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vapros 11-17-2016 12:02 AM

Unpaid Bill
Thanks to Steve for this opportunity. We now have a Journals forum within our One community, and it will be a bit different from the other places one can post. I am going in head-first with my own 'column', and it will continue to be called Unpaid Bill. I will add to it, probably every few days, as I have something to offer. The big difference with this forum is that no one but me can post in my corner. It's not meant for discussion, and in line with that, I won't respond to PMs related to it.

I expect to have a good time with it, and hope that some members will find it worthy of their attention, even if only on slow days here.

It's available to anyone who wants to kick off a journal of their own. I expect that some people might give it a shot and decide not to maintain it, but I hope that several journals will become regular features. Steve and I have not talked at length about this project, but as he noted, changes may be made as needed. I hope that I have understood this thing correctly, and have not missed the intent. I guess that the 'Post Reply' feature is only for my use next time I post.

Here I go. You are invited.

vapros 11-17-2016 12:15 AM

10:10 pm
First reply - anything I write about pool will not be offered as authoritative. Not competent to preach to this choir. However, I will comment now and then about matches from my DVD collection or from u tube. I'm retired and have plenty of time. Well, you know what I mean. :rolleyes:

vapros 11-17-2016 10:00 AM

Tee Shirts
In the mall last week, I saw a lady preparing a tee shirt display in one of the department stores. She had a big box of shirts and a folding gadget all laid out on a table. It was made of stiff cardboard of some kind, and she would lay a tee shirt on it, just so, and then - faster than the eye could follow - blap, blap, blap and it was ready to add to the display. I watched her do a dozen or so in maybe five minutes and then I asked her where she got it. She said I could buy one for about eighteen dollars at Bed Bath & Begone, or some such place. I will have one before long, I guarantee you.

A friend who often travels in her job has fetched me back quite a lot of tee shirts in recent years, and in that respect I am surely the best-dressed at the local joint. None of the other cats have garments from such places as Woods Hole, Christ Church, Taos, Boston and Hershey. (Think three-mile-island logo that glows in the dark)

This same friend is a good traveler who takes an interest in the places she visits, and tells me about them when she gets back. That's a travelogue of sorts, I guess. Yesterday she flew back from Valdosta, Georgia, where she was much impressed by this and that. Neat city, said my friend, and there is a great little convention center. And did I know it was the fourteenth largest town in Georgia? Well, now that you ask . . . But no tee shirt this time.

My ex-wife, on the other hand, has remarried and with her new husband they travel the world and return home with ashtrays from all the bars on the cruise ship. I guess they stay on board since a mishap she had in Alaska. Fell into a small river, bloop! Very cold water.

Later, man.

vapros 11-18-2016 07:08 PM

Today is Friday, and if you need to sell a convertible this would be a fine day for it. Seventy degrees, light zephyr breeze and a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. There will be football tomorrow. Florida is coming to town, and maybe we will learn a bit more about our erratic Tigers. Les Miles is a great guy, and very popular here in Baton Rouge, but he plays football like I play one pocket. Be cautious and don't try anything risky. So he is gone, maybe to Baylor - who knows? It will be interesting to see whether he changes his ways now.

Let me put in a word for writing. I think most of us believe we can write, and I think most of us can. There are lots of reasons why we don't, but a few reasons why we should. Think of your life - pool, money, sex, love and kids, but not in that order, of course. Haven't you ever said 'man I could write a book'; come on, pal, you are among friends? I'm not recommending writing a book, far from it. That's hard work, and then you would find that you would have to hire someone to edit and print it for you, and you would have to sell it yourself. Chances are you couldn't find four buyers at a family reunion.

So, no books, but here we are at a fine website devoted to the great game of one pocket, and a captive audience of hundreds of kindred souls who would love to know of your adventures in pool rooms - or at least in the area. Think you could not write it well? Okay, write it poorly, but submit it for our entertainment, not our criticism. Not many qualified editors around here.

