Saturday, October 31, 2015

WTA TOUR FINALS 2015: Kvitova and Radwanska Reach Improbable Final

Much to my surprise, the two winners of the semifinals of the WTA Tour Finals in Singapore were not the two players in 3 round-robin matches, Maria Sharapova and Garbiñe Muguruza  but their 1-2 opponents, Petra Kvitova and Aggie Radwanska! These were quite surprising results, because Radwanska outlasted her opponent in a 2.5 hour marathon, getting her first win in 6 matches she played against Muguruza this year. In the other match, P3tra did not live up to her name, coming back from 1-5 down in the second set (after winning the first one) to force a tiebreaker, which she won, overcoming a 3-6 head-to-head deficit with the 4-time major champion. Muguruza apparently just ran out of gas against Radwanska, but, then amazingly was able to get to the Doubles final with her partner Carla Suarez Navarro. It's incredible that the 20-year-old was able to qualify in both singles and doubles (so did Lucie Safarova) but that she made the semifinals in both is quite a feat.
That being said, the Spaniards have almost no chance in winning the title against the best doubles team in the world, Martina Hingis  and Sania Mirza.

Kvitova won this title along with her first major in 2011 while Radwanska has never won one of the five biggest titles in tennis. Kvitova has a significant 6-2 head-to-head advantage over Radwanska, but those two losses have both come at this tournament, the last one coming last year on the very same court!

I like both players so I will be happy with whatever the result is. I do think that the "better" player is Kvitova, and that she deserves the title more, but my game and my heart are leaning towards Radwanska, because I would like to see her perhaps repeat Amelie Mauresmo's history and become the second player to win the WTA year-ending championship without having won a slam and then go on to win a slam the very next year.

It's not that often that I miss calling the results of both semifinals in a big tournament (although the 2015 U.S. Open is a painful recent reminder that it can and does happen!) but that doesnt stop me from making a prediction in the final.

MadProfessah's pick: Kvitova.

SATURDAY POLITICS: Graphic Shows Dramatic Increase In Partisanship Over Time

The above graphic is taken from the scholarly article "The Rise of Partisanship and Super-Cooperators in the U.S. House of Representatives" by Andris et al appearing in PLOS One.

An excerpt from the Discussion section is perfect for today's Saturday Politics post:

The key line is "Our analysis shows that has been increasing exponentially for 60 years, and has had negative effects on Congressional productivity."

Hat/tip to Politico.

Friday, October 30, 2015

WTA TOUR FINALS 2015: Sharapova, Muguruza Undefeated; Kvitova, Radwanska Also Qualify

The Round Robin portion of the 2015 WTA Tour Finals in Singapore is complete and in her first appearance 2015 Wimbledon finalist Garbine Muguruza has gone undefeated, beating the three lefties in her group to reach the semifinals. By qualifying at the top of her group she will meet the second qualifier in the other group. In that group (as I expectedMaria Sharapova parlayed her strong head-to-head record against the rest of the field to go undefeated while somehow top seed Simona Halep failed to qualify when ninja Aggie Radwanska beat her without losing a set, thus insuring that all 3 players not named Sharapova would end with 1 win and 2 losses. But since Radwanska had won a set against Sharapova in her very first match, she advanced and Halep and Flavia Pennetta did not. Pennetta's career is now over but 2015 was by far her very best year on tour, which is an amazing way to go out on top!

There was still drama because after Muguruz outlasted Petra Kvitova 6-4 4-6 7-5 in their first ever meeting all Angelique Kerber had to do was win a set and she would qualify instead of the 2-time Wimbledon champ. But somehow Lucie Safarova was able to take out the indomitable German in straight sets, thus handing her Czech compatriot the second semifinalist spot.

These results mean that Kvitova will face Sharapova and Muguruza will face Radwanska. The latter met in a crucial Wimbledon semifinal earlier this year, which was won by Muguruza as she got up to a big lead (up a set and a break) which she then lost but was able to recover and win her first major semifinal and the right to face Serena Williams. Muguruza has now won the last 4 meetings with the Polish "ninja" (all of which came in 2015). Can Aggie get revenge? (I doubt it.)

