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Dome Pondering - 2016 Year in Review

Man, was 2016 rough, or what? This year continuously kicked the you-know-what out of all of us in various ways, regardless of your opinion or beliefs on various topics. 2016 was a year that was insanely politicized and filled with death, loss, injustice, and overall, difficulty. As you can imagine, I am not completely sad to see 2016 go.
Nonetheless, it's my favorite time of the year, and of course, this is my favorite - and biggest - post of the year - The Dome Pondering Year in Review (Year in Review History)! As always, we're going to hand out some year-end Pondy awards, and wrap this year up with some personal reflection and thoughts.
Before jumping into yearly tradition, I would like to thank all of you for your constant support of this tiny slice of the internet where I share my thoughts and punch the keys on various topics. I continue to be amazed at your readership, your feedback over on Twitter (@DomePondering), and your support in the continued progress of Dome Pond…

The Pondering 10 - Most Fascinating Things of 2016

So, I've decided to make this an annual "Pondering 10" post. As you can tell, I'm big on reflection and history, and this post allows me to present a different style that I don't get to cover in my biggest - and most favorite - post of the year, the DP Year in Review. Which if you're new to this little blog, is coming soon! Be sure to check it out. Until then, check out the posts from the past.
With that said, 2016 has been awfully, draining, with some interesting things happening. But yeah, it's been mostly draining. Regardless, here are the ten things I found most fascinating in 2016. Enjoy!

Would You Rather: Questions 51-60

51. Would you rather get rid of all the bad drivers on the road, or never have to wait in line at stores and restaurants? 
I live in New York City, so fewer bad drivers, the better. I'm not all that concerned about having to wait in line at stores and restaurants. Quite frankly, I shop a ton online, and I frequent many mom and pop restaurants here in the city that I am pretty familiar when they are available. Oh, and I take advantage of making reservations. 
52. Would you rather be a ninja, or a pirate?
If it's a Pittsburgh Pirate, then sure, sign me up. If it's the Jack Sparrow version, then nah, I'll pass. Being a ninja is wayyyyy cooler.

Pondering Picture #75

They still do.

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 12/18/16

3 Up 
1. Craig Sager - We unfortunately lost Craig Sager this week, but really, his death and the way he has been celebrated around the NBA is a reminder that you should indeed live life to the fullest. Yo know, the way Sager did. 
2. Ta-Nehesi Coates - I'm a HUGE fan of Coates' work. Of course, this week his latest article for The Atlantic went live, and as always, it's awesome. Titled, "My President Was Black", Coates dives into the Presidency of Obama in a different way from a different perspective, only one Coates can offer. I'm 3/5 complete, but the article has been tremendous thus far. Be sure to check it out. 
3. Sasha Banks and Charlotte - It's come to the point where I expect big things from these two, and after tonight's first-ever Ironman (or Woman) match, that expectation remains. These two were amazing in their 30-minute-plus match, telling a wonderful story in closing an epic feud for 2016. It's safe to say, Charlotte will wind up wi…

Keep the Broken Brilliance

I would really love to sit in on the creative meetings that spur and generate the things like "Final Deletion", "The Great War", and of course, this week's, "Total Nonstop Deletion". After all, much like the first two, this two hour spectacle, a new format to the broken spectacle, produced the same feeling for me - what did I just watch? 
And that's not a negative remark, because I did continue to watch, and continued to watch intently, with intrigue, a slight slice of disgust, a dash of embarrassment, wrapped up in an overwhelming feeling of being entertained. This damn broken world can really has that kind of effect on you! Let's be real, I've been watching wrestling for almost thirty years now, and I throughly dig the lake of reincarnation!

4 Your Eyes Only, Completely Raw and Amazing

In a 2016 where social justice and matters of social concern surrounds us, J.Cole's latest album is one that I thoroughly looked forward to. After Friday Night Lights, Born Sinner, and 2014 Forest Hills Drive, J.Cole's return seem anticipated by many fans of hip-hop. After listening to it for several days, I feel like I finally have a grasp on it to share. 
After all, I will tell you, and everyone else I've discussed the album with - it's not for everyone. Don't expect an album with bass-booming beats, hot one-line lyrics that are counter-culture and socially woke, but do expect an honest and raw - yes, oh so completely raw! - emotionally filled album about life, love, and loss. 
So yes, that's not everyone's cup of tea. I get it. But for me, I like love meaning and depth in my hip hop. It's why I find fewer and fewer artists that I can relate to in today's game. Cole's ability to set a narrative for the album in which he is telling a story sim…

Dome Pondering Movie Review: Money Monster (2016)

What is it about? 
A financial analysis television show is taken hostage by an everyday-worker who helps to expose the hypocrisy and unethical behavior on Wall Street, and how this is magnified in other indirect ways. 
Who is in it? 
George Clooney - Lee Gates
Julia Roberts - Patty Fenn
Jack O'Connell - Kyle Budwell

