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  #141  
Old 12-17-2018, 01:04 AM
vapros vapros is offline
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Default The road to the Derby

Is it just my imagination, or does the interest in the DCC increase every year? At any rate, weíre seeing a lot of discussion threads and a bit of barking and plenty of HOF fan mail. I have never seen the new DCC venue, but a number of people have posted that they would like to see it back at the Executive West in Louisville. As always it will be a show like no other and large amounts of money will be evident in bulging pockets. Not all of it will get into action, and it may be that some of it is for show. Someone, sure as youíre a foot high, will offer to bet he can cover a pool table with C notes, and just as sure no one will bet him he cannot. Thatís the DCC. I wish I could collect two bits a mile for the traveling done by our members next month. And another two bits for all the members who wish they were going and canít make it.

I picked up a video of a snooker match a few days ago on YouTube, just because I spotted Michaela Tabb in the promo. Handsome lady, for a fact. It was a match in the German Masters Tournament, and the famous Ronnie OíSullivan was playing a guy named Maguire. They played with pointed sticks that had little mushroom tips, and they shot very straight with Ďem. At great distances they were able to feather one of the red balls and return to the farthest part of the table, but they just kept on doing it. One of them finally got the cue ball into the rack (gently) and for several innings they executed what would be fouls in a one-pocket game. I donít understand the rules. They seemed to agree that nothing was going to happen, so they reracked the balls and started over. I endured more than fifteen minutes of this and heard a lot of polite applause for their nifty safeties, but nary a ball went into a pocket. I got to see Ms Tabb several times, in passing, so it wasnít a complete bust, in a manner of speaking.

Currently there is a thread here for discussion of the Ten Commandments of one-pocket and it seems they are discussing this over on the Animal Zoo website at the same time, but I guess over there itís not just for one-pocket. Good suggestions are being posted and itís evident that our members know the game, but I am concerned that not enough support for Jojo (the white ball) has appeared. Nothing could be more vital than to be on a first-name basis with Jojo, especially for players like yours truly who have little else going for them. He knows the way to the winnerís circle and for that reason I just keep going back to Reyesí matches at Hard Times several years ago, when he was taking on all comers and giving up 10-7. You wouldnít learn to beat Pagulayan or T-Rex, but if you are playing lesser mortals you would do well to pay attention. Bata and Jojo.

Video from outdoors in Louisiana Ė supplied by a genuine 24 carat Cajun named Bordelon. It is called Digging for Alligator Snapping Turtles and Mr. B, in his hip-boots, slogs into the mud at the edge of a drying-up lake and locates the snappers by spotting their noses, which is all you can see. He hauls them out and relocates them to a better area where he sets them free. One animal each year is harvested for a sauce piquante. The biggest one he located on this video weighed more than one hundred pounds and had both the attitude and the equipment to bite your pool cue in two. Also, for all those members who act in movies, here is an opportunity to hear how the Cajuns speak the Kingís English. Good, good folks, too.

In case you donít act in movies but follow organized crime, George Anastasiaís Mob Talk Sit Down #25 went up today. Joey Merlino has gone away to do two more years in the joint, and leadership of the wise guys in South Philly may be up for grabs, with some unfamiliar names in the mix. George and Dave Schratwieser always have the inside dope and tell all in the sit-downs. Iím a fan.
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  #142  
Old 01-14-2019, 02:17 AM
vapros vapros is offline
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Default A limey perp

WWYD if the Derby City Classic were right around the corner and you couldnít go? Well, a lot of this are in this fix, and I donít know what we will do until all the warriors are back. We will just have to hope for some fearless correspondents to keep us informed about the battles. There! I have reminded myself of an old, old song about an Indian maiden named Red Wing. It was a sad song, so Ė as you were, folks. Thereís not much hope that all our guys will get rich, but hopefully they will return with some good stories. Whatever else happens at the DCC, it always produces good stories, mostly about money.

Speaking of good stories about battles, in case you have not seen the video of Efren Reyes and Shannon Daulton playing one-pocket at the DCC two years ago it is well worth your time. Down 2-1 in a race to 3, and down 7 balls to 0 and jammed up near his own pocket, you will be treated to one of the best comebacks you will ever see. I wonít say who it was. These two guys are always a fine match. Efren may not be all he ever was but Shannon is one of the all-time powers in the game. Not a tournament regular these days, it seems he can pick up his stick on short notice and play with anyone. And I mean anyone.

