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athletes Athletics sport tennis

Tennis: The Greatest Hits.

Your author has spent many an hour in rapt engagement with the sport of tennis. Since the early 1970s, it has been my favorite sport to watch and to play. The above constitutes my highly opinionated (yet utterly impartial…) list of the greatest practitioners I’ve ever witnessed. The order might well be in flux, but as for now, I feel comfortable with Roger Federer at #1, Pete Sampras #2, BjΓΆrn Borg #3, Raphael Nadal #4, and Novak Djokovic #5.

Those who follow these five legends could all be considered “Honorable Mention”, as I feel the top 5 are simply a cut above. This is certainly not meant as a slight, as all included here are geniuses of the game. In no order, I’ve selected John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Andre Agassi, Arthur Ashe, and Boris Becker.

What criteria were used? Mostly, the eye and gut test. Certainly, career accomplishments were very much factored in. But, I went primarily by feel. Federer is quite simply the greatest tennis player I’ve seen. No one quite compares. What he’s done on the court is both sublime *and* ridiculous. After the Swiss maestro, we thought Sampras barely nosed out the Swede on the strength of, surprise, his immense first and second serves. Borg, the mightiest titan I had beheld in my youth, is next; the man’s groundstrokes revolutionized the game, with their blistering topspin. He was also *insanely* fast. Rafa takes #4, on the merits of his own wicked topspin forehand, foot speed, and indomitable will. And speaking of indomitable, the same applies to Mr. Djokovic. His return of serve is also probably the most effective/intimidating we’ve seen.

A final word on Federer, from the man who knows him best: Rafa Nadal. “If he is playing very good, I have to play unbelievable. If not, it’s impossible, especially if he’s playing with good confidence. When he’s 100 per cent, he’s playing in another league. It’s impossible to stop him.” – 2007

Categories
Classical music Keyboardists Music music videos photography

Mind-Bending Pianism: Yuja Wang and Jun Asai.

Yuja Wang and Jun Asai are two surreal talents. Already phenomenally accomplished at their youthful ages, these two have the world at their feet. We have much to marvel at now, and much more to look forward to.

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Bands Devo Music

The Devo.

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Music music videos Soul

Soul Seventies! {Part 1}.

A modest sampler of soul hits from the 1970s, performed live. We have Billy Paul, Blue Magic, The Isley Brothers, Ben E. King, LTD, The Main Ingredient, and The Stylistics, featuring Russell Thompkins, Jr.

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Bands performers The Who

The Who: A Force Majeure.

Some early titanic achievements by this legendary group. Ably demonstrated is this band’s fiercely combustible power and unstoppable propulsive energy. Moon, Townshend, Entwistle, Daltrey: rock gods, all.

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Actors Actors of Greatness Crispin Glover Film

River’s Edge {1986}.

This quirky, moody, disturbing, occasionally hysterical crime drama boasts a fine ensemble cast, but Crispin Glover steals the show with a stunning, unforgettable performance as druggy ringleader-of-sorts Layne. Iconic, a tour de force. Keanu Reeves is very good as Matt, a relatively sane teenager. Dennis Hopper has a nice turn as dealer/murderer/weirdo Feck.

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Classical music pianists

Valentina Lisitsa.

This Ukrainian-born pianist is simply poetic to behold at the keyboard.

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Hungary Music

Oh! Hungary!

 Sirvavigadas: “a characteristically Hungarian penchant for celebrating misery in an extravagant, nay spendthrift, manner.” —R. Sarlos.

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Film Music hit singles

Themes. Bond Themes.

A collection of dramatic theme songs of the James Bond persuasion, scintillatingly performed by Shirley Bassey, Adele, Nancy Sinatra, Matt Monro, Tom Jones, Paul McCartney, and Carly Simon, legends all.

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Actors Actors of Greatness Film

Michael Clayton {2007}.

A legal thriller from 2007, brilliantly directed by Tony Gilroy, Michael Clayton chiefly revolves around the relationship between the title character, a “fixer”, and Arthur Edens, a brilliant attorney who is suffering a breakdown but also grasps more of the truth than is perhaps good for him. George Clooney and Tom Wilkinson star, along with Tilda Swinton, who portrays a ruthless general counsel and chief antagonist. All provide memorable performances, with Wilkinson at the height of his powers as the bipolar Edens.