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 12/11/16

3 Up
1. MLS Cup 2016 - Wow! What a thrilling game to cap off a very interesting season for the Seattle Sounders. As I stated in a post yesterday, the MLS is quickly replacing the NFL for me - again, just me. 
1a. Stefan Frei - Yo, that save was absolutely insane! Please Google that game-saving save. Tremendous. 
2. Klay Thompson - 60 points. 29 minutes. 90 seconds of possession. Those are stats that I still cannot wrap my mind around, but it happened. Klay Thompson pulled it off, and quite frankly, with that Golden State Warriors team, anyone of them can have a night like that. So scary. 
3. 4 Your Eyez Only - Now I haven't posted my review of J. Cole's new album yet, as I'm still attempting to let it settle as far as my final feelings on it. But I will say, it's good, and quite frankly, it's one of those rare rap albums that will make you think.
3 Down
1. Walter Scott Mistrial - I'm just being honest, I have listened to some of the jurors give their opinions an…

2016 MLS Cup = More MLS, Please!

There are some who refuse to acknowledge the growing soccer trend in this country, or even the beauty of the game as a whole. However, after watching MLS Cup 2016, how can you not? What a game?!
Was it perfect? Absolutely not. In some aspects, I'm not a fan of PK's settling a winner and declaring a champion, but hey, whatevs. That's soccer. That's futbol. 
Yet, in a year in which sports has given us the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Chicago Cubs, it's only right that the Seattle Sounders finally - FINALLY - break through and win their first cup. After all, for years, they've been excellent, and have been one of the league's premiere franchises. 
The Sounders have consistently been a prime example of attendance excellence, topping 40,000+ per game. They've had the same club manager Sigi Schmid for years. And of course, they've had Mr. USA, Clint Dempsey on their squad. But year after year, they've always fallen short of the MLS Cup.

Okay With Chapman

I have to say, the sticker price has me in shock. As someone who loved Mariano Rivera (still my favorite athlete of all-time), I am having a hard time imagining a closer in pinstripes making $17M per year that isn't, you know, Mariano Rivera! But as the saying goes, "that's baseball, Suzyn". And that's baseball, especially in today's market. 
Yes, I really did like Andrew Miller more than Chapman. I actually, really, really, really liked Miller! Still do. But, here we are. Needing a closer. And Chapman fits the bill without us losing a draft pick. 
Am I concerned? Of course. Anytime your team commits to any star long term, there is that trepidation. Five years is a long time for a reliever, and the last time a reliever got that, it didn't go so well (Remember B.J. Ryan and the Blue Jays?).

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 12/4/16

3 Up
1. Alan Horujko - Kudos to officer Horujko who reacted quickly and effectively and was able to take down the Ohio State active shooter. Such a crazy world we live in. Who knows what kind of horror could have been if not for his heroism?
2. Trevor Noah - I'm not a fan of Tomi Lahren. I know she has plenty of followers for her viewpoints, but some of her comments are just downright imflammatory. I believe she knows this, and like many, plays off of the fears and anger of many. Regardless, I commend her for doing the Trevor Noah interview. And of course, much props to Noah who handled it fairly, yet, really stuck it to Lahren who was unable to answer a few poignant questions - more on this below. Noah was absolutely fantastic in this interview, and really made me into a fan of his. 
3. Russell Westbrook - Anyone else in the world of sports more locked in than this dude? Holy triple doubles, Batman!
3 Down
1. Ohio State Shooting - An obvious one here. I'm so sick of mass shoot…

ROH Final Battle 2016 - Count Me In Again!

I'll admit, I haven't watched much ROH over the past year. I'm not quite sure if I wasn't interested in the product, or if it's the fact I was spoiled in having their programming offered in the New York City area, then pulled away when Destination America decided to be render itself obsolete (OBSOLETE!) once again after hosting a pretty interesting wrestling lineup. Truth be told, I forgot Destination America even existed until that previous thought. 
Nonetheless, Final Battle has always been a great show for ROH, and upon reading some good reviews, I decided to check out the show and jump back into the product. I'm pretty glad I did as not only did I enjoy it, but I truly am invested in the ROH product again.

Doing 'Cruiserweight' Right This Time

It's odd to use the term "cruiserweight" once again, but hey, the 90's are cool again, right? Or, maybe, just maybe, it's Vince McMahon's continual pursuit for complete and utter pro wrestling dominance? Yup, I'm sure we're both on the same page - the latter reasoning. 
Regardless, why not? After all, the WWE has this amazing Network (it really is fantastic) and it's historic library of pro wrestling's past, and quite frankly, how can they not want fresh content to added to it to drive viewers to use it for more than just the past. I'm a fan of the venture. 
But really, let's be quite frank, despite the slanted storytelling of the Monday Night Wars that is full of the victors rearranging the narrative, cruiserweights, and that style of pro wrestling has been a void that the WWE hasn't captured quite well - ever.

