Friday, October 31, 2014

CELEBRITY FRIDAY: Serena Ends Year At #1 For 4th Time

Serena Williams has ended the year at #1 for the fourth time in her career (2002, 2009, 2013 and 2014), and in fact she spent the entire calendar year as the top player in the world.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

QUEER QUOTE: Apple CEO Tim Cook Comes Put Publicly

Tim Cook, the chief executive officer of Apple, has finally publicly acknowledged what many people have known for quite awhile: he is an openly gay man. In a first-person essay published today in Bloomberg Businessweek Cook says:

 Being gay has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority and provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups deal with every day. It’s made me more empathetic, which has led to a richer life. It’s been tough and uncomfortable at times, but it has given me the confidence to be myself, to follow my own path, and to rise above adversity and bigotry. It’s also given me the skin of a rhinoceros, which comes in handy when you’re the CEO of Apple.
With openly gay Cook as its head Apple has been quite successful, and has flirted with becoming the largest market capitalization of any US corporation in recent years.

Congratulations, Mr. Cook!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

GODLESS WEDNESDAY: Oklahoma's Ten Commandments Monument Destroyed By Vandal

This news story about the destruction of a monument of the Ten Commandments at the Oklahoma State Capitol caught my eye. There are multiple interesting aspects of the story, in my opinion. The very first was: Oklahoma has a monument to the Ten Commandments on state property? How is that legal? The second one was, "Good for you, vandal, for ending this violation of church-state separation, although I do not approve of your methods." Third was, I wonder who did it?"

It turns out the person who did it is not a godless heathen, but a different kind of crazy person. According to KFOR:
OKLAHOMA CITY – A man has been taken in for mental evaluation after allegedly vandalizing the Ten Commandments monument at the Oklahoma State Capitol. 
U.S. Secret Service Agents say it all started after a man walked into the Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City Friday morning making strange threats against the President and Federal Government.
Agents say he then admitted to them that he crashed his car into the Ten Commandments monument at the Capitol, then left his damaged car and walked to the Federal Building.
The Secret Service says the man told them that Satan made him crash his car into the statue.
He also told agents that Satan told him to urinate on the statue.
According to investigators, the man says he is bipolar and had been off his medication for quite some time.
Interestingly the ACLU and the Satanists both condemned the man's actions, with the ACLU saying it was "outraged at this apparent act of vandalism" while the Satanic Temple says it still wants a monument next to the Ten Commandments one,"we want it to compliment and contrast the Ten Commandments, with both standing unmolested as a testament to American religious freedom and tolerance."

Wouldn't it just be easier if we followed the law and legal principle that the state shall not endorse or promote any religion by refusing to enact monuments with clear religious meanings on state property maintained by taxpayer funds? I'm jus' saying...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

TENNIS TUESDAY: Serena, Federer, Murray Win Titles; Ivanovic To Rise To World #5

Long May She Reign
Serena Williams ended her 2014 like she did the last three years: she won the last major of the year (the US Open) and also won the season-ending championships. This year she beat Simona Halep 6-3 6-0 to confirm her status as the #1 player in the world for 2014, surprisingly, she has only achieved the year-end #1 ranking three times before: 2002, 2009 and 2013. It's pretty incredible that at age 33 Serena is playing some of her best tennis and 2015 look like it could be a great year. (I expect her to win at least two majors).

Ivanovic Ends Year Ranked World #5; Most Wins On Tour With 58
While Serena is not exactly dominating the WTA Tour one thing that makes the women's tennis interesting to watch is the changing cast of characters who keep trying to challenge for the top of the game: Victoria Azarenka (injured), Li Na (retired), Maria Sharapova, Petra Kvitova, Genie Bouchard, Simona Halep and now Ana Ivanovic. Ivanovic had a fantastic 2014, winning more matches on tour than anyone else (58), six more than Serena. She will be rewarded by ending the year at #5 in the World, her first time in the true elite of women's tennis since 2009. If she has solved her issues with mental toughness then Ivanovic has the game to challenge for majors in 2015.

Federer Wins Basel For 6th Time And Has World #1 In Sight
Federer played in his 11th final in his home town of Basel Switzerland this weekend and won his 6th title there, easily beating David Goffin 6-2 6-2. It was only Goffin's 3rd loss in his last 46 matches played (generally at smaller events on tour). The title was Federer's 82nd tour title, placing him 3rd on the all time list, behind Ivan Lendl's 94 (which I think Federer has a pretty good chance of reaching if he retires in 2016) and Jimmy Connors' incredible 109. He has an overall record of 82-41 in tour finals. More importantly, Djokovic is defending 2500 points in the next two tournaments. Federer has to earn 500 more points than Djokovic to become #1, that would probably entail beating him in atleast one of those finals, or Djokovic failing to reach one of the finals.

Murray Wins Match After Saving 5 Match Points Against Robredo. Again!
Andy Murray basically secured his place at the ATP World Tour Finals in London by winning his second title in as many weeks by defeating a Spanish dirtballer. The Scot won his 31st career titles (out of 45 finals) by coming back from 5 match points down to beat Tommy Robredo in one of the best matches of the year 3-6 7-6(7) 7-6(8). With Nadal's season over and Murray currently at #5 on the list he is almost certain to qualify for London as long as he wins a match at the Paris Masters this week. This was Robredo's reaction at the net when the match was over:

Monday, October 27, 2014

EYE CANDY: Kyle Goffney

Kyle Goffney is a 25-year-old model living in Los Angeles who is 6-feet tall and weighs 175 pounds, according to his ModelMayhem profile page. There he also discusses his racial background, claiming to be "3/4 African-American and 1/4 Thai." He has Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. Kyle has been a Man Crush Model of the Day. I think you all can see why!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

2014 WTA YEC: Serena Routs Halep To Win 3rd Consecutive YEC; 5th Of Career

Serena Williams got quick revenge for her bad loss earlier in the week to Simona Halep by winning the 2014 WTA Year-Ending Championship final 6-3 6-0. Serena's win means that she has won the year-ending championship three consecutive years and five times in her career (2001 d. Lindsay Davenport (walkover), 2009 d. Venus Williams, 2012 d. Maria Sharapova, 2013 d. Li Na and 2014). She is now tied with Stefi Graf with the number of year-ending championships but is behind Martina Navratilova's eight. She also matches Monica Seles' feat of winning three consecutive year-ending championships. It is Serena's 64th career title.

Serena ends the year 52-8, a surprisingly large number of losses for the World #1, including an improbable 3 losses this year to Alize Cornet, but notably none to World #2 Maria Sharapova (whom she has not lost to in over a decade) or last year's rival Victoria Azarenka.

However, the most important aspect of her tennis year was that she won another major, her 18th at the US Open in September, tying her with Chris Evert and Navratilova. 2015 will be all about breaking that tie and trying to reach Graf's seemingly unsurmountable 22 majors before she retires.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Nadal Loses To 17-Year-Old Coric; Ends Season; Will Miss Paris and London

Well, well, well! We first mentioned 17-year-old Croatian Borna Coric's name here a few weeks ago as a potential heir to the throne of "hottest guy on ATP Tour" but I had no idea we would be discussing him again so soon. With his stunning defeat of Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals of the Swiss Indoors in Basel, Coric gave Nadal the final push out the door to end his injury-plagued season. Nadal lost 6-2 7-6(4) and then announced he had scheduled his delayed appendicitis surgery for November 3rd and would be skipping the ATP Paris Masters and the ATP World Tour Finals in London.
'It's the day to say goodbye to the season,'' Nadal said. ''It's been a very hard year for me, mentally and physically. I'm not going to play Paris and London, I'm not competitive enough for that. I need to do the surgery for my appendix and I need to work on my back.''I need five weeks of rest and I want to have one month to try to work as much as I can to be ready for 2015. The only way to work on being fit is to be healthy. I need to fix all the things in my body first.''
Although 2014 was a mediocre year overall for Nadal he still won a major (his record 9th French Open) so there's no reason to shed any tears for him! Nadal's departure from the tour should turn the focus on the battle between father of four Roger Federer and brand-new dad Novak Djokovic for the year-end #1 ranking. If Federer beats David Goffin tomorrow in the finals of Basel he will be a mere 500 points behind the World #1 as they both play the Paris and London tournaments.  Nadal's departure also means that it is more likely Andy Murray will qualify for the big show in London, and possible re-enter the conversation at the top of men's tennis.

Things could get interesting down the final stretch of the tennis season!


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