Now, this might be controversial, but I find writing to be a blast. You can have a lot of fun writing for yourself, with the option to share it or delete it when it's done. Or when it's half done, for that matter. I'm sitting at the keyboard right now, picking and grinning. I got Steve to okay this journal, and I have fun as I write. I have no idea as to how many might read it, but I will write it anyway for the fun of it.

Life-writing has become popular in recent years. It means writing down the story of your life, told in your words. It gives the retirees and the elderly something to do; something important. Maybe you don't know much about your own father or your grandfather or your other kinfolks, and maybe you don't care, but probably somebody cares. One could find out, if they had written it down. I suspect there may be some exaggerating in these tales, and perhaps some outright lies, but it's nobody's business but yours. Just don't gild the lily too much, as you could be busted.

I think life-writing is popular among older people because they are so aware that the end of their enlistment is not far away, and they don't want to wait too long. And let's face it, how certain are you about your own expiration date? Don't blow it off, pal, write it. There are at least a few people who will want a copy.

My own is nearly finished, naturally. Only the last chapter is not quite complete, and even that is pretty close. I chose to do it in chapters, rather than chronologically. A chapter for my hometown, my original family, my second family, my life in various schools, my sports days, my military time, the various jobs I have worked at and the places where I have done time. I have tried to be objective as I wrote, but there may be one or two little things that are not verified, but who is going to say so? You know?

One day soon I will take it to a printer and have about a dozen sets run off neatly on good paper, with a spiral binding and a glossy cover sheet bearing my name. Picture? Not hardly. Anyone who wants one can have it, and there may be a few left over. I don't care, I will have done what I could. How about you?

vapros 11-20-2016 05:52 AM

My late friend, Jack
I'm thinking tonight about Jack, for some reason. He's been gone for fifteen years, but he was a good friend, and we shared some good times on our paper-thin budgets. So now and then, late at night, I remember Jack.

Jack was a sign painter back in the days before the sign-making machines and the pressure-sensitive vinyl letters. Brush lettering on carefully designed layouts, swinging expensive tools of various kinds of hair, tools that might last many years if one took good care of them, and we did. I was a sign painter, too, but Jack was better. We starved in our respective sign shops in a bad part of town, but we had a standing date to have lunch on Saturdays at the Piccadilly Cafeteria in Delmont Village. We ate cafeteria food and lingered over large quantities of sweet iced tea until the middle of the afternoon, telling stories and trying to cheer each other up. I was recently estranged from a wife and four little girls, and Jack was a heart patient, and a short timer. If he could get out of bed he opened his shop every morning, doctors' orders be damned.

He had a degree in fine arts, and was a pretty good artist. His scrapbook of sketches for sign proposals should have wound up in a museum, but it did not. Sign painter, my ass, said the public. Let's note here that fine artists who never learned to do something productive are generally poorer than sign painters.

Jack was sort of a hard-bitten character, a trait he picked up in the big war, where he served on several hot Pacific islands, usually going ashore on the day following the invasion. His job was dealing with the dead American soldiers who lay around in terrible numbers. He more or less sorted them out and saw to it that everyone got a dog tag; their own, if possible. It got him down before long. I guess today they would say PTSD. In the big war they didn't think much about it.

I recall a few good stories that I heard from Jack, drinking sweet iced tea in the Piccadilly cafeteria on Saturday afternoons. Here is a quickie for you. He said that a cohort of his was struck so urgently by the call of nature that he was forced to hide behind a 2 x 4 to take a leak on a public street in Peoria.

