Unpaid Bill

vapros

Verified Member
Joined
May 24, 2004
Messages
3,543
Today is Wednesday and it’s a balmy 78 degrees and it has been a long time since I bought any gas but I saw places where you can get it for less than $1.40 per gallon. I’m excited about seeing my barber tomorrow – it has been a couple of months. I will wear a mask and drop the rubber bands long enough to trim around my ears, and he will wear a mask also, or else I will begin growing a ponytail right on the spot. I think he is required by law to cover his mouth. It’s surprising how many people still think you wear a mask to protect yourself, and it’s alarming how many local citizens are out and about bare-faced. Some of ‘em looked better the other way. I don’t think for a minute the COVID19 is about done. Louisiana is still reporting about 300 new cases every day.

We are all talking about Josh Filler since the match with Tony Chohan in Roy’s Basement, and that’s good. The virus pandemic has put a real damper on action matches. Does anyone know how long the little German will be gone? I have a box of videos, nearly all with players who are no longer in the mix, and I still review them. Parica, Hall, Cook, Incardona, Daulton, Joyner, Gay and of course, Efren Reyes. They have entertained me for years. I feel that running seven or eight balls should be sort of special, and it’s not any more. I liked seeing the terrible things Reyes and Parica used to do to one another. It didn’t resemble 9 ball or 10 ball at all – wasn’t intended to. But here’s a 9 ball match worth watching – Chris Melling and John Morra in the DCC final in 2018. They played at about three AM and the sleepy people who stayed up to see it were rewarded with a classic. If you don’t know how it went you won’t hear it from me.

In the winter of 1955/56 I shared an apartment with a one-eyed Jewish gambling man. Nice spot, right in the middle of town here in Baton Rouge. Neither of us could afford the place alone – I was just out of the military and Lenny was supposed to be on his uppers. Actually, he was in the process of doing something to somebody – he was a gonif of sorts, meaning a rascal I believe. He entertained me all through the cold weather. He was funny. He claimed he had played for the Rochester Royals in the NBA, an obvious lie since he was knock-kneed and had a glass eye. When he went out he might wear a patch and leave the eye on the table and it seemed to look at me, no matter where I was. And he had another one with an American flag on it. And when I laughed at him he said ‘Roses are reddish, violets are bluish. If it wasn’t for Christmas you’d all be Jewish’. He used to call a guy named Phil Kastel in Las Vegas and Kastel would give him horses to bet but Lenny didn’t have the cash. It was spooky to realize how good the information was. The guy wasn’t a handicapper, he was another gonif. Don’t play the races. One morning I woke up and Lenny was gone, and I had to give up the apartment. The Jews are performers, for sure. Where would the entertainment business have been without them – all through the twentieth century?

I guess the reason all this comes to mind today is that I clicked on a video the other day – Jews Telling Jokes – and now my monitor is full of them every morning. I don’t know how many there are, but the jokes are great, mostly about Jews. They love to tell them – all the names are Jewish, and the accents are New York City. We should all be capable of seeing ourselves as they do. And I know if I keep watching them YouTube will keep them coming.

What else on YouTube this week – well, one of my old heroes, Luke Appling, played shortstop for the Chicago White Sox for twenty years, beginning in 1930. When I played American Legion baseball, I had a book he wrote, or at least his name was on it, and I studied it hard. Looking up his lifetime stats today, I find that he was a great hitter - .310 for twenty years – but a grand total of 45 home runs over that same span! A popcorn hitter, we would have said. However, day before yesterday I watched him hit one out of the park at age 75 in an old-timers game in 1982! Took him a while to circle the bases. Also, I watched a collection of confrontations between animals and vehicles. I saw a rhino attack a small car and roll it over and over and over. A bull moose tore off the entire rear end of somebody’s vehicle and a good-sized ordinary dog did the same to the front of another one. I generally cheer for the beasts, who are just striking back. Like one-pocket, the jungle ain’t what it used to be. There, I’ve said it.

