Thursday, August 31, 2017

Grounds for Happiness

Here's a lengthy-but-quick photo roundup of our trip yesterday to the U.S. Open. Damian and I got grounds passes, which generally means you will miss some of the marquee players who are on Ashe Stadium. But with Tuesday's virtual rainout, organizers had no choice but to spread everyone out throughout the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, which allowed for some incredibly intimate tennis watching, as you will see. 

We started with Tomas Berdych versus Ryan Harrison. Although I knew Berych was built, I had no idea how massive he was until I was 10 feet from him. (Look at those tree trunks above.) I'm frankly shocked he can move as well as he does carrying all of that around.

Ryan, of course, was as adorable in person as you would imagine. He gave Berdych a little something to think about in the third set, but was really no match for the big-hitting Czech. (Harrison also lost in the first round of doubles on Thursday.)

I see Tomas was injured today, however, and ended up losing to the guy we saw next, below.

Russian Andrey Rublev all but blew Slovenian-born Aljaž Bedene off the court.

But the 28-year-old, who now players for Great Britain, was awfully easy on the eyes.

From HERE.

Always a thrill to see Feliciano Lopez, who won in four over Russian Andrey Kuznetsov

Norbert Gombos of Slovakia was a thing of beauty, but fell in five to Serbian Viktor Troicki. (They were wearing matching Lotto shirts, shorts and shoes.)

Was excited that Tracy liked my tweet!

Lucas Pouille let a two-set lead slip away versus Jared Donaldson ...

Jan-Michael Gambill's protégé in action

but bouncing back to win it in five. Our theory was the young American's, um, unusual haircut distracted him. Both were gunning to be added to my Hottest Asses in Men's Tennis list ...

The highlight of the excursion was undoubtedly the battle of the youngsters, Alexander Zverev vs. Borna Coric. Although Zverev suddenly finds himself seeded 4, Coric had beaten him en route to the 2013 U.S. Open juniors title and once on the pro circuit.


After winning the first set, it looked like Sascha's current stature was going to be the deciding factor. But Coric was not intimidated. And the match wound up being one of the most exciting things I've seen in years, with each player opting to set points up slowly and methodically instead of just going for winners right out of the gate. In the end Coric saved three set points at love-40 down in the fourth set before outplaying the fellow 20-year-old in the tiebreak to win it in four exhilarating sets.

During the post-match interview, Coric seemed sort of dazed and confused ... and adorable!

Back on the outer courts, Benoit Paire and Sascha big brother, Mischa Zverev, put on an entertaining match of cat-and-mouse tennis ...

with Mischa and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat winning in five. (Is Colours by Alexander Julian making tennis clothes now?)

We caught one second of Petra Kvitova's win over Alizé Cornet, but ended up getting this close to her.

Latvian hunk Ernie Gulbis wasn't having much luck against South African Kevin Anderson in the Battle of the Giants. But it was fun watching him mope around ...

And on the other side of the sidewalk the Battle of the Munchkins went on, with Diego Schwartzman (5-7) coming out on top of  Janko Tipsarević, who claims to be 5-11 but is 5-9 on a good day.

Sloane Stephens kept her comeback summer in tact, outslugging Dominika Cibulková in three tough sets.

And then the night ended with another bonus, with Garbiñe Muguruza -- who would likely have been on Ashe -- following Zverev-Coric on the (new) Grandstand. I'd never heard of her opponent, Duan Ying-Ying, a 28-year-old from China. But you'd never guess she was currently ranked 92 the way she came out and out-Muguruza'd the Wimbledon champ for most of the first set, with incredibly powerful and well-places groundstrokes. But as is often the case where an unknown quantity plays a big name, once she got broken, the match was virtually over, with Muguruza cruising to a 6-4, 6-0 win. The perfect ending to a perfect day -- and night -- at Flushing Meadows! 

P.S. Why does everyone now think the world is their living room?

Bikini Thrill

Lots more HERE.

Hunks of 'House Hunters'

Big Red moves the family Down Under ...

Song of the Day: 'Pepperoni Ice Cream' by Killer Pussy

One of my favorite things about the Internet -- even pre-social media -- is that it's allowed me to connect with so many of my favorite musicians of the 1980s, including Lucy LaMode, lead singer of Phoenix's NC-17 answer to the B-52's!

Morning Wood

Page 1 Roundup (08/31)

The Daily News: Van carrying family of six washed away by Harvey floodwaters discovered in Houston-area bayou

The New York Post: Harvey could be costliest disaster in U.S. history

Have you seen this sweet little guy? Read HERE.

The New York Times: Trump is literally talking about cutting taxes for corporations while thousands of people are underwater

The Wall Street Journal: Tiger, an Orange Tabby, Is One of the Last Cats at Sing Sing

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Open Season

Damian and I are heading to Flushing Meadows today with grounds passes in hand. Yesterday's rain means we will be getting to see just about everyone we could dream of -- many marquee players will be forced to the outer courts -- so it couldn't have turned out better if we'd planned it that way. We've already seen two epic matches in the first two days. Maria Sharapova won a seesaw battle against No. 2 seed Simona Halep -- Damian is done with that one after blowing the French Open -- and Frances Tiafoe pushed Roger Federer to the limit, breaking back in the fifth set before losing his serve to end it all. As spectacular as Tiafoe was -- his backstory is heartwarming -- there's still part of me that has this weird feeling that if last night wasn't his chance to make his splash, when is? I know he's merely 19. And I know the days of Mats Wilander and Michael Chang are behind us. But Rafael Nadal was able to win at that age. And Federer is 36 and wasn't playing well having just returned from a back injury -- so why couldn't Tiafoe finish him off, during his "young and fearless with nothing to lose" phase of his career? My fear is that he has Halep Syndrome. I hope I'm wrong, though. Would love to see a lot more of this kid.

