Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 11/30/14

3 Up

1. Thanksgiving Holiday - It's the Royal Rumble to Christmas' Wrestlemania. And I'm a big Royal Rumble guy. That was my wrestling analogy for the wrestling heads. Nonetheless, Thanksgiving is always a favorite of mine, and always a good time to start reflecting and giving thanks as the Holiday season approaches, and the year closes. 

2. Viral Hug - In the midst of the mess that is Ferguson and it's aftermath, the story of a young crying boy and a police officer during demonstrations in Portland, Oregon is a feel-good story that needs to overshadow all of the negative still being pushed by media outlets.

3. MLS Playoffs - As the season winds down to the MLS Cup game next week, the playoffs thus far for the league has been amazing, especially the conference title two-game series. 

3 Down

1. Ferguson Decision - There are way too many things to get into, but what transpired from the Ferguson decision is scary and troublesome. From the legal system, the riots, the stereotypes, and the ignorance of some comments, it has all exposed our society. 

2. Pointless Protesters - Unfortunately, there are many who are protesting peacefully, yet are being clumped in with those who are rioting, burning buildings, and causing a disturbance. Here in NYC, we've seen some protesters disrupt the Thanksgiving Day parade. Why? Because this issue is trendy? Protesting should help bring change or attention for change, not to just be part of a cause or what is currently popular. 

3. Black Friday Shoppers - I hate shopping. No disrespect to those looking for a bargain as I can respect and appreciate that will. More power to you. But to those who leave their families on Thanksgiving to bum rush others for a few bucks off of a television they don't need - yes, you - you get the last "down" spot of the week. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Another Crushing Loss, But Thankful for the 2014 Red Bulls


Well another season of Red Bulls soccer is in the history books and yours truly is left devastated. More so than years past, especially as my affinity and interest for the MLS continues to grow and grow, this Red Bulls loss hurts more than other playoff losses in the past. 

Maybe it's because we were within inches of scoring the one goal needed to push us through to the MLS Cup, or simply the fact the my other teams of interest (Yankees, Knicks, and Jets) are going through some lean times, especially so for the Knicks and Jets, which is usually the case.

Maybe it was the idea that this Red Bulls team wasn't nearly as good as last year's team, which won the Supporter's Shield (best league record during the regular season), and still fought their way to within one goal of the MLS Cup. Maybe, it was the fact that we all know this is possibly Thierry Henry's final season with the Red Bulls, and possibly Tim Cahill as well.

Friday, November 28, 2014

It's Retiring Time! - CM Punk Should Be Applauded For Leaving Pro Wrestling


For those who are aware, it's no secret that the wrestling industry is an extremely demanding one. It is physically and mentally exhausting, and that just happens to be from the talent and performing perspective. There are the politics, the grind of constant travel, the paying of your dues, the demand from fans, the extremely stiff competition, and the many, many types of addictions that there are, all which add to the heaviness within the pro wrestling industry.

So when CM Punk decided to walk away from his top spot in the WWE, and the entire industry as a whole, I found the backlash he received from fans and a few outspoken individuals in the industry, to be unwarranted, uncalled for, and quite unbelievable. 

I'm a fan of CM Punk. Not a huge fan, but a fan, nonetheless. I also do enjoy and respect his efforts and unique talents he brings to the table. Truth be told, Punk is actually quite talented and is one of the more popular wrestlers we've seen over the past five years in pro wrestling. He's also managed to garner quite the cult-like phenomenon from some who felt like Punk represented all what they wanted out of pro wrestling in this modern age.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

So Sad, So Damn Sad II: More Thoughts on Mike Brown/Ferguson Situation


I'm not even sure what to say to be honest. I'll apologize immediately as I begin this post as I am not sure where it will end up, because, there really is a lot to digest in what happened this week - Monday night, and every night since then - in Ferguson, Missouri, and now here in New York City, as well as across the country. Unfortunately, we all expected this verdict of no indictment. 

It's obviously a hot topic of discussion, and I truly don't want to add to the number of random thoughts and voices being thrown out there at the moment. Yes, everyone has a voice, and as of right now, everyone has a viewpoint and opinion, mostly spurred by emotion, but there are lots of people saying many things, from many different viewpoints, which simply add to the chaos. 

