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  #121  
Old 05-07-2018, 09:19 AM
vapros vapros is offline
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Default Busted

The Louisiana Secretary of State had to resign this past week, done in by a complaint filed by a former employee. The lady says he has been harassing her sexually for the past ten years, and sheís got the goods to back it up. She has saved cards and letters and emails and there wasnít much he could say. Now we have to pay him more than 100 G per year in retirement pay, and we also had to hire a lawyer to defend him against the charge. Whether he ever got what he was chasing depends on which of them you believe. He says that there was a consensual relationship at one time, and she says it ainít so. I believe they shared a suite at a meeting out west, but she says it was an error by the hotel and she slept on the couch anyway. Sure she did.

I donít see that it makes much difference, either way. Heís busted, but good, and it cost him a much better job than I ever had, besides any plans he might have had to run for something better. I wonder if he ever thought it might happen or if he figured he was bullet-proof.

The week before it was Bill Cosby, and a jury in Pennsylvania decided he had been committing crimes in the pursuit of his envie. Love letters were not his thing Ė he had some pills that worked quick. Olí Bill will go to court again to get his time, which figures to be considerable, but heís out on bail and with appeals and all he might never get locked up. Heís eighty years old for cryiní out loud. What were his gains and what are his losses? Here again, did he think nobody would rat him out? Who the hell did he think he was?

President Donald Trump has his own miseries in this area. His tormentor is a porn star who just happened to show up a week before the election and said she would go public with her story, and she got some big cash to keep quiet. But she didnít stay quiet very long and now everybody knows. Knows what? It doesnít matter. The Donald did not write her mash notes and he didnít put anything funny in her soda pop, but heís busted just the same, isnít he? And if Stormyís tale is true I have to wonder how he got so rich without being smarter than that.

Last summer it was Roger Ailes and Bill OíReilly at Fox News, and then Matt Lauer at that other outfit. Same thing. And what about Bill Clinton and his juicy romantic adventures when he lived at the White House? It got him impeached, but in the end it wasnít Monica who outed him. She was his loyal fan, at the very least, and she kept the secret as long as she could stand it before telling her friend and that was one mouth too many, in a manner of speaking. Personally, Iím glad he beat the rap, as it didnít seem like a good enough reason to change Presidents. Even Hillary might agree.

Far as I know none of these guys are pool players, but if they were they might be called Ďthrough ticketsí Ė players who keep gambling until they are busted.

Sex is great, but itís been getting men and women (and others) in trouble since the very beginning. The Bible presents it as an apple, to avoid using four-letter words, and the quest for the finest apple pie in town has led men astray all along the way; women too, for that matter. Iím not sure that our behavior is a whole lot worse than it used to be, but thereís no more secrets. The town crier is on the six oíclock news today, and if youíre doing wrong the rest of us will find out, if not today then tomorrow for sure.

I wrote this Sunday night and put it aside because I didnít know how to end it. Now itís Monday morning and I still donít know. There must be a moral here, but maybe it isnít about sex, after all. Not about celebrities or politicians or anyone else who is getting into the strange apple pie just because he can. Maybe itís about the gambling. Donít risk more than you can afford to lose Ė but you already knew that.

Finally, here is a bit of good news. In the Louisiana high school championship meet this weekend, a kid named Armand Duplantis cleared 19í5Ē in the pole vault. Thatís a new world junior record.
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  #122  
Old 05-21-2018, 12:55 AM
vapros vapros is offline
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Default Changes

Big event this week at Buffaloís room in New Orleans Ė major league one pocket matches beginning on Thursday, with sixteen of the very best players on hand. Until Sunday this will be action central, and maybe longer. One of the most notable features of this Pro Classic is to be the participation of Efren ĎBataí Reyes, who spoke up just in time for the final spot in the field.