Wish me luck with the haircut. Used to be eighteen bucks, unless he feels like catching up a little, but I will make him work for it. How much is it where you live? Wash your hands and wear your mask and be well. I’ll see you later.
 

vapros

Verified Member
Joined
May 24, 2004
Messages
3,543
Wednesday in Baton Rouge and haircuts are still $18 and the local paper, Baton Rouge/New Orleans Morning Advocate, is asking for donations to help them keep reporting on the news from the COV-19 disaster. This is not a small-town rag - it’s supposed to be a major newspaper. Is there a precedent for such as this – have you ever seen it where you live? I’m sure they are feeling a pinch, like many other businesses, but they can just bite the bullet, too. Maybe the government will bail them out. I’m quite sure they are too big to go tits-up.

Speaking of bullets, there’s an epidemic of them here, also. Too many, even for us. Five citizens were shot on Easter Sunday and another one a couple days later. Over in Bogalusa thirteen people were shot at a memorial service for a murder victim! A detective in the sheriff’s department said it was ‘very unusual’, and I suppose that’s encouraging. Just today a young man with a history of mental illness opened up on his own family in a murder/suicide leaving three dead and one wounded. This crap isn’t nearly as rare as it should be, and it’s nearly all young guys in certain neighborhoods – it promises to be another big year for the undertakers in this town. The gun-control advocates have plenty to say about it, but believe me – someday you and I might see ours confiscated, but these guys will always have as many as they want.

This week I watched a one-pocket match video from Make It Happen in 2017 at Edison, New Jersey. Efren Reyes played Alex Pagulayan. For a couple of 24 carat Filipinos, they played pretty poorly, but it caught my eye because of the locale. For many years the biggest bowling establishment in this country was the Edison Recreation, where they had 112 lanes in a row. Seemed strange – how big a town is Edison? I can’t recall even passing thru New Jersey, ever, but it brings to mind another bowling tale. Japan had the most stupendous bowling boom in the world in the 1960s. Life magazine put out a special issue in 1964. By 1974 Japan had 124,000 bowling lanes, including a house in Tokyo with 252 lanes in a nine-story building. Open play was stupendous – about three times the level in the U.S. – it was so good they failed to realize they should have been organizing leagues. Then it busted, as epically as the boom. It was pretty much over by 1990, and urban real-estate in Japan is much too valuable to allow failed businesses, so they began to get rid of the equipment. Lanes were cut into three pieces and sent to this country. Pinsetters were crated up, often in excellent lumber, and sent over here, also. It had all been well-maintained by the Japanese. Put the lanes back together, sand ‘em down and change the wiring on the pinsetters (the power source in Japan was not the same as here). Brunswick and AMF suffered for several years, as new American bowling establishments were built with cut-rate pieces from Japan. That’s all I know about it – there may still be some of that stuff around someplace in warehouses of American entrepreneurs.

At the barber shop last Thursday my barber had to go into the back room to get a mask, at my request. I had mine and I told him he must have one also if he intended to get near me. He’s a nice guy and very accommodating, but both barbers had been working without them and told me that I was only the third customer in a mask. I find this a bit disturbing, but it seems most people are proceeding on the assumption that the danger is past. If the virus is playing dead and hoping to bite us again, we’re all in the barrel.

Scrzbill has posted a description of his day of black depression that I found very interesting, for several reasons. I’m sure it was not an easy thing for him to do, but his account also told how he deals with such days and overcomes them. I regarded his post as a public service of sorts, as he touches on an ailment that deserves a lot more attention and discussion than it gets. Who among us never suffers from depression, although usually to a lesser degree? I forwarded the post to a lady I know in a town upstate who complained over the phone to me this week about her situation. She is elderly and works a full-time job and has a disabled husband to care for, to say nothing of the tornado that tore down half her house a few weeks ago. She was feeling sorry for herself and badly needed to learn from our member here on the site, and help herself. I know a little about depression. To my surprise, I was diagnosed with depression several years ago and referred to a neuro-psychologist for treatment. He’s the guy who pronounced me primarily schizoid, rather than seriously depressed. I took a little pill every day for a few years, but now that I am retired, divorced, living alone and just serving out my time I can behave as a schizoid and I’m seldom depressed. Basically, I don’t much give a shit, but I realize that attitude is not available to most people. Anyway, thanks Bill.

