Unpaid Bill

vapros

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May 24, 2004
Messages
3,730
Today is Wednesday and it’s a balmy 78 degrees and it has been a long time since I bought any gas but I saw places where you can get it for less than $1.40 per gallon. I’m excited about seeing my barber tomorrow – it has been a couple of months. I will wear a mask and drop the rubber bands long enough to trim around my ears, and he will wear a mask also, or else I will begin growing a ponytail right on the spot. I think he is required by law to cover his mouth. It’s surprising how many people still think you wear a mask to protect yourself, and it’s alarming how many local citizens are out and about bare-faced. Some of ‘em looked better the other way. I don’t think for a minute the COVID19 is about done. Louisiana is still reporting about 300 new cases every day.

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

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

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

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

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

vapros

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Joined
May 24, 2004
Messages
3,730
Wednesday in Baton Rouge and haircuts are still $18 and the local paper, Baton Rouge/New Orleans Morning Advocate, is asking for donations to help them keep reporting on the news from the COV-19 disaster. This is not a small-town rag - it’s supposed to be a major newspaper. Is there a precedent for such as this – have you ever seen it where you live? I’m sure they are feeling a pinch, like many other businesses, but they can just bite the bullet, too. Maybe the government will bail them out. I’m quite sure they are too big to go tits-up.

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

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

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

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

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

vapros

Verified Member
Joined
May 24, 2004
Messages
3,730
It’s Wednesday and I finally had to go and buy some gas – cost me $1.41 per gallon. Here we are three days into hurricane season and already there is a tropical storm in the Gulf, headed right this way. High tides and heavy rains are in the forecast, beginning this weekend. COVID19 is still with us here, and Baton Rouge recorded 43 of the 387 new cases in Louisiana since yesterday. Around the country for the last few days social distancing has gone by the boards as people paraded shoulder-to-shoulder in the streets and shouted and waved signs. Maybe this is the way to end racism in this country – but I doubt it. I just wish I had sold all the CD plywood that has changed hands this week.

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

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

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

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

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

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

vapros

Verified Member
Joined
May 24, 2004
Messages
3,730
It’s Wednesday again, but not one of my usual Wednesdays. I’m pretty bummed this week, as a series of things – none related to pool – has left a bad taste in my mouth, and for a change I am going to speak up here in this post. Protestors have demonstrated in the streets of this country since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. I realize that the whole commotion is not really about the sins of a small group of Minnesota cops, but rather a spark that set off some tinder that has been accumulating for some time – not unlike the reaction on the West Coast to the beating of Rodney King – but so far not as violent. It has seemed to me that they could have picked a more likely hero than Mr. Floyd – there were other victims they could have chosen – but I know some members would have pointed out that it was proof that I don’t really understand the situation, and that would be true. I don’t. But I do understand their reaction, and it was legitimate. Significant changes in the overall picture of American police departments, and especially in their unions, are badly needed. This is not really what bothers me tonight, but I did want to mention it.

Marches here in Baton Rouge continued for several days, and after one ended just before midnight one night – Sunday, I believe – three young people (not teenagers) decided that they needed to make a statement on the subject and before the sun was up on Monday morning they had set fire to four different random business places in different parts of town. They have been arrested, two guys and a girl, and have admitted setting the fires. One of them noted that local rappers on the internet had been an influence. The arson charges will be heard in Federal court, as they burned up some merchandise that had come across state lines. A violation of federal laws. The ATF people were involved, and the acting director noted to the local media that they were following 847 additional arsons around the country! I’m sure most of the demonstrators were not firebugs, but some of them were. This was also just a note in passing. I’m not complaining about the fires.

Nearly a hundred and sixty years ago there was a country called the Confederate States of America, newly formed by eleven states that seceded from the United States of America. The American Civil War began almost immediately and proved that the states couldn’t get away with what they had done. They were taken back into the Union at gunpoint. The war also brought about the end of slavery, first in the Confederate States and then in the Union states also. During the few brief years of the CSA it was the country of the Confederate States and they gave it their allegiance until the war, and the country, were lost. Since that time, the people who have never understood the CSA, people not in the South, have taken the attitude that to support the memory of the Confederacy and its heroes is to support slavery. There is no logic and no justification for such a narrow-minded attitude. You could not find anyone today, anywhere in this country, who supports slavery – and that’s as it should be. But to tell us, in these states, that for four years we had no country at all is to ignore history. We damn sure did have a country, and heroes who fought for it. Don’t you?