The Pondering 10 - SMH at Today's News World

It's been an absolute trying year. Yet, with thirty days remaining, there is a part of me that is so beat up when it comes to our world, our society, and the way in which we deal with news, politics, and overall, in handling our societal issues. 
With that said, the following Pondering 10 takes a look at the current topics that have been quite annoying or down right causes me to shake my head:

Would You Rather: Questions 41-50

41. Would you rather have free Starbucks for a year or free iTunes for a year? 
Call me crazy, but I am going with free Starbucks for a year. Free ITunes sounds great, but I already have a Spotify account that I already enjoy tremendously. Plus, I live in NYC, and there is a Starbucks like every ten feet. 
42. Would you rather be a ninja or a wizard? 
Ninja! Way cooler, and way more fun. I've seen my wife watch Harry Potter. No offense, not really moved by being a wizard, unless, it's the opportunity to play pro basketball in Washington. 
43. Would you rather go deaf in one ear or only be allowed to use the internet one hour per day?
This is tough, but I am going to go with going deaf in one ear. The internet is so essential in today's world, especially in how I consume information and of course, explore one of my favorite hobbies in contributing to this little blog.

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 11/27/16

3 Up 
1. FDNY - Often lost in the Thanksgiving holiday season are the service men and women who don't enjoy the same festivities and time spent with families. Instead, they are working to keep us safe, and in some ways, continuing to save our lives. Kudos to the men who saved an elderly man using a rope in a last ditch effort on Friday. Definitely take time to read about their effort. 
2. Toni Morrison - I've always enjoyed Toni Morrison's stuff. I'm a big fan of her recent penned essay for the New Yorker in which she touches on the recent social climate fallout of the election. Just thought provoking stuff - as always. 
3. Andrew Wiggins - This. Enough said. 

3 Down
1. Dakota Pipeline Protest - It's such a shame that even in 2016, we're still finding new ways to marginalize Native American people on the few resources they still have. Even more of a shame is what has occurred during this entire protest duration. 
2. Colin Kapernick - I understand the point and c…

Reactions to Goldberg v. Lesnar | NXT Overrated? | And TNA's Product

I loved the finish to Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg. I loved everything about it. Sure, cue up those who want to play armchair booker rather than just allow themselves to enjoy the moment, regardless, it was the kind of moment only the WWE does best in pro wrestling. 
So why did I love it? Simple. It was unpredictable. In a world where pro wrestling has multiple spoilers, breaking news, and various stories which hurt the surprise factor it once had, I genuinely miss that jaw drop moment. This match was one of them. 
Another reason I loved it is because of how unconventional it was. I am a huge fan of the attempts to promote and present pro wrestling in a different way. Have matches end quick in a rush like that is reminiscent of the adrenaline-style viewing you get from sports, specifically the UFC. Anything can happen in a moment. I've grown to despise how only matches that play along a certain formula that incorporate a few false finishes, including a couple involving finishers, ar…

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 11/20/16

3 Up 
1. Cast of Hamilton - Kudos to the Broadway cast who decided to use their platform with Vice-President-elect Pence in the house to deliver a perfect statement. Regardless of what some will say, the statement was articulately stated, and definitely speaks for many Americans within the country. 
2. WWE Survivor Series Weekend - I'm so happy as a fan to see that Survivor Series has some meaning once again. The WWE delivered big time this weekend with a fun NXT Takeover Show, as well as tonight, with a VERY enjoyable Survivor Series event. How about that Goldberg/Lesnar match, huh? 
2A. Randy Orton - Class act by Orton breaking character for a moment to console Shane McMahon's kid who was ringside after McMahon suffered what looked like an obvious concussion. 
3. Kate Upton - Look, the tweets were funny, but not exactly something kids should see. Regardless, Upton was dead on in that Justin Verlander should have won the AL Cy Young Award. Some think she's out of line, but…

Over Kanye West And Him "Losing His Mind"

When you think Kanye West has lost his mind, he does something that completely makes "losing your mind" seem like an understatement. Post-election, in a time period where the nation is in a tumultuous time, especially, among young people who are attempting to understand what is happening, regardless of what side of the coin they are on, Kanye decides it's the perfect time to take a political stance that reeks of well, Kanye.
So, as he stated at his concert last night, he didn't vote, but he would have voted for Donald Trump. And then followed up that mic bomb with the epic statement of telling black people, "stop focusing on racism." 
Okay, thanks. I'm glad you've decided to take a political stance by not voting. Strike one. 
Telling black people to stop focusing on racism? Strike two and three. Maybe four, five, six, and seven, if possible. Apparently someone has obviously gotten lost in their new privilege.

Would You Rather: Questions 31-40

31. Would you rather Have three kids and no money, or no kids and three times your money?
This might sound weird, but no kids and three times my money sounds like the better, less stressful option. Three kids and no money just seems like an awful predicament where not only do I suffer, but my three kids as well. 
32. Would you rather Be the funniest person in the room or the most intelligent?
Most intelligent. I don't really need, or have ever needed the attention of being the funniest person in the room Knowledge is power. 
33. Would you rather Have a Lamborghini in your garage or a bookcase with 9000 books and infinite knowledge?
Give me the Lambo. There is something fun and intriguing and releasing about the pursuit of knowledge. Plus, 9,000 books sounds super excessive.

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 11/13/16

3 Up 
1. Election Process - I've already said my piece on the election (See here). However, the democratic process on display this past Tuesday should be applauded, especially those in this country who let their voices known that they wanted change within our government. However, you feel, this was done, and this is a silent majority we did not expect. 
2. Van Jones - I've always been a fan of Van Jones as I like his neutral stance regarding the top two political parties, and his constant empathy and feel for those within everyday communities. His response on CNN to a select few arrogant Trump voters on election night, as well as other poignant remarks were welcoming amid an annoying CNN panel on election night. 
3. Conor McGregor - Two championships in two different weight classes? Never been done before? Only McGregor does it. And he did it in the first UFC fight at Madison Square Garden - his style. 

