Occam’s Razor

June 9, 2007

Who will win the French Open: Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer?

Filed under: Uncategorized — lesturla @ 5:22 pm

And so we stand at the throes of history. Last night to relax my nerves I went to the spa ahead of the French Open men’s Semis. I am such a fan of the game and of Federer’s that I am having trouble maintaining my cool with the prospect of him and Nadal meeting up yet again in the finals and of course the inevitable question looms: will he finally snag this one given that he creamed Nadal just a few weeks ago in the Hamburg finals on red clay.

Theirs is a classic rivalry. While Roger has a stronghold of the world number one post, Rafa has always got his number. Nadal leads in their head to head match-up 7-4.
To further expound on the gravity of the subject, Nadal has won the past 2 French Open titles. And has been running a record win-streak on clay until of course Hamburg happened. Here you’ve got Federer who seem to always fall short in dominating Rafa on clay and has had some difficult matches with the 21 year old lefty, the world number one who is in a semi “crisis” who just recently fired his coach Tony Roche because of uncharacteristic losses to relative unknowns like Canas and Volandri but in this time of seeming crisis he steps up and whips Nadal off of the red clay of Hamburg posting an unbelievable 6-0 in the final set.

It has been noted that Roger is most dangerous when he’s in crisis as most great athletes are (Steffi Graf always comes to mind and the parallelism on the Graf-Seles rivalry is just too stark to ignore). So now the question, has Roger finally figured it out? Will he step up and give us what we the raving tennis fans have been craving for? — to witness history happen and to watch possibly the greatest player to have played the sport take all 4 grand slam titles in a non-calendar succession and postition himself to win a calendar Grand Slam by taking the Wimbledon and US Open titles (which is a relatively easy task for him to pull).

Last night was probably one of the best tennis nights ever. The lineup couldn’t be more perfect. One one hand you’ve got Rafa Nadal, the clay court king of the past few years versus the up and coming Serb Novak Djokovic (three Serbian tennis players made it in the Rolland Garros semis Ana Ivanovic beat Sharapova to reach the finals while Jelena Jankovic bowed down to Henin in the other women’s semis). In their most recent match up Djokovic beat Nadal in Miami. Some fans are hoping that Djokovic will pull the same stunt and upset the defending champ to boost The Fed’s chances of taking home the title this year. Nadal won in straight sets.

Before that though, was an intense and very tight straight sets victory from Federer against the arguably second-best clay court expert in the game right now, the frail Russian Nikolay Davydenko. The match could have gone either way Roger said afterwards but surprisingly throughout the match I never felt that Roger was threatened in any way. The match was tight and of high quality but such is my faith on my man Roger that I knew he would pull it through anyway. Else, the spa treatment was effective in calming my nerves. Federer beats Davydenko in tightly contested straight sets.

The men’s finals will be telecast 6 pm in Manila via Solar Sports and 7 pm here in Hanoi. I am going to the spa ahead of the finals as I don’t want to break the routine I had when Roger won last night. If possible I will go to the temple to pray for his victory. Or just pray the whole day every 30 minutes. I am rooting for him in an insanely obsessive degree and the last time I felt this way was when Steffi Graf snagged the ’99 French Open crown for her 22nd Grand Slam title beating the then petulant Martina Hingis. The stars are all alligned for Roger’s win. He will take it this year!

Meanwhile here’s an additional reading from http://www.fannation.com/throwdowns/show/11052 a debate between CNNSI columnists Jon Wertheim and S.L. Price.

