Monday, November 30, 2015

Off the Post and So Close - Closing Thoughts on 2015 Red Bulls Season


Off the post. Off the freakin post. 

That's really all I can muster up after the New York Red Bulls fall short yet again after a splendid season that included the second Supporters Shield. Despite digging ourselves in a huge hole in Columbus by giving up a goal in the first nine seconds of the first leg, another in the final seconds, and never being able to put up the all-important road goal, I didn't lose hope. Even until the very end. 

I guess that's why this loss hurts so much. 

After a season that began with town meetings and a fanbase thoroughly upset with the firing of Mike Petke (as was I) things did not look good. There was NYCFC entering hte market, and of course the big question of "how good are we WITHOUT Thierry Henry?" I will openly admit, I was wrong about Ali Curtis and Jesse Marsch. They had a vision, a philosophy, a style of play, and stood behind it. And as we now see, it worked. Big time.

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 11/29/15

3 Up

1. Dehumanizing Athletes - I'm not one to play daily fantasy sports, or one who really cares to do so. If you do, that's great. More power to you. However, this piece in the New York Times was a great read on how many like myself feel about it. As a former athlete, I thoroughly agree. 

2. Thanksgiving - Despite the origin of the holiday, Thanksgiving is a great time to get together with loved ones and family to spend some much needed time to kick off the Holiday season. And of course, the food is always so good. 

3. Kobe Bryant Retirement - Announced tonight on the Players Tribune (which is a fantastic website by the way), The Black Mamba announced that this season will be his last. A great from-the-heart write-up, and a much needed announcement so we can acknowledge one of the best athletes of this generation on his way out of the game. 

3 Down

1. Boko Hiram - I'm not sure why the media is not discussing the threat of Boko Hiram in Africa. Not only are they responsible for the most fatalities through terrorism this year, but they continue to destroy regions in Northern Africa, specifically the country of Cameroon this week. Is it because they haven't threatened the West? Is it because we just don't value the lives of those in Africa? Whatever. These goons need to be stopped as well. Such a sad world...

2. Laquan McDonald's Death - I watched the released video of McDonald's death in the street by police officers and could not watch it again. How in the world can another human being shoot down a young man and then fire away on his lifeless body in the streets like that? The video is telling of many things wrong in our country right now. 

3. Colorado Planned Parenthood Shooting - What an ugly week in the world for "Downs", huh? Nonetheless, let's call this what no one is - terrorism. This is indeed terrorism, folks. Ugh. So sick of this week's news...

1 Crazy

1. Black Friday Shoppers - These people are crazy and ridiculous. Just me bloggin, but I find it fascinating how we are willing to make efforts to give up precious time to wait on line outside of a store with others for items we probably don't really need, but we can't even go out and vote when we have a chance to make a difference. Whatevs. Again, so over this week's news. 

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Pondering 10 - Favorite Workouts

We all have our favorite ways to get exercise when it comes to that super interesting place called the gym. For me, the gym is a fascinating place to people watch, but most importantly, there are tons of options (obviously!) there to improve your fitness, and to improve your overall wellness. With that said, I'm dishing out a rather simple (and the latest) Pondering 10 list - My Favorite Workouts at the gym. Enjoy! 

Friday, November 27, 2015

Pondering with Plumtree - Moving On and Moving Forward

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.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Dome Pondering Movie Review: About Alex (2014)

What is it about? 

A group of college friends reunite for a weekend when one of them attempts to commit suicide. What ends up happening are old truths, revealed emotional baggage, and breakthroughs that needed to happen for each to continue on in life. 

Who is in it? 

Nate Parker - Ben

Maggie Grace - Siri

Max Greenfield - Josh

Aubrey Plaza - Sarah

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 11/22/15

3 Up

1. Golden State Warriors - One would think there would be a hangover from winning the championship last year, right? Nope. These fellas, led by Steph Curry, have been destroying everyone on their way to a record tying 15-0 start. The Warriors play the Lakers tomorrow night, and most likely will stand alone for best start in NBA history. 

2. Racial Discussions - I spoke briefly about the racial discussion we had at the University I work at (as well as my opinions), and it seems the same is happening not only across the country on college campuses, but in other platforms and venues as well. I just hope the discussions are productive and lead to better understanding and living for all, not just one group. 

3. Kristaps Porzingis - My main man, Kristaps! It's still early, but it is so refreshing and exciting for us Knicks fans to have a rookie who seems promising and legit. Oh yeah, by the way, the team is playing well too! 

3 Down

1. Terrorism - Ugh. As great as the things above were, nothing dominated this week like this issue right here. It weighed heavily on me all week reading the news, seeing images, and taking in the constant updates from around the world. Paris, Nigeria...just everywhere. No attack more important than the other. I absolutely hate this stuff. 

2. Muslim Racism/Discrimination - It's a shame to see how Muslim people and those of Middle Eastern decent are now being discriminated against because of the heavy-terrorism attacks this week. If terrorism wasn't awful enough, we're all compounding the problem with further nonsense. 