Itís no secret that one pocket is not usually played today as it was just a few years ago. The young guys love to shoot and they are good at it. Jojo, the white ball, does not command the same respect that he did when the twenty-first century began. The names that dominated my DVD collection have largely fallen by the way, at least so far as the current major events. I will note that of those players that proved most durable and competitive, four players seem to stand out. They are Efren, Jose Parica, Buddy Hall and Cliff Joyner. Nick Varner is no longer in the news, and Bill Incardona and Shannon Daulton are busy with other business.

Jose apparently has retired from the big time and Cifff Joyner has only recently become victim of catastrophic health troubles, just at a time when he looked like he might have found new life. Hall has his own health concerns, and we must hope that he is well enough to compete at the senior tournament in Houston this fall. So, each appearance by Reyes at a major event might well mark the passing of an era of our favorite game. Heís an old man and looks like it, and apparently loves to take on the Filipino youngsters in the rotation games, where he blends in with the crowds in his shorts and flip-flops. Nostalgia will be heavy in the air this week at Buffaloís and I would love to see Bata beat a few of the children.

The world is shrinking up around us, in case you have not noticed. Fine players from other lands have been among us for some years, and they fly around over the oceans to show us their strength Ė and itís considerable. They commute to work.

One of the top bowlers in the world for quite a few years was from Finland; I donít know if he is still around. Recently I have looked in on the PWBA tourneys Ė thatís the women keglers. I tuned in this week and saw a glamorous girl from Poland in a match with a girl from Latvia, fer cryiní out loud. And lemme tell you, they were both turning the crank pretty good. The strikes come in big bunches these days, and in quite a few languages.

In my own clan there are a few travelers, also. My youngest daughter and her family did a three-year hitch in Tokyo several years ago. They loved the place and came home and immediately started remodeling their house to look Japanese. I have a son-in-law who works in the oil business and he makes a two-day trip to the coast of Africa to earn his money.

One of my granddaughters will take some classes this summer in Italy and Ireland, and I think itís great for her. Leaving on a jet plane, no doubt. Another one has a summer job baby-sitting for a month or so, in Norway! I tried to talk her out of it, explaining that Norway is made mostly of ice, and with this global warming business will soon be nothing but a sand bar in the North Sea, but she would not listen. Iíll worry until she gets back home, so she can finish high school.

My own traveling is pretty tame, by comparison. I would like to think I might make it to Houston in October, as a spectator, but thatís in great doubt. BRLongArm has promised to save me a good seat down at Buffaloís this week and I will try to do that, to finally see the Magician in the flesh. Donít get around much anymore Ė maybe Iíll write a song.
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  #123  
Old 06-03-2018, 06:55 PM
vapros vapros is offline
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Default Tourney

Itís 2:00 PM in Baton Rouge, and the third day of the OnePocket.Org member tournament is up on my monitor. This event is unique in several ways worth noting. Contestants have travelled to a town in California to compete for a nominal purse, with hardly any chance to make expenses. I am pretty certain they are all self-supporting, did not sleep in their cars last night, and will make this monthís mortgage payment whether they cash or not. Inevitably, gambling is happening at some levels, but I doubt the losers will be biting the winners for gas money to get home. (Probably) No stake horses were on the scene.

Some of the players are quite expert at one-pocket, others not so much, but nobody cares anyway. Much. Matches are being scheduled without regard to age, weight, belt length or how much scalp is showing. They have assembled to celebrate and promote a game that one can play with gusto beyond the expiration date of many of oneís other indulgences and capabilities. They are on hand to get a look at one another, to fraternize, to drink lemonade and eat good food, to tell stories and to compete. One will be crowned champion today and a few others will also be given modest checks.

One-pocket is, in many ways, an old manís game, as we are smarter, craftier and more patient Ė are we not? Old man is a relative term. However, this annual membersí tournament, with a double elimination format of races to three, is a formidable grind for some of the guys. With just one table on the stream I saw only a few matches, but some of the deadeye gunners from Friday ran out of gas on Saturday and played far below their levels. Some matches went long, and I saw lots of wedges for a tourney without Mr. Varner. No doubt some will get home totally bushed. They will likely be on hand again next year, but even so . . . how about races to two, instead?