I get asked time and time again from some of my students, student-staff, and interns, "Where do you come down on the Ferguson decision?" And while it seems there is an answer as black and white as the issue it has come to be presented as (pun intended), I still can't find it in my heart, truly in my heart, to answer without having a followup statement...or rather, a speech of some sort. This situation is so deep, so chucked-full of issues, injustices, and lack of involvement that it really spiraled into the perfect storm of a mess to get what we have today.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Dome Pondering Movie Review: Begin Again (2013)


What is it about? 


A down on his luck music producer and a young song writer, each carrying their own problems meet and eventually produce an album together which also jump starts their lives. 

Who is in it? 

Mark Ruffalo - Dan

Keira Knightley - Gretta

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 11/23/14

3 Up

1. Odell Beckham's Catch - Giants fans can gripe all they want, but as this Jets fan can attest to, your franchise drafts well, and Beckham has been one of those picks. His catch tonight against the Cowboys - unbelievable. One of the best I've ever seen in my lifetime. 

2. MLS Playoffs - The MLS playoffs have been unbelievable. Despite my Red Bulls losing a tough one earlier today to the New England Revolution, both current series (NY vs. NE, and Seattle vs. Los Angeles) are marquee matchups with star power. Great for the league, and the games haven't disappointed. 

3. Beach Visit in 100 Years - As someone who loves the ocean, the beach, and the summer, I often wonder how those in the middle of the country deal. After coming upon this story of a 100 year old woman who saw the beach for the very first time in my life, I felt happy for her, and had to put this in this week's "Up" for the week. 

3 Down

1. Bill Cosby - The nightmare is getting worse for Bill Cosby as now not only is his reputation smeared, but his professional career has taken a hit with NBC pulling the plug on his show which was in the works. And of course, more women are coming forward, and more people who claim to have helped cover up Cosby's doings. This seems to only be the beginning...

2. Police Shootings - As we all wait for a grand jury's decision in Ferguson, Missouri, we get more cases of another unarmed young black man behind killed in a starwell here in New York, and another of a 12 year old child being killed after brandishing a fake gun towards cops. It's getting tougher and tougher for the men and women - the good ones - who serve and protect us. 

3. Stephen A. Smith - It's hard not to agree with Michael Carter-Williams who called out some writers in the media who take on "characters" in their reporting, calling out Stephen A. in his piece for the Player's Tribune. Smith, who retaliated with  somewhat threat, pretty much proved Carter's point that some enjoy being critical of the players they cover, but can't take the same crticism when it is thrown their way. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Dome Pondering Movie Review: Bad Words (2013)

What is it about?

A forty-year old adult finds a loop-hole in the rules of the national spelling bee to avenge personal reasons from his childhood. 

Who is in it? 

Jason Bateman - Guy Trilby

Kathryn Hahn - Jenny Widgeon

Rohan Chand - Chaitanya Chopra

Friday, November 21, 2014

Pondering Pictures #46


I've always loved Madison Square Garden. The newly renovated Madison Square Garden is even more amazing.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The IF Factor: Questions Answered #471-480

471. If you could visit only one more place in the world that you have never been, where would you go for this final voyage?

Australia. 

472. If you had to pick the most difficult question you could be asked, what would it be?

Well, it's one that has crossed my mind before - do I sell my parents house or keep it for myself when, you know...

473. If you could rid the earth of one thing, what would it be?

Ignorance.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Wrapping My Mind Around The Absurdity That is Baseball's New $300M Man


I'm still attempting to wrap my mind around $325M. After all, these mega deals always seem to offer great sticker shock whenever they are announced. $100M seemed like such a huge deal when the Dodgers gave Kevin Brown that type of money way back when. Then of course, A-Rod, ah yes, our favorite guy over in this little part of the internet here, received well over $225M from Texas, and then the Yankees decided to top the stupidity absurdity of that deal with $275M. And now, we have the $300M man, Giancarlo Stanton.