3. Social Media Politicians - Just like last week, this one makes the "down" list again. I am pretty tired of those using these attacks to further their agendas. So many people have the answers to share with friends or to make their points with memes, but so few really take action to make this world a better place. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Thoughts on Race and Inclusive Awareness on College Campuses

Today, I stood outside of my office inside of the campus gymnasium in which I work and listened for two and half hours of students voicing their demands, stories, and concerns regarding the lack of diversity and inclusivity on campus. In the wake of the issues facing Missouri, Yale, Ithaca, Claremont McKenna, and various other campuses nationwide in which racial unrest has popped up, the University in which I work for decided to host an open forum to begin the dialogue to hopefully begin motions to solve issues on our campus, and of course to get out in front of what has been going on elsewhere in the nation. 

Person after person, student after student, they all spoke about experiences and episodes in which they have been subjects of racial insensitivity, as well as the glaring lack of inclusivity on the campus. The statements were loud, they were direct, and I have to give it to these young adults, they were very poignant in calling out executives, faculty and the overall disappointment they have encountered. Many looking directly at deans, provosts, and others as they made their statements. 

I stood there for the majority of it, and really took in a lot of what they stated. Obviously, some just had gripes just to have them, but there were plenty of legitimate concerns regarding campus inequality, racial insensitivity, lack of faculty representation, and the inability of the institution to meet the diversity expectations that should be normal.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Reactions to Rousey v. Holm from UFC 193 - Holm's Time Helps Sport


Is it possible to be shocked even when you expected the outcome?

That's exactly how I felt this past Saturday night after watching Ronda Rousey receive that devastating kick to the jaw that dropped her heavily, taking her invincibility and reputation with it. I am not looking for praise or attempting to humble-brag, but I did see Holly Holm walking away as the one to take down Rousey. Yes, for you pro wrestling fans, cue your inner Paul Heyman - the one in Rousey's 9-1

Holm's background of being a very skilled boxer and kickboxer lend to the strengths of what many believed was the way to beat Rousey. It reminds me of the years when boxing was fun (remember those?) and the draw that Tyson was. The game plan was the same - control the pace and the fight. Holm did both, obviously frustrating and at one point, infuriating Rousey.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 11/15/15

3 Up

1. Paris Stadium Security Guard - Not much has been revealed, and we don't even know if this security guard is still alive, but whomever this person is/was, they helped save a lot of lives. LOTS! Just by doing their job well and finding the vest of the bomber, they prevented what could have been a much larger catastrophe. Too often we mock security guards, especially those who approach their jobs with lackadaisical effort. This person is a hero. A huge, huge, big time hero. 

2. Facebook - I'm not a huge fan of Facebook as I find Twitter and Instagram to be more interesting. That's just me. However, Facebook's "Safe alert" feature is a new concept that is just brilliant. Knowing a former student who worked for me and who now lives in Paris, it was nice to see her check in as "safe" in the midst of the chaos. I can't even imagine how convenient it was for those with closer friends and family. 

3. Holly Holm - As gloomy as the weekend was and has been, UFC 193 provided some entertainment to remove us all from reality. Watching Holm shock the world by taking down Ronda Rousey was exciting and just awesome. Kudos to Holm who stayed true to herself, wasn't intimidated, and outright destroyed Rousey. 

3 Down

1. Paris Terrorist Attacks - The obvious. No explanation needed. I'll be honest, I spent my entire Saturday glued to coverage and of course, completely in sorrow for what was happening in our world. 

2. "Social Media Activists" - The world has many, many issues - I get it. However, nothing made me angrier than those using these attacks to either further their political views on immigration, or others who were comparing the awareness of terrorist attacks (to those in Kenya back in April) to make it a racial issue. Can we not just feel for a second? Maybe a moment? And to be honest, some of the social media postings like this have been idiotic. Chill out. Absorb the moment. Don't we value life anymore? 

3. Entitled Protesters - I think what students are doing on campuses around the country in bringing attention to an important issue in marginalized racism is fantastic. However, much like the "social media activists" mentioned above, there are instances where the protests have gone too far and have made this generation seem entitled. See here what's going on at Columbia University as an example. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Pondering Picture #61

Courtesy: Jean Jullien

#PrayforParis

Don't just say or type it, please PRAY for Paris.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

All In On Porzingis


Okay, I am officially throwing this out there - I am a big fan of Kristaps Porzingis. Huuuuge fan. 

I'm not sure what it is, but Porzingis, thus far, seems like exactly the type of guy New York Knicks fans deserve after years of suffering. And to be quite frank, I'm just a fan of everything that is Porzinigis. I'm all about his potential. I'm all about his personality. I'm all about him embracing and wanting to play and win in this wonderful city of New York. 

Was it love at first sight? Possibly. On draft night when the typical "look-at-me-clowns" booed and jeered him, Porzingis handled it perfectly. Acknowledging that he will turn all of the criticism into applause. I loved how silly it all was. 