Thanks to the proprietor hosting this tournament. He seems to be making the players welcome, but then they already knew he liked pool players, and one-pocket players are the pick of that litter, are they not? Daniel Busch, in addition to his role as a contestant, has provided a sharp and reliable stream, and for free, in comparison to the recent pro event in New Orleans. Guess what Ė Daniel can play.

I have a couple of things I want to say about available streams Ė free or otherwise. Voluntary and unpaid commentators are a mixed blessing. They do their best to contribute, and maybe I am harder to please now in my old age, but I often watch these events with the sound off. Sometimes itís the background noise, but usually the commentators are an overload. There is far too much input unrelated to the match on the screen. Seems to be worse on the west coast, where they all know each other, and news of recent local action dominates a feed that blankets the country. Coverage of the feature match suffers always, and a bit of dead air is okay when there is nothing that needs to be said. A continuing problem for streamers and viewers.

Most streams provide a visible score board, but much too often they are not tended and thus unreliable. Incorrect or incomplete information is not at all helpful. When a 3-2 score is on the screen and only five balls are left on the table, one can only wonder. Get it right, pal, or call it off. We must have some consideration for the problems of those who stream matches for our entertainment when money and help are in short supply, but offer only what you can do right. As an old sign painter I have said many times that a homemade sign is an indication that you arenít really serious about what you are doing.

As of June 1, the local pool room is smoke-free, as per local ordinance. There was a lot of advance notice, and a number of smokers seem to have turned to vaping, but that is banned also. Iím not sure I understand this vaping. It produces something that resembles smoke, if thatís your yen, but what about nicotine addiction? At any rate, thatís illegal too. It will be interesting to follow. No doubt all the ashtrays will be picked up, but traffic in the joint might go up instead of down. Weíll see.
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  #124  
Old 06-18-2018, 03:13 AM
vapros vapros is offline
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Default Father's Day

It’s one AM in Baton Rouge, and coming up on my usual bedtime, but I had some stuff I wanted to write about tonight so I will stay up a while. And just so you will know, none of it is about pool, so any one who doesn’t want to persevere is okay to leave quietly now. Try not to step on the toes of other parishioners as you go.

I hope all of you had as good a Father’s Day as I did. My girls came to town to see me and it was a great afternoon with many good things to eat, which is a feature of any assembly of my group. They brought me lots of good food to take home with me, and they have finally accepted that it is a waste to bring me things to cook. They just go bad in the freezer. Today I came home bearing stuff that needs only the attention of the microwave, and it’s all done up in the little plastic bags with zippers. At one point a husband was sent out for more baggies so as to divide the loot up into portion sizes. I’ve got chicken breasts, roast beef, already cooked rice, casseroles, salad and desserts. They can all cook. They are a really great bunch of people, and I can’t see them without the melancholy feeling that they are much better than I deserve. Anybody else?

Then, back at home, I went to YouTube – I am a genuine addict. At least I am not watching on a mobile device as I roll down the roads. I watched an Elvis video called His Latest Flame. Never been an Elvis fan, but this was a totally enjoyable production number with dancing girls, teeny-bopper types that would never make it as fat bottomed girls. I found myself snapping the fingers of my bridge hand. (There – at least a poolish reference in this post)

From there it was two songs by Charlotte Church, from back in the days when she was the cutest thing in the UK, and a fantastic talent as well. She did Bridge Over Troubled Water and then Amazing Grace from the same stage, with full orchestra. She did not remain such a cute kid, but who does, you know? Today I think she is an activist and maybe forty pounds heavier, but she can still sing if only she would.

