Thursday, December 31, 2015

WOO HOO! The Expanse Renewed For 13-Episode Season 2 To Air in 2017

Excellent news! Syfy announced today that they have renewed The Expanse with a 13-episode order for Season 2, that will begin airing in 2017. The Expanse is based on the best-selling series of science fiction space opera books written by James S.A. Corey. The first four episodes of the 10-episode first season have aired so far, and are available for free online. The next new episode ("Back to the Butcher") will air on Tuesday January 5 at 10pm PST.

BOOK REVIEW: The Providence of Fire by Brian Staveley

The sequel to The Emperor's Blades is The Providence of Fire. This is book 2 in The Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne trilogy written by Brian Staveley. Staveley deservedly won the Gemmel Morningstar Award for Best Debut fantasy Novel for The Emperor's Blades and has since signed a new contract to write four more books set in the same Universe that this young author dreamed up.

The Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne is set in the Annurian Empire, in a world which basically has Bronze Age technology with the slight twist that there exist giant birds called kettrals which are large enough to allow a half-dozen full-grown men travel far distances riding them, And there are people called "leaches" who are able to perform magical feats (such as telekinesis, pyrokinesis, super-strength, etc) by "kenning" when they are close to the source of their power (called a "well.") Leaches are feared for their incredible powers but also socially stigmatized as evil and disgusting freaks of nature by the general public. Oh and there is a whole pantheon of gods, some of whom are actually walking around now and appear to be very interested in eliminating humans.

But enough about the setting, let's talk about the plot! As I mentioned above, this is the second book in the series (which is ostensibly a trilogy) and the story primarily follows the three children of the recently murdered Emperor Sanlitun Malkeenian: Adare, the eldest, the daughter who grew up among the trappings of royalty and knows the contours of the corridors of power in the Dawn Palace; Kaden, the eldest son and heir to the Unhewn Throne, who has spent the last 8 years or so being trained by monks to practice a form of mental discipline that will allow him to use a network of secret gates that will allow him to instantly be transported all over the Empire; and Valyn, the youngest and most physically capable of the three Malkeenian children, he has been training to become a Kettral fighter.

In Book 1, Adare appeared to be more of an afterthought as the story was told primarily from the perspective of the boys Kaden and Valyn. However in Book 2, Adare's point-of-view is front and center and this is a good thing. In fact, basically everything is better in Book 2, the plot is more intricate, the peril is more thrilling and the secondary characters are even more interesting. Some of these secondary characters are Pyrre (the matronly worshipper of the Blank God who is also a deadly assassin), Rampuri Tan (the erstwhile monk who is also incredibly skilled with a double-headed axe) and Triste (the potential concubine who may also be the earthly manifestation of a Goddess).

In fact, the question at the heart of the book involves these gods, called csestriim, and what their plans are for humanity. The plot focusses on the many plans and machinations of several players as they vie for control of the Unhewn Throne and the Annurian Empire.

Overall, The Providence of Fire is incredibly exciting, absolutely enthralling and exceedingly addictive. I can't wait until the story concludes with The Last Mortal Bond.

The Providence of Fire.
Brian Staveley.
Paperback: 607 pages.
 Tor Books.
Date Published: January 15, 2015.
Date Read: July 25, 2015.

OVERALL GRADE: A (4.0/4.0).


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: The Ark (Chidren of a Dead Earth, #1) by Patrick S. Tomlinson

Summary: A fun, thrilling and intriguing story combining space opera and mystery elements.

I had low expectations for The Ark (hey, it's available for only $2.99 on as an e-book!) but was intrigued by the high concept of a mystery/science fiction hybrid tale. One of my favorite reading experiences in 2015 was Ben Winters mystery/science fiction hybrid The Last Policeman trilogy so I had hopes that this book could be as good. That story combines a typical police procedural set in the context of 2012 New Hampshire in the shadow of the imminent arrival of extinction-level collision with an asteroid. In The Arka violent death occurs on a huge spaceship carrying the last fifty thousand humans on a centuries-long journey to Tau Ceti after the Earth is destroyed by an encounter with a black hole. The main character is a male (and manly) cop named Bryan Benson who used to be a sports hero and the setting is culturally familiar enough to Americans, with interesting SF details (digital implants, hundreds of years in the future with associated technological advances, living in an artificial environment) and a compelling plot.