 Federer is owed the Swiss equivalent of “mad props” for finally solving the Nadal riddle and beating his nemesis in clay. In taking the Hamburg title last weekend, the Fed raised interest rates headed into the French Open and breathed new life back into the best rivalry in men’s tennis since Sampras-Agassi. Still, let’s hold onto our bandanas here. Even coming off a loss-which will likely infuse him with that much more motivation-Nadal has won 81 or his last 82 claycourt matches. He is the two-time defending champion in Paris. The fast red clay is ideally suited to his topspin-heavy game. His superior conditioning benefits from the best-of-five format. The current stalemate in men’s tennis is something out of classical mythology. No matter how much Nadal wins on clay, he will never be No.1, not so long as Federer is around. And no matter how thoroughly Federer dominates, he will never win that elusive Roland Garros title, not so long as Nadal is around. So it goes…


“Mad props?” The guy deserves a medal. The men’s tour has grappled with two weirdly contradictory themes over the past couple years: Federer’s inevitability and Nadal’s dominance over him, and for things to remain locked up that way would’ve been deadly for the game. Federer’s win in Hamburg tossed all the chips into air as we head onto Roland Garros. Nothing seems predictable, suddenly, and that’s all to the good. I’m putting my money on the Fed, though, because it makes absolutely no sense for him to win the French Open now. His spring has been filled with losses, he’s adjusting to a new racket, he just fired his, er, coach, Tony Roche: The man’s a mess, right? And then, right smack in the midst of all that, he waxes Nadal in Hamburg in a way we’ve never seen the Spaniard go down. That tells me plenty. Roger has been a bit bored by all that winning the last few years, and all these mini-crises have snapped him awake. It’s a dangerous thing to have the world’s most talented player feel he’s an underdog, that he has no choice but to fight, that he has something to prove. But that’s what we have now.


“It’s a dangerous thing to have the world’s most talented player feel he’s an underdog, that he has no choice but to fight, that he has something to prove.” Doesn’t that describe Nadal on clay? The guy has still won 81 of his last 82 clay court matches, including every match he’s ever played at Roland Garros. This spring he played more tennis than anyone should be allowed to play–some of it owing to his unshakable habit of winning; some of it attributed to the nonsensical ATP calendar. Midway through his 20th singles match in barely a month, he runs out of gas in the final. Suddenly amnesia kicks in and he’s no longer the player to beat in Paris?


Actually, no, it doesn’t describe Nadal. He’s not the underdog here, and at Roland Garros he has nothing to prove. Everyone knows he’s the king of clay, and now that you mention it, his exhaustion over the past month is yet another reason why Federer is my bet here. And let’s not underrate the transformative power of one match. Andre Agassi won in Paris in 1999, and that, in essence, rejiggered the conversation on his entire career. Nadal nearly beat Federer on a hardcourt in Miami in 2005 and it convinced him, and everyone else, that he could battle the man on any surface. As for amnesia, I haven’t forgotten that he’s the player to beat in Paris. I just happen to know a player who can beat him.


Novak Djokovic? You want to bring him into this, now? One tangential observation about Nadal-Federer, before this point-counterpoint devolves into “Jane, you ignorant slut” territory. I read a report that after Federer won in Hamburg- essentially on the eve of a Grand Slam!– Nadal approached him and, in the soccer football tradition, asked him his autographed jersey.

Rivalries in sport tend to polarize fans, Roe v. Wade debates that demand taking sides. No one is Yankees AND Red Sox, Ohio State AND Michigan, Man U AND Real Madrid. In the case of Nadal-Federer it’s pretty hard to summon much disdain for either guy. And, thus, it is entirely reasonable to root for both of them to win. Just that in this case it will be the Spanish guy with the stringy hair and the wedgie.


Wow, Novak. You really know how to hurt a guy. Personally, I thought the devolution was leading more into Airplane! territory (“Shana, they paid for their tickets; I say let them crash!”) Look, I’m right there with you; the odd thing about this Throwdown is that it revolves around two guys who have managed to keep their rivalry free of in-your-face, “Quien es mas macho?” posturing. Their mutual respect is palpable, almost to the extent that it leaves fans confused. When these guys play, they force us to focus on the tennis, not the far easier quirks of personality or clothing. This makes for great technical drama, but it hasn’t quite gotten personal yet; save for Fed’s one-time complaint about Rafa’s coaching, there’s no hint of animus in the air. The greatest rivalries, like Sampras-Agassi, have that extra spice.

But maybe that changes here. Federer knows the clock is ticking, and he’ll be full of confidence after that 6-0 third in Hamburg. He’ll do what he’s supposed to do at last: Tuck away his hair (believe me, it’s just as much an issue with him as it is with Nadal), serve out the match, and send Senor Wedgie packing.