I’m a guy who goes to sleep with Forensic Files on my little bedroom TV, standing on end for prone viewing. (The TV, I mean) On YouTube tonight I followed a story about a guy who did break-ins in his neighborhood in Canada. He was stealing women’s underwear and family pictures from private houses. One woman who appeared on the video said he took not only her underwear but also her dildos. Over a period of several years he progressed to rape and sexual assault and finally he abused and murdered two women. The guy was Colonel Russell Williams of the Canadian Air Force and the commanding officer of the biggest military air base in that country! The first video was nearly an hour long and followed simultaneous stories about the man and the crimes. Fascinating viewing for all the crime buffs like me.

But then there was a video nearly three hours long of an interview with the perp and an ingenious interviewer – just the two of them in a room – of the sort we see produced for our TV shows, but this one was real. Col. Williams was asked to come to the police station to answer some questions, and he showed up in jeans and a golf shirt, carrying his jacket in his hand. Plenty of smiles and a bit of camaraderie in a low-pressure setting. Before long, Williams realized exactly why he was there, as the interviewer asked him loaded questions and then sat through extended periods of silence as we watched the guy growing nervous and trying to form his responses during which neither man spoke at all. Eventually he did the only thing he could do, telling about his crimes and directing the police to the body they were hunting. They had him the whole time.

Periodically the video was halted with Williams on the picture, and various police detectives explained to viewers just how the interviewer was breaking him down and getting what he wanted. A forensic psychiatrist was there and interpreted Williams’ folded arms, downward gaze and shifting positions on his chair. At the end, one of the cops predicted that the tape of that interview, nearly five hours long, would be shown to training classes all over the world as a demonstration of powerful technique on the part of the interviewer. So, if you like that sort of stuff . . .

Anyway, I had a fine Father’s Day. If my luck holds out maybe I will get to play some one pocket later today.
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Last edited by vapros; 06-19-2018 at 10:19 AM.
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  #125  
Old 06-26-2018, 11:55 PM
vapros vapros is offline
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Default Look who's drinking

Just before dark today I visited my favorite coffee shop, and took my cafť-au-lait and oatmeal cookie out on the porch, under an umbrella. Directly a half-dozen young guys came and set up at another table, and then a couple more and a couple more, and by this time they had borrowed all the vacant chairs, and still they came. Within a few minutes there was maybe fifteen of them, and I would guess their ages at seventeen to about thirty – all healthy and fit looking. At this time of the summer it figured to be a softball team, or maybe soccer or even rugby. But all of a sudden they joined hands and prayed the Lord’s Prayer, and then it turned out to be an AA meeting! I couldn’t have been more surprised if it had been the WCTU – what the hell is going on?

Came across one of Louis Theroux’s videos today. Louis is a journalist with the BBC, and he seems to travel around the USA making interesting films. Some time ago I followed him around through some of our penitentiaries. This time he was in Las Vegas to learn how the casinos court the ‘whales’ and what they are willing to do to keep them happy. He teamed up with a guy at the Hilton who was in a rush to get to the airport to pick up their biggest player – or one of the biggest. Both the player and the casino guy willingly participated in the video, smiling all the way. No credit limit was mentioned, except that it was high. HIGH.

The casino put the guy up in their biggest suite – they claimed it was the biggest in this country - fifteen thousand square feet! Does any member here have a house that big? The guy complained that it was a long walk from his room to his kitchen in the morning. Anyway, he played and lost, still in a good mood, and declined to say how much - but it was more than 300 G. On his way home they gave him a gift certificate for three thousand, I think to the Bergdorf Goodman store. There was a big red button on a table in his room, and he pressed it for the enjoyment of the BBC guy. It brought on a huge water fountain display right outside his window; quite an event to see. They said it cost ten G every time he pushed that button. The interviewer asked the guy if there was any chance that he might gamble away all his money in the future, and he grinned and said no chance. Mattress maker up in Canada.

We also saw an elderly widow who was a nearly-every-day customer at the slots, and a popular player at the casino. By her own calculation she was loser in the amount of four million dollars in the past seven years. ‘What else am I gonna do?’ asked the lady. She also confided that she was not in danger of losing all her money. Several other players appeared on the film – none were winners in the long haul, and none seemed to care. The gambling was their entertainment. When you are winning, said one of the guys, gambling makes perfect sense. It always comes as a jolt to me to be reminded how many people there are in this country who deal in those amounts of money, people whose pockets seem to be bottomless. But then, I’ve never been to Vegas.

