 ranks the most annoying things that occur on the New York City Subway system.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Pondering Picture #7

DPPicture6
What a joke! Someone should direct Harold Camping to Matthew: 24:36 : "But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the father"

Monday, June 06, 2011

Anthony Weiner a Laughing Stock For Alarming Trend

DPAnthonyWeiner Unfortunately, for Congressman Anthony Weiner, his last name makes the latest scandal that much funnier. 

And in all honesty, while the scandal on Weiner sexting and having extra marital relationships via telephone and social media is another black eye on our society the whole situation has really evoked laughter from yours truly. 

Now, I understand what Weiner did is a serious issue. And quite frankly, my heart goes out to his wife, Huma Abedin, who is now pregnant with child. She is the one married to Weiner, and she is the one that is ultimately humiliated in this whole ordeal. 


However, while my seriousness begins and ends at genuine feelings for Weiner’s wife, the entire situation just flat out baffles me to the point of laughter. I understand we are now in an age of easy communicating access through Twitter, Facebook, and text messaging, but the whole idea of “sexting” and sending lewd pictures of one’s private parts just causes me to wonder – what’s the point?

Friday, June 03, 2011

Witnessing A Complete Entertainer

DPShaqRetire After 19 years, Shaquille O’Neal has decided to hang it up. In typical Shaq fashion, his retirement press conference was full of jokes, laughter, and of course to my dismay, a subtle rib at the New York Knicks for their sudden shakeup and yes, mismanagement. However, as Shaq finally hangs them up, the reflection on his career has begun.

Luckily, I was able to witness such a dominant player in my lifetime. Heck, in an era today where the NBA has become a guard league, true centers are very few and far in between. Nonetheless, Shaq brought a distinct and unique style of force, dominance, agility and quickness that has never been seen by center in the NBA. From his powerful dunks, his quick drop step, and his demonstrative mannerisms after flushing it, Shaq will thoroughly be missed.

Shaq’s ability to entertain will sorely be missed as well. While I’m sure he’ll land somewhere (most likely ESPN) as an analyst in attempts to rival TNT’s Charles Barkely, the nicknames, dances, jokes, and hilarious interviews will never, ever, be duplicated.

That’s without mentioning the music, movies, wrestling appearances, and other various projects he participated in.

On and off the court, Shaq was the complete entertainer.

And although sometimes Shaq’s light-hearted side lead to some of his negative moments as a pro (not coming into camp in shape, waiting to have surgery during the season, and insulting other players), his overall impact on the game of basketball, entertainment, and pop culture, is enough to hide such valleys.

In the end, Shaq’s retirement has been a long time coming, as it is always tough watching an aging superstar perform at a mere shell of his former self. However, we are here, and ultimately, we are all thankful we were able to watch such a unique athlete and entertainer for 19 years.

Here are two videos that I absolutely love, and that emphasize and standout for me in regards to the career of Shaquille O’Neal. 

 

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Ugly Truths of The World

“Who are you supposed to call when you are in trouble?”

It was a simple question asked by one of my closest friends, who also is in law school. It is a simple question that would usually illicit a simple answer of “the police”, however, the context in which the question was asked, caused everyone in the conversation to stop dead in their tracks…who are you supposed to call when you are in trouble?

The conversation surrounded the recent decision in the now infamous case regarding two NYPD officers accused of raping a woman who was intoxicated. The woman, who should have been helped when her taxi driver called the police after she was unable to leave the cab, was allegedly taken advantage of after the two officers walked her up to her apartment, and returned several times – not proper NYPD procedure. 

For all of the details on a very interesting case, please Google and get in the know.


Now days after the two officers were found innocent due to a lack of physical evidence, the two officers are now fired, and face the remainder of their life attempting to live life in a society that knew they were guilty.