Following my own interest in true crime on YouTube, I recently came across a great character named Shawn Attwood. Shawn is British and a strange-looking ex-con if I ever saw one. He is gaunt and pale as a ghost and totally hairless (as far as I can see) except for black eyebrows that look like they were painted on with a felt marker. He came to this country and made millions in the stock market, but he liked to party and thru some good connections he became the supplier of the several partying pills of the rave scene. Eventually, in Arizona he became the king of the ecstasy market as a competitor of the well-known Sammy the Bull Gravano. He and his crew - including his body guards Ė flew high and spent lots of cash and they all went down together when the law closed in.

So Shawn went to jail for his crimes, including a stay in Sheriff Joe Arpaioís infamous pokey and hard time in several penitentiaries. When he was released in 2007, he was deported back to England and is forbidden to ever return to the U.S. He is now in demand as an inspirational speaker and author in his own country. He is not the usual drug pusher and former prisoner, but the operator of a YouTube website which is fascinating to crime junkies like me. Lots of interesting guests on his shows.

Attwood tells all about being a convict, holding nothing back, and sometimes he is funny as hell. He encourages his viewers to submit their questions and he answers them on the air Ė donít be bashful. There are lots of videos to be seen at your leisure, and he comments on all aspects of prison life. He relates the influence of the gangs in jail, citing the Aryan Brotherhood, the new Mexican Mafia and other groups, each of which is all-powerful in their respective areas of stir. He tells of seeing prisoners killed by those groups or by guards. He describes the five most popular ways to commit suicide by inmates and the initial test in which you fight or get turned out and become for all time the property of others. Sex in jail is a favorite of questioners, and the reality of dropping the soap in the shower or being marked for smashing or death for some slight of behavior toward an insider.

Shawn Attwood is entertaining, but you might not find him as interesting as I do. If you are doing anything that might get you incarcerated, better pay attention. Get a job.
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  #143  
Old 01-30-2019, 11:06 PM
vapros vapros is offline
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Default Anton Raga

Not being in the know regarding news from the Derby City Classic, one-pocket items are in short supply tonight and I will report instead on the pool scene in the Philippine Islands as I see it on my monitor. Sadly, there seems to be no one-hole action at all but the Pinoys can sure play the rotation games.

Do all you guys know Anton Raga? Well, you should as he is the best ten-ball player in the world. At least thatís what I thought when I first saw him yesterday on YouTube. He was winning a race to 25 over Dennis Orcollo, leaving Dennis on 17 and looking lost. Anton Ďthe Dragoní beat Robocop in every phase of the game, breaking better, shooting straighter, playing safe better and kicking like Bata Reyes. The match happened in the Philippines on the tenth day of this month. The show took three and a half hours and I watched most of it. The stream was not bad, but there was only one camera.

Next up was the same two players in a rematch racing to 35 this time and it took five hours. Dennis won the rematch by 35-25. I looked in on the affair several times, and Anton was still shooting the lights out, but Dennis jumped on top early and won going away. Pool played at that level boggles my mind, and it isnít only these two, either. The islands seem to be awash in deadly shooters in addition to the ones we already know about. Still on YouTube, you can see Anton losing to Carlo Biado and beating Johan Chua, both whom I thought the best at various times. Raga can also be seen giving Francisco Bustamente two games on the wire going to 22. I have noted before that Efren Reyes can be followed in similar matches with young guys, and some of them give Bata a ball. I think Raga is twenty years old.

Venues for these matches vary widely but some things are the same wherever they are playing. Almost all are without air conditioning and often the players are mopping their faces after nearly every shot. Talcum powder is always nearby and is used liberally. Few billiard gloves are to be seen. Most contestants are in long shorts, and rubber flip-flops are more common than sneakers. There is rarely enough space for more than a few spectators, but the room will have a lot more than capacity. Some seats are available but the crowd is standing room only and itís common for a player to be forced to delay his shot until enough watchers have edged away far enough for him to swing his cue. Three or four youngsters spring forward after each game to gather balls, wipe the rails and set up the next rack. The one constant is skill. Missing a makeable shot is a rarity and most players are short in stature and make do with some impossibly-long bridges.

These are gambling matches, make no mistake Ė sometimes the amount will be listed by the streamer, sometimes not. Sources of the money are not revealed but Filipino stake horses must be involved and one must keep in mind that the large amounts mentioned are in pisos, which go for 53 to the US dollar. In round numbers the conversion can be done by multiplying by .02. Even so, hundreds of dollars are in the middle and sometimes thousands. Disposition of the stakes would no doubt be very interesting. Being a top pool player in the islands might be a pretty good gig, especially in light of what we are told about the economy there. Itís no wonder that big name players from the American scene go home to play. Itís not one-pocket, but itís pool.