3 Down
1. Election Reaction (Some) - The racist actions and remarks followi…

Pondering Picture #74

In one day, with one election, we're all full of it, or now searching for it.

Reaction to 2016 Presidential Election

So today was interesting, huh? Waking up this morning to the official announcement that President-elect Donald Trump was indeed a reality was jarring. And while the nation made their change, here in New York City, the entire day was quite somber - like, really somber. A classic blue area, many had that same look of disbelief on their faces on the subways and on the streets of the city. It was a classic common thread and talking point for most strangers throughout the day. "I don't know" and the shaking of the head were seen quite frequently. 
So, who did I vote for? I know I promised (as always) to reveal that, and my answer was indeed Hillary Clinton. Why? Quite frankly, I didn't love Clinton, but I found her to be the lesser of the two evils. Trump just never provided any concrete plans for me to find solace in, and if I'm being completely honest with all of you, I find him to be the epitome of white privilege and ideals in America. Just my take, as I'm su…

Dome Pondering Celebrates 1500

Well here we are at 1500 posts. It comes on a pretty awkward day, but nonetheless, we are here. As we await the fate of the country for the next four years, let's celebrate 1500 posts of the DP. Here are my favorite posts over the past one-hundred.
Top Five Posts Over Last 100

1. Thoughts on Kapernick Situation - 8/31/16

2. Thoughts on Terence Crutcher Shooting - 9/21/16

3. Thoughts on Second 2016 Presidential Debate - 10/10/16

4. Prepping to Say Goodbye to A-Rod - 8/9/16

5. Thoughts on 2016 Presidential Race: Post-Conventions - 7/31/16

Election Day Eve 2016 Thoughts - We've Just Been Punk'd, Right?

Well, it all comes down to tomorrow. In just a few hours, I will awake, jump on my bicycle and head to the nearest school to punch my ticket to vote for who I believe should be the next President of the United States, and then well, carry on with my day until an announcement is made later on. That's if, you know, things don't work out for Mr. Trump and he holds up the whole ordeal. I personally am expecting this very scenario for tomorrow night. Just my prediction. And if it happens, oh boy, stay tuned! 
Regardless, on a night like tonight, it's rather weird to think of the road to this very point. For me, this all still doesn't seem real. It feels as if, at some point, somehow, during the coverage tonight, someone tells the American people that we've just been Punk'd. After all, that would explain so much and answer the various question that I have about both candidates sitting here a mere minutes away before midnight.

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 11/6/16

3 Up
1. World Series - What. A. World Series! As much as I loved everything about it, especially that Game 7, it's al bitter sweet knowing I now wait for February to roll around again. But again, wow, everything about this series was fantastic. 
2. Chicago - Kudos to the city of Chicago and all of the Cubs fans. You all very much deserve it. Seeing five million people come out for the parade to set a record for the 7th largest gathering in the world - THE WORLD! - is absolutely amazing. 
3. NYC Marathoners - I can't ever wrap my mind around marathons. I can barely make it through 5 miles. These folks run 26.2 miles! Kudos to both winners, Mary Keitany and Ghirmay Ghebreslassie!
3 Down
1. Trump Threat - Say or feel how you want about Donald Trump and his current bid for President of the United States. But come on, active threats for assassination and otherwise just fuels so many negative thoughts and perceptions. 
2. Non-Voters - People who either 1) Say they are not voting beca…

Chicago Cubs Win 2016 World Series (!!!) What?!

So the Chicago Cubs are the 2016 World Series Champions. Like, for real! I'm not even going to begin to breakdown this epic World Series, or even organize and articulate my thoughts on this historic moment tonight. It's too much. It's just too vast. 
Regardless, I'm thrilled for the city of Chicago, and the loyal - yes, LOYAL - longtime, Cubs fans. I can't even imagine being a fan of a club pressing against 108 years of futility. I'm at seven with the Yankees and I'm already antsy and armchair planning the off-season. And of course, there are my beloved New York Knicks. Ugh. 
All in all, I love baseball. Man, I love this game. What a game. What a series. What a year. I Can't wait for Spring already...

Gone! My Special Fandom for TNA Wrestling

Betrayed is the first word that comes to mind when I currently think about TNA Wrestling, specifically, it's management. This post has nothing to do with the men and women who gave their all in the ring and behind the scenes to help TNA reach it's potential, or at the very least, a viable alternative in the pro wrestling marketplace to the WWE. 
This penned post is about the leadership, namely Dixie Carter, who has allowed a company that many supported for it's original philosophy to deteriorate drastically since 2010. The remarkable difference in status for TNA Wrestling since then measures a stark contrast, and after awhile, fan such as myself who have been there since night one, not just lose faith, but confidence, and eventually, interest. 
I understand the good she has done. TNA doesn't exist with out her. I know the story. I think every pro wrestling fan does. But the questionable business moves over the past few years, the lack of vision for the company, and ov…

