Tuesday, November 24, 2015

TENNIS TUESDAY: Djokovic's Amazing 2015: $21.6M, 11 Titles, 82W-6L

Novak Djokovic, 28, ended his amazing 2015 season by surprisingly defeating Roger Federer 6-3 6-4 in the finals of the ATP World Tour Finals in London, cementing his domination over the rest of the field. It was Djokovic's 11th tournament win of 2015 and he reached the final of 15 of the 16 tournaments he played in 2015. The win, along with bonuses for remaining World #1 for the entire calendar year means that he earned $21,646,145 in prize money in 2015, the most ever. (In fact, it is more prize money than Andy Roddick earned in his entire career!)

Djokovic has been at the top of men's tennis since 2011, and this is demonstrated by the fact that he has won the season-ending championship for the fourth consecutive year. In this year's tournament he finally lost a match, but it was in the round-robin format so he was still able to qualify for the semifinals an d get revenge in the final. During this tournament Djokovic evened out his rivalry with both Rafael Nadal (23-apiece) and Federer (22-apiece). It seems more likely than not that the Serb will end his career with leads against both these champions since both Federer's and Nadal's peaks are definitely behind them but Djokovic's may still be yet to come.

Djokovic won 27 of 28 grand slam matches in 2015 and went 82-6 overall, winning 93.2% of all matches he played. This chart puts his remarkable 2015in the context of some of the best years of all time:

It is very possible if Djokovic has another 2-3 years at the level he is currently playing at and no one else emerges to challenge his dominance that he will be in the conversation for greatest player of all time, especially if his current major haul of 10 titles gets into the mid-teens. His number of Masters Shields titles is already impressive (he won 6 of 9 in 2015) and now is just 1 behind Nadal's record total of 27.

Of course, I still think Federer has the edge in any conversation about the Greatest of all Time because he not only has 17 major titles (the most ever) but also has been at or near the top of men's tennis for well over a decade (2003). Djokovic won his first major title in 2008 so he has until about 2018 to see how many more majors he can get, but I would not be surprised if it was in the 14-16 range. He currently is 10-8 in major finals (but he has won 3 of 4 he played in 2015, including 2 consecutive Wimbledon finals against Federer) while Federer is 17-10 and Nadal is 14-6. Ultimately, it will be his final record in these historic matches that will determine his place in the pantheon of tennis greats.

Monday, November 23, 2015

EYE CANDY: Billy Brown (a.k.a. "Nate Lahey" on #HTGAWM)

Billy Brown is an African-American actor appearing on ABC television show How To Get Away With Murder which stars Viola Davis (for which she won an Emmy this year for her portrayal of Annalise Keating in Season 1). Brown plays Dtective Nate Lahey, who is one of Annalise's love interests (the other is a woman played by Famke Janssen!). There is not much information on Brown's physical statistics like age, height and weight. (Although his IMDB page does list him as 6-foot-2½ inches tall.

There are some crazy good looking people on How To Get Away With Murder, but Brown more than holds his own. Previously we featured another handsome guy from the show, Kendrick Sampson, as Eye Candy, on November 9, 2015. Brown has an incredibly chiseled body but for some reason it is quite difficult to find good pictures of him online. And by good, I mean pictures of him showing off some skin! Almost all of the images here are from the show, and even though his character has disrobed several times for some reason there aren't very many good shots of those scenes available either.  The best I could find is given here:

I can't believe I am the only person to notice what a banging body Mr. Brown has. His role appears to be getting bigger as Season 2 continues (last week's Season 2 mid-season finale was wild) so hopefully, we will literally see more of him in the future.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

FILM REVIEW: The Martian

The book The Martian by Andy Weir is a publishing phenomenon, widely regarded as one of the best (and probably the best-selling) science fiction books of 2014. When I discovered that the movie adaptation was being directed by Ridley Scott (Alien, Prometheus, Gladiator) and starring Matt Damon as Mark Watney this film jumped to the top of my want-to-see list for 2015.

The Other Half and I saw it with another gay couple at our go-to place for watching movies in the theater, Arclight Pasadena. Since we saw it opening weekend the film has gone on to become a box-office smash (and is currently the #6  top-grossing film released in 2015, with well over $200 million in receipts in North America) as well as a critical smash, with 93% positive ratings at rottentomatoes.com from both critics and audiences. Director Ridley Scott is starting to appear on Best Director Oscar consideration lists.

I read the book at the end of 2014 and enjoyed it, but was not overwhelmingly enthusiastic about it. I actually think the movie is a better (more entertaining) version of the story. The cast is incredible. Jeff Daniels, Sean Bean and Chiwetel Ejiofor play bigwigs at NASA with Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara and Michael Peña as fellow astronauts on a Mars mission with Matt Damon. Donald Glover has a key role as a quirky NASA astrophysicist.

The movie is centered around science and the importance (and dangers) that are involved with space exploration and scientific progress. I complained to my fellow moviegoers that despite the centrality of science (especially, botany, biology, physics, astronomy and mathematics) to the plot there is not a single equation displayed in the film. They pointed out that for the vast majority of people who go to see the film, including a mathematical equation would be communicating something similar to including Chinese characters in the film. In other words, the symbols would have almost no inherent meaning to the audience, and would be communicating information that the audience is not intended to understand. I see their point, but I still think the filmmakers could have done a better job of indicating the mathematical calculations that must have occurred while all the science and engineering was being done to attempt to rescue Mark Watney on Mars.

That being said, the movie is not a geek-laden paean to NASA, but is instead a very suspenseful thriller which is exciting, emotionally gripping and inspiring.

Title: The Martian.
Director: Ridley Scott.
Running Time: 2 hours, 22 minutes.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some strong language, injury images, and brief nudity.
Release Date: October 2, 2015.
Viewing Date: October 4, 2015.

Writing: A.
Acting: A.
Visuals: A+.
Impact: A.

Overall Grade: A/A+ (4.08/4.0).

Saturday, November 21, 2015

2015 ATP FINALS: Federer-Djokovic XLIV Is The Last Regular ATP Match Of The Year

The semifinals of the ATP World Tour Finals are complete and Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal in straight sets while Roger Federer beat Stan Wawrinka in straight sets. Therefore, for the   eighth time this year (and forty-fourth time in their careers) the two will meet on the ATP tour. In fact, the two met earlier in the week during the round-robin stage and Federer won that meeting in straight sets (7-5 6-2).

The two have met in 2 major finals and four other tour finals in 2015 and Djokovic won both major finals while they split the regular tour final meetings 2-all. Federer currently leads their overall head-to-head 22-21 and indoor hard courts is widely considered his best surface. However, Djokovic has won the ATP Tour Finals for the last three consecutive years. Last year Federer could not compete in the final due to a bad back and Djokovic won in a walkover. Despite that result, Federer went on to join with his compatriot Wawrinka and Switzerland won the Davis Cup in 2014.

If Djokovic wins tomorrow he will have evened up his rivalry between both Federer and Nadal and his 4th consecutive year-end championship. If Federer wins he will have won an unprecedented seventh year-end tour championship.

MadProfessah's Prediction: Federer.

Friday, November 20, 2015

CELEBRITY FRIDAY: Charlie Sheen Reveals He's HIV+

Actor Charlie Sheen revealed in a live interview with NBC's Today this week that he is HIV-positive. Although Sheen was television's top-paid actor when he appeared on CBS' Two and a Half Men his public profile has dropped considerably since he left television after the show Anger Management was cancelled last year. He revealed that he became aware of his status about four years ago and that he has paid out "millions" of dollars in extortion money to people who had threatened to publicly reveal this information. He made a statement:
"I’m here to admit that I am in fact HIV positive. And, I have to put a stop to this onslaught, this barrage of attacks, of sub-truths, and very harmful stories that are about threatening the health of so many others, which couldn’t be farther from the truth." 
It will be interesting to  see how the celebrity gossip culture reacts to this revelation. There were apparently all sorts of rumors about Sheen's health which influenced his decision to come out now. Social media, generally has been relatively kind, so far.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

TENNIS TUESDAY: Czechs Triumph, Federer Ends Djokovic's Streak!

The Czech Republic was able to win a dramatic 3-2 tie versus Russia with the help of Karolina Pliskova this weekend despite the presence of Maria Sharapova playing for Russia and her defeats of Pliskova and Petra Kvitova. This was the fourth win in five years (2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015) for the Czech Republic.

Roger Federer ended Novak Djokovic's 23-match winning streak in fine style at the ATP Tour Finals by winning in straight sets, 7-5 6-2. Federer's win gives the him the 22-21 edge in their head-to-head and assures that he will be playing in the semifinal round on Saturday. Almost certainly, the two will be facing again in the championship match, unless the two players who advance from the other group (likely to be Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray) disrupt this narrative. Interestingly, Federer was also the last person to beat Djokovic before the win streak began (in the 2015 Cincinati Masters final in August).

Monday, November 16, 2015

EYE CANDY: Stefan Williams (reprise)

Stefan Williams has appeared as Eye Candy here once before (March 2, 2015). He is a fitness model and is pretty active on Instagram (@willy_beamen). Enjoy!


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