I saw a video in which a young guy demonstrates how he can teach one how to do a standing back flip in only five minutes. There was actually about ninety seconds of rest time involved, so the thing really took just three and a half minutes. It occurred to me that it would be a fantastic ice-breaker and a wonderful trick to know. Maybe you are standing around with a bunch of suits – maybe the FBI or the IRS or the Rotarians – and suddenly you bust a standing back flip on them. Holy Mackerel! What are they gonna say to that, you know?

But to be honest (and why not?) I’m afraid I may be beyond that sort of thing by this time. But somewhere on YouTube is another video where they teach one how to do the Moon Walk. I will ponder on that for a day or two. Stay tuned.
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Last edited by vapros; 06-27-2018 at 03:15 PM.
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  #126  
Old 07-07-2018, 12:39 AM
vapros vapros is offline
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Default West Coast Swing

Wow – we’ve been in railbird heaven for a week. Beginning in Des Moines, the one-pocket matches were nothing less than great, and the quality has carried over to the West Coast Swing event at Chris Swartz’ California Billiards in Fremont. Seeing such performances is only half of it; even better is seeing the number of games in which a big lead in balls was at least threatened and sometimes sent down the drain. Nothing could be regarded as out of reach.

Good thing I was having such a fine time because all my wagers turned to cow pies. I lost $50G (or whatever it was) betting that Efren Reyes would beat Alex Pagulayan. A guy offered 2-1. Bata was a warrior, as always, and made some spectacular plays, but he couldn’t overcome a couple of crucial scratches. Then yesterday I bet half a million that Alex could whip Dennis Orcullo, and that didn’t work out, either. My horse broke on top but wasn’t stout enough to win the money.

Seeing the way things were going, I felt confident Dennis would do a number on T Rex, and bet accordingly, but Chohan went through Robocop like a pint of pluto water, and it didn’t take him very long, either. It’s difficult to think of something new to write about Tony C. Seems it has all been said, and then repeated and reiterated. He is devious and fearless and a super shot maker and no pattern is immune to his assault. I keep getting the feeling he sees something that none of the rest of us can spot. And when he needs a break, or a good roll, or a miss by his opponent, he gets it. Almost spooky.

Having blown all my inheritance and feeling certain that my luck was about to change, I resolved to hit Vegas and get well at the tables but when I got to the station I found that I had missed the last bus by ten minutes. Oh, well.

POV Pool gave us a superior stream, even offering a choice of two tables for our screens, and all for free. They deserve our support, and I will see about that later tonight. Commentating was spotty, but with some bright spots, and certainly good for unpaid talent. Our own John Henderson was the best of them all. Hendy speaks good English, knows his one pocket, and while Dennis is measuring all possible shots on the table, John does recollections of California pool from ‘back in the day’. In this he was supported by other commentators of similar generations. I can certainly relate to that. After about age sixty-five, back in the day is where it’s at. Don’t stop now. You gotta like John Henderson and hope for him to return to the mike many times.

As always, the scoreboard was neglected now and then but over-all not too bad this week. So, now it’s Shane VanBoening and Tony Chohan playing a race to five for the top money, and I’m not likely to go to bed until it’s over. Who do I like? Well, I just told you – you gotta like John.
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Last edited by vapros; 07-07-2018 at 12:48 AM.
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  #127  
Old Yesterday, 10:13 PM
vapros vapros is offline
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Default Cold Day in July

One pm on Sunday, and Iím checking POV Pool to be sure Iím not missing Bobby Emmons on the TV table. Nope, not yet. Ten balls on the table and a Magic Rack, but nobody in the picture. What time do the people in Arizona get up, anyway?

