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Back of a Church - Revived and Confused

Last week, I found myself in the back of a church service. For the first time in years, I was seated in God’s house. It was redeeming. It was joyous. It was uplifting. It was long overdue. It was also conflicting. Very conflicting. This moment was a culmination of the see-saw contention that has been the road traveled by my heart and soul since my last time present with a congregation. A lot has happened since that last time, and as I’m sure you’ve experienced, the world has endured and changed quite a bit since then too.  I’ve maintained my faith through that entire time. Though, it did wane and weigh throughout moments, periods, happenings, and various reflections. We all have our struggles. There were moments I failed. And others where I've held on steadfastly. Regardless, it continued as a vital source of my existence - my faith, my substance for being, and my purpose for existing.
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Celebrating 37 with Gratitude

I sit here quite unsure how to celebrate a birthday this year - though, it's not something I've always done. I leave that to my wife and now, my son, to create that spectacle that I'm unable to drum up. However, I've always had some reflection on each year, and each new "age" or trip around the sun completed. Thirty-seven successful trips, and on this day, today, my birthday, I just can't seem to find the words that resonate with how I feel, or simply, to feel.  For starters, there is the idea that forever, my birthday, May 25th, will always be linked with the death of George Floyd. That's heavy enough. And then there is this year, just yesterday, the horrific events of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. That is the only thing really at the center of my thoughts, emotions, and concerns. It's challenging to pull myself out to be a focus under the current climate.  But if I tried to mesh the feelings of the current times as well as look inward,

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 5/22/22

3 Up 1. NY Times Investigative Series on Haiti - The history of Haiti is such a complex (and unfortunate) one. Really, it's a story that goes untold, specifically for the context of how the country is viewed. From being forced to pay operations to enslavers (yeah, you read that right), to so many other historical setbacks - including American interventions - the nation's history is so well laid out in this latest NY Times piece. I urge you to give it a read.  2. Equal Pay for US Women's Soccer Team - Kudos to US Soccer on coming around to giving the USWNT their due - equal pay for prize money from the World Cup. It's a start, and more importantly, it's a push forward for women's sports that do in fact push the needle in comparison, or more so, to their male counterparts.  3. Kate McKinnon - Random "UP" here, but I'm doing it anyway...A few SNL usuals are rumored to be walking away, including Kate McKinnon. The show obviously doesn't carry the

Dome Pondering Movie Review: All the Bright Places

What is it about?  Two troubled teenagers meet and change each other's lives for the better - working through their past, and their demons, the two find meaning in the smallest and simplest of places.  Who is in it?  Elle Fanning - Violet Markey Justice Smith - Theodore Finch

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 5/15/22

3 Up 1. California Church Heroes - It's soooooooo weird that the top spot is a result of something so horrific as our ongoing domestic terrorism problem of mass shootings. Still, the courage shown by the five members who stopped the shooter deserves it. Those individuals tackled the shooter and tied him up with an electric cord, while wounded.  It's so tough to fathom that those possibilities are within the realm of your Sunday worship, within the sanctity of your church.  But such is America... 2. Olivia Rodrigo & Drake - Rodrigo continues to reap rewards on an excellent album in 2021 as she topped the Billboard Music Awards with seven awards. There was also Drake who I'm beginning to sense we won't really appreciate his body of work until he's near the end of his career. But yeah, Drake poured in a few more for the legacy debates and discussions.

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 5/8/22

3 Up 1. Mother's Day - It's a day for mothers everywhere, and really, since becoming a dad, I've advocated that it should be an entire weekend. But ah well - Happy Mother's Day to all of the moms out there - past, present, and subbing in. And of course, Thank You!  2. NHL Playoffs - I've really gotten into hockey over the past two weeks, especially, the Rangers/Penguins series. Honestly, in my opinion, the Turner deal might just be the best thing the NHL has ever done. From the production to the in-studio crew, the product is immensely better - and easier to locate.  3. Pusha T - After over 20 years in the industry, rapper Pusha T finally landed a number 1 album with It's Almost Dry . Following a well-publicized battle with Drake, one in which he outed the mega-star for hiding his son (or you know, it was Drake just hiding the world from his son, yada yada), Pusha follows it up with a solid album, one that is a favorite of mine thus far in 2022. Kudos to Pusha. 

Dope Sports Threads - Nike City Connect Series (Kansas City Royals)

The Kansas City Royals' City Connect uniforms were a design that I wholeheartedly looked forward to. The Royals' current uniforms and aesthetics are some of the best in baseball, and for a city like Kansas City, it just feels like there was enough room creatively to do something historically enlightening (more so something many do not already know about the city), or a simple approach that builds off of the current design.  To be honest, it may sound simple, but the use of "blue" by the Royals is fantastic.  What we got is a concept that continued the awesome blue approach, with a design concept that is just as cool as their everyday threads. However, where I feel disappointed is the safe approach to this. I would have loved to see them lean into the rich history of the Negro Leagues that is Kansas City - a team (and city) able to do so more than others. That could have been really cool, enriching, meaningful, and somewhat different from the norm - maybe even an ode t

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 5/1/22

3 Up 1. Harvard Statement on Enslavement Past - We're currently in a world where dealing with slavery and oppression and all that it was in the past has created further division of the present, as well as ideals to move forward. We're all still trying to figure that out, but as we do, props are given to those who do it without the trendiness of the gesture.  Harvard can be slammed for a whole lot in this arena, but they get the top spot this week for taking steps in a major way - just admitting its connection - is a great start.  2. "Out of Pandemic" Phase - The world surely feels as "normal" as it's felt in a long time. While Dr. Facui's comments were well...confusing and required some cleaning up, the gesture is very much understood - we ain't that bad anymore! Things are definitely not going to snap back to pre-2020, but it definitely feels as close to non-pandemic-ish as it ever has.