Who will win the French Open: Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer?

Filed under: Uncategorized — lesturla @ 10:22 am

And so we stand at the throes of history. Last night to relax my nerves I went to the spa ahead of the French Open men’s Semis. I am such a fan of the game and of Federer’s that I am having trouble maintaining my cool with the prospect of him and Nadal meeting up yet again in the finals and of course the inevitable question looms: will he finally snag this one given that he creamed Nadal just a few weeks ago in the Hamburg finals on red clay.

Theirs is a classic rivalry. While Roger has a stronghold of the world number one post, Rafa has always got his number. Nadal leads in their head to head match-up 7-4.
To further expound on the gravity of the subject, Nadal has won the past 2 French Open titles. And has been running a record win-streak on clay until of course Hamburg happened. Here you’ve got Federer who seem to always fall short in dominating Rafa on clay and has had some difficult matches with the 21 year old lefty, the world number one who is in a semi “crisis” who just recently fired his coach Tony Roche because of uncharacteristic losses to relative unknowns like Canas and Volandri but in this time of seeming crisis he steps up and whips Nadal off of the red clay of Hamburg posting an unbelievable 6-0 in the final set.

It has been noted that Roger is most dangerous when he’s in crisis as most great athletes are (Steffi Graf always comes to mind and the parallelism on the Graf-Seles rivalry is just too stark to ignore). So now the question, has Roger finally figured it out? Will he step up and give us what we the raving tennis fans have been craving for? — to witness history happen and to watch possibly the greatest player to have played the sport take all 4 grand slam titles in a non-calendar succession and postition himself to win a calendar Grand Slam by taking the Wimbledon and US Open titles (which is a relatively easy task for him to pull).

Last night was probably one of the best tennis nights ever. The lineup couldn’t be more perfect. One one hand you’ve got Rafa Nadal, the clay court king of the past few years versus the up and coming Serb Novak Djokovic (three Serbian tennis players made it in the Rolland Garros semis Ana Ivanovic beat Sharapova to reach the finals while Jelena Jankovic bowed down to Henin in the other women’s semis). In their most recent match up Djokovic beat Nadal in Miami. Some fans are hoping that Djokovic will pull the same stunt and upset the defending champ to boost The Fed’s chances of taking home the title this year. Nadal won in straight sets.

Before that though, was an intense and very tight straight sets victory from Federer against the arguably second-best clay court expert in the game right now, the frail Russian Nikolay Davydenko. The match could have gone either way Roger said afterwards but surprisingly throughout the match I never felt that Roger was threatened in any way. The match was tight and of high quality but such is my faith on my man Roger that I knew he would pull it through anyway. Else, the spa treatment was effective in calming my nerves. Federer beats Davydenko in tightly contested straight sets.

The men’s finals will be telecast 6 pm in Manila via Solar Sports and 7 pm here in Hanoi. I am going to the spa ahead of the finals as I don’t want to break the routine I had when Roger won last night. If possible I will go to the temple to pray for his victory. Or just pray the whole day every 30 minutes. I am rooting for him in an insanely obsessive degree and the last time I felt this way was when Steffi Graf snagged the ’99 French Open crown for her 22nd Grand Slam title beating the then petulant Martina Hingis. The stars are all alligned for Roger’s win. He will take it this year!

Meanwhile here’s an additional reading from http://www.fannation.com/throwdowns/show/11052 a debate between CNNSI columnists Jon Wertheim and S.L. Price.