The story is peopled with a very diverse cast and the story raises some thought-provoking questions and scenarios: What should be preserved from the cultural heritage of all of humanity? How and when should the death penalty be used when there are only 50k humans left? What are the ethics of forced universal contraception? Are sociological phenomena like elitism, heteronormativity and class permanent and inevitable? What kind of societal and governing structure would be best to insure humanity's survival if we were reduced to the population of a mid-sized city? All of these questions are raised while Tomlinson manages to deliver a fun, thrilling story that combines an exciting police thriller with thoughtful science fiction.

I'm very much looking forward to the sequels in The Children of a Dead Earth series as there are several important questions that are raised towards the end of the book which make the reader wanting more. In the end that's one measure of a story well told.

Book 2 in the series, Trident's Forge, comes out in early 2016.

 Title: The Ark (Children of a Dead Earth, #1)
Author: Patrick S. Tomlinson.
Paperback: 400 pages.
 Angry Robot.
Date Published: November 3, 2015.
Date Read: December 22, 2015.


OVERALL GRADE: A (4.0/4.0).


Monday, December 28, 2015

EYE CANDY: Michael Thurston (reprise)

Michael Thurston is one of my favorite male models. He is incredibly handsome and has an amazing body. He has already appeared as Eye Candy two times before (August 31, 2015 and October 19, 2015). He has his own gym in Britain and is beginning to be quite well-known as a trainer. He's listed s 6-feet tall and 25 years old.

If you want to see more of Michael, I encourage you to check out his Instagram page (@mikethurston). Enjoy!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

BOOK REVIEW: The Last Policeman Trilogy by Ben H. Winters

Ben H. Winters is the author of The Last Policeman trilogy. I had seen mentions of the series for years on Goodreads (via automated recommendations) and was intrigued by the premise: a police procedural set in the context of the imminent destruction of the Earth by an approaching asteroid. As you know, my two favorite genres are speculative fiction and mystery, so this would be an example of a rare cross-genre hybrid. Sadly, most mystery-SF mashups tend to slight one of the genres and have generally left me feeling unsatisfied or somewhat disappointed.

Disappointing was my overall evaluation of another well-known mystery-SF hybrid trilogy, Jo Walton's Small Change books (Farthing, Ha'Penny and Half a Crown). These are a series of British murder mysteries set in an alternative history where Great Britain appeases Germany and thus Hitler's Third Reich is not defeated. Ultimately, I felt that the Small Change books, did not succeed as speculative fiction or police/thrillers, but were more focussed on making cogent and compelling commentaries on the slippery slope of unchecked anti-Semitism and seductiveness of fascism.

Happily disappointing was not a word I would associate with any of The Last Policeman books: The Last Policeman, Countdown City and World of Trouble. The author does an excellent job of effectively putting the reader in the situation where you really believe that you are living in a modern America that has an execution date of October 3, 2012 (less than 6 months away when we begin the first book). After ingesting so many post-apocalyptic works recently (like AMC's The Walking Dead, Neal Stephenson's Seveneves, George Miller's Mad Max Fury Road, Wesley Chu's Time Salvager) it was a thrilling revelation to discover that the time period right before an apocalyptic event is also ripe with artistic possibility and compelling melodrama. (I think this was why people like myself were so annoyed and frustrated with AMC's Fear The Walking Dead which was billed as a prequel to AMC's The Walking Dead but then basically skipped depicting any salient details of how the zombie apocalypse ended up destroying civilization in Southern California.)

So, in addition to providing a compelling science fiction setting with the drip-drip inclusion of little details that engulf the reader with feelings of verisimilitude, Winters does not skimp the mystery/police procedural aspects of these SF-mystery hybrids.