The more compelling match is the showdown between Sharapova and Kvitova. P3tra beat Maria in straight sets at the 2014 WTA Tour Finals in the round robin stage the last time the two played but then neither player advanced to the semifinal stage last year. The Russian holds a 6-3 head-to-head lead against Kvitova, I think mostly for mental toughness. Kvitova is not playing her best tennis but maybe getting to the semifinal will relax her and she will hit freely (and not wildly). It's possible that Kvitova could dominate Sharapova or Kvitiva could be wild and flame out in straight sets, or we could have a nailbiting, 3-set thriller between two of the hardest hitters on tour. I hope its the latter, but I still give Sharapova the edge.

MadProfessah's pick: Sharapova-Muguruza final.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

WATCH: Animated Gif Proving Pythagoras' Theorem #math

This is a perfect depiction of a creative way to illustrate mathematical concepts, even relatively simple ones like Pythagoras' Theorem that a2 + b2 = c2. Or, in words, the sum of the squares of the two sides of a right-triangle is equal to the square of the hypotenuse.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

WTA TOUR FINALS 2015: Sharapova Reaches SF Round In 15 of 16 Scenarios

The second round of the Red Group has been played and Maria Sharapova defeated top seed Simona Halep in straight sets, while Flavia Pennetta handed Aggie Radwanska her second defeat.

This means that it is very likely that Maria Sharapova will reach the semifinal elimination round in almost every scenario. The only way she doesn't make it is if she loses to Pennetta in straight sets and Halep beat Radwanska in straight sets.

Monday, October 26, 2015

EYE CANDY: Pierre Abena (3rd time!)

Pierre Abena is a multiracial model of French and Cameroonian descent. He has appeared as Eye Candy twice before (January 26, 2015 and March 9, 2015).

Sunday, October 25, 2015

WTA FINALS: Red (Halep, Sharapova, Radwanska, Pennetta) White (Muguruza, Kvitova, Kerber, Safarova)

The final tournament of 2015 is happening on the WTA Tour this week, the "BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore Presented by SC Gobal." In one half of the draw lies the two top contenders Maria Sharapova, Simona Halep along with Aggie Radwanska and Flavia Pennetta. In the other half of the draw is Garbine Muguruza and three lefties: Angelique Kerber, Petra Kvitova and Lucie Safarova.

Despite the absence of Serena Williams there should be some compelling matches, but as this infographic demonstrates, the tournament is Sharapova's to lose, or a moment for Halep to step up and prove why she really is the #2 player in the world behind Serena. Sharapova has a combined 19-5 against the members of her group. (Bizarrely, the only player she has a negative record against is Pennetta! But's it only 2-3.)

Matchups I am looking forward to are Kvitova-Safarova, Sharapova-Halep and Kerber-Kvitova.

Friday, October 23, 2015

CELEBRITY FRIDAY: The Guy From Adele's New Video Is Tristan Wilds (Michael from The Wire)

Most of Twitter and the Internet is all agog about the release of the first single from Adele's forthcoming album 25 called "Hello." If you have seen the video (and it's been viewed more than 2 million times in under 10 hours just on YouTube's VEVO) then you might be wondering who the phyne brutha whose heart Adele's character breaks in the video is. His name is Tristan Wilds and even thoughI didn't recognize the name, I did recognize the author. He was the young guy named Michael on The Wire!

Wilds is now 26 and sometimes goes by the name Mack Wilds and has been on some television shows (like the 90210 reboot). He'll always be the young Michael from The Wire to me:

You can see what Michael looks like all grown up and in love in Adele's gorgeous new sepia video for her first new music in over 3 years:

Thursday, October 22, 2015

New Poster For SyFy's The Expanse!

The Expanse is expected to be my favorite television show of the 2015-16 season when it debuts on SyFy on back-to-back nights December 14-15 (just three days before Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens debuts!)

The series is based on the books of the same name written by James S.A. Corey. As the premiere date approaches buzz for the show increases, and a new poster for the show is available excusively on

Get excited!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

GODLESS WEDNESDAY: Oklahoma Has (Finally!) Removed 10 Commandments Monument

Good news! The state of Oklahoma is no longer violating its own constitution by promoting religion (Christianity) on the state Capitol grounds. About two weeks ago, workers quietly removed the large two-ton stone monument to the Ten Commandments which has been in the news several times over the last year (October 2014, July 2015).