 Federer is owed the Swiss equivalent of “mad props” for finally solving the Nadal riddle and beating his nemesis in clay. In taking the Hamburg title last weekend, the Fed raised interest rates headed into the French Open and breathed new life back into the best rivalry in men’s tennis since Sampras-Agassi. Still, let’s hold onto our bandanas here. Even coming off a loss-which will likely infuse him with that much more motivation-Nadal has won 81 or his last 82 claycourt matches. He is the two-time defending champion in Paris. The fast red clay is ideally suited to his topspin-heavy game. His superior conditioning benefits from the best-of-five format. The current stalemate in men’s tennis is something out of classical mythology. No matter how much Nadal wins on clay, he will never be No.1, not so long as Federer is around. And no matter how thoroughly Federer dominates, he will never win that elusive Roland Garros title, not so long as Nadal is around. So it goes…


“Mad props?” The guy deserves a medal. The men’s tour has grappled with two weirdly contradictory themes over the past couple years: Federer’s inevitability and Nadal’s dominance over him, and for things to remain locked up that way would’ve been deadly for the game. Federer’s win in Hamburg tossed all the chips into air as we head onto Roland Garros. Nothing seems predictable, suddenly, and that’s all to the good. I’m putting my money on the Fed, though, because it makes absolutely no sense for him to win the French Open now. His spring has been filled with losses, he’s adjusting to a new racket, he just fired his, er, coach, Tony Roche: The man’s a mess, right? And then, right smack in the midst of all that, he waxes Nadal in Hamburg in a way we’ve never seen the Spaniard go down. That tells me plenty. Roger has been a bit bored by all that winning the last few years, and all these mini-crises have snapped him awake. It’s a dangerous thing to have the world’s most talented player feel he’s an underdog, that he has no choice but to fight, that he has something to prove. But that’s what we have now.


“It’s a dangerous thing to have the world’s most talented player feel he’s an underdog, that he has no choice but to fight, that he has something to prove.” Doesn’t that describe Nadal on clay? The guy has still won 81 of his last 82 clay court matches, including every match he’s ever played at Roland Garros. This spring he played more tennis than anyone should be allowed to play–some of it owing to his unshakable habit of winning; some of it attributed to the nonsensical ATP calendar. Midway through his 20th singles match in barely a month, he runs out of gas in the final. Suddenly amnesia kicks in and he’s no longer the player to beat in Paris?


Actually, no, it doesn’t describe Nadal. He’s not the underdog here, and at Roland Garros he has nothing to prove. Everyone knows he’s the king of clay, and now that you mention it, his exhaustion over the past month is yet another reason why Federer is my bet here. And let’s not underrate the transformative power of one match. Andre Agassi won in Paris in 1999, and that, in essence, rejiggered the conversation on his entire career. Nadal nearly beat Federer on a hardcourt in Miami in 2005 and it convinced him, and everyone else, that he could battle the man on any surface. As for amnesia, I haven’t forgotten that he’s the player to beat in Paris. I just happen to know a player who can beat him.


Novak Djokovic? You want to bring him into this, now? One tangential observation about Nadal-Federer, before this point-counterpoint devolves into “Jane, you ignorant slut” territory. I read a report that after Federer won in Hamburg- essentially on the eve of a Grand Slam!– Nadal approached him and, in the soccer football tradition, asked him his autographed jersey.

Rivalries in sport tend to polarize fans, Roe v. Wade debates that demand taking sides. No one is Yankees AND Red Sox, Ohio State AND Michigan, Man U AND Real Madrid. In the case of Nadal-Federer it’s pretty hard to summon much disdain for either guy. And, thus, it is entirely reasonable to root for both of them to win. Just that in this case it will be the Spanish guy with the stringy hair and the wedgie.


Wow, Novak. You really know how to hurt a guy. Personally, I thought the devolution was leading more into Airplane! territory (“Shana, they paid for their tickets; I say let them crash!”) Look, I’m right there with you; the odd thing about this Throwdown is that it revolves around two guys who have managed to keep their rivalry free of in-your-face, “Quien es mas macho?” posturing. Their mutual respect is palpable, almost to the extent that it leaves fans confused. When these guys play, they force us to focus on the tennis, not the far easier quirks of personality or clothing. This makes for great technical drama, but it hasn’t quite gotten personal yet; save for Fed’s one-time complaint about Rafa’s coaching, there’s no hint of animus in the air. The greatest rivalries, like Sampras-Agassi, have that extra spice.

But maybe that changes here. Federer knows the clock is ticking, and he’ll be full of confidence after that 6-0 third in Hamburg. He’ll do what he’s supposed to do at last: Tuck away his hair (believe me, it’s just as much an issue with him as it is with Nadal), serve out the match, and send Senor Wedgie packing.

June 1, 2007

Partners and Marriage by Eduardo Jose E. Calasanz

Filed under: Uncategorized — lesturla @ 10:42 am

Found this while blog-hopping. Like all the rest of the previous readers, I found myself nodding in agreement one paragraph after another. For those in a relationship, wanting to be in a relationship, just got out of a relationship, or wanting to get out of, even those who are in a “it’s complicated” status you’ll definitely see more clearly by reading this.
_________________________________________________…

Eduardo Calasanz was a student at the Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines, where he had Father Ferriols as professor. Father Ferriols, meanwhile at that time, was the Philosophy
department head. Currently he still teaches Philosophy for graduating college students in Ateneo.

Father Ferriols has been very popular for his mind-opening and enriching classes but was also
notorious for the grades he gives. Still people took his classes for the learning and deep insight they take home with them every day (if only they could do something about the grades….. )

Anyway, come grade giving time, (Ateneo has letter grading systems, the highest being an A, lowest at D, with F for flunk), Fr Ferriols had this long discussion with the registrar people because he wanted to give Calasanz an A+. Either that or he doesn’t teach at all… Calasanz got his A+.

THE ARTICLE

PARTNERS AND MARRIAGE
by Eduardo Jose E. Calasanz

I have never met a man who didn’t want to be loved. But I have seldom met a man who didn’t fear marriage.Something about the closure seems constricting, not enabling. Marriage seems easier to understand for what it cuts out of our lives than for what it makes possible within our lives.

When I was younger this fear immobilized me. I did not want to make a mistake. I saw my friends get married for reasons of social acceptability, or sexual fever, or just because they thought it was the logical thing to do. Then I watched, as they and their partners became embittered and petty in their dealings with each other. I looked at older couples and saw, at best, mutual toleration of each other. I imagined a lifetime of loveless nights and bickering days and could not imagine subjecting myself or someone else to such a fate.

And yet, on rare occasions, I would see old couples who somehow seemed to glow in each other’s presence. They seemed really in love, not just dependent upon each other and tolerant of each other’s foibles.

It was an astounding sight, and it seemed impossible. How, I asked myself, can they have
survived so many years of sameness, so much irritation at the others habits? What keeps love alive in them, when most of us seem unable to even stay together, much less love each other?

The central secret seems to be in choosing well. There is something to the claim of fundamental compatibility. Good people can create a bad relationship, even though they both dearly want the relationship to succeed.

It is important to find someone with whom you can create a good relationship from the outset.
Unfortunately, it is hard to see clearly in the early stages.

Sexual hunger draws you to each other and colors the way you see yourselves together. It blinds you to the thousands of little things by which relationships eventually survive or fail. You need to find a way to see beyond this initial overwhelming sexual fascination. Some people choose to involve themselves sexually and ride out the most heated period of sexual attraction in order to see what is on the other side. This can work, but it can also leave a trail of wounded hearts. Others deny the sexual side altogether in an attempt to get to know each other apart from their sexuality. But they cannot see clearly, because the presence of unfulfilled sexual desire looms so large that it keeps them from having any normal perception of what life would be like together.

The truly lucky people are the ones who manage to become long-time friends before they realize they are attracted to each other. They get to know each other’s laughs, passions, sadness, and fears. They see each other at their worst and at their best. They share time together before they get swept up into the entangling intimacy of their sexuality. This is the ideal, but not often possible. If you fall under the spell of your sexual attraction immediately, you need to look beyond it for other keys to compatibility.

One of these is laughter. Laughter tells you how much you will enjoy each others company over the long term. If your laughter together is good and healthy, and not at the expense of others, then you have a healthy relationship to the world. Laughter is the child of surprise. If you can make each other laugh, you can always surprise each other. And if you can always surprise each other, you can always keep the world around you new.

Beware of a relationship in which there is no laughter. Even the most intimate relationships based only on seriousness have a tendency to turn sour. Over time, sharing a common serious viewpoint on the world tends to turn you against those who do not share the same viewpoint, and your relationship can become based on being critical together.