I will visit Jack in this journal again, no doubt, and probably late at night.

vapros 11-21-2016 10:09 PM

The Gutworks
Today I took a gig as designated driver for a friend scheduled for a 'procedure' at the local Gastroenterology Associates; that is to say they were going to remove a balloon from her stomach. I drove this same friend to the same place six months ago so they could put the balloon in. Seven large they nicked her for that time. I think it was free today, seems only fair I thought. I should not have asked her how many pounds, but I did. About twenty, she finally said, and that was the end of it. Not a good topic to try to develop at any time. If they have good news they will volunteer. On the way back to her house we paused to have some sandwiches, and I am not sure that those pounds have been irretrievably lost. They seldom are.

I must note that various other schemes have led this same lady down the same bumpy road before, but never for this much money. They mostly involve ugly little meals made up of nasty stuff you must buy from the program. All the programs work - it's the customers who succeed and fail.

Anyhow, there was some waiting involved as they fished around for their lost balloon, and I parked in the lot, right there at the Gutworks, and reclined the seat and took a nap. At some point a long-legged blonde in some lovely royal blue scrubs rapped on my window and asked if I was okay. When I assured her I was, she lost interest and got into a sharp little royal blue Mercedes convertible and buzzed off. One of the doctors, I'll bet. Color-coordinated, man. I don't know which came first, the garments or the auto. Don't think I am trying to say they all drove Mercedeses (strange-looking plural), because I am not. I saw Lincolns, Infinitis, Cadillacs and Lexi (pl Lexus?) also. Made my seven year old Honda look pretty small, but the nap was not bad.

If you should get the urge to make a lot of money, start a weight-loss program. Pay at the door, and promise whatever they want to hear. It's a better bet than a nine-inch putt, dead uphill.

vapros 11-22-2016 11:38 AM

High school fluff
Red letter day for me - I now have two admitted readers of this journal. Dustin Miller sent me a supporting pm, with a request for my recollections of the ball players of my day. I guess I am the logical one for that; oldest guy on the forum and and the only one doing a journal. I'll be happy to do as he asks, but not ready yet. Today I will offer only what I recall about three of my high school classmates from the forties.

They called each other Susscline, Nussbaum and Canissy, randomly. If they were not in class, they were together, talking baseball, but seldom major leaguers. We all played American Legion ball and followed the old Evangeline League, represented by our Houma Indians. Let me recall that none of the three went out for varsity sports (football, basketball, track), nor did they play in the band or make wooden boats in The Shop. Just baseball, thank you, and it was many years before MLB on TV. We didn't know those guys, except for a few.

Assembled, and likely with a glove or two in the group, they stood apart and one or the other would practice his pitching motion, in slow motion and without interruption. The full monty - peer in at the catcher and shake him off if you didn't like his sign. Full windup with both hands high, ala mode for those years, and then the delivery which usually faded out in an anti-climax. More likely, the motion would come to a full stop due to runners on base. Furtive and crafty look to first or third, mostly with the eyes, and maybe a sneak throw behind the runner. All this was a silent pantomime behind the unrelated discussion carried on. Usually the mime was ignored by the other two, and rated no attention. Occasionally, a windup would be halted by one of the others who would suggest a better wrinkle, but without comment. As in the major league game, a pitch would be followed by the mime of the called strike or the batted ball. No end of possibilities. They could keep this up for an hour, and never acknowledged the fans in the stands. On tape it could have gone viral on Sports Center. Tape?

Of the three, one became a politician and was elected to the Legislature. The other two were more respectable and had jobs. Cannissy, Nussbaum and Susscline. Tinker to Evers to Chance, down in the swamp.

vapros 11-23-2016 05:11 PM

Happy Thanksgiving
. . .unless you are a turkey or an Indian, or both. It's a heart-warming memory if your people were Pilgrims, not so much if your ancestors happened to be the ones throwing the party. Let's hope the World Series was not the last gasp of the Indians, but losing to the Chicago Cubs was not a good sign. At any rate, make a note here; beware of who you welcome into your wigwam. Company, like fish, begins to stink by the third day.

Journallers, like bloggers and columnists, lead the way by noting a few of their blessings at this time of year - on the off chance anyone might want to know. I am fortunate to have a great family that loves me, even down to a couple of great-grandchildren. In alternate years we scatter to other pig-outs and then bunch up again a year later. This year we are going our separate ways, and it's just as well. The cough I am fighting would not be welcome anywhere, so I will dig in right where I am.

Had my six-week visit to the surgeon yesterday, and he told me to get out of that big sling and see if I could not finish up my recovery alone. What a blessing. I shed it in the parking lot, and it's now in the bottom of my closet with my other souvenirs. Speaking of which, they have now granted me a hanging tag to display in my car while parking in the blue slots. It's a bad sign, in a way, but the parking lots have shrunk up considerably, and for that I am thankful. My last physical therapy was scheduled for this afternoon, but I called in and wimped out. The weather is terrible today, and the traffic is worse and and after only a couple of blocks I was hunting a place to turn around and come back home. How many of you intend to go out on Black Friday? There will be blood and traffic accidents, I'm pretty sure.

The naugahyde cover will come off my pool table today, and I will begin to make some tentative motions with my sore shoulder. I should have waited for a Filipino doctor to do my operation, but it's too late now. Maybe my game has gotten a lot stronger during this delay, and maybe I can begin to sneak up on some people. Just sayin'.

Mitch announced his twenty years of sobriety this week, and we must all be happy for him. I once had three addictions going at once, and kicked them all in the same year; nasal spray, cigarettes and a woman. The nasal spray was the hardest and the cigarettes were the easiest. Never been a drinker. Too tight-assed, I suppose, to let anyone see under my skin.

Welcome to Bille, who has begun a journal of his own here, where he will tell us about his adventures in the modern military. Looking forward to that.

And down in Miami I suppose the south Florida squirrels are stashing away coconuts for the long and bitter winter. Gold Crown must have a story about that, maybe he will tell us. And my best to all of you.

vapros 11-24-2016 06:22 AM

Reyes - Chua
I just watched the greatest 10 ball match I ever saw, on youTube. Bata played a young man named Johann Chua. Apparently another of the Filipinos, he had a nickname 'Bubwit', pronounced Boobwee. Has he ever appeared on this side? He looks like the best of them. The match featured some drop-dead safeties, and equally impressive escapes. Action from 2014. Did Reyes win or lose? Yes, funny you should ask.

The commentator, in less than perfect English, kept repeating a word that sounded like 'gaddis'. I never figured it out, although I can speak less than perfect English rather well, myself. Recommended viewing, even for one pocket lovers.

vapros 11-25-2016 05:51 PM

The second-longest day
Thanksgiving plus one, and I hope all our one pocket turkeys were able to answer roll call today. Not always a given. Many years ago Cornelius Ryan wrote a book about the day the allies went to Normandy, and he called it The Longest Day. When I think back to that time, I always marvel that there are still a few of those warriors among us. Old, old soldiers, and we gotta love 'em. They fought for our right to make fools of ourselves around election time and on Black Friday, the second-longest day. Seems like it kicked off right after lunch on Tuesday. I don't really understand Black Friday, but that does not make it unique.

In college football, the day may go on right thru the weekend. A bunch of jobs and a bunch of coaches are up for grabs, and it's about like opening time at WalMart. Super-rich alumni are right in the mix, mostly across the South, and you better bid it up if you really want that guy who just had two good years in a row. Three bad years in a row (Texas?) could put you under the bus. The sort of thing that takes the slack out of one's sphincter. Glad I am not involved - there's a limit to what I would do for five million dollars, but I'm not up against it yet.

Here in Baton Rouge everyone loves Coach O, Ed Orgeron, today. That gives him only an outside chance at a permanent parking slot on the sunny side of the lot. One of our own, a real Cajun, but he would have to win. That's the name of this game.

I hope you guys like turkey. You will see just how many ways it can be served this week. Personally, I like 'em all. See you later.

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