Last week I got an offer in the mail from The New Yorker Magazine Ė twenty-five issues for $25 and they will throw in a year of Vanity Fair. The New Yorker is much too sophisticated for me, but it has the very best cartoons in it, and I am a big fan of good cartoons. Vanity Fair always has some good stuff and I was a subscriber during the time that Dominick Dunne was reporting in depth on the OJ Simpson murder trial. This was a great offer at that rate but there was small print at the bottom Ė really small print. By signing up I would be agreeing to an automatic renewal at the end of the year, and the price of the renewal would be $149.99!

I have been through this twice before with major magazines. You can opt out of the renewal at the end of the subscription, but by that time it is too late; they had already taken their money two months ago, and your problem is getting it back, and itís tough. Both times I recovered my money but I had to jump through a lot of hoops along the way. Pissed me pretty good. Much better you should stroll into the Crave Sports Bar in Pasig City and see if any of them little short guys want to play.

Theyíve got all the magazines at the public library, anyway.
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  #144  
Old 02-17-2019, 11:43 PM
vapros vapros is offline
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Default The War

Poolroom conversation on a slow day, telling jokes and lies and commenting on a dozen topics with a friend of mine. He began to tell me a story about his father, who has been dead for a good many years. My father was a veteran of World War II said my friend and he fought in Europe or France or one of those countries and now and then he would talk about how bad it was over there. They had to sleep in foxholes out in the weather, rain or shine, and in the winter too. He told about how bad it rained and there was mud everywhere and their trucks would get stuck in the mud and the soldiers would have to get out and push.

If they heard somebody moving around at night they couldnít tell if it was the enemy or just one of the soldiers. His father wasnít scared but he said that some of the others were afraid the whole time they were over there. They had it really tough and it was a bad war for sure. That was back in the forties, my friend told me.

Well, that bad war has been over for seventy-four years this year and I remember the time well Ė it has always been a fascinating time in history for me. The internet has it all in videos Ė battles, invasions, ships and soldiers, airplanes and rifles Ė and photos of more dead warriors and civilians of many countries than one can imagine, and I canít leave it alone. I guess my point is that the soldiers of World War II are about gone now. I was nine when the Japs bombed Pearl Harbor and thirteen when it was over and itís hard to believe, nearing my eighty-seventh birthday, that Iím too young to have been a veteran. Even more of a jolt it is to realize that the next generation is nearing their own expiration dates. The friend I was sitting with is past the age for Social Security, and has little recollection of any first-hand tales from his father about fighting in Europe or France or any of those countries. The war, like its veterans, has faded into wherever old wars go.

In this country, we didnít get to see it. We had news on the radio and newsreels when we went to a movie. My own father, who was never in the military, kept big maps on the wall at the house and used colored push-pins to keep up with the location of the front lines in the various places where they fought. He read the Times Picayune and listened to the radio. We had blackouts and air raid drills and food rationing and gasoline rationing and a nationwide speed limit of thirty-five miles per hour. But we didnít really have a war.

It will be remembered longer and more vividly in most of the rest of the world. Millions of tons of gunpowder and TNT went through cities and villages and peopleís houses and schools and churches like a dose of Pluto water. If you have been on the scene of a major hurricane on the Gulf coast you would have some idea of it all, except for the blood and death.

I am just finishing John Grishamís latest novel, called The Reckoning. One of the characters was called to war in the Pacific in WW II. He was captured and tortured by the Japanese and escaped into the mountains of the Philippines where he fought for three years among a few American soldiers and a large force of Filipino guerillas.

Today, pool has many, many Filipino players and a lot of them compete in the United States. Surely, some of them Ė Jose and Efren, for example, have heard war stories from old men in the islands, and I am moved to wonder how the war is described in their books and their history classes. Unlike Americans, they had a war, and the old people will surely recall the Japanese. Maybe one day I will have an opportunity to ask a couple of the pinoys about it.

We have had other wars since Ė bad wars, all Ė but again they were far away. WW II was The War, and I think of it often. Old man with time on his hands. My elderly friend remembers only that his father said it was tough over there, and I am sure his father was right. Move along, folks Ė nothing to see here.

And another interest of mine Ė Mob Talk sitdowns number 26 and 27 are up on YouTube. Philadelphia wise guy did twenty-five years in the joint. When he got out he opened a restaurant. It was a big success and a very popular place to dine on good food. The guy did well and lived well. Now he has been indicted again for extortion and might be back inside before long. Why would he do that? George Anastasia says they just canít ever leave it behind. It is what it is.