No matter how many times I read the workings of this new contract, I can't help but shake my head in disbelief. What in the world are the Marlins thinking?! How in the world will this affect baseball going forward? 

By the way, didn't the Angels get a huge bargain for Mike Trout at six years, $144.5M?!

$325M for over 13 years. Again, my goodness! And if that wasn't crazy, the Marlins are giving Stanton a full no trade clause as well as an opt-out clause after six years which is absolutely awesome timing as Stanton would be turning 30 by then. Depending on his career trajectory, Stanton could possibly opt out and make even more money. Imagine that?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Dome Pondering Movie Review: Love Survivor (2013)

What is it about? 

The true story of Marcus Luttrell and his fellow Navy Seals who set out on a mission to kill a Taliban Leader, but end up in the fight of their lives. 

Who is in it? 

Mark Wahlberg - Marcus Luttrell

Taylor Kitsch - Michael Murphy

Emile Hirsch - Daniel Dietz

Ben Foster - Matt Axelson

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 11/16/14

3 Up

1. Sgt. Joey Johnson - This one was made aware to me by the tag team partner, and I have to say, she hit the jackpot with this story. Nothing I can say here would truly do this one justice - just an overall inspirational and feel good story. 

2. Zach Hodskins - With so much wicked and well, just plain wrong, going on in the world, how about another feel good story in the "UP" section this week? This one is in regards to Zach Hodskins, who has one arm and played his first collegiate game for the University of Florida this week. Never give up on your dreams, and Zach is living proof of that. 

3. Musical Card Baby - I'm a sucker for kids, especially a good baby video that is funny. This one had me dying, and I'm sure it will bring a smile to your face. No further description needed, just watch the very short video here

3 Down

1. ISIS - I hate giving these wackos publicity, but the recent events of yet another beheading is so troublesome. I recently just watched Lone Survivior, and I guess news like this just spurs the emotions stirred by the movie. Hopefully, the world puts a stop to the maniacs. 

2. Anything Kim Kardashian - Again, another entity I dislike giving any further acknowledgement. All I will say is this, the recent props, fame, and notoriety Kardashian is receiving for latest magazine shoot is typical of her "celebrity" and the society in which we live in. Without getting on my soap box, I'l just say, it's a shame we give credence to such actions, especially a mother of a child who sells her body for fame. 

3. Bill Cosby - I'm not fully aware of the prior issues to Cosby, as much of them came about when I was too young to understand, but as a HUGE fan of the Cosby Show, it's a bit disheartening to read of such allegations. Especially, as they all have come out to the forefront recently. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Pondering with Plumtree: Rotting at the Core: How Loyal Are TNA Fans?

Pondering with Plumtree is a column on the popular blog, TNAsylum, that is written by yours truly. The blog is focused towards being a fan site for TNA Wrestling fans where they can get news, rumors, opinions, and any and everything else, TNA Wrestling. Known as "The Haven for TNA Wrestling Fans", I'm hoping to bring some of my thoughts to an already impressive roster of columnist for as long as the site will have me. You can read the latest column here, or in the text below.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Winning is Real Noise For The Best Team in New York City


There is always that old saying, "if a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" Well how about, if a team is on a championship run, and not many pay attention to it, does it really happen? 

Regardless of your philosophical outlook on this theory, one has to beg the age old question when it comes to the New York Red Bulls. After holding on this past Saturday against rival DC United down at RFK Stadium (What a dump of a place...), the Red Bulls are now in the Eastern Conference Finals and now await a showdown with the New England Revolution. Of course, New York-New England...sports have a lovely way of working themselves out, huh? 

With the New York sports scene about as decrepit as it's ever been, and it's pretty bad, especially considering we have two teams in just about every major sport, the Red Bulls are the only team that is providing hope and intrigue. And oh yeah, doing a little thing called winning. You know, no big deal.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 11/9/14

3 Up

1. Laylah Peterson Heart - Though an "up", the part of the story that precedes of little Laylah Peterson dying via stray bullet at the age of 5 is disheartening and disgusting. However, the true touching and moving story is that her heart was used to save another child in need. So much depth here to this story. So much. 