The main character is Hank Palace, a relatively inexperienced police patrolman in Concord, New Hampshire who has just landed his first dead body as a police detective (which he was promoted to only because so many police officers and other professionals are walking away from their jobs to spend their last 6 months on earth crossing items off their bucket lists instead of clocking in at a job which seems irrelevant when life as we know it will end in the foreseeable future).
Hank is an orphan, and has wanted to be a police officer ever since his mother was murdered when he was about 13 which is a little more than a decade ago. Even though the body presents as just another suicide (considering the fin du monde setting, the suicide rate has been steadily rising) Palace is troubled by certain details (the victim, Peter Zell, was an insurance adjuster who used an expensive belt to hang himself in the bathroom of a MacDonald's). The first question we have to figure out as readers is does Hank just really want this suicide to be a murder to give his own decision to continue working meaning or is this really a murder? And what would cause someone to murder someone and disguise it as a suicide when everyone is going to die soon when the asteroid hits?

Hank doggedly follows the available clues which leads him to pursue a theory of the death involving insurance fraud and so he goes to Zell's place of business. There, he questions Zell's co-workers, including Naomi Eddes, a woman with a shaved head who was friendly with Zell and whom Hank appears to be attracted to as she reminds him of his former girlfriend. Hank also attempts to question Zell's sister but she appears to be avoiding him by refusing to call him back. As Hank learns more he discovers that Zell was starting to experiment with addictive drugs (OxyContin, etc) several months before he died. Even though I was able to solve the mystery of who killed Peter Zell before it was revealed the story is still compelling as we learn more about Hank's life (he has a sister named Nico who is convinced that the government has a secret plan to save humanity when the asteroid hits), he gains a pet dog and we get further glimpses of the many ways that society begins to fray and disintegrate as the asteroid gets closer and closer.

Title: The Last Policeman (The Last Policeman Trilogy, Book 1).
Ben H. Winters.
Paperback: 336 pages.
 Quirk Books.
Date Published: July 10, 2012.
Date Read: November 28, 2015.


OVERALL GRADE: A- (4.16/4.0).


As Countdown City begins, Hank has been (forcibly) retired from the Concord Police Department as local law enforcement has been superseded by the federal Justice Department.
There are now just 11 weeks until the asteroid hits and even though the world knows the (relatively remote) location of where it will hit, the ramifications of the increased imminence of the end of the world has resulted in an almost complete loss of regular order (there is no phones or internet or traffic and electricity is intermittent). Riots and anarchy are widely expected but no one is sure when it will start (or what will set it off). Into this disturbing setting, Hank is asked by a family friend to find her missing husband Brett, and even though Hank is no longer a cop, he takes the case as a favor to his former babysitter Martha. Now it becomes even more questionable that Hank would risk his own life to track down someone who has disappeared, at a  time, when even the people he knows quite well are simply taking off for the carnal pleasures of New Orleans. We as the reader start to realize that Hank is really using his self-assigned responsibility as distraction (or obsession) to prevent him from thinking about the state of the world and processing his own thoughts and feelings about the end of the world.

This middle book of the trilogy is less successful overall than the first but there are some aspects of Countdown City which are improved over the first. Primary among these is the inclusion of Hank's dog, a bichon frise named Houdini. Hank and Houdini are basically inseparable in the second book and it is fun to see their interactions. Another big difference in the second book is the greater presence of Hank's sister Nico. Hank enlists his sisters assistance in order to gain safe passage and entry to the University of New Hampshire which has been turned into an anarchistic utopia run by former UNH students and faculty called the Free Republic of New Hampshire. Brett's trail leads there because a girl he had a relationship with is known to be a big whig in the Free Republic.

Amazingly, Hank is able to trace down Brett and discover the truth of why he left Martha but things do not end well for either Hank or Brett as they encounter a sniper with deadly aim. Hank manages to get back to Concord to see Martha again and the learn the ultimate truth about her husband's disappearance just in time to witness the final collapse of the city into looting and mayhem. Hank and Houdini are whisked to safety by a unlikely source as Nico reveals (right before she disappears in a military helicopter) that she is part of an organization that is trying to use a nuclear weapon to try and deflect the asteroid and save humanity.

Title: Countdown City (The Last Policeman Trilogy, Book 2).
Author: Ben H. Winters.
Paperback: 320 pages.
 Quirk Books.
Date Published: July 16, 2013.
Date Read: November 28, 2015.


OVERALL GRADE: A- (4.0/4.0).



As World of Trouble begins there are now just over a dozen days before the asteroid is going to collide with the Earth and most likely extinguish all life on the planet. Our hero, Hank Palace, is of course obsessed with solving one more mystery instead of simply counting his blessings that he has the opportunity to live out his final days before the apocalypse in relative safety and comfort. Instead Hank (with Houdini in tow) has traveled hundreds of miles to Ohio with a guy he doesn't (and shouldn't) trust to try and track down his sister Nico, who when we last saw her had access to a military helicopter and was working with a group to deploy a nuclear weapon to prevent the asteroid from completing its genocidal trajectory.

By recounting the details of Hank's journey from Western Massachusetts to Ohio, the author is able to show us the many different ways civilization can end. Hank sees the results of double suicides on porches, town burned to the ground, and (very rarely) towns where the populace has banded together to keep everyone relatively safe and well-fed. Money is now completely useless but bottled water (or even snacks from old vending machines) are precious beyond measure. People are literally counting the number of meals before the end of the world.

Incredibly (and this does stretch credulity to the point of snapping) Hank is able to find his sister as well as a murderous crime scene that he needs to use his best detective skills to determine who did what to whom. One last mystery to solve before all life ceases to exist. These books were also compelling to me because of the extremely well-crafted nature of the writing. This following passage struck me so profoundly I recorded it as a status update on Goodreads:
It's not just a person's present that dies when they die, when they are murdered or drowned or a giant rock falls on their head. It's the past, too, all the memories that belonged only to them, the things they thought and never said. And all those possible futures, all the ways that life might have turned out. Past and present and future all burn up together like a bundle of sticks.
Winter, apparently calls his books "existential detective novels" and in this third book this focus of the book becomes heartbreakingly central to its plot as the number of days that civilization will exist dwindles to zero. If there are literally a handful of days left  to live, how would you spend them? I'm pretty sure that I would not make the same decisions as Hank Palace, but I can't deny that the entire trilogy had an emotionally resonant impact on me. Both the mystery and the speculative aspects of the story were incredibly well-balanced throughout the entire series and will be attractive to fans of both. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Title: World of Trouble (The Last Policeman Trilogy, Book 3).
Ben H. Winters.
Paperback: 320 pages.
 Quirk Books.
Date Published: July 15, 2014.
Date Read: November 29, 2015.


OVERALL GRADE: A- (4.16/4.0).


Friday, December 25, 2015

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


I've been a big fan of director Denis Villeneuve since I saw Incendies and the emotionally complex film became one of my favorites of 2011. I also saw his 2013 film Prisoners (starring Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Paul Dano, Terrence Howard and Maria Bello) which is a taut thriller about suspicion and kidnapping. Both Incendies and Prisoners have very good ratings from (92% and 81%, respectively).

Villeneuve is back this year with Sicario, (starring Emily Blunt, Benicio Del Toro, and Josh Brolin) a thriller about the drug war. Sicario is also critically acclaimed, with a rating of 93%.

The film revolves around Blunt's character who is an FBI agent who is pressured into volunteering for an inter-agency Task Force to work with characters played by Brolin and Del Toro after she discovers a house in a Phoenix suburb with dozens of corpses that are directly linked to a Mexican drug cartel.

The story (written by Taylor Sheridan) proceeds at breakneck pace, as both we and Blunt's character are swept along by events, crossing the border from the United States to Mexico and back again to retrieve a person we are old is a person of interest in the ongoing investigation, without much more of an explanation as to what is going on and why. Eventually we are told that Brolin's character is ostensibly trying to cause a big enough of a ruckus so that the head of the cartel that was responsible for the bodies found in the Phoenix area will take notice and make a move that would expose him to capture by law enforcement.

However things are not what they seem and eventually it becomes clear that the motives of the characters played by Brolin and Del Toro are not completely aligned with those of the FBI and Blunt's character. This is exposed in a harrowing sequence where all of the main characters go into a long drug-running tunnel where some surprising (and very violent) events occur and Blunt's suspicions are confirmed.

Overall, Sicario is suspenseful, adrenaline-pumping ride which depicts the realities and ethical dilemmas of the drug war with compelling verisimilitude.

Title: Sicario.
Director: Denis Villeneuve.
Running Time: 121 minutes.
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence, grisly images, and language.
Release Date: October 2, 2015.
Viewing Date: November 27, 2015.

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

Overall Grade: A/A- (3.75/4.0)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

TENNIS TUESDAY: Federer Releases 2016 Schedule, Murray Keeps Mauresmo, Kvitova Engaged!

Roger Federer has released his tentative 2016 ATP tour schedule and the 34-year-old has decided to only play one clay court tournament (Roland Garros) and will increase the amount of grass tournaments he plays, adding Stuttgart to his schedule the week before his traditional Wimbledon warm-up in Halle. (This is especially exciting news for me, because I am planning to visit Germany this summer and if I could also see Federer play on grass that would be an incredible experience!) Because of the length of his career and age Federer is deciding to skip a surprising FOUR of the 9 Master's Series tournaments: Miami, Monte Carlo, Madrid and Canada (Toronto/Montreal).

The musical chairs among coaches of the major tennis players continues. This week's announcement was that Andy Murray is going back to having Amelie Mauresmo as his main coach, ending his professional relationship with Jonas Bkorkman. A few weeks ago Federer announced Stefan Edberg would not coach him in 2016, instead that role would be taken by Ivan Ljubicic. Previously it was announced that Jesse Levine would be coaching Madison Keys (instead of Lindsay Davenport) and that Darren Cahill had been named Simona Halep's official coach.

2-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova surprised many tennis players by announcing via Twitter that the 25-year-old was now engaged to be married to 27-year-old Czech hockey player Radek Meidel.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) announced that Novak Djokovic has won the title for the 5th time and Serena Williams has won the title for the 6th time. They both won 3 major titles in 2015. Serena won the first three, while Djokovic lost in the finals of the French Open. The ITF is the official governing body of international tennis and is the group that sanctions the Grand Slam tournaments and manages international team competitions like Davis Cup, Fed Cup and Hopman Cup. The ITF champion almost always is the person who wins the most singles majors that year.

The Indian Aces were the most dominant team in the off-season exhibition competition called the International Premiere Tennis League (IPTL) for the second year but this time they lost the championship match against the Singapore Slammers. The Aces had stars like Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna while the Slammers had Belinda Bencic and Stan Wawrinka. Major champions like Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Marin Cilic all competed this year.

QUEER QUOTE: Anti-Trans Initiative Fails To Quality For CA 2016 Ballot

Good news! Previously we had reported that some haters had been circulating petitions in California to try to literally regulate the access to urination facilities of transgender people with their so-called "Privacy for All" act.

Today comes news that this ballot measure has failed to qualify for the 2016 ballot! The Washngton Blade reports
A social conservative group seeking to place an anti-transgender initiative on the 2016 California ballot announced Monday it failed to collect enough signatures by the deadline to make it happen. 
The initiative, dubbed the “Personal Privacy Protection Act,” sought to prohibit transgender people from using restrooms in government buildings consistent with their gender identity and would have allowed businesses to do the same. 
The anti-trans coalition, known as Privacy for All, needed to submit 365,880 signatures by Monday to qualify the measure for the ballot. Nowhere in the organization’s statement does it say how many signatures it did collect. 
The coalition is supported by the Sacramento-based Pacific Justice Institute and other groups in California that passed Proposition 8 to ban same-sex marriage in the state.
Today's Queer Quote is from Kris Hayashi, the executive director of the Transgender Law Center:
"This initiative was a poorly veiled attack on transgender people that sought to undermine that freedom and single out for harassment anyone who doesn’t meet stereotypes of what it looks like to be male or female. Today Californians have made clear these types of discriminatory attacks on transgender people and our families, communities, and neighborhoods have no place in our state."
This is the same group that was behind Proposition 8 and also tried to repeal the Student Success and Opportunity Act (AB 1266) which makes it clear that students can participate in all student activities regardless of their gender identity or gender expression. Because they have lost so dramatically on the question of marriage equality, these heterosexual supremacists have taken to targeting the most vulnerable group in the LGBT coalition: the transgender community.