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 10/30/16

3 Up
1. Bullpen Use - I love this post season for how the philosophy of baseball bullpens are being used. In my opinion, the idea of labels is rather ridiculous other than "closer". Throw your best arms, even if it's your closer to win the game. Terry Francona and Joe Maddon are definitely managing that way, and it's fantastic to watch. I'm not ready for baseball to end. 
2. Moise Morancy - Give this dude some credit for standing up for a little girl who was being groped by a pervert on a New York City bus. Morancy stopped the man, apprehended him, and kept him at bay until NYPD arrive. Of course, the police placed him in handcuffs as well upon arriving (profile much, America?), but later let him go.
3. Manny Pacquiao - Apparently Pac Man has a fight coming up soon - not sure I'm interested. Boxing needs to do better, but that's for another post, at another time. Regardless, Pac using funds from his Mayweather purse to build homes for 1,000 poor individua…

Would You Rather: Questions #21-30

21. Would you rather live in Harry Potter's world or a life of fame and wealth?
Umm, I have note yet read any of the Harry Potter books or see any of the movies. I know, I know. Though, I've gotten the gist of the film by being around it, and of course, seeing many playing the game of quidditch. With that said - yeaaaaaaaah - give me a life of fame and wealth. Keep your sorcery. 
22. Would you rather date a celebrity of your choice or the hottest person you know?
The hottest person I know. I know them for their physical attractiveness, as well, as for who they are. Win, win. Plus, celebs are nuts. I don't need that type of drama in my life. 
23. Would you rather fly or be able to read minds?
Fly. Reading minds is way to intrusive for me. It removes too much of the mystery that makes life interesting.

Dome Pondering Picture #73

My goodness, the Chicago Cubs are in the World Series!

I was lucky enough to be in Chicago the night the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2015. Walking through the city that night was so much fun. I can't even imagine what tonight, and this weekend must be like. Congrats, Cubs fans. You deserve it. You really, really do.

Pondering Picture #72

I say every freakin April that I should watch more hockey. I decided to really do just that by heading down to the Barclays Center for New York Islanders hockey. Sure, I needed to Google a few rules, question a few calls, and ponder what I would change, but what I know for sure is this - Hockey is 345,872 times more entertaining live than it is on television.

Thoughts on Third 2016 Presidential Debate

Well, this trilogy comes to a close, and for me, I cannot wait. As stated from my last two posts, everything about these debates have been utterly ridiculous. The only word that comes to mind to accurately describe a debate season I geek out over has been this - disaster.
Nonetheless, it's the last one, and to be fair, it was the best one. It really was. For some reason, it was the debate that had the least build, the least drama surrounding it, and one in which both candidates needed to really make their push for election day. 
My goodness, I know we joke about it as a society, but really, one of these two individuals will be President very soon. I still can't wrap my mind around that. 
Nonetheless, here are my quick thoughts on this final debate:

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 10/17/16

3 Up
1. Andrew Miller - Who is hotter than Andrew Miller right now in all of sports? I miss Miller terribly on my team, but watching what he is doing this October for the Tribe is absolutely historic and satisfying. 
2. Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jensen - Both of these dudes have been absolutely tremendous this week by strapping the Dodgers on their backs and pitching some tough innings. From Game 5 of the NLDS, to tonight's Game 2 of the NLCS, both Kershaw and Jensen have been rock solid. 
3. Alec Baldwin and Kate McKinnon - I'm not a huge fan of Alec Baldwin, but the job that he has been doing as Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live has been absolutely tremendous. It's been downright hilarious. Ditto for McKinnon as Hillary Clinton. 
3 Down
1. Second Presidential Debate - What. A. Disaster. Lucky for us, we get debate number three this week. Yay. Ugh. 
2. Tyson Gay's Daughter - Such a sad story to hear about Tyson Gay's daughter, Trinity, who was killed at the youn…

Thoughts on Second 2016 Presidential Debate

Disaster. What an utter, and complete, and ridiculous, and outright embarrassing disaster this second debate was. And here I was, as stated in my thoughts after the first debate, championing this second debate  as the one that should bring some substance to the forefront for this election. I was not only wrong, but this debate completely pushed me further into the abyss in despising this election, and both of these candidates. I'm completely torn, as I want this election to be completely over, but I don't want any of these two anywhere near the title, President of the United States. But, we're going to have to swallow that pill. 
Nonetheless, as always, here are my thoughts on last night's debate:

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 10/9/16

3 Up
1. Madison Bumgarner - Atop the list this week is MadBum who solidified his legacy as the greatest post-season pitcher, ever. Seriously, EVER! His Wild Card game against the Mets was downright ridiculous. Quite frankly, the guy is probably the best big game pitcher I've ever seen in my lifetime. 
2. Baseball Playoffs - You all know I love October. And with the games that have occured, how can anyone deny this sport has the best postseason. Also, kudos to the country of Canada and Blue Jays fans. The Rogers Centre must be a horror for visiting teams. So much energy. 
3. 5 Year Old Not Happy with the UK - Kid's say the darnedest things. And this video is part of that...and some truth involved. Worth the watch for sure. 
3 Down
1. Hurricane Matthew on Haiti - Heartbreaking. Absolutely, heartbreaking. The country of Haiti has endured so much. The country needs help, and needs it fast. 
2. Second Presidential Debate - Disaster. Embarrassing. Ridiculous. I'll leave it at tha…

