Let me be even more specific: The US Open day session, around the middle weekend of the tournament, is my favorite sports event to attend. There is nowhere else where you can be 10 feet away from world-class professional athletes, practicing their groundstrokes, serves, and other shots. And it is so much fun to walk around from one court to the next, seeing top men and women play singles and doubles, and even just practicing. I went to Flushing Meadows on the middle Saturday, and was treated to so much good tennis. I started watching David Ferrer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga warming up on the practice courts, which is actually quite mesmerizing and amazing. It’s so neat to see them hitting the ball so hard, with such great precision. Then I went to the new Grandstand court to see Dominic Thiem play. There is a new policy that only people with Grandstand tickets can sit in the lower bowl, which doesn’t make much sense since most people get general grounds passes, or tickets to Louis Armstrong Stadium or Arthur Ashe. So, this meant that most seats in the lower bowl of the Grandstand were empty, with people packed up top. Then I made my way down to the outer courts where I saw Jamie Murray (Andy’s brother) play doubles on Court 13, and right around there I got very close to Fernando Verdasco who was working on his serve and return. By then it was lunchtime, so that meant a cheeseburger, which was actually not bad, and then to Arthur Ashe to see Serena Williams waltz right over her opponent. I’m not even sure she broke a sweat. Then, it was to Court 17 where I saw Gregor Dimitrov win his match, then to Court 11 to see Martina Hingis and Coco Vandeweghe play women’s doubles. I think after watching a full day of tennis, those two played with the most joy, and it was the most fun watching them. Hingis, who is 35, can still really play. I ended the day at Louis Armstrong Stadium where I watched a little of the Stan Wawrinka match. Overall, a full and completely fun day of watching tennis. I’ll be back!
I wanted to get some tea after work in midtown Manhattan, near 59th and Lexington. I thought the only requirements for this to happen was for the place to be open in the evening, and that it served tea. However, there are other requirements as well! I found a place called Mon Petit Cafe on 62nd and Lexington, but when I went in around 7:30pm, they said they were only serving dinner, and I could not order only a beverage. Boo. Then I went to Serendipity 3 on 60th between 2nd and 3rd, and it specializes in desserts. They are especially famous for their frozen hot chocolate. I really only wanted tea, and as a dessert place, I was sure they would have some. It turns out they did have tea ($4), so that was good, but I found it odd when the waiter left the menu on my table after I ordered, and he kept coming back to see what else I wanted. Finally, after about three trips back, he gently informed me that each person has to spend at least $8.50, and he pointed to a little corner on the menu with that in writing. (I could not find that anywhere on the website.) So in addition to my tea, I ordered the Forgotten Broadway Sundae (chocolate Blackout cake, ice cream, hot fudge topped with whipped cream), which was quite good, but it was enormous and way too big for me to finish. Oh, it also cost $17.50. So next time you go to Serendipity 3, know that you can’t just order a cup of tea.
If anyone knows of somewhere to get tea in midtown in the evening, please let me know. (Starbucks doesn’t count.)
I love the Summer Olympics! What can I say—I’m a fan. They’re not over yet, and there have already been amazing performances. Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian EVER, comes away from Rio with five golds and one silver, to bring his extraordinary total to 23 golds, and 28 total medals. He has the most total gold medals, and the most individual gold medals with 13. Katie Ledecky, only 19 years old, set world records in the 400m and 800m (a race in which she beat the second-place finisher by more than 11 seconds!), and also added two more golds and a silver medal. Here she is finishing the 800m without anyone else even in the picture! Out of 15 individual finals at World Championships and Olympics, Ledecky has won all of them. Simone Biles, the 4’8 USA gymnast, has already won three gold medals (team, all-around, and vault), and could win two more with the vault and floor exercise. It is a consensus that she is the best gymnast in the world, and she might be the best ever. Here is a video of her floor exercise, and here is a cool interactive flip-book-style article about her. And then on the track, there is Usain “lightning” bolt, who became the first person to win the 100m in three consecutive Olympics. Here is a great picture of Bolt grinning as he dominates his competition.
I was recently in South Lake Tahoe for 3 days (two half days with one full day in the middle) and I made good use of the time with great hikes in the area. The first day I went to Eagle Lake, and that was a couple of hours and a bit less than 6 miles. It could have been shorter, around 3.8 miles, but at the lake I took a walk around part of the perimeter. Here is a gallery from that day’s hike.
The second day, which was my full day, I hiked Mount Tallac, which is one of the tallest peaks in Tahoe, and there is outstanding scenery along the whole trail. I was feeling the burn on the way up, and in my knees on the way down, but the view from the top was worth the pain. It was truly incredible. A 360 degree view of Eagle Lake to the north, Lake Tahoe to the east, and Fallen Leaf Lake to the south. I couldn’t take enough panoramic photos. It’s 4.8 miles up, and 4.8 miles down, and it took just under six hours. Here are pictures from that hike.
The third day I wanted to do a flat and easy hike since my legs and knees were still feeling it, and I found a great one by Fallen Leaf Lake trail, with the trailhead a quarter-mile west of the Fallen Leaf Lake campground. It was about a mile to get to the lake, and it took about an hour and a half total, including relaxing for a few minutes by the lake. Here are pictures from around the Fallen Leaf Lake.
Overall, a really good trip with amazing views all three days. Was so good to get into nature, and breathe in that fresh air.
– Plenty of water
– Good hiking shoes
– Thick socks
– Bug spray (if bugs)
– First aid kit
Today, the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team lost in penalty kicks to Sweden in the quarterfinals of the Olympics. It was the first time the USWNT won’t win a medal at the Olympics, and Hope Solo, the US goalie, had this to say after the loss:
I thought that we played a courageous game. I thought that we had many opportunities on goal. I think we showed a lot of heart. We came back from a goal down; I’m very proud of this team.
“I also think we played a bunch of cowards. But, you know, the best team did not win today; I strongly, firmly believe that. I think you saw America’s heart. You saw us give everything that we had today. Unfortunately the better team didn’t win.
“I don’t think they’re going to make it far in the tournament. I think it was very cowardly. But they won. They’re moving on, and we’re going home.”
How sad, pathetic, cruel, and disrespectful. Not only does it make Solo look bad, but it also reflects poorly on the U.S. team, and the U.S. as a country.
Former USWNT star and current ESPN analyst Julie Foudy called Solo’s comments ridiculous and classless, and they definitely were. Of course everyone wants to win, but show some dignity, some respect, some sportsmanship–even in defeat. You don’t want to look like a nasty jerk, especially when you’re representing something bigger than yourself.
Just this past week, Trump has said these things, and it made me question whether he really wanted to win the election:
• He insulted the parents of a Muslim-American soldier killed in war
• He called Hillary Clinton the devil
• He said that the “election is going to be rigged” after he fell behind in the polls
• He said the Russians should hack their way into government files to access Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails
Today, President Obama ripped into Trump, saying he was “unfit to serve as president”, and that Republicans should not be endorsing him. Even before the president’s statement, Richard Hanna, a three-term representative from New York, became the first Republican member of Congress to join forces with Democrats against Mr. Trump. (From the NY Times)
Will all of these outrageous things he’s saying, and the fact that he’s hugely under qualified, matter at all to the voters come November?
And it turns out I’m not the only one who thought Trump might not actually want to win. Esquire asks if Trump is trying to throw the election.
What a great Democratic National Convention. Some really excellent and inspiring speeches by the Obamas, Joe Biden, Tim Kaine, Cory Booker, Michael Bloomberg, and the Clintons. My favorite lines from Hillary’s speech:
“When there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit.”
“A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.”
“Donald Trump says he wants to make America great again, well, he could start by actually making things in America again.”