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 3/24/22

3 Up 1. Peres Jepchirchir & Evans Chebet - I'm always amazed at the accomplishment of marathon runners, especially those that win. The times are still so impressive. Congratulations to both Jepchirchir and Chebet on their victories at the Boston Marathon.  2. Red Wolf Pups - An odd "up" for this week, sure. Regardless, I very much appreciate the story of a rare species on the brink of extinction suddenly finding hope in the birth of four babies in the wild. IT just gives me hope that our world isn't teetering on the brink of the worst. 

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 4/17/22

3 Up 1. Easter Weekend - I love Easter weekend for the mere sentiment of what it represents - the death of Christ and of course, the resurrection on Sunday. Not big on the Bunny guy, but eh, what are you going to do?  Also, Happy Passover and Ramadan to those who celebrate within those faiths.  2. Brooklyn Residents - Not only did Brooklyn residents display resolve after the shooting that occurred on Wednesday, but five residents helped lead police to the suspect. I'm biased as a native Brooklynite, but the spirit of the city following moments like this is powerful. Props to those individuals who led the police to the suspect.  3. Amazon Union - A couple of weeks ago I shared this development in the "Interesting" section for the SSR. However, now I'm giving it an "up" as union discussion have now permeated throughout various Amazon warehouses. I'm not pro-union (or even anti-union), I simply find the entire ordeal to be fascinating. One worker grinding a

Dope Sports Threads - Nike City Connect Series (Houston Astros)

Ok, I'll try to keep all snarky comments about "cheating" out of this review. Because really, the Astros really have a VERY cool concept here for their City Connecti uniforms.  Houston and its ties to NASA and everything space exploration made this such an easy concept for Nike to move towards. I think what really makes this design so awesome is the ability to take the current color scheme and designs and turn it up a notch giving the Astros a very space-theme feel, but also, one that also comes off extremely futuristic.  There are several elements of this design that really work for me. The first is a minor element, but the biggest one is the gradient use of blue and orange throughout the uniform. From the piping on the front of the jerseys to the socks to the font on the back of the jerseys - and the minor tidbits in between - all of it is really well done. 

Sunday Sundown Rundown - 4/10/22

3 Up 1. Ketanji Brown Jackson - The new Supreme Court Justice is a win for black and brown girls everywhere. Representation matters.  2. Women's College Basketball Ratings - I'm giving the women's tournament its due as it garnered the highest television ratings ever for the national championship game in eighteen years. And that was head-to-head with the Grammys! Spare me the "women's sports don't draw" tired narrative. Invest in women's sports, period.  3. Baseball Returns - Sure, the sport bothered fans over the winter with its ugly and insulting labor spat. However, it's back, and that's cool.  3 Down 1. Ukraine Images - Unfortunately, I had to put the ongoing acts in Ukraine back in the tops spot. Have you seen some of the images coming out of the country? For me, it was the image of parents writing children's information (i.e. names, details of eating habits, etc...) on their backs - on their backs! - in anticipation of being separated

Predictions and Wild Guesses for the 2022 MLB Season

Adrian Kraus  |  Credit: AP It's been quite the past few weeks for baseball fans. From being ultimately disgruntled with everything about the sport's status when labor negotiations felt insulting and dismissive of the baseball fan, to the emotion that surfaced to your team's transactions in the flurry of moves that was the "off-season". Some Hot Stove... I'm happy baseball will be played. Who isn't? I'm glad they figured something out. However, there still is a part of me that wonders, what truly was resolved? Heading into this season, only a handful of teams are legit contenders, and even more depressing is the gap increased as some have all but said, "we'll try again in 2023." I'm trying to stay positive... There's also the desecration that is the left-field wall in beautiful Oriole Park in Camden Yards ! Ugh. Regardless, we'll get baseball this summer. I'll take it.  As is tradition, here are my wacky predictions for t

Dope Sports Threads - Nike City Connect Series (Washington Nationals)

Nike returns for the 2022 MLB season for its second round of the MLB City Connect Series. Hopefully, this year, the shock of seeing your favorite team in some modern threads calms the classic don't-change-anything-ever fanbase that seems to engulf baseball. Despite the reaction, the Nationals lead off the 2022 campaign and it was definitely a great choice to go in this direction.  First, kudos to Nike for not going the lazy route of injecting some red, white, and blue design, or albeit, something patriotic-themed. Sometimes, when it comes to teams from the Capital, it's as if Washington D.C. has no other character but being the Nation's capital. Going with the Cherry Blossoms is not only enlightening but a really cool theme.  Pink isn't often used in color threads in sports. So to see the cherry blossoms represented by pink accompanied by the dark grey tone of the uniform is super unique and extremely exclusive. That subtle design of the flowers on the jerseys as a patt

Wrestlemania 38 (Sunday) Review: "Overall Fun, Overall Entertainment"

At times, I had no idea of what I just watched. I mean that in a good way, and at times, in a bad way, and in various moments, in a really awesome way. Wrestlemania Night 2 was just more of the same theme from Night 1 - overall fun, overall entertainment.  Wrestlemania 38 (Saturday) Review: "Just Fun" Wrestling reviews by fans can often be harsh, cynical, and tough. Wrestling fans demand a lot, especially when it comes to wanting a level of satisfaction from the product in front of them. I'm not sure where you are in terms of the entire argument of "Sports Entertainment" vs. "Professional Wrestling" philosophy clash, but what I realized tonight is that no one out-Sports-Entertains the WWE.  Wrestlemania Sunday, and really the entire event, wasn't a wrestling in-ring masterpiece, but surely was entertaining. Philosophy be damned! I enjoyed my time on the couch devoted to this event, and quite frankly, that's all you can ask for.