Slate reports:
A Ten Commandments monument planted on the grounds of the Oklahoma Capitol was quietly removed on Monday night, after years of quarreling over the 6-foot, 4,800-pound granite slab’s presence at the statehouse. The court-ordered relocation puts to rest the divisive issue, but perhaps only temporarily—conservative lawmakers are considering a (state) Constitutional amendment to bring the monument back. 
“Originally authorized by the Republican-controlled Legislature in 2009, the privately funded monument has been a lightning rod for controversy since it was erected in 2012, prompting a lawsuit from Bruce Prescott, a Baptist minister from Norman who complained it violated the state constitution,” the Associated Press reports. “The [move] comes after the Oklahoma Supreme Court's decision in June that the display violates a state constitutional prohibition on the use of public property to support ‘any sect, church, denomination or system of religion.’" 
“Oklahoma is the latest in a string of states, cities and school districts to grapple with whether government display of the Ten Commandments violates the First Amendment’s prohibition on any ‘law respecting an establishment of religion,' or similar provisions in state constitutions,” according to the New York Times. “Courts have prohibited displays for religious purposes, while allowing those for broader cultural reasons, leading to mixed results in legal challenges.”
Here at we will keep you posted on the developments! For all of your godless heathens in Oklahoma, you can breathe easier knowing that your state government is no longer officially declaring the non-religious to be second class citizens by violating the separation of church and state.

Monday, October 19, 2015

EYE CANDY: Michael Thurston (black/white/sepia)

Michael Thurston is one of my new favorite models. He has appeared as Eye Candy before (August 31, 2015). He is 24 years old, 6-feet tall and was just under 200 pounds. In addition to his chiseled body, Thurston has an incredibly symmetric face and sharp piercing eyes which make him hard to ignore (or forget).


Sunday, October 18, 2015

2015 SHANGHAI: Djokovic Routs Tsonga To Win 9th Title of 2015

As I expected, Novak Djokovic defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to win the 2015 Shanghai Masters. The 6-2 6-4 victory brought the World #1 his 9th title of 2015 and the 25th ATP Master shield and 57th tour title of his career.

The Serbian is on a 17-match winning streak (13 consecutive finals) and is now 73-5 for the year with the final two tournaments he is scheduled to play are the Paris Masters and the ATP World Tour Finals in London, neither of which he has lost at since 2012! It is very likely he could end the year undefeated and finish the year with more than 80 match wins and almost $18 million in prize money. (He currently has won $16 million in 2015, having won 3 majors.)

Saturday, October 17, 2015

2015 SHANGHAI: In SFs Tsonga Beats Nadal, Djokovic Beats Murray

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had not faced Rafael Nadal in more than two years and despite losing a bagel second set, the Frenchman was able to emerge victorious in the semifinals of the 2015 ATP Shanghai Masters 1000 tournament, winning 6-4 0-6 7-5. This result improved his head to head with Nadal to 4-8. Nadal is playing better than he has for most of 2015, having dismissed 2015 French Open champion Stan Wawrinka in straight sets the round before, so this was an impressive win by the Frenchman.

In a reprise of the 2015 Australian Open final, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic faced off in the other semifinal and as has happened in 9 of their last 10 meetings, the Serb came up the winner. This was revenge for Murray's surprising win in the Montreal Masters final this summer. Djokovic now has 20-10 edge over his British rival. The World #1 is having one of the all-time great seasons, having been in all four major finals, winning three of them, and he has actually made the final of thirteen consecutive tournaments he has played this year (he lost in the quarterfinals of the first tournament he played in to Ivo Karlovic), winning 8 titles so far and having only lost 5 times all year. His four other 2015 losses were to Roger Federer (Dubai Duty Free final, Cincinnati Masters final), Stan Wawrinka (Roland Garros final) and Andy Murray (Montreal final).  Can Tsonga join this list?

The Frenchman has a 6-13 record against Djokovic. Djokovic is playing for his 25th Masters shield and 3rd title in Shanghai. Tsonga has only won two Masters titles, both times in French speaking cities.