Thanks for reading.
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  #145  
Old 02-24-2019, 10:32 PM
vapros vapros is offline
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Default Holidays

Itís carnival time in the states along the Gulf coast and south Louisiana is all painted up in the carnival colors, purple, green and yellow. No pastels for Mardi Gras, folks. One day this week I went to the bakery where I buy my shoe soles. I like pastry - might be the reason for my longevity Ė or not. Anyway the big window is all painted up for the occasion, Colombina mask and string of beads, all in the bright colors. Down in the corner was the signature; art by Chuckles the Clown, looked like a feminine touch.

Being an old sign painter I am reminded of the traveling window dogs who turned up at holiday time to decorate store windows. For the week or ten days before the event he would come around and for a reasonable fee he would paint your window in the water-based tempera color and with the appropriate items for the season. He seldom spent more than forty minutes on a job and could do as many as ten in a good day. He had his specialties memorized and knocked them out like magic. Everything he needed was close at hand in his truck and right after getting out his stuff he was finished and gone. There are still a few window dogs in action today, moving and selling the displays.

I knew an older guy who liked to tell about the life. He had had a small shop somewhere in Arkansas, Texarkana maybe, and he locked it up when he hit the road for holiday work. He said he had a route that included small towns in nearby areas in Louisiana and Oklahoma, and a number of customers who looked for him as time approached for window painting. Some even had the windows cleaned when he arrived. For the others he carried a sponge and bucket and squeegee. His fee, he told me, was forty dollars by the time he quit, and that worked out to more than three hundred bucks a day. Several decades ago, when he was traveling, he expected to gross between two and three G per trip. That kind of money, a that time, would pay the rent and buy the groceries and leave some for oneís beer and smokes. No doubt Ė like the pool players - they told the IRS all about it.

I think his name was Lomax or something similar. In February Lomax painted hearts and diamonds. In March it was leprechauns and shamrocks and in April it would be painted eggs and bunnies. Then came stars and stripes and then fireworks. In the fall he did skeletons and witches and black cats, then baked turkeys and falling leaves. When Christmas approached Lomax might be gone from home for most of a month. It was hard work and living out of some kind of camper on a pickup truck, but he loved it.

Then there was Clark Byers, working in the southeastern states for quite a few years. Byers would paint the roof of your barn if you would agree to display the promo for Rock City. See Rock City, or Visit Beautiful Rock City, or See Seven States from Rock City. He would reward the owner with a packet of Rock City souvenirs and the sum of three dollars if necessary. Four gallons of black paint and two gallons of white. He claimed to have done over nine hundred barns in nineteen states. Currently, we are told only about eighty remain to view, and a few of those are being repainted. But not by Byers.

Equally iconic, but not so personal, were the Burma Shave signs posted along the highways for the entertainment of passing travelers. A brilliant promotion, they were in use from 1926 to 1963. A few remain Ė along old Route 66 for example. **School zone here Ė take it slow Ė let the little shavers grow Ė Burma Shave. **Within this life Ė of toil and sin Ė your head grows bald Ė but not your chin Ė Burma Shave. ** Free, free Ė a trip to Mars Ė for just 900 - empty jars - Burma Shave.

I watched a fine one-pocket match on YouTube last night, courtesy of Railbird Productions. They offer quite a few matches from this years DCC, and the one I saw was between John Schmidt and Niels Feijen. In the first thirteen minutes they each ran eight-and-out, but the third and fourth games featured some great one-pocket action, with first one player and then the other seeming in fatal traps and shooting their way out. Feijen had John shooting uphill most of the way and punished him for each error at the table and won the match by 3-1. Good viewing for an hour and four minutes. The commentator was not too familiar with the game, but the stream was outstanding. Luckily, one-pocket can be enjoyed with the sound off and I often watch it that way.

Today, about fifty years late, I am reading The Valachi Papers. Itís like Goodfellas and the Sopranos all at once. All the famous mobsters of yesterday are in there and all have funny nicknames. Iím loving it.
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  #146  
Old 03-19-2019, 02:07 AM
vapros vapros is offline
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Default Gunners

Smash and grab as a form of wealth redistribution did not begin in Washington. Itís a lot older than even the town, let alone the Congress. In a nutshell, if you saw something you wanted in a store window you would come back in the night, pick up a handy brick and chunk it through the glass. Then you reached in and claimed your loot and ran like hell. It became a tougher gig if the window was tempered glass and your brick bounced back and hit you in the mouth, or if all the watches turned out to be Timexes, or if you got too old to make the dash. And sometimes you might not even be able to find a brick. Semi-violent crime, to be sure.