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 10/2/16

3 Up 
1. Dee Gordon's Home Run - From paying tribute to Jose Fernandez by hitting right handed for the first pitch, to turning to the left side and blasting one out, this moment couldn't even have been scripted. What a really, really cool moment. Baseball is so special in that way. 
2. Homeless Man Rewarded - This is great story. The man who found the New Jersey bombs in the trash helped with acquiring an apartment and a job. I'm always a fan of these humanitarian stories. Especially, one which helps rewards those who may have saved lives with his actions. 
3. Bobby Lashley - With all of the rumors and speculation surrounding TNA, Bound For Glory still happened, and what once Lashley delivered. The dude, right now, is my front runner for Dome Pondering Male Wrestler of the Year. 
3 Down
1. South Carolina School Shooting - What is wrong with us? I have no more words to attempt to navigate these situations. We need to get it together. My heart goes out to the six year old boy…

Can't Go Back to 2002. I Just Can't

In 2002, my love and interest for pro wrestling dwindled. It literally hung from the balance the way we see the Undertaker walk the top rope. Things just weren't as exciting anymore with one brand, one stlye, and one philosophy be presented to and for wrestling fans. Wrestling fans know the story and history, the WWE owned everything, and thus, the urgency and innovation in the industry came to a complete halt. 
Then TNA Wrestling came around for this pro wrestling fan. Unlike many, I've followed the company since night one. For this pro wrestling fan, it helped revitalized a dismal pro wrestling business.
Yet, here we are in 2016, and rumors are rampant about the financial troubles for TNA Wrestling. For the Nashville based company, this marks the fourth year in a row the end of summer has brought controversy, gossip, instability, and sheer concern for fans of the product. In some ways, the cyclical alarm creates a desensitized feeling towards the company which always kicks …

Thoughts on First 2016 Presidential Debate

Well that surely was interesting. Yes, it was highly anticipated, but not for what we expect a Presidential debate to be - to provide voters and the public with an opportunity to gauge and measure the policies, thoughts, prospective actions, and an overwhelming feeling for the empathy of each candidate. 
And quite honestly, as a debate nerd, I very much dislike the cynicism, the cheap hype tactics, and the overwhelming emphasis on "entertainment" this debate has surrounding it. But then again, this presidential race has been nothing but hyperbole, cynicism, and all sorts of nonsense. So yeah, it was expected, and it was surely, well, interesting. 
With that said, last night, we got ourselves the first of four anticipated debates to help us choose who will have the position of leader of the free world. Here are some quick thoughts on last night's first presidential debate:

Pondering Picture #71

Life is way too short.

#JDF16

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 9/25/16

3 Up
1. Betty Shelby Booked - It's only justice served that this woman was charged with murder for her actions against Terence Crutcher. Those who are claiming otherwise have political agendas or are just not privy to the understanding of what has been going on in our country for years, decades, even, centuries. That Terence Crutcher video is still horrifying. 
2. Eduardo Perez - Kudos to Eduardo Perez in keeping his emotions together well and long enough to really educate and drive home the person - not the player - that Jose Fernandez was this morning. The story he shared about Fernandez jumping overboard to save a stranger when defecting to America, only to find out it was his mother was just crazy. Fernandez is gone way too young. 
3. Jason Brown - Brown quite playing football at the age of 29 with $25 million in the bank and has since been running a farm to help feed those in need. Much respect to Brown who chose to get his money, and get away from the possible long-term ailm…

Thoughts on Terence Crutcher Shooting

I originally intended to share some feelings on the latest wrongful death of a black man in this country, but right before punching the keys on this post, I immediately held the backspace button and deleted my opening thoughts. 
Why? 
Because, quite frankly, it's becoming exhausting to empty my soul on such a topic - again. After all, what is there left to say in which we haven't seen, read, felt, or reacted to over the past thirty or so months. After every situation similar to this (you know the names), we follow up with the outrage, the discussions, and then something comes along that provides a convenient discourse to bury the lead. 
In a new layer in this latest spin, is the protest of that of Colin Kaepernick. To spare you the retro-feelings, you can read my thoughts on that here. But I will follow up on those thoughts by finding it very, very powerful the way his protest has spread to others, and now with another death of this kind, how it leaves those who have criticiz…

Dome Pondering Movie Review: The Fits (2015)

What is it about? 

Toni, a little girl training at a boxing gym becomes enamored with dance. As she struggles to fit in and to pick up the routines, the group begins to suffer from fainting and violent spells.

Who is in it?

Royalty Hightower - Toni

Alexis Neblett - Breezy

Dome Pondering Movie Review: Zootopia (2016)

What is it about?
A rookie bunny cop and perceived con-artist fox end up working together to uncover  conspiracy and preserve the right of an existence where all animals live together. 
Who is in it?
Ginnifer Goodwinn - Judy Hopps
Jason Bateman - Nick Wilde

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 9/11/16

3 Up 
1. 15th Anniversary of 9/11 - Never Forget. It's as simple as that. 
2. Tim Tebow - I touched on this a little bit this week (I Admire Tim Tebow), and I'll again give credit to Tebow. He just signed a minor league contract at the age of twenty-nine. Say what you want, but the guy chases dreams despite his critics. 
3. Travis Rudolph - After sitting with Bo Paske during his lunch in a photo that went viral last week, Rudolph followed up on this by giving Paske a personalized Seminole's jersey. This has been such a great story. 
3 Down
1. North Dakota Pipeline - Where is the media coverage on this? Like the in-depth coverage to inform viewers of what this is really about? Unbelievable. And of course, nothing like continuing the marginalization of Native Americans in their own land. Ugh...America, sometimes. 
2. Kaepernick Opposers - I still don't understand the viewpoint of those who wish Kaepernick to have "done it differently". Going even further, what w…

I Admire Tim Tebow

So Tim Tebow is playing baseball. Even more accurate is this little nugget - Tim Tebow is a player inside the New York Metropolitans' organization. Yeeeeeeeah, I'm not sure I've wrapped my mind around that fact as of yet, either. 
Despite his dorky look during his tryouts which begged "I'm a baseball player!!", what I will say is this, I admire Tim Tebow. I really, really do. Even on a day like today where he signs a professional baseball contract, many are lashing out in cynicism towards him and towards the Mets organization. And of course, there are those who find an avenue in which to mock Tebow for his faith. Apparently, having faith and spiritual convictions in today's America makes you an outcast, or subject for ridicule. Whatevs, another topic for another day.

Dome Pondering Movie Review: Demolition (2015)

What is it about?

After the death of his wife, a man comes to the realization of breaking down his life, the lies that supported it, and reclaiming his true happiness through the help of a customer service rep and her son.

Who is in it?

Jake Gyllenhaal - Davis

Naomi Watts - Karen

Would You Rather: Questions Answered #11-20

11. Would you rather spend three weeks cleaning the bathrooms at LAX or spend 48 hours under observation in a psychiatric ward?
I would probably prefer to spend the three weeks cleaning the bathrooms at LAX. 48 hours under observation really can be damaging, and quite frankly, if it's in isolation, that would be a nightmare. At least at LAX there is a silver lining experience that could come out of that work. 
12. Would you rather get married through an arranged marriage or spend the rest of your life being single and never dating anyone?
Arranged marriage. That may sound crazy, but there are at least some odds of liking the person you are set up with. Heck, it might even be a hit. Being single and never dating, really, never sharing life with anyone - that's absolutely zero odds. I'll take my chances with the arranged marriage.

Thoughts on Kaepernick Protest Situation

So when did expressing your first amendment right suddenly become un-American? 
Look, many are going to flare up in anger on either side of the fence, much the way they already have, in reading this post - if you choose to do so. But the recent Colin Kaepernick situation has me flustered, confused, baffled, and quite frankly, a bit amused. 
 - Returning to my opening statement, when did taking a neutral position on sitting for the national anthem suddenly become an expression of hate for one's country? Again, I have yet to understand why many are lashing out against Kap for expressing the very right which makes us American in the first amendment?
- I find the "insult to the military" argument to be utterly weak and ridiculous. Why are American's always so hell bent on rating, grading, and declaring the level of someone else's patriotism? We're always looking for an unmarked box to quickly scream, "NOT AMERICAN!". More on that in a bit.

2016 Bucket List #8 - Visit Angel Stadium

The very last of this West Coast adventure and baseball stadium visits was Angel Stadium in Anaheim. Much like Dodger Stadium, I've been there before, but this was the first time I had the opportunity to enter the stadium. In fact, much like my visit to Safeco Field, I had the opportunity to take a tour of the stadium, including the opportunity to sit in the dugout - an experience that is always awesome for any fan. 
Angel Stadium, much like Dodger Stadium, is from a different area. It's old, and shows the scars from the days when 60,000 multi-purpose stadiums were the rage. Yet, much like the stadium over in Los Angeles, Angel Stadium is beautifully renovated with the rocks, the big "A" and a picturesque outfield that makes it significant.

2016 Bucket List - #7 Visit Dodger Stadium

For the amount of Dodgers games I watch late at night during the summer, visiting Dodger Stadium almost feels like a must for me. In fact, in some odd way, I know wayyyyyyy too much about Dodger baseball. But whatevs...
Nonetheless, on my West Coast adventure, I visited Dodger Stadium for the second time, this being the first time inside the stadium. The first time, I walked around the ol' stadium that sits atop Chavez-Revine. This time, I attended a game, an important game for West Coast baseball fans - Dodgers vs. Giants. 
The first thing you will notice about Dodger Stadium is that it has the biggest freakin parking lot for any baseball stadium I've ever been to. No seriously, EVER. But then again, this is Los Angeles we are talking about. The city where everyone drives by themselves.