HRC Executive Cassidy Karakorn Killed in D.C. Scooter Crash

I never met Cassidy Karakorn. But after seeing so many of my friends and colleagues mourn her sudden death, I sure wish I had. NBC reports that the director of consumer marketing at the Human Rights Campaign was riding a Piaggio scooter eastbound on Florida Avenue  NE in Washington, D.C., at 11:17 p.m. Saturday, when a driver in the far right lane attempted to make a U-turn. As the SUV crossed the left lane, Karakorn struck the driver's side of the SUV. Police said the SUV driver and witnesses tried to help Karakorn, but she died at a hospital. 

HRC described Korakorn as an employee who "tirelessly championed civil rights for the LGBTQ community." 

"Cassidy was a vibrant and energetic force for change in the world. Her talents were boundless. Her creative genius and passion were unmatched," the Human Rights Campaign said in a statement Tuesday. ""In every future effort, we will seek to make Cassidy proud, and will carry her memory with us always."

Such a sudden and sad loss. My condolences to her friends, family and colleagues. Get to know the woman we tragically loss in this 2013 profile on Refinery29 HERE.

Read HERE.

Wrestle Wednesday

Find out what got him so worked up HERE.


What he said -- minus the LOL.

Aaron Rodgers's Mustache Reports to Fudge Packers Camp

Sorry. But this new look isn't likely to quell rumors that the Green Bay quarterback was involved in a nasty breakup with his "roommate."

It's fun to stay at the Y.M.C.A. ...

Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN Sue Trump Over Transgender Military Service Ban

We knew on Nov. 9 that the courts were our only hope moving forward. Although the highest one in the land eventually let us down on the Muslim "travel" ban -- has the administration "figured out what's going on" yet? -- suing is all we can do. And suing we are over Trump's latest assault on the LGBTQ community and the U.S. Constitution.

Lambda Legal reports:
Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN filed a federal lawsuit on Monday challenging the constitutionality of the Trump administration’s ban on military service by transgender individuals.

The lawsuit — brought in response to President Trump’s formal issuance of directions to military authorities late Friday — was filed on behalf of two individuals who seek to join the military; one current service member who seeks appointment as an officer; the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy organization; and Gender Justice League, a gender and sexuality civil and human rights organization, headquartered in Seattle.

“This ban not only wrongfully prevents patriotic, talented Americans from serving, it also compromises the safety and security of our country,” Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Peter Renn said.

“Thousands of current service members are transgender, and many have been serving openly, courageously and successfully in the U.S. military for more than a year — not to mention the previous decades when many were forced to serve in silence," Renn added. "Once again attacking a vulnerable population based on bias, political opportunism and demonstrably untrue ‘alternative facts,’ President Trump is denying brave men and women the opportunity to serve our country without any legitimate justification whatsoever.”

“We promised that we would sue if the president took this action. The law is on our side; justice is on our side," said Peter Perkowski, Legal Director for OutServe-SLDN. "And we are on the side of every single transgender service member and those who want to serve. The nation’s courts exist to protect the people whom tyrants would otherwise abuse. Trump can’t tweet his way out of this one.”

Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN filed the lawsuit Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.
Major legal scholars say the ban is indeed unconstitutional. But my understanding is the commander in chief has enormous amount leeway on such matters -- and god knows the Supreme Court's makeup isn't as friendly as it should be after the death of Antonin Scalia. (F**king Mitch McConnell is truly evil.) The only silver lining I see in this is that maybe General James Mattis -- who doesn't exactly run the Donald Trump Fan Club -- won't expel existing trans service members and the ban for new recruits can always be lifted again when a non-lunatic takes office, whenever that is. It shouldn't have to be this way. But a small group of morons in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan thought they knew better than former presidents and vice presidents, state and territorial governors, U.S. senators and representatives, former members of the federal judiciary, dozens of federal department officials -- current and former -- ambassadors, U.S. attorneys, media advisers, operatives, pollsters, numerous Republican figures as well as every newspaper editorial board in the nation.

UPDATE: Is Mattis plotting to undermine the whole transphobic scheme? Read HERE.

Song of the Day: 'First Comes the Night' by Chris Isaak

Download now HERE.

Thanks to everyone who weighed in on my post about buying/listening/collecting music last week. In the end I decided to "do the right thing" and go ahead and continue buying the digital download of albums by artists I still care about rather than just streaming them. This crisis of conscience led to my buying Prefab Sprout's "Red/Crimson," "The Best of Limahl" (it has his re-recorded versions of the KajaGooGoo singles they released without him!), Aimee Mann's "Mental Illness," Paul Weller's "Saturns Pattern" and "A Kind Revolution" as well as Chris Isaak's most recent album the title track of which ranks up there with the best stuff the retro-crooner has ever done. I'm still listening to these albums -- for free -- via YouTube when I'm at work. But at least I "gave at the office," so to speak, at home.

Morning Wood

Travel with Andreas HERE.

Page 1 Roundup (08/30)

The Daily News: Unrelenting Harvey rain breaches levee, dams near Houston as Trump visits Texas to vow recovery "better than ever"

The New York Post: The many faces of the Hurricane Harvey rescue effort

The New York Times: It Was an Uneasy Time for Immigrants in Texas. Then the Rains Came.

The Wall Street Journal: What Tops the Agenda for a New Space Colony? A Debate Over Taxes