Ahead to one of my favorite stops on the internet, the streaming webcam at Lazarote Airport in the Canary Islands. Itís right on the beach, at the very edge of all that dark blue Atlantic Ocean water, and a mighty pretty sight. There are palm trees in the foreground, blowing in the breeze Ė the breeze and the sunshine never seem to stop there. I can see the airstrips and I know just where in the sky the incoming traffic will first appear as tiny black dots. Amazing number of arrivals for a place in the ocean off the coast of Morocco; must be the tourist season. Big airplanes, too, and painted up in bright colors. I didnít know there were so many airlines in the world. Is there a Thomas Cook airline? Most of the big planes have turned-up wingtips, like hawks. Itís a busier place than the Baton Rouge Airport. Whoa, here comes one with propellers Ė seems to fly okay, though.

So many things impress this old man today. So many streaming webcams around the world, so many airlines, so many people/companies with enough money/credit to buy huge planes. What if all the money lenders decided they wanted to get paid Monday morning? No danger of that, I suppose. We are assured that 1929 couldnít happen again, and we all believe it Ė donít we?

Anyway, back to business. The event at the Ice House seems to be a great success, in several ways. At least one of the commentators observed that the venue was perhaps the finest pool room in the country. Scott Frost has stuck in his thumb and pulled out a plum, and we must hope that it goes well for Scott and his partner(s). The monthly nut must be ferocious, but weíre told that Tempe is a great spot for a pool room.
The one-pocket event did not quite produce as much top-level entertainment as the previous weekís tourney in California. We saw good players miss ordinary shots to the four and one-eighth inch pockets and the final match just wasnít the same without Tony Chohan. Orcollo and Roberts sort of plodded to the end, and I struggled a bit to stay up for it. Frost commented that the good players were all in favor of competing on tight pockets, and surely he knows more about it than I do, but I donít like to see them miss.

Good commentary continues to be a problem for Daniel and Geraldine, but they were fortunate to have Bernie P for a number of matches. Bernie is good at it, but thereís no excitement. With some of the others, personal conversations still dominate.

Now itís half-past eight oíclock and the ten-ball event is winding down Ė or up, maybe. As I type, Warren Kiamco and Omar Alshaheen are tied at three games in a race to thirteen for the first-place money. Perhaps I will go back and watch the end of that match when I finish my post. Or not. Bunch of new names in the field Ė at least to me Ė younger guys who didnít have much trouble with the tight pockets. Eklent Kaci, (Kotchy) for example. I did not get to see him run eight racks, but he did it. Kept Alex Pagulayan in his seat the whole way. I didnít even know there was a pool table in Albania. Hard to know who to fear nowadays. Maybe if I watched ten-ball now and then I wouldnít be so surprised.

The last streamed match Saturday night saw the veteran Thorsten Hohmann going against Bobby Emmons. I first saw Bobby on a series of videos from about 2014 when he went to California (Hard Times?) to play Efren Reyes. He had a pocketful of cash and was eager to put it in action. The Magician gave him 9-6 and took a lot of the cash, winning three races in one evening of action. Bobby is one of the people who can do races quickly. Efren beat him, but he did not scare him. When it was over he was plotting to do it again somewhere else for more money. I donít think it ever happened, which was lucky for the young guy. He had little chance in that one-pocket match.

Saturday night playing ten-ball on his favorite table at the Ice House was a different matter. Bobby is a local favorite, and with good reason. Heís action on the hoof, and he shoots straighter than Dick Tracy, ala Earl Strickland, and he can run the table much quicker than I can tell you about it. He was smack in his element, and his match with Hohmann was close only as long as they were trading mistakes. Trailing five games to two, he went from there to eight with only the pauses for Veronica to load the Magic Rack. (She looks like good help, and we must hope Frost is kind to her.)

But today, Bobby is nowhere to be seen. Guess they shot him out off-camera, and Iím disappointed. You donít have to like ten-ball to enjoy it the way he plays it. I hope all us one-pocket players appreciate how lucky we are. 1 . . . 2 . . . 3 . . . 4, etc. Forget it.
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