After laughter, look for a partner who deals with the world in a way you respect. When two people first get together, they tend to see their relationship as existing only in the space between the two of them. They find each other endlessly fascinating, and the overwhelming power of the emotions they are sharing obscures the outside world. As the relationship ages and grows, the outside world becomes important again.

If your partner treats people or circumstances in a way you can’t accept, you will inevitably come to grief.

Look at the way he/she cares for others and deals with the daily affairs of life. If that makes you love her more, your love will grow. If it does not, be careful. If you do not respect the way you each deal with the world around you, eventually the two of you will not respect each other.

Look also at how your partner confronts the mysteries of life. We live on the cusp of poetry and practicality, and the real life of the heart resides in the poetic. If one of you is deeply affected by the mystery of the unseen in life and relationships, while the other is drawn only to the literal and the practical, you must take care that the distance does not become an unbridgeable gap that leaves you each feeling isolated and misunderstood.

There are many other keys, but you must find them by yourself. We all have unchangeable parts of our hearts that we will not betray and private commitments to a vision of life that we will not deny. If you fall in love with someone who cannot nourish those inviolable parts of you, or if you cannot nourish them in her, you will find yourselves growing further apart until you live in separate worlds where you share the business of life, but never touch each other where the heart lives and dreams. From there it is only a small leap to the cataloging of petty hurts and daily failures that leaves so many couples bitter and unsatisfied with their mates.

So choose carefully and well. If you do, you will have chosen a partner with whom you can grow, and then the real miracle of marriage can take place in your hearts. I pick my words carefully when I speak of a miracle. But I think it is not too strong a word.

There is a miracle in marriage. It is called transformation. Transformation is one of the most
common events of nature. The seed becomes the flower. The cocoon becomes the butterfly. Winter becomes spring and love becomes a child. We never question these, because we see them around us every day. To us they are not miracles, though if we did not know them they would be impossible to believe.

Marriage is a transformation we choose to make. Our love is planted like a seed, and in time it begins to flower. We cannot know the flower that will blossom, but we can be sure that a bloom will come. If you have chosen carefully and wisely, the bloom will be good. If you have chosen poorly or for the wrong reason, the bloom will be flawed.

We are quite willing to accept the reality of negative transformation in a marriage. It was negative transformation that always had me terrified of the bitter marriages that I feared when
I was younger. It never occurred to me to question the dark miracle that transformed love into harshness and bitterness. Yet I was unable to accept the possibility that the first heat of love could be transformed into something positive that was actually deeper and more meaningful
than the heat of fresh passion. All I could believe in was the power of this passion and the fear that when it cooled I would be left with something lesser and bitter.

But there is positive transformation as well. Like negative transformation, it results from a slow
accretion of little things. But instead of death by a thousand blows, it is growth by a thousand touches of love. Two histories intermingle. Two separate beings, two separate presences, two separate consciousness come together and share a view of life that passes before them. They remain separate, but they also become one. There is an expansion of awareness, not a closure and a constriction, as I had once feared. This is not to say that there is not tension and there are not traps. Tension and traps are part of every choice of life, from celibate to monogamous to having multiple lovers. Each choice contains within it the lingering doubt
that the road not taken somehow more fruitful and exciting, and each becomes dulled to the richness that it alone contains.

But only marriage allows life to deepen and expand and be leavened by the knowledge that two have chosen, against all odds, to become one. Those who live together without marriage can know the pleasure of shared company, but there is a specific gravity in the marriage commitment that deepens that experience into something richer and more complex.

So do not fear marriage, just as you should not rush into it for the wrong reasons. It is an act of faith and it contains within it the power of transformation. If you believe in your heart that you have found someone with whom you are able to grow, if you have sufficient faith that you can resist the endless attraction of the road not taken and the partner not chosen, if you have the strength of heart to embrace the cycles and seasons that your love will experience, then you may be ready to seek the miracle that marriage offers. If not, then wait. The easy grace of a marriage well made is worth your patience. When the time comes, a thousand flowers will bloom…endlessly.

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