By Tamsin McMahon - Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 0 Comments
Many happy returns to some familiar faces
J.K. Rowling may be the most commercially successful author in recent memory, but in the lead-up to her first adult novel, The Casual Vacancy, skeptics questioned her writing chops. It’s one thing to earn a billion dollars charming children with teenage wizards. It’s quite another to penetrate the cloistered world of the literary elite. The fuss turned out to be for naught. The Casual Vacancy has been a critical success: the Guardian declared Rowling a storyteller “on a par with R.L. Stevenson, Conan Doyle and P.D. James.” Any 10-year-old could have told you that.
Putting the Sheen on cable TV
Writers for CBS’s Two and A Half Men made sure Charlie Sheen would never return when his character was hit by a train, and his body “exploded like a balloon full of meat.” Leave it to cable TV to see the potential in Sheen’s penchant for drug-fuelled rants and rehab stints. Sheen’s Anger Management debuted on FX in June. Ratings were respectable enough for the network to commit to a further 90 episodes. Let’s hope they left some downtime in Sheen’s schedule for a possible relapse. Maybe Ashton Kutcher will be free.
An inauspicious homecoming
Visit a prison and you’ll find inmates who claim to be wrongly convicted. But few can proclaim their innocence quite like Conrad Black. Since his release from a Florida prison in May he has made the rounds of British and Canadian media to declare himself the victim of the “fascistic conveyor belt of the corrupt prison system.” If there is one decision Black seems to regret, it’s the one to renounce his Canadian citizenship for a British life peerage. Eleven years after he termed his exit from Canada as his “last and most consistent act of dissent,” Black is back home on a one-year visa and fighting to keep his membership in Order of Canada. Missing Tim Hortons coffee, m’lord? Continue…
By Evanka Osmak - Monday, August 8, 2011 at 10:05 AM - 1 Comment
A good old-fashioned rivalry at the top could provide a real boost to the next generation of stars
Wanted: one, preferably two, dominant and consistent female tennis players. Someone who can handle being the centre of attention (if only for a couple of hours every few weeks), is able to withstand high-pitch screams or grunts, and is capable of winning at least one grand slam title a year. Please inquire within, at the Women’s Tennis Association.
If only it was that easy for the WTA to find a couple of big-name superstars. While young phenoms are replacing veterans in every other sport, it seems women’s tennis is having a tougher time with the changing of the guard. Former No. 1 players like Serena and Venus Williams and Kim Clijsters aren’t ready to retire just yet. But their tournament appearances are limited because of injuries or non-tennis commitments. At a time when the men’s game is exceptionally competitive and exciting—thanks to the three-ring circus starring Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer—the women’s side, as legendary coach Nick Bollettieri has put it, needs a little “pizzazz.”
These days, any number of players can win a tournament on any given week. Some say the parity is a good thing, but one of the results of having such a wide open field is the lack of a natural leader. One player who’s benefited from her youth, good health and availability is Caroline Wozniacki, the current No. 1. She has held that spot every week but one since October 2010. As impressive as that is for a 21-year-old, Wozniacki’s resumé is still missing a grand slam title. The closest the Dane has come to winning one was the 2009 U.S. Open, where she lost to Clijsters in the final. Regardless of how many titles she holds—17 so far—or how consistent she plays at regular events, until she wins a major, she’ll lack the household-name status of Venus or Serena.
By John Intini - Tuesday, August 11, 2009 at 11:50 PM - 5 Comments
Purists hate it, but what’s a guttural outburst (or several) in a great tennis game?
When Serena Williams stopped by The Late Show last month after winning a third Wimbledon title, the conversation, like many about tennis these days, turned to grunting rather than groundstrokes. Williams joked that she grunts playing golf and said Monica Seles, tennis’s ﬁrst scream queen, was her role model growing up. When David Letterman asked if her outbursts distracted opponents, she smiled: “I often wonder that.”
Though the bit went over well with the studio audience, it’s unlikely everyone at home was laughing. Grunting has become a divisive issue in tennis, especially in the women’s game. Purists complain the guttural outbursts are unnecessary and annoying to spectators and opponents. Martina Navratilova recently called it “cheating” and said it should be outlawed. Continue…
By Nancy Macdonald - Wednesday, June 25, 2008 at 1:51 PM - 0 Comments
La première étoile:… Russian Marat Safin caused a sensational upset today at Wimbledon by
La première étoile: Russian Marat Safin caused a sensational upset today at Wimbledon by knocking out top-seed Novak Djokovic, ranked No. 3 in the world. Safin, struggling at No. 75, admitted that he’d already booked himself a flight home to Moscow tonight. Cancel that, eh?
Two minutes to … Gary Bettman for empty posturing. He’s “suspended” Ducks’ owner Henry Samueli after Samueli pleaded guilty to obstructing a securities investigation. Given that Bettman’s now got 3 owners under suspicion or convicted of business misconduct, his avowal that he’ll hold NHL owners “to the highest standards” is hard to take with a straight face. (The other two are Ottawa’s Eugene Melnyk, facing fraud charges and William Del Baggio in Nashville, under investigation for irregularities related to his purchase of the Predators.)
Who’s got tickets? Spain takes on Russia tomorrow in a Euro2008 semi-final. Spain’s solid performance has solidified their status as odds-on favourites. But Russia, looking good since welcoming back star forward Andrei Arshavin, is not to be counted out.
Extra bases: No. 3 seed Maria Sharapova upset Wimbledon traditionalists and British tabloids by announcing that she’ll be playing in shorts, not a skirt. But today, the Sun ran a retraction—under the banner headline Shara’s Shorts: A Sun Apology. After seeing her in action, the tab decided her shorts were sexy—not “manly” at all… Continue…