Modern-day smash and grabbers have been turning out in force at the pool tournaments and not only in the rotation games, which have always been semi-violent and not very important anyway. Now they are playing one pocket Ė maybe you have noticed. Tony Chohan may have been the first. I can recall only a couple of years ago writing in this journal about T-Rex and wondering if the game was making a significant turn or if we were only seeing a big guy with long shirts and short pants having hot flashes at the table. Either way, the gun slingers were sure to be disarmed when they came up against the Filipinos. Not to worry.

Well, you can worry now Ė and donít bother looking the other way, either. Videos of the matches at the Derby City Classic are making it clear. Betting on the pinoys is still a sound game plan, but donít think you are stealing and donít bet the rent money. A bunch of children, many of them from far-away places and with strange-sounding names, are all over the news. Ruslan Chinakov, Eklent Kaci and Omar Al Shaheen are only a few of them. I believe there is one named Fedor, and I wish someone would ask him how to pronounce it, because if he is a Russian I imagine his name is Fyodor, but we canít type the necessary umlaut. Along with Billy Thorpe, Chris Robinson and Chris Melling and many more, these guys are pure shooters and can run balls. Most are not accomplished one-pocket players and may not even aspire to that, but man Ė if they give you a shot youíd better make it. They come to the table with their own bricks, just hoping for a small window to smash. They are bold, unrepentant and deadly. Theirs is not the traditional relationship with Jojo, because they never doubt that the next shot will be theirs, too. How to slow them down? Suppose you make them wait for a shot, choke them and test their patience, would they begin shooting up in the air? Where are you, San Jose Dick?

Last night I watched Omar suffocate Tony Chohan very neatly, winning a race to three. His game management was just as impressive as his shot making, and Tony had very few chances to show anything. He did manage to win the third game when Omar went for a two-rail kick at the last ball, trying to push it down the foot rail toward his pocket and not only whiffing it, but scratching to boot. Tom Wirth could have showed him how to do it, or Jack Cooney or any Filipino. Not much strategic maneuvering in that contest, but we knew that right from jump street. Not with those two.

Iím enjoying these videos and staying up late to watch them. If I understand correctly, Accu Stats has an exclusive arrangement with the tournament, and all the other streamers must record the video only and add the audio at a later time. This being the case, there can be some excuse for displaying the score incorrectly so much of the time if they canít see the actual balls in the rack. But they can at least see the ones still on the table. Not so with the commentary. If they are doing it at their leisure, so to speak, at a remote location, are there no one pocket players at all that they could enlist to help out? Bad commentary - uninformed commentary - is worse than none at all. More and more I am watching muted videos. Some are frank to admit they donít know the game, but they comment anyway, and often about things other than the match. I really donít like to rant. Strike that, I do like to rant. Giggling Sophie with her little girl voice and Mike (?) had a fun time on the audio while T-Rex was being drawn and quartered on the video.

If they were watching in Moscow Ė and they might have been Ė they probably said Ďsmishnoí.
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  #147  
Old 04-08-2019, 01:53 AM
vapros vapros is offline
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Default What's up, John?

Itís ten pm on Sunday and Jimmy B has just posted the news that John Schmidt, at Bullshooters, has scratched on a break shot, ending his current streak at 350 balls. This seems like an unlikely announcement; certainly one that you donít hear every day. Just what was involved there, anyway? All I knew about it was that John was putting in long hours on a table there in his attempt to pocket a record number of balls in 14.1 fashion. The original post on this thing appeared a couple of weeks ago, and there are multiple reports of his other failed (?) efforts since that time and we are left to wonder if he does it every day, and for how many hours. Will he start over tomorrow morning? If he doesnít reach his goal, at what point will he pack it in?

Playing straight pool with no opponent would be pretty much like an endless practice session with consequences Ė not far removed from manual labor. My own practice sessions on my eight-foot table feature missed shots and a bit of creative profanity. When I miss, sometimes I start over and sometimes I donít. What the hell, you know what I mean? I can only imagine the level of focus he has to bring to the table and sustain. No mulligans here. Many rumors and semi-sworn reports advise that Mosconiís best total has been surpassed on several occasions and by a number of different players. For that matter, how well-documented is the golden number, anyway? What body is in charge of pool records, if any is? Other than results from tournaments, I donít see how there can be official records in our game. At any rate, Johnís quest makes an interesting story that has created some needed participation and comments here. I wish John the best and I hope Jimmyís message tonite wonít be the final one.

I think the recently-completed event in Memphis will be an epic one in the history of this website. Far as I know we have no members who play pool for a living, and while such players would be welcome I think we are better off without them. We demonstrate that there are other reasons to play Ė good reasons. (My friend BRLongArm has violent seizures when I talk like that.) When each year there are only a few events outside your own area from which to choose, when you must fit them into a schedule, when you must budget your expenses knowing there is only a dim chance you will break even, your life in one-pocket offers different pleasures. You can prepare your game for them; you can go and compete hard against players who may be better than you are. You can win and lose and dine and drink soda pop and laugh out loud and tell lies with the same guys you meet at OnePocket.org. Then everyone goes home and remembers the time as a good time.