MadProfessah's pick: Djokovic.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Facebook Releases Data Indicating Roughly 4% Of U.S. Adults Are Openly LGB

Facebook Research released a report showing how Americans are using Facebook to come out as LGB (revealing some kind of same-sex attraction). The report indicates that there are differences over time and geography.
Currently, more than 6 million Americans have come out on Facebook (based on the criteria used in Figure 1). Since we only consider those who have expressed a same-gender attraction or list a custom gender on their Facebook profiles, it is likely that this figure is an underestimate of the total number of “out” Americans. Strikingly, of those who are out on Facebook, approximately 78% made this change to their profile since the beginning of 2012. While this figure may be somewhat conflated by growth in the number of people on Facebook, the sheer magnitude of this increase suggests that the LGBT movement has made significant strides in recent years.

The map at the top of this post shows that New York and Nevada are two states where people are more likely to be out as LGBT online.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

QUEER QUOTE: Rand Paul Says LGBT Civil Rights Are 'Difficult'

The LGBT blogosphere reacted with surprise and dismay at a statement made by GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul which appears to say that if LGBT people don't want to be subject to employment discrimination then they should stay in the closet.

The statement he made is today's Queer Quote:
“I think really the things you do in your house, if you could just leave those in your house, they wouldn’t have to be part of the workplace, to tell you the truth,” Paul replied. The candidate continued to say the question of whether employers can fire someone for being gay is “difficult” because making additional protected classes would enable LGBT people to sue employers. “I don’t know that we need to keep adding to different classifications to say the government needs to be involved in hiring and firing,” Paul said. “I think society is rapidly changing, and if you are gay, there are plenty of places that will hire you.”
Disapproving reaction was swift, with probably the best response coming from Hillary Clinton:

Senator Paul (R-KY) tried to "clarify" his statement today on CNN but didn't really change his position that denies the viability of LGBT civil rights:
"I don’t think anybody should be fired for being gay," Paul told Wolf Blitzer. "I do also, though, believe that your personal life should be personal and shouldn’t affect anyone firing you. So, I don’t think the decision whether to hire or fire you should be based on things from your personal life." 
"I do worry about a workplace where, every sort of classification of person then becomes something where, 'Oh, I lost my job, maybe then I'll sue because I also happen to be gay.'" 
"It’s always 'he said, she said,'" Paul claimed. "Nobody puts signs up saying that. If they do, then I think you would have an action or a cause for action. What I’m saying is I think it should not enter into the workplace in the sense that you shouldn’t be hired or fired because you’re gay."
Notice how he also impugns the character of anyone person who tries to enforce their civil rights by filing a lawsuit that claims they have been fired due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Hat/tip to The New Civil Rights Movement

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

TENNIS TUESDAY: Murray Regains #2; Muguruza Reaches #4; Federer Suffers 1st Rd Upset In Shanghai

The points for his 2014 win at the Shanghai Masters 1000 having slipped off this week, Roger Federer slipped to World #3, swapping places with Andy Murray, who could cement his spot as #2 if he were to do well at this year's tournament. After an excellent 2015, Kevin Anderson is finally rewarded with a Top 10 showing, coming it at #10.

Defending champion Roger Federer lost his first round match at the ATP Shanghai Masters 1000 to a lefty Spaniard, Alberto Ramos-Vinolas. Last year, Federer was also in trouble in his first round match, having to save five(!) match points to get past Leonardo Mayer (but he went on to win the tournament). This time, despite hitting twenty three more winners than his opponent and breaking him more times and outserving him (10 aces to 1) Federer lost 6-7(4) 6-2 3-6 after getting broken in the penultimate game. This is his first round loss since losing to Nick Kyrgios at the Madrid Masters on clay. However, Kyrgios is a known up and coming player while Ramos had never beaten a Top 10 player before in 15 meetings.

2015 Wimbledon finalist Garbine Marguruza won her biggest tournament of her career at the China Open in Beijing last weekend. She defeated Timea Basczinsky in straight sets. Both players were rewarded with rankings boosts: Muguruza moved up from #4 and is essentially tied for the #3 position with Maria Sharapova (she trails by 1 point out of nearly 5000) while Basczinsky entered the Top 10 for the first time, rewarded for her two major quarterfinal results (French Open and Wimbledon) this year.

Monday, October 12, 2015

EYE CANDY: Kyle Goffney (3rd time)

Kyle Goffney has appeared as Eye Candy twice before (June 22, 2015 and October 27, 2014). He is a 25-year-old multiracial model who lives in Los Angeles. He is popular on social media. These shots were taken from his Instagram account.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

110 Degrees In North East Los Angeles

This is what the sensor in the shade says outside my back door says: 110 degrees (8% humidity)!