2. Michael Kay - Those outside the NYC market may not get this, but the Sports radio competition here is as big as our sports. After Mike Francesa, who has become more and more arrogant as of life accused Kay of "state-run" radio, Kay goes off on him in an epic tirade defending himself and his integrity. Good for Kay. 

3. Resurrection - I don't watch much TV,but I've started and am no immersed in the story being provided by the show. Not the greatest, and by no means is it Friday Night Lights or Suits in the writing and acting department, but the overall concept of the plot is too intriguing to give up on. I'm admitting it - I watch a television show. 

3 Down

1. Kaelin Clay - Bruh? Seriously? Who drops the ball before crossing the goaline? And of course, it turns into a score going the other way. I'm all for celebration and emotion in my sports, but this was utter ridiculous. 

2. Arrested For Feeding Homeless - Yes, a 90 year old man was arrested for feeding the homeless. Unbelievable. I have no words in how stupid this one is. I guess just read the story

3. Alex Rodriguez - Oh yes, he is back. As soon as he was reinstated, we got word that A-Rod admitted to taking PEDs. And now, we have Yuri Sucart's wife attacking him. Dude hasn't even thrown on a pair of baseball pants and we have drama. Only A-Rod...only him. 

Friday, November 07, 2014

The IF Factor: Questions Answered #461-470

461. If you could leave only one existing book for the world to have five hundred years from now, which book would you leave?

My obvious answer would be the Bible. Timeless stuff. However, I'm pretty confident in the Bible being around 500 years from now. I guess I will go with either Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger or The End of Racism by Dinesh D'Souza. 

462. If you just learned that tomorrow morning you were to be permanently exiled from your country and could take three things with you, what would they be?

Wow. Harsh. I guess my wife. My laptop. And my passport? 

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Pondering Picture #45

Washington D.C. - 2014

Just a picture I snapped of the United States Capitol this summer. Thought it was cool, and perfect for this election day. Hooray, democracy!

Monday, November 03, 2014

Welcome to the Field: Initial Thoughts on Lucha Underground


Pro wrestling finds itself in such a peculiar position as we near the end of 2014. While the industry suffers from a flat WWE product (World Wrestling Not Entertained), the hanging-in-the-balance future of TNA Wrestling, or the sudden slowed-to-nothing momentum of ROH - all of course in my opinion - the business is growing here in North America in a way we haven't seen in a long time.  

As we await further information on Jeff Jarrett's upstart Global Force Wrestling, there is another option that is real and tangible for wrestling fans, Lucha Underground, which premiered this past Wednesday on the El Ray Network. 

Now I'l be honest, I'm not the biggest fan of the Lucha Libre style. Much of what I've seen from AAA just isn't my cup of tea. I respect it, but it ultimately it isn't my favorite. Regardless, pro wrestling is pro wrestling, and with some time to burn I decided to check out the new show and promotion.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 11/2/14

3 Up

1. Brittany Maynard - Some find this cruel to be the top "Up" of the week, but I find tremendous courage in Maynard's decision to end her life on her terms in what is/was a terrible situation. God has a plan for us all, and only Maynard can truly determine that very relationship and guidance in making that decision. I applaud her note on Facebook, and her courage to maximize her experiences before calling it a life. 

2. Lauren Hill - If the week couldn't be any more sad with these stories, how could you not be inspired by Lauren Hill who is terminally ill and recently lived out her dream in playing basketball at the collegiate level. Also, a minor hit to the NCAA for waiving the rule and allowing the game to be moved up for this event. Just inspirational and courageous stuff all around. 

3. Madison Bumgarner - Not only has this dude been amazing, but this week he pulled off the greatest championship performance I've ever seen to win another World Series at the age of 25. 

3 Down

1. Halloween Hanging Display - People still do this sort of stuff? Jees, I know racism still exists, but come on, man, it's 2014. So sad. 

2. Maryland Football Captains - Refusing to shake hands? That's crazy. Where is the class there? Where are the coaches to deem that unacceptable in representing the program? Ridiculous. 

3. New York Jets - Do I even need to explain?