For some reason, I feel the Memphis tournament may have been special. Witness the various accounts posted by the guys who were there. Some of them travelled a long way to get there, but they will be at the next one, too. How much better could it be?

We are indebted to Rail Birds and to Bad Boys for bringing us free videos of competition at the 2019 Derby City Classic and we can only hope that sponsors and donations from viewers will make it worth their while. For viewers at home, it becomes a sort of candy store. I have mentioned before that I find the video first-rate, and the commentary generally poor or worse. In a one-pocket match I watched last night, a pair of speakers yakked it up about unrelated things. An easy shot that might well have determined the winner of the game was butchered and missed. They failed to even note it. Later they missed a foul and spotted ball and reached the end game with the wrong score posted. When the shooter made his seventh ball and was still at the table without a shot, they posted the win for him and then wondered whether the mis-count was his or theirs. I muted the rest Ė no excuse for such as that.

Fantastic one-pocket is played by the youngsters. I saw Eklent Kaci break a rack and Josh Filler responded by running eight and out on his first shot. In the next game almost the same thing happened, except that Kaci ran only seven on Fillerís break. They search the stack like Corey Deuel and Tony Chohan, and if thereís anything to see they go for it and often make it. Balls in the jaws of the opponentís pocket are ignored. I saw Shane Winters and Fedor Gorst for the first time, and another young guy I had never heard of Ė Anthony Meglino. Anthony can play.

Another milestone for my journal. It has passed twenty thousand views now. Who knew? And even when I neglect it Iím aware that this forum is important and should be tended. I am still disappointed by the absence of good pool stories Ė or good stories of any kind. Ross Keith Thompson contributes good stuff, even if he posts it in another category. Speak up Ė we canít wait forever.
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  #148  
Old 05-06-2019, 01:11 AM
vapros vapros is offline
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Default Efren and Billy

Exciting news this week, and even I am excited. We are told that in the second week of June, Efren Reyes and Billy Thorpe will tie up in a major money match in the city of West Monroe, Louisiana. Neither of these guys has appeared before in any of the recent streamed encounters. Scheduled for a max of five days, they will play races to ten until one of them has won three. Talk about a contrast in styles Ė more, I believe, than T-Rex and the Robocop. I feel certain that Bata will be a strong sentimental favorite, whether the other bettors see him that way or not. He is still the Magician and in the later years of a fabulous career on the table.

Thorpe, or course, is a gunner and one of the premier shot-makers of today, but he has proven that he can play one-pocket, also, with a DCC title a few years ago. No one has played the game better than Reyes, or as long, but down in the Islands the kids are giving him weight in the rotation games. Iím not sure what that means but it is an indication of something that must be considered.

YouTube (yeah, YouTube) has a series of four videos, all made in a single evening, from 2014, when he played Bobby Emmons in California Ė maybe at Hard Times? Bobby and his backers came in from Arizona and lost a race to five and a race to seven and then a race to ten games. With stakes and side action Iím sure they dropped more than ten G that night. I rate Bobby Emmons equal to any other shooters I have seen, and I think his plan was to shoot his way out, but Efren is a shooter, too. But Bobby was not a one-pocket player and was forced to shoot up-hill all the way. When he got a shot he could run out, but he seldom got a shot. Efren and Jojo gave the younger man no air. The only thing he had going for him was the 9-6 game and it wasnít nearly enough. When it was over he explained that he had played Ďhorribleí and was speaking of a possible rematch in Las Vegas. I donít think he knew just what a bad game he was in, but he was a warrior and never shed a tear.

I have to look back at that match Ė and I did this week Ė to get some sort of outlook for the coming game. Without a doubt Reyes will out-move Thorpe and we will find out how long Billy can wait for his opportunities. If he ever starts shooting up in the air it might be fatal. Efren could be over-aggressive and Thorpe will punish him for his shooting errors. Different strengths for certain.

I was mighty impressed with Bataís performance against Emmons, but that was five years ago Ė a helluva long time at his time of life. I really hope he will show his teeth in West Monroe. A mere finger of speech, of course.

I watched a little German named Josh Filler win a singles title at the DCC, as his opponent suffered a disastrous foul call that proved fatal. Jacked up over a ball, he touched the wrong ball with his cue tip, even though he did not move it. Then I saw Filler run 285 balls in the 14.1 competition. I know the fans of the rotation games have been aware of him for several years but I had never seen him before. Heís a cool player at the table with no visible weaknesses. We are indebted to the RailBird people for lots of entertaining videos from the DCC.