2015 BEIJING: Djokovic Easily Dispatches Nadal To Win 6th China Open

As expected, World #1 Novak Djokovic beat World #8 Rafael Nadal in Beijing to win his 6th China Open title. It was a record 45th meeting between the two and Nadal now only leads 23-22 and the last time he he beat his rival it was in the 2014 French Open final. Djokovic has won 29 consecutive matches at the China Open (6 titles) and won his 8th title of 2015, his 56th overall of his career (56-26 in finals).

The score was 6-2 6-2 with Djokovic never having his serve broken and having 6 aces.
Djokovic is 68-5 for the year and 23-4 against fellow Top 10 players.

The ATP Shanghai Masters 1000 tournament starts on Monday.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

BEIJING 2015: DJOKOVIC-NADAL XLV in the China Open Final Tomorrow!

The forty-fifth career meeting between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will occur tomorrow in Beijing, China, in the finals of the 2015 China Open, where Djokovic has won 27 consecutive matches. Nadal, 29, currently holds a slim 23-21, lead over his 28-year-old rival who is having one of his best years on tour. Djokovic has beaten Nadal twice this year, most importantly in straight sets in the quarterfinals of Roland Garros and has also won 6 of their last 7 meetings. This match is on hard courts in Asia where Djokovic plays his best tennis (and the surface where he leads his rival 14-7). This is the World #1's 12th consecutive final of the year (he is 7-4) while this is Nadal's 5th (he is 3-1) and this is Nadal's first hard court major of the year. To get here, Nadal had to dispatch Fabio Fognini who has beaten him three times this year (including, crucially, in the 3rd round of the U.S. Open, ending the 14-time major champion's chance to win a major in 2015).

Djokovic is probably at his peak right now, having won 3 majors in 2015 and many think it is very possible that he could go on to eclipse not only Nadal's major total of 14, but possibly even  Roger Federer's at 17. I doubt Djokovic will get that far, but I do suspect his final major total will be in the "teens."

If Djokovic wins it will be his 56th career ATP title (currently 55-26) while if Nadal wins it will be his 68th career title (67-29). Djokovic is trying to win his 6th China Open title (5-0) while Nadal is trying to win his 3rd (1-1). Djokovic beat Nadal in straight sets to win the 2013 title.

MadProfessah's pick: Djokovic.

Friday, October 09, 2015

CA Anti-Transgender Bathroom Initiative Is Collecting Signatures Now

There is a new threat to LGBT people on the horizon in California. The same people who opposed marriage equality and got their butts kicked so thoroughly by the forces of equality and progress have switched their focus to trying to regulate where gender non-conforming people can pee!

They have filed a ballot measure and are currently have until November 20, 2015 to collect roughly 500,000 signatures. Here is the attorney's general's summary of the proposed initiative:
Initiative 15-0019
Prohibits individuals from using facilities in government buildings except in accordance with their sex as determined at birth, through medical examination, or court judgment recognizing a change of gender. Creates legal damages claim of at least $4,000 against a government entity or person that violates the provision. Allows businesses to prohibit employees or patrons, including transgender people, from using facilities except in accordance with their sex as determined at birth, through medical examination, or court judgment. Exempts businesses from criminal and civil liability for implementing such a prohibition. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Increase in state court costs related to civil claims, not likely to exceed a few tens of millions of dollars annually. Unknown increase in state and local government costs related to actions taken to avoid, litigate, or remedy civil claims filed for violating the measure. Potential significant loss of federal funds. (15-0019.)
If you see anyone asking you to sign such a measure, just say no!

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

(In)Famous "Filthy Art" By Openly Gay Artist Robert Mapplethorpe Sold For $478,000

Interesting news from the New York Times today. Robert Mapplethorpe's (in)famous black and white photograph (innocuously titled "Man in Polyester Suit") which once was called "filthy art" by Senator Jesse Helms of North Carolina during an ongoing cultural war about publicly funded art and the Southern Republican senator's crusade against homosexuality and pornography, has been sold for almost a half-million dollars at auction.

The picture, which features what is clearly a dark-skinned man wearing a 3-piece polyester suit with his penis hanging out out of the fly of the pants, has been analyzed as many things, but is clearly a signature piece of homoerotic art and a blunt representation of (black) masculinity.