Especially, the evidence of how quick we are to proclaim an athlete a bust. Or the stupid stereotypes we have for European ballers. He's either Dirk Nowitzki or Andrea Bargnani. And of course, the typical American-bias used when we assume guys we've seen play in college basketball are automatically better than talent overseas. I was just drawn to the entire underdog concept of our pick. It pulled me in and made me root for this kid even more.

And yes, part of that is from the sheer fandom desperation of needing this pick to work out. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Dome Pondering Movie Review: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015)

What is it about?

A teenager who spent most of his high school career trying to play it safe by not befriending anyone to have anyone hate him, has his outlook changed forever after befriending a classmate who has just been diagnosed with cancer. 

Who is in it? 

Thomas Mann - Greg

RJ Cyler - Earl

Olivia Cooke - Rachel

Monday, November 09, 2015

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 11/8/15

3 Up

1. Adele - Hello....I'm Sorrrrrry! Gosh, Adele is such a throwback to when artists made music that truly inspired, and you know, took time to make their albums. Quality over quantity. Imagine that? Her first single was released this week and I'm already awaiting the album. I just can't get the single out of her head. 

2. Protests of and through Football - If you read this blog, you know I'm not a big football fan. In fact,  as I get older, the more I move away from the game. I actually find the importance we place on the game (and pardons given) in this country to be horrifying. Yet, kudos to Wendi Nix who poignantly made comments in regards to the NFL and Greg Hardy, as well as the University of Missouri football players who are protesting by not playing until the school President is removed for his inaction against racism on campus. 

3. MLS Playoffs - How awesome hve the MLS playoffs been this weekend? Especially that insane Seattle Sounders/FC Dallas game? Here is to hoping the long layoff doesn't affect the momentum. 

3 Down

1. Possible Bombed Russian Plane - Ugh...The thought that officials are coming to the conclusion that the downed Russian passenger jet which tragically broke apart over Egypt last week could have been a bomb more so leans towards the initial celebration of the ISIS group who took responsibility for it immediately. Gosh, so sickening! Such wickedness in this world...

2. Evangelical Starbucks Protest - Obviously, I'm a Christian. I've never held that in an ambiguous or non-disclosed way on this site. However, some of these Christian and evangelical groups who are attacking Starbucks for the new "Holiday" design cups need to chill. It's reasons such as this which continue to divide us from many today. Seriously, they're just cups! Who cares?! 

3. Seth Rollins Injury - This was difficult to read as Seth Rollins was having such a great year for the WWE. Rollins, an absolute workhorse, was in the middle of a big year, and now is out for the next 8-9 months. Tough break for the WWE, for Rollins, and more so, for all of us pro wrestling fans. 

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Movember 2015

I'm never really one to dabble into trends and other "everyone is doing it" movements. Especially, one that has a hashtag tied to it. After all, doesn't everything - anything - need a hashtag to somehow advocate and legitimize it's existence?

Regardless, after reading the story in which D'Angelo Williams was denied the opportunity by the NFL to wear pink all year in support of the fight against cancer, a cause so personal to him due to losing four family members to cancer, it made wonder, how personal are some of these causes to those who within the cause, businesses and to others? 

Clearly, the NFL only participates in October's pink awareness because it looks good to the public. And there are so many who do it also because of the trendy nature of the time. Pink suddenly is cool to everyone. Again, good cause, great awareness, but how personal is it? 

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Dome Pondering Movie Review: Spy (2015)

What is it about? 

A former spy tied to desk duties volunteers to go undercover by infiltrating the world's largest arms dealer and to avenge the "death" of her field agent. 

Who is in it? 

Melissa McCarthy - Susan Cooper

Jude Law - Bradley Fine

Jason Statham - Rick Ford

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 11/1/15

3 Up

1. Kansas City Royals - Wow. How resilient is and was this team in the postseason? When you think their done, they find a way, and that is why they are World Series champions! Kudos to the Royals and of course, the city of Kansas City, who have waited 30 years for this to happen. 

2. New York City Marathon Winners - I like working out, but running 26.2 miles of New York City street just sounds like torture. People like Stanley Biwott and Mary Keitany make marathons look easy. Congratulations to both! 

3. Senator Ted Cruz - Cruz was the first debater to call out the atrocious host that was CNBC in the third national GOP debate. Kudos to Cruz for being honest and saying what needed to be said midway through the event. 

3 Down

1. Officer Ben Fields - I watched this video and was sick to my stomach. I'm sorry, there is no need to slam a child like that for simply not abiding to cell phone rules. I'm not sure if race is the sole reason here, but it surely doesn't look good considering the growing rage in our country. Not at all. 

2. Russian Plane Crash - Plane crashes are never easy, and neither is this one. The mystery of the crash still looms as officials investigates its cause, but it doesn't help when ISIS is attempting to claim credit for it even when sources say there is no sign of terrorist activity. 

3. CNBC - An awful, awful debate. Just read my thoughts here on that disaster. CNBC should never be allowed to host a debate for the next 12 years.