Watching the 9 ball matches, using the mandatory AccuRack, I could not help noticing how immobile the money ball was on nearly every break. If nothing rebounded from a cushion to move it, it remained right where it was racked. The MagicRack illustrated the same thing, if not quite as consistently. Geometrically I suppose the 9 ball is not supposed to leave the rack, as the force is diverted away from it on both sides, but thatís not the way it is in the traditional racks. But why canít human hands achieve an equally perfect arrangement? Must be a reason why it usually joins the rest of the pack in touring the table.

I saw Chris Melling go seven rails for position Ė a pretty unusual tactic. Chris is a fine player who has lost quite a few pounds in the last year or so, and an entertaining guy to watch. His kick shots are carefully calculated and sometimes produce dramatic results. Using his cue as a ruler, he can plot the path of even two or three railers, but heís no Filipino. His failures can be epic, as well.

Thatís about it. If you get a chance, tune in a little Russian girl about so high, who plays out of Royís Basement. Christina Tkach is her name and pool is her game. If you get to play her, donít bet too much. Also, I can recommend Match #27 from the recent US Open 9 Ball Championship. Alex Pagulayan played Aloysius Yapp in a hill-hill thriller. Yapp is a pudgy Asian Ė from Hong Kong maybe? Ė who plays a lot better than you might expect when you first see him. Enjoy.
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  #149  
Old 06-05-2019, 01:53 AM
vapros vapros is offline
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Default Here's looking at you, kid

Iím a week past the cornea transplant and it seems to be doing fine Ė I saw the guy again today and he said it was looking good. Been using a lot of exotic drops in the eye and the vision is returning a little at a time. Itís going to be a while, but at least I am a little more comfortable at the keyboard. I can drive my car after a fashion but I am required to send up flares now and then so the other drivers will know Iím back on the street and they should take the proper precautions. Was this a big deal? Yes, it was because it was my eye. If it had been my fist or my pancreas, not so much. Very little pain and discomfort. Three of my daughters showed up at the hospital for the occasion and when a nurse wanted to know about the group I told her it was my favorite daughter and her sisters. They brought me tasty food and sympathy. Good folks.

Since this replacement cornea was furnished by a donor (dead person) my kit included a suggestion that I write a note to the grieving family, so I suppose I will do that. There is an address for me to use, but it will be an anonymous contact. What can you say except thanks for this restored vision? I am thinking the donor might have been a Democrat, because Iím beginning to look at things differently (but still a bit blurry). I hope there is no rule here against cheap shots.

YouTube is awash in good-quality videos of recent matches Ė from the Derby City Classic and other events since that time Ė and I am eating them up. One pocket in its new form, with new and ultra-talented players. I have a pretty good collection of older matches, and one can watch and learn a great deal because the execution involved was often within the reach of guys like me. Efren Reyes and Jose Parica are still among my favorites, but there is Buddy Hall and Billy Incardona and Steve Cook and Shannon Daulton and Jeremy Jones and Grady Mathews and Richie Richeson and Nick Varner and Cliff Joyner and many others who performed on my DVDs. Pagulayan and Bustamente were relative newcomers at the time I was stocking my library. I have at least two or three with the late Mike Surber, who was a fine player, by the way.

Currently I watch for entertainment. These guys are doing things I could never hope to copy. They shoot hard and aggressively, and the tide of the game swings back and forth with nearly every shot. A pattern on the table that might seem to make Joe Blow a big favorite can be reversed in a single stroke that leaves John Doe with the upper hand Ė at least for now. Exciting stuff. The photography is great, but most of the commentary is abysmal and better left muted. At least in this respect the old videos are superior by a wide margin. I am recalling Hall, Incardona, Bill (Weenie Beanie) Staton, Freddy Bentivegna, Mathews, Varner and Danny Diliberto.

With the match in West Monroe, Louisiana scheduled to begin in just a couple of days I asked YouTube for videos of Billy Thorpe playing one-pocket, and was surprised to see there are not many. I canít recall which year he was the DCC champion, but where are the videos? Most of what is available is for this season. He will go against my favorite, Efren Reyes, this week for cash and I wanted to see him in action so I brought up a couple of recent matches. Thorpe is a very impressive player who shoots straight and knows the game. Itís not hard to see him winning at the DCC tournament, but I did note that he seemed to be quick on the trigger. No doubt Reyes will make him pay close attention and have a good look before he picks his shot. He will find Jojo in some terrible places when he comes to the table.

I hope it will be a good contest and I would love to be there, but I probably wonít. At least I will wait to see how the first day goes, and if I canít stand it I just might hit the road. I will let the State Police know I am coming, and maybe there will be a fire sale on those $120 seats when I get there. I will wait and see Ė in a manner of speaking.

Oh, and I want to offer my congratulations to Warren Kiamco, this yearís champion of the US Open One-Pocket tournament. Who knew? I think of him as being one of the Filipinos who has endured for quite a few years in American tournaments. Now I find that he is the real article, obviously, and that is great. He doesnít make much noise and moves quietly, and I doubt anyone will begrudge him this win. Could he be the next Bata Reyes Ė a popular guy who can do the job? Pool could use a few more guys like that. Good luck to him.
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  #150  
Old 06-21-2019, 01:16 AM
vapros vapros is offline
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Default Current events

This journal is long overdue for a post, and tonight it will get one. The topic is going to be, ahhh, . . . . current events. Yep, thatís it Ė current events, mostly Louisiana style.

Unsure what my opening would be, I have discovered a survey of sorts put up today by my friend, Joe Long (BRLongArm), who I have not seen or spoken with in several months. Joe has a one-pocket coin, one side representing gamblers and the other the tournament scene. As gamblers he describes the one-time road agents who hustled action in pool rooms where they were not known, and who have been severely limited, if not put out of business, by the information age. Joe is a gambler, a promoter and a guy who will put his money where his mouth is, and he notes that we are all here to Ďsupport and foster growth in one-pocketí.

However, as he offers his coin for a vote by the members, he flips out a great number of dedicated one-pocket players. Like me. Granted, our coins are largely nickels and dimes, but g-d, there are a lot of us. Happily, successful room owners still like us. Iíve got more thoughts on this topic, but maybe they are best left unsaid.

Okay, moving along Ė a young man from Livingston Parish has won the latest American Idol contest and instantly became a genuine hero in Louisiana. I believe he is a musician, as I have seen photos of him with a guitar, and apparently he is a very good one. Iím a bit embarrassed not to know more about it, but thatís how it is. Big Parade right down Florida Boulevard in Denham Springs.

And in St. Charles Parish, not much farther down the road than Livingston, an alligator has bitten a deputy sheriff. I would rate this a major humiliation, as it was not even a big bull alligator Ė about five feet long, said the report Ė and thatís barely more than a large lizard. Nailed him pretty good, I believe. He will hear about it for a while in the department. A bigger gator quite recently bit off a piece of a sheriffís department patrol unit. Wildlife and the law -I will let you know if it gets serious.

For the second time in less than a year, a big ship has collided with the Sunshine Bridge. This time it was a minor blow, maybe more like a scrape, but last fall there was a bigger impact that closed the bridge for several months as they repaired it. This span is the only connection from the west bank to the east bank between Baton Rouge and Boutte. Big event for lots of people when it is shut down. That makes a total of twenty-one such encounters involving boats and that bridge. The navigation gap is some 685 feet wide, but sometimes thatís not big enough. Itís worth noting that the base pay for river pilots is six hundred G, and itís one of the hardest outfits to break into that I know of. Congress is much easier, and a lot less picky. The river pilots have to prove they know how to do their jobs.

A lady from here in Baton Rouge has just set a new record for her age group in the track and field area. Julia Hawkins is a hundred and three years old, and in a seniors competition she ripped off a hundred meters in 46.07 seconds. Not sure if it was from a standing start or if she had blocks. This is impressive, and I mean it.

I saw the eye doctor today, and we noted some improvement in the function of the eye that received a cornea transplant three weeks ago. He took out a stitch that he had put in during the surgery. He tried to show it to me after removing it, but I never did see it. Smaller than a human hair, said the doctor, and maybe a quarter-inch long. I thought that was impressive, also.

The chief fund-raiser for the Our Lady of the Lake Hospital Foundation was in court today and pled guilty to stealing more than $550 G over the last several years. The sum of $180 G went to the parents of one of the down linemen on the LSU Tiger football team. More than $100 G went to the family of another player, who immediately kicked back about $60 G to the thief. Combined, thatís more than half of his take, and maybe he should be given some credit for that, since it was for a good cause. Of course I am being sarcastic about that, but not so much as you might think. Major college athletic programs and their supporters have been doing such as that for many years, and it is only a sin if you are caught.

Letís see , what else? For $89.99 you can buy a four-motor folding drone with camera. Thatís pretty spooky. For about the same amount you can purchase a program that will enable you to speak forty-three languages, (tho Iím not sure which forty-three) and I fear I have just passed up a wonderful opportunity to end this post, so I will do it now.
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