This is how the Times describes it:
“Man in Polyester Suit,” a black-and-white image from 1980 depicting a black man wearing a three-piece suit, with his penis exposed, was estimated at $250,000 to $350,000. 
The image helped touch off a cultural conflagration in 1989 when Senator Jesse Helms cited it among examples of “filthy art” which had received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. 
“Man in Polyester Suit” was also part of a show of Mapplethorpe works that led to criminal obscenity charges against the director of Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center. (He was acquitted in 1990.) The decidedly not-safe-for-work image, which cannot be reproduced here, can be easily found through a search engine. 
In subsequent years the image has come to be seen as a key Mapplethorpe work, touching on issues of race, class and sexual stereotypes. 
Even though my personal blog is flagged as pornography by some search engines, I am not comfortable with posting the uncensored image, which you can find easily in any search engine, or at this link. It's quite an image!

Hat/tip to Arts Beat

GODLESS WEDNESDAY: Poll Reveals Republicans Do Not Believe In Religious Liberty

Here at we are extremely interested in religious liberty, especially for those who are atheists agnostic or godless. A new exclusive poll from PPP for reveals that Republicans (who seem to spend a fair amount of their time bleating about religious liberties) really don't seem to understand what taht term actually means.
Nationwide, more than a third of Republicans say that Islam should be illegal in the United States, according to a new PPP poll provided exclusively to Daily Kos Elections. Nearly half—a 44 percent plurality—say Christianity should be our official religion. 
Lest you think this is solely confined to Republicans, smaller numbers of both Democrats and independents also admitted to wanting to outlaw Islam (15 percent of Democrats, 20 percent of independents) and make Christianity our official religion (28 and 24 percent, respectively). 
Overall, for all respondents, the share that supports freedom of religion in deed, not just in word, barely clears the halfway mark: Just 53 percent of voters oppose making Christianity the official religion of the United States, and only 56 percent think Islam should be legal.
As the post describes this result: It looks like we are "halfway to theocracy"!

Monday, October 05, 2015

EYE CANDY: Blake Sciortino (3rd time!)

Blake Sciortino has appeared as Eye Candy twice before (July 28, 2014 and May 25, 2015). He is in his early twenties and has social media accounts on Twitter and Instagram. I'm not exactky sure what his ethnic identity is but as far as I am concerned it doesn't really matter: hawt is hawt!

Sunday, October 04, 2015

QUEER QUOTE: VP Biden Calls Out Homophobic GOP Presidential Candidates

Vice President Joe Biden appeared as the keynote speaker at the Human Right Campaign's National Gala last night and in his speech reiterated and explained his support for full LGBT equality. This excerpt is today's Queer Quote:

“I strongly support the equality act and it will pass. The American people think the law already prevents an employer from  firing someone because they are LGBT The American people already think it’s illegal to deny you housing. the American people already think what the act calls for. The problem is, they don’t know that it’s still legal in so many places, so the one way, if you could change this overnight, would be to infuse in every mind in America that there are still 31 states that can deny you employment, and housing, etcetera….Let them know! The American people are already with you.”
“There are still homophobes left. Most of them are running for president I think.”
Interestingly, a few hours before Biden's speech, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton made some news of her own in an address to staffers and volunteers at HRC by obliquely calling out homophobes Kim Davis and Mike Huckabee.
“We assure [gay youth] it gets better, but it can still be really hard to believe that especially when you turn on the TV and you see a Republican candidate for president literally standing in the courthouse door in Kentucky calling for people to join him in resisting a Supreme Court ruling, celebrating a Kentucky clerk who’s breaking the law by denying other Americans their constitutional rights.”
Hat/tip to TowleRoad

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Venus Wins 47th Career Title In Wuhan (When Muguruza Retires Down 3-6 0-3)

Wow! Venus Williams has had a really great week. She began it with winning her 700th career WTA match by defeating Julia Goerges and followed that up with by winning one of the best matches of the year on the women's tour in the quarterfinals against Johanna Konta of Great Britain 6-4 3-6 7-5. But that was just the warm-up! Venus then had to face Roberta Vinci in the semifinals, the same Italian player who ended her sister Serena's chance to win the calendar grand slam in the semifinals of the U.S. Open a few weeks before. That was another hard fought match, with Venus saving a match point and winning in a 3rd set tiebreak 5-7 6-2 7-6(4) to reach the final of the Wuhan Open.