That’s it. Wash your hands and wear your mask and don’t let the barber breathe at your head. Even nice people can be carriers. See you later.
 

vapros

Verified Member
Joined
May 24, 2004
Messages
3,543
It’s Wednesday and I finally had to go and buy some gas – cost me $1.41 per gallon. Here we are three days into hurricane season and already there is a tropical storm in the Gulf, headed right this way. High tides and heavy rains are in the forecast, beginning this weekend. COVID19 is still with us here, and Baton Rouge recorded 43 of the 387 new cases in Louisiana since yesterday. Around the country for the last few days social distancing has gone by the boards as people paraded shoulder-to-shoulder in the streets and shouted and waved signs. Maybe this is the way to end racism in this country – but I doubt it. I just wish I had sold all the CD plywood that has changed hands this week.

My PC went tits-up on Friday and had to go in the shop. Just got it back yesterday. Couldn’t believe how miserable I was without it – hard to recall that I was sixty years old before I got my first one. Since those days I have learned to turn it on and off and move the cursor around and left-click and tote it back and forth to the shop – but not a lot more than that. The techs at Tim’s Computers look like they are all maybe fourteen years old and they work in flip-flops and jeans torn out in the knee and they look me in the eye and speak Japanese while pointing at my ailing machine. Pisses me pretty good, but I nod and frown and produce my debit card when called upon. Luckily, I have a DVD player tied to my TV set and can play my old one-pocket match videos. It took me a while to locate the two remotes needed to crank the rig up.

Most evenings my habit has been to align my old exercise bike with the monitor and pedal while watching something on YouTube – usually a pool match and one-pocket most of the time. Since Friday, however, I have repositioned (there’s a good word I learned from Dr. Bill) the bike to watch my old videos on the TV. It’s my bony butt that always gives out, not my knees. My collection of DVDs is impressive and I have viewed a bunch in the past few days – enjoyed them thoroughly, too. I started with one I had forgotten about, a 1998 match between Jack Cooney and Cliff Joyner at a LOOP event at the casino boat here in Baton Rouge. I like watching Cooney play. He is a deliberate player, and when he gets down on a shot one gets a definite feeling that he has first had a look at all the other possible plays. A few times, Joyner seemed to be bored, waiting on him, but Cooney didn’t notice. Unlike Dennis Orcullo, he does not get down and then up again – several times. Joyner won the hill game and I would not have told you if this video were available on YouTube, but it doesn’t seem to be there. Cooney swiped a couple of games, coming from ‘way behind by taking over management of the table, and in another game Joyner made a spectacular comeback while Cooney’s game ball was in the jaws. Good good viewing.

Then I went to watch a legendary player, Ronnie Allen, in a 1992 West Coast contest against our Bill Incardona. Nothing deliberate about Ronnie, but it was easy to see why he was deemed to be the best of the bunch for many years. He seemed to usually have his shot selected without much waiting or indecision, and had a way of getting positive results, especially banking at balls situated along the foot rail. It seemed he always left the table with a ball in the jaws of his pocket. Fine shot-maker, also, and he ran balls almost casually. Pittsburg Billy managed to win the match, profiting from one of Allen’s last-game scratches in the far corner pocket at the top of the table. Ronnie didn’t mind putting Jojo in motion. Just today, I noted some discussion as to the time when his game went South – whether the late seventies or the early eighties. Well, he could still play a bit in 1992, couldn’t he, Bill?

And one of my favorite discs, with two matches from the 2007 Derby City Classic. Efren Reyes beat Jose Parica, 3-0. Parica had a total of minus-one ball for the three games. Then Reyes needed only nineteen minutes to beat Bustamante 3-0, and Django also was without a ball until Bata was ahead 7-0 in the last game. I had a ball with my antique DVDs. Don’t say it – I’m living in the past. Well, who has spent more time there than I have?

Have you guys noticed the tattoo on Eklent Kaci’s neck? I finally got a good look at it, and it says ‘Perfection’ in an elegant script. No comment from me there – maybe that would be okay in Albania. Recently I heard one of the commentators say that John Schmidt had tentative plans for a tat of his own – ‘Doing the Best I Can’. Great quip, Mr. 600.

Excellent participation on the site since we have been confined to quarters, and it feels good. Also, Steve’s support staff continues to go the extra mile to keep us churning. However, it seems like I should be getting the same money as the others, but . . . . . . guess I’m stuck being the Unpaid Bill. Wash your hands, wear your mask, be well and do what you think is right – on the table and in your life. See you later.
 
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