Hat/tip to Joe My God

Monday, December 21, 2015

FDA Reduces Lifetime Ban On MSM Blood Donations To 1 Year

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the federal agency responsible for protecting the United States blood supply has finally issued regulations on changing the discriminatory (and patently offensive) policy on preventing any man who has said sex with another man (MSM) from donating blood. The decades-old policy of a lifetime ban was replaced with a "1-year deferral" for men who have had (any kind of) sex with another man.

From the FDA press release issued today:
As part of today’s finalized blood donor deferral guidance, the FDA is changing its recommendation that  men who have sex with men (MSM) be indefinitely deferred – a policy that has been in place for approximately 30 years – to 12 months since the last sexual contact with another man. These updated recommendations better align the deferral period for MSM with the deferral period for other men and women at increased risk for HIV infection – such as those who had a recent blood transfusion or those who have been accidentally exposed to the blood of another individual. The FDA examined a variety of recent studies, epidemiologic data, and shared experiences from other countries that have made recent MSM deferral policy changes. 
“In reviewing our policies to help reduce the risk of HIV transmission through blood products, we rigorously examined several alternative options, including individual risk assessment,” said Peter Marks, M.D., Ph.D., deputy director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research. “Ultimately, the 12-month deferral window is supported by the best available scientific evidence, at this point in time, relevant to the U.S. population. We will continue to actively conduct research in this area and further revise our policies as new data emerge.” 
Several countries, including the United Kingdom and Australia, currently have 12-month deferrals for MSM. During the change in Australia from an indefinite blood donor deferral policy for MSM to a 12-month deferral, well-conducted studies evaluating over 8 million units of donated blood were performed using a national blood surveillance system. These published studies document no change in risk to the blood supply with use of the 12-month deferral. Similar data are not available for shorter deferral intervals.
The website and Williams Institute conducted an analysis on the numerous proposed changes to the lifetime blood ban on MSM donations and these are summarized:

There should be an estimated 2 million more people eligible to donate blood, with 190, 000 of them likely to do so.

However, as the New Civil Rights Movement blog points out, the revised policy still continues the stigma of homosexuality, since a married gay couple who only have sex with each other (even with condoms!) is technically barred from giving blood for a year while a straight guy could be having sex every day for a year with sex workers or other high-risk individuals and the straight person is not bared from donating blood under this policy. This communicates the message that homosexuality is inherently more "dangerous" than heterosexuality.

I applaud the progress from the ridiculously stigmatizing lifetime ban on men who have sex with men but would urge the FDA to consider a policy that is neutral based on the gender of the person the potential blood donor has sex with.

EYE CANDY: Daniel Royal Georges

Daniel Royal Georges is most well-known as a trainer (his Instagram account is @royalelite_fit). His profile there says he is 6-foot-2 and 24-years-old. As you can see, he has an incredibly chiseled body and a very handsome face.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Expanse First FOUR Episodes Available Free At SyFy.Com!

I am crazy busy this week with grades being submitted and a quick trip to the East Coast but I must pause for a minute to let you know that The Expanse, the SyFy television show adapted from my favorite space opera series written by James S.A. Corey premiered on Monday and Tuesday. But there's even better news! The first FOUR episodes (of the 10-episode first season based on the events in the first book Leviathan Wakes) are available for free at! Go watch them and let me know what you think via Twitter @maprofessah.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Serena Williams Named Sports Illustrated 2015 Sportsperson of the Year!

Wow! Serena Williams continues to make history. For having a 53-3 season and coming within two match wins of the calendar grand slam, the 34-year-old has become Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year, the first woman to be honored (by herself) in more than 30 years.

EYE CANDY: Lucien Laviscount (reprise)

Lucien Laviscount is a Black British actor (of West Indian descent) who has been featured Eye Candy once before (March 24, 2014). He was born in 1992 and is listed as 5-foot-9 (no weight listed). You may recognize him as Earl Grey on Fox's Scream Queens:

Yes, he cleans up well and looks good in or out of clothes! He also seems to have a really nice personality and a very sexy British accent :)

You can follow him on Twitter (@itslucien) and Instagram (@its_lucien).

Friday, December 11, 2015

CELEBRITY FRIDAY: First X-Men: Apocalypse Trailer Released!

I have been a huge fan of the X-Men comics since I was introduced to them as a teenager living in Barbados. I started collecting them in earnest (especially when they split off to form the New Mutants) when I was in college. Anyway, I have also been a fan of director Bryan Singer's film adaptations of the X-Men movies. The last one was X-Men: Days of Future Past in 2014 and the one before that was X-Men: First Class which stars James McAvoy as the young Charles Xavier an Michael Fassbender as Magneto. The third movie in the sequence if the forthcoming X-Men: Apocalypse.

The trailer for X-Men: Apocalypse is now out, and it looks amazing! The film comes out May 27, 2016.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

TENNIS TUESDAY: WTA Awards Announced, Fedberg Ends, Swiss Sweep Doubles In Rio?

The WTA Awards were announced today and for the seventh time in her career Serena Williams was named the WTA Player of the Year. Other big awards announced were Doubles Team of the Year (Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza), Most Improved Player of the Year (Timea Bacsinszky), Newcomer of the Year (Daria Gavrilova) and Comeback Player of the Year (Venus Williams).

Roger Federer announced that Stefan Edberg will not be part of his coaching staff in 2016. Former ATP pro (and Federer friend) Ivan Ljubicic will join the team, with Severin Luthi remaining as head coach of Team Federer. Ljubicic had been coaching Milos Raonic for the last two years,

Federer has agreed to play Mixed Doubles at the 2016 Rio Olympics with Martina Hingis, who is part of the current Best Doubles Team of the Year. Federer famously won the Men's Doubles With Stan Wawrinka at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, so one would think that they would have a good chance in 2016 now that the team has 19 major singles titles between them. Additionally, the Women's Doubles team of Belinda Bencic (or Bacsinsky) with Hingis would be hard to beat. Could Switzerland sweep the doubles medals next year?

Monday, December 07, 2015

WATCH: 2015 Movie Trailers Supercut

You know the end of the year is approaching as these video compilations start being released. This one is takes all the trailers for movies in 2015 and mashes them up into one stunning year-in-review compilation.

EYE CANDY: Pietro Boselli (3rd time!)

Pietro Boselli has appeared as Eye Candy twice before (April 26, 2015 and July 6, 2015). Boselli, you may recall, is the Italian mathematics Ph.D. student who made headlines around the world when one of his students realized their maths instructor was also a smoking hot male model and posted the news to social media and it went viral

I think part of the reason why the story got so big is that Boselli is so hawt, don't you?

Friday, December 04, 2015

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

WORLD AIDS DAY 2015 Is Today

Today is World AIDS Day. Interestingly, the term "AIDS" is increasingly becoming disfavored among clinicians and doctors who work in this are, who are gravitating towards the term "HIV Stage 3."

Check out this helpful fact sheet:

  1. Acute HIV Infection
    Acute HIV infection is the earliest stage of HIV. Acute HIV infection generally develops within 2 to 4 weeks 
  2. after a person is infected with HIV. During acute HIV infection, many people have flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, and rash. In this acute stage of infection, HIV multiplies rapidly and spreads throughout the body. The virus attacks and destroys the infection-fighting CD4 cells of the immune system. HIV can be transmitted during any stage of infection, but the risk is greatest during acute HIV infection.

  3. Chronic HIV Infection
    The second stage of HIV infection is chronic HIV infection (also called asymptomatic HIV infection or clinical latency). During this stage of the disease, HIV continues to multiply in the body but at very low levels. People with chronic HIV infection may not have any HIV-related symptoms, but they can still spread HIV to others. Without treatment with HIV medicines, chronic HIV infection usually advances to AIDS in 10 to 12 years.

  4. AIDS 
    AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection. Because HIV has destroyed the immune system, the body can’t fight off opportunistic infections and cancer. (Examples of opportunistic infections include pneumonia and tuberculosis.) AIDS is diagnosed when a person with HIV has a CD4 count of less than 200 cells/mm3 and/or one or more opportunistic infections. Without treatment, people with AIDS typically survive about 3 years.

I wonder how Charlie Sheen is marking todays date (in light of recent revelations)?


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