There she faced 2015 Wimbledon finalist Garbine Muguruza who had won an incredible match of her own (against Angie Kerber in the semifinals). Unfortunately for Garbine she injured herself getting past the plucky German, and she was unable to bring her best tennis to her match with Venus, and ended up retiring down 3-6 0-3.

So, Venus won her biggest WTA title in over 5 years, her 47th career tour title. She is now only the 9th person in the history of the WTA to win more than 700 matches (Serena is at #8 with 737 match wins). The title win will move her to #12 in the WTA rankings (Muguruza will jump to #5) but even more interestingly Venus could possibly qualify for the year-end championships in Singapore since she is currently at #9 and with Serena's absence from the tour for the rest of the year, the older Williams sister has a chance to make 2015 her best year on tour in quite awhile.

Friday, October 02, 2015

CELEBRITY FRIDAY: Yayo Grassi, the gay guy who met the Pope

Oh the irony is just so delicious. For several days there was much discussion about a private meeting between Pope Francis and religious fanatic Kim Davis where it was implied that the Pontiff was endorsing her message that religious-based views about marriage can serve as reason not to folloq  federal or state laws on marriage equality.

Today came word that not only did the Vatican firmly clarify that the meeting with Davis was NOT an endorsement of Davis' crazed crusade against marriage equality in Kentucky, but that the only person the Pope did have an official audience with was his openly gay former student Yayo Grassi.

The Washington Post reports:
“Mr. Yayo Grassi, a former Argentine student of Pope Francis, who had already met other times in the past with the Pope, asked to present his mother and several friends to the Pope during the Pope’s stay in Washington, DC,” the Rev. Thomas Rosica, an English-language spokesman for the Vatican, said in a statement. “As noted in the past, the Pope, as pastor, has maintained many personal relationships with people in a spirit of kindness, welcome and dialogue.”
which should be contrasted with how they describe the meeting with Davis:
On Friday, the Vatican said Davis was among “a number of guests” who were “invited by the Nuncio,” a church term for the ambassador, to greet the pope. “Very brief greetings,” Rosica told the Associated Press. “And in the pope’s characteristic kindness and warmth and hospitality, he shook people’s hands and gave them rosaries. We should understand it as that. In terms of why this person was invited, you have to ask those questions of the nunciature.” 
“The only real audience granted by the Pope at the Nunciature was with one of his former students and his family,” Rosica said. 
As an atheist I could care less what the Pope thinks or who he meets but this was a huge story in the media and LGBT blogosphere this week.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

SHOCK! Serena Announces End of Her 2015 Season, Withdraws from China Open and WTA YEC

Serena Williams announced today that she was withdrawing from the China Open in Beijing and the WTA Year-End Championships in Singapore, bringing her 2015 professional tennis season to an early close. Despite losing her chance to accomplish the career grand slam by losing in the semifinals of the 2015 U.S. Open, the World #1 still won 3 major titles (Australia, Roland Garros and Wimbledon) winning 53 matches and losing 3 (to Roberta Vinci, Petra Kvitova and Belinda Bencic).

Serena's statement in full is below:
"It's no secret I've played injured most of the year -- whether it was my elbow, my knee, or, in the final moments after a certain match in Flushing, my heart. 
"I'm a fierce competitor. And I want to compete as well as I can, for as long as I can. So I am taking a proactive step and withdrawing from tournaments in Beijing and Singapore to properly address my health and take the time to heal. 
"This is a very difficult decision but one ultimately made because of the love of the game. 
"I plan to return to practicing and participating in exhibition matches later this year. And when I do, l will focus and focus and focus so I can continue my journey in this beautiful game."
Serena's withdrawal could cost her financially. She will lose $450,000 in potential bonus money because she did not end up playing the four mandatory Premier tournaments in 2015.

Even by ending her season in September Serena's list of accomplishments in 2015 is impressive.  She will end the year at World #1 for the fifth time in her career and next week, Serena will rise to #3 in the all-time list of most weeks at #1 (behind Steffi Graf at 377 and Martina Navratilova at 332) when she enjoys her 261st week at the top. She currently has such a huge lead at #1 that she will be #1 at least through the start of the 2016 Australia Open, where she will begin her quest to match Graf's gaudy total of 24 major career titles.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin