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Esther Vergeer – the world’s greatest Wheelchair Tennis player


Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Esther Vergeer - 2012 Australian Open - Day 13

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Esther Vergeer born on July 18, 1981 in Woerden, Netherlands is the greatest wheelchair tennis player of all time. Since 2003, she has won every singles match she has played – around 444 matches in the last nine years.

In 1999, at the age of 18, Esther became world number one. She is now 30, and she still plays on. Between 2004 and 2006, she never lost a set – winning 250 in a row. During her career, Esther has won 39 Grand Slam titles – 20 singles and 19 doubles, as well as five Paralympics and 22 year-end championship titles.

Esther has been nominated six times including 2012 as Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability. She won this prestigious Award twice – in 2002 and 2008.

Esther Vergeer - US Open 2007

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Esther Vergeer was paralyzed from the waist down in 1990 at the age of eight after undergoing surgery for a spinal defect and brain haemorrhage. Part of her rehabilitation programme involved playing sports, and she found she had an aptitude for wheelchair tennis and basketball, eventually choosing to concentrate on tennis from the time she was 17. She says that she no longer sees herself as disabled.

“At the beginning, I didn’t realize I’d be paralyzed the rest of my life. I was little and in pain and in hospital and all those things together made me think that when I got home and I didn’t have pain any more, I would be able to walk again,” she told Marianne Bevis of The Sport Review.

“But when I got back home, had to go back to school, play with my friends, it dawned on me it would be the rest of my life.

“In the beginning it’s hard, of course, everything I did I compared with before: It was easier when I could walk, it was more fun when I could walk, so it was difficult.

“I guess sports, and the people around me, made me realize that the world doesn’t end. Now I can do all the things that other 30-year-olds do so I don’t see myself as a disabled.

“I love this game more than anybody. It’s a lot of sacrifice, it’s a lot of effort, but I do enjoy that.

“My main motivation is the inner game: I just love the sport, I love the training, but then also the way I see that I can improve in so many aspects still.

“Then there’s the motivation of the Olympics: You have to set certain goals, and this year for sure I’ve set my goal – my mind – on the Olympics.”

Away from the court, Esther with her own charitable foundation continues to work tirelessly to encourage a new generation of athletes by organizing wheelchair sports clinics. She also continues to work closely with the Johan Cruyff Foundation and the Dutch National Paralympic Committee and is also a member of the Laureus Friends & Ambassadors programme.

I have posted below some images of Esther Vergeer – the world’s greatest Wheelchair Tennis player.

Esther Vergeer attends the Laureus Sports Awards at the Palau Sant Jordi on April 2, 2007 in Barcelona, Spain.


Esther Vergeer after winning Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability award in 2008.

Esther Vergeer poses with the championship trophy after winning her women’s wheelchair final match against Korie Homan of the Netherlands during day thirteen of the 2009 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 31, 2009 in Melbourne, Australia.

Esther Vergeer and Rafael Nadal of Spain pose for a photo during day two of the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament at the Ahoy Centre Rotterdam on February 10, 2009 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Esther Vergeer poses with her award at the ITF World Champions Gala on day ten of the French Open on June 1, 2010 in Paris, France.

Esther Vergeer  with her trophy celebrates after she defeated Daniela Di Toro of Australia in her women’s wheelchair singles final during day fourteen of the 2010 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 12, 2010 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.

Esther Vergeer poses with the Women’s Wheelchair Roll of Honour Award during the ITF World Champions Dinner at Pavillion D’Armenonville on May 31, 2011 in Paris, France.

Esther Vergeer celebrates with the championship trophy after defeating Aniek Van Koot of the Netherlands in the Wheelchair Women’s Singles Final during Day Fourteen of the 2011 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 11, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.

Esther Vergeer (L) poses with the winners trophy after defeating Aniek Van Koot (R) of the Netherlands in their Women’s Wheelchair singles final match during day thirteen of the 2012 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 28, 2012 in Melbourne, Australia.

Esther Vergeer poses in the Winners Studio during the 2012 Laureus World Sports Awards at Central Hall Westminster on February 6, 2012 in London, England.

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The Navels of Adam and Eve


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Myself . 

By T.V. Antony Raj
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First of all, let me tell you that I am not a connoisseur of art nor do I pretend to be one. Do you see anything wrong in this drawing of Adam and Eve?

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Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1526)
Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1526)

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A few days ago I saw this same drawing posted in Facebook with annotations. I thank the person who posted this picture for opening my eyes to the world of art.

A few days ago I saw this same drawing posted in Facebook with annotations. I thank the person who posted this picture for opening my eyes to the world of art.

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Explain this - Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1526)
Explain this – Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1526)

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I couldn’t but exclaim “The artist was a dumb idiot.”

But the artist who drew the above picture was an educated person named Lucas Cranach the Elder.

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Self portrait by Lucas Cranach the Elder
Self portrait by Lucas Cranach the Elder

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Lucas Cranach the Elder was a German Renaissance painter and graphic artist who excelled in portraits and in female nudes. He was the foremost member of the family of artists by that name active in Saxony during the 16th century.

From about 1501 to 1504 Cranach lived in Vienna, and his earliest known works date from this period. They include a portrait of a humanist, Doctor Reuss (Germanisches Museum, Nuremberg) and a Crucifixion (1503, Alte Pinakothek, Munich).

In 1505 Cranach became court painter to the electors of Saxony at Wittenberg, a position he held until 1550. He was a prominent citizen in Wittenberg, received a title, and became mayor in 1537. In 1508 he visited the Netherlands, where he painted portraits of such royalty as Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I and the young prince who succeeded him as Charles V. For his electoral patrons he painted biblical and mythological scenes with decorative sensual nudes that were new to German painting. These works include many versions of Adam and Eve, The Judgment of Paris (1528, Metropolitan Museum, New York), and Venus and Cupid.

Cranach was a friend of Martin Luther, and his art expresses much of the spirit and feeling of the German Reformation. Cranach ran a large workshop and worked with great speed, producing hundreds of works. He died in Weimar, on October 15, 1553. Cranach’s sons were both artists, but the only one to achieve distinction was Lucas Cranach the Younger, who was his father’s pupil and often his assistant. His oldest son Hans Cranach was a promising artist but died prematurely.

Here are some of his paintings of Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder.

Adam and Eve - 01b - Lucas Cranach the ElderAdam and Eve - 16 - Lucas Cranach the ElderAdam and Eve - 19 - Lucas Cranach the Elder

Adam and Eve - 17 - Lucas Cranach the ElderAdam and Eve - 05Adam and Eve - 18 - Lucas Cranach the Elder

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Other artists who spent time drawing the navels

Out of curiosity, I searched Google for images of ‘Adam and Eve’ by other artists and I was shocked to find that almost all the painters of the renaissance period including Michelangelo drew gracefully and spent time in drawing meticulously the navels of Adam and Eve.

To prove my point I downloaded many pictures and have posted some of them here. Like most of you, I am just a layman who admires the beautiful forms drawn by them.

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The Expulsion - Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone alias Masaccio - c 1425
The fresco painting “The Expulsion” by the Italian Renaissance artist Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone alias Masaccio – c. 1425.

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 Three centuries after the fresco was painted, Cosimo III de’ Medici, in line with contemporary ideas of decorum, ordered that fig leaves be added to conceal the genitals of the figures. These were eventually removed in the 1980s when the painting was fully restored and cleaned.

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Adam and Eve - 12 - Hugo van der Goes c.1470
The Fall of Adam and Eve by the Flemish painter Hugo van der Goes c.1470.

 

Adam and Eve - 03
Adam and Eve by the German painter Albrecht Dürer – 1504

 

Adam and Eve - 20 - Albrecht Dürer - 1507
Adam and Eve by the German painter Albrecht Dürer – 1507

 

Adam and Eve - 04
Adam and Eve by the Flemish painter Jan (Mabuse) Gossaert c 1525.

 

Creation of Adam
The Creation of Adam by the Michelangelo c. 1542-45.

 

Adam and Eve in the Garden by Michelangelo
The Fall of Man by Michelangelo c. 1542-45.

 

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (6 March 1475 – 18 February 1564), commonly known as Michelangelo was an Italian Renaissance sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art. Despite making few forays beyond the arts, his versatility in the disciplines he took up was of such a high order that he is often considered a contender for the title of the archetypal Renaissance man, along with fellow Italian Leonardo da Vinci.

Michelangelo was considered the greatest living artist in his lifetime, and ever since then, he has been held to be one of the greatest artists of all time. A number of his works in painting, sculpture, and architecture rank among the most famous in existence. His output in every field during his long life was prodigious; when the sheer volume of correspondence, sketches, and reminiscences that survive is also taken into account, he is the best-documented artist of the 16th century. Two of his best-known works, the Pietà and David, were sculpted before he turned thirty. Despite his low opinion of painting, Michelangelo also created two of the most influential works in fresco in the history of Western art: the scenes from Genesis on the ceiling and The Last Judgment on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. As an architect, Michelangelo pioneered the Mannerist style at the Laurentian Library. At 74 he succeeded Antonio da Sangallo the Younger as the architect of St. Peter’s Basilica. Michelangelo transformed the plan, the western end being finished to Michelangelo’s design, the dome being completed after his death with some modification.

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Adam and Eve - 21- Frans Floris De Vriendt - c 1547
Adam and Eve by the Flemish painter Frans Floris De Vriendt c. 1547.

 

Adam and Eve - 06
Adam and Eve, c. 1550. I was not able to get the name of the painter who drew this beautiful painting.

 

Adam and Eve - 14 - Hendrik Goltzius
Adam and Eve by the Dutch printmaker, draftsman, and painter Hendrik Goltzius c. 1600.

 

Adam and Eve - 07 - Cornelis Cornelisz Van Haarlem c 1622
Adam and Eve by by the Dutch Golden Age painter and  draftsman Cornelis Corneliszoon van Haarlem c. 1622.

 

Adam and Eve by Domenichino 1623
Adam and Eve by the Italian Baroque painter of the Bolognese School, or Carracci School, of painters Domenico Zampieri (or Domenichino) c. 1623-25.

 

Adam and Eve - 09
The Expulsion Of Adam And Eve From The Garden Of Paradise by the French painter Alexandre Cabanel (1823-1889]

 

Adam and Eve - 22 - Hans Thoma (October 2, 1839 – November 7, 1924)
Adam and Eve by the German painter Hans Thoma (October 2, 1839 – November 7, 1924) .

 

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Eyes do speak


Eyes-do-speak.jpg
Priya (Photo: Karthik Muthuvali)

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I fell in love with the photograph of this girl.

My student Karthik Muthuvali had captured her eyes that convey many nuances, and I could not resist commenting:

“பேசாமல் பேசும் விழிகள் சொல்லாமல் சொல்லிவிடும் சேதிகளை மென்மையான ஒரு பார்வையில் சொல்லிவிடுவாள் பெண்.

With her tender reticent eyes, a woman can indeed convey subtle implied messages.

Yes, the eyes speak.

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Poor people in the United States!


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj
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Elkridge, Maryland, USA.

January 30, 2012

Yesterday, my son suggested that we go shopping at IKEA. Though it was sunny and cloudless, the temperature outside the car was 45° F (7° C) and freezing.

Before coming over to the United States, I thought that everyone here had enough monetary resources. But, on our way to College Park, the image in my mind of an affluent United States of America shattered.

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IMG_0493.jpg

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Do you see the woman in the center of the above photo standing in the middle of the road holding a placard?

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Poor-in-US-2.jpg

 

Since we were in the third lane. I could not read what was written. So, I zoomed in with my camera.  What I read shocked me.

Family in Need
Due Lay off
Any help Appreciated
Thank you
God Bless.

– Elkridge, Maryland.

While in India, I thought the United States of America was a land flowing with milk and honey. But now I realize that this country is no different from any country in Asia. It too has its own quota of poor people!

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My-Ex-wife-had-a-better-lawyer.jpg

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In a lighter vein, my former student Keerthi Jeyaraj posted the above picture in Facebook. He says:

“Quite common here…I see a lot of such ppl with hoardings in Manhattan… the best part I saw was at Vegas… a beggar had a board in front of him that said:  ‘My Ex-wife had a better lawyer’.

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Photos taken while travelling by car in US.


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj
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I took these photos on 14 and 15 January 2012 while travelling in my younger son Subas Raj’s car.

Initially, occupying the front seat while my son drove his Honda CRV smoothly between 60 and 70 mph, I felt a bit jittery being not used to left-hand driving.

I really admire the clean streets over here in the United States – not a bit of paper or piled garbage could be seen. The roads are smooth devoid of potholes – no bumpy roads and so, no backache.

No town busses. So, everyone has a car or two. The drivers are road conscious and polite towards other drivers and stop and give way to pedestrians crossing the road. No harsh driving, no unnecessary road hogging and no rash overtaking; and everyone obeys the road rules. All use the fantastic GPS for guidance and direction.

Spacious non-congested landscape with houses built with light materials, looking bleak and drab outside. Almost all houses look alike with mostly painted – no vivid or vasthu colours that we see in India.

Since it is winter not much of green foliage could be seen.

Though the sun is shining, the outside temperature chills the bone. Here I give the lowest temperatures in degrees Celsius for the past 4 days: 13th: 2, 14th: -3, 15th: -4 and today (16th) it was -7 at 8am (it would have been colder outside while we slept) and now at noon it is -1. Inside the car we need the heater for warmth. Inside the house a steady temperature of 68 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit is maintained throughout day and night.

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