2016 Bucket List - #6 Visit Petco Park

I'm going to jump right into it. PETCO Park is underrated. Yes, it is so highly underrated. As an avid baseball fan, rarely do you hear of the ballpark in San Diego being a must-visit. In fact, I feel like PETCO Park has gone unnoticed as the gem that it is.
OK, sure, they had the All-Star Game this year, and it had it's moment in the sun, however, again, PETCO Park is underrated. 
First and foremost, the overall architecture of San Diego is fantastic. The majority of PETCO Park is outdoors. The concourses are outdoors. The buildings itself is wide open. And quite frankly, with San Diego weather, it's a tremendous idea. There something overly unique and awesome about this feature. Baseball was meant to be outdoors, and PETCO Park really drives that home.

2016 Bucket List - #5 Visit AT&T Park

So I finally got to AT&T Park. Widely held as one of the crown jewels in Major League Baseball, this ballpark was among the many on my bucket list to visit. Honestly, it was at the top of the list. After visiting staying in San Francisco for three days in a long two-week West Coast trip, AT&T was a must, and I did it. 
Luckily, my ticket on this very day gave me the pitching matchup of Madison Bumgarner vs. Jacob deGrom and all the goodness that comes with that match up. Besides, that bunch of goodness, AT&T Park lived up to the hype.

Pondering Picture #70

I pulled over to take this picture on a road trip from Santa Maria to Long Beach, California. I had to pull over. It didn't seem real. It still doesn't.

2016 Bucket List - #4 Visit San Francisco

Well, if you haven't figured it out by now, the tag team partner and I are on a West Coast trip that is serving as our well-deserved, and very much needed, vacation. After spending three days in Seattle, we hopped aboard a Virgin America flight to San Francisco. Sorry, Portland, we'll have to get you another time. 
Also, if you've never had a flight aboard Virgin America, I would recommend you do so. Everything about the airlines is completely different than the others. From the staff wearing t-shirts, to the mood lighting on the plane, right down to the music video for your safety precautions, everything screams "we're so hip" about this airline. 
With all of that said, here are some quick tidbits on San Francisco, California:

2016 Bucket List - #3 Visit Seattle, Washington

Never have I ever been to the Pacific Northwest. Ever. But hey, there is always a first time. Hence why, visiting Seattle makes the bucket list posting. And after spending three adventurous and exploratory days, I came to appreciate the beauty of the city, and what makes it so special. With all of that said, here are some quick thoughts on Seattle: 
- As I said before, Seattle is beautiful. The landscape of the region is fantastic from the mountains, to the water, to the tremendous amounts of trees that cover the city. I can't say it enough, the region, the city, and the entire area is absolutely fantastic. 
- Following up on the prior thought, is that of Mount Rainier. The idea that this vast mountain hangs over the city, and can be seen in the landscape and the horizon is majestic. Easily, one of my favorite parts of the city.

2016 Bucket List - #2 Visit Safeco Field

Continuing my Seattle adventure, you knew I couldn't visit a new city, especially one with a Major League Baseball team, and NOT go to the stadium! And, neither did my tag team partner. She knew exactly what was on the list to see in Seattle - Safeco Field. 
Much to my annoyance, the Mariners weren't in town, but we did do the stadium tour which was just fantastic. Everyone in Seattle really is super nice in a weird chill way. And our tour guide was the same way, of course picking on my Yankee fandom as I rocked a sweet dad style Yankee hat in the home of the Mariners. 
Of course, the tour begins where it all turned for better for the city of Seattle and the Mariners - the double. Now even before the tour, I explained to my wife the heartache a 10 year old me went through watching Jack McDowell give up a scorching line drive down the right field line to Edgar Martinez, and having to feel me heart bottom out second by second as Griffey rangallopedflew moved with some type of s…

2016 Bucket List - #1 Attend a Seattle Sounders Game

It's safe to say that the Pacific Northwest and their love for soccer is awesome. In many ways, it puts the fandom of the rest of the country to shame. Especially, when you hear from specific Americans that "soccer isn't a big deal". Psssssshh, again, come out to the Northwest. 
After landing here in Seattle, I immediately showered, changed clothes, and headed down to Century Link Field for a life long bucket list of mine - attend a Seattle Sounders Game. 
As a fan of the New Red Bulls, a fandom in it's own right which has a nice following, this didn't compare. Not even close. The city of Seattle and the Sounders are so intertwined, so a part of one another, that it's hard to even compare this type of atmosphere, civic pride, and fandom for other Major League Soccer teams, heck, maybe even teams within the "four major sports".

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 8/14/16

3 Up
1. Simone Manuel - What else can be said about Simone Manuel? Her accomplishments this past week in earning gold far surpasses just athletic dominance and amazement. It's empowering, moving, inspiring, and yes, a long way from pools being drained because blacks touched the pool water. 
2. USA Swimming - Obviously, there was Manuel, but of course, there was Michael Phelps who  might beleive is part fish. Maybe one hundred percent fish, just in a human's body. And then there is Katie Ledecky, who well, might be a fish too. And kudos to Lily King who stood up against doping. Loved that personal conviction shining through. 
3. "The Final Five" - These girls were amazing in their dominance in gymnastics. I don't know a lick about gymnastics, and it was easy to see the sheer brilliance and one-of-a-kind special-ness that was n display. 
3 Down
1. Thai Explosions - In a world where it's becoming evident that nowhere is safe, Surat Thani was struck by a wave of b…