Anyway, in recent years a tide of liberal history-revisionists, riding a winning streak, has managed to pull down most of the statues of our heroes since some people have found them offensive. These monuments were never erected to commemorate slavery, but rather the Confederacy. Our country for a while. We find their attitude toward them offensive. Now they are calling for changes to the names of streets, parks, institutions and organizations that offend them, and those who should be providing the opposition are shuffling their feet and twisting their hats and mumbling apologies. I am so ashamed of them.

Back in the dark ages I enrolled in Francis T. Nicholls Junior College in its first year of operation. That was in 1949. There was only one building and it held the administration, the library, the classrooms, the cafeteria, the restrooms and a little student day-room. The school was named for a Civil War figure. I played on the first basketball team, the Buccaneers. We practiced in other people’s gyms. Now there are many buildings and some of them are also named for Civil War Figures and all such names there are under pressure for change to something more acceptable to the revisionists.

Four years ago local leaders were successful in getting the name of Robert E Lee High School changed to just Lee High. Now they want that name changed, also. At Louisiana State University there is a move underway to alter the name of the Troy H. Middleton Library. Middleton was a soldier in WW II and a former president of the university, but that was during a time when segregation was the law, marking him a segregationist. Students are up in arms for major changes in the policies of the school – some of which really do need changing. Here is a quote from yesterday’s Morning Advocate:

The LSU Board of Supervisors next meets on June 19.

"Our goal is to erase symbols of things that exemplify a racist past," LSU interim President Tom Galligan said. "Any student, or particularly a student of color, that has to go into any building which bears the name of someone not identified with progress and with racist traditions is to inhibit their education. They won't feel safe in that building."

Horse shit. That’s the way things are around here right now, and why I am so bummed. Maybe in the process the rough spots in black-white relations will be smoothed over. But I don’t think so.

Hopefully next Wednesday will be better. Wash your hands and wear your mask and be well. See you later.
 

vapros

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Joined
May 24, 2004
Messages
3,730
It’s Wednesday in Baton Rouge and gas has gone up to $1.65 per gallon and the temperature has gone over 90 degrees every day this week and the news about COVID19 is not so good. The Morning Advocate posts a report at noon every day, and for some time the number of new cases has been around 400 for the state of Louisiana, with the note that the number is inflated by a backlog of testing results. But now, a couple weeks after the semi-relaxed rules for the quarantine, the daily numbers are bigger, and today they are reporting 800 new cases – with none carrying over from the backlog. Seems kind of alarming to me and I’m staying pretty close to home and wearing my mask when I go out among people. Haven’t been to the pool room, going on four months. I have no schedule to mention and I go to bed and get up whenever I want to – and I’m wondering if I am forming a bad habit. I do get my sleep, tho – I’m taking a chewable melatonin pill at bedtime and it puts me out. Sort of like a Gummy Bear, and pretty tasty.

Great one-pocket match going on in New Orleans at Buffalo’s room and there has been a two-day pattern easy to see. Both days Francisco Bustamante has jumped on top in the early games and Tony Chohan has come on strong in later games. T Rex finished on top Tuesday, 8-7 after trailing by 7-1. The last I heard tonite they were tied at 14 games and again it was Chohan making a late run. Whatever the final tonite, the match will be up for grabs tomorrow. No great crowds are spectating, according to reports, and nobody is masking. There is always action at Buffalo’s and in situations like this one there can always be late contests, even by the principals, that might affect the outcome. The money is present, and the gambling might offer more than the main event. That would not be a first, in the pool world. Allegiances are portable.

Traffic on this website was brisk last week, with a great deal of it in the Members’ Café. The lefties and the righties were duking it out, but as usual there was no decision. There never is, nor can there be, but it is something to do until something better comes along. The last few days have been relatively quiet in the Café – not surprising if the combatants are out of cyber-breath. One notable thing among the pool posts is the announcements of several deaths among the older players. In addition to the condolences of friends and other members, there is always loss when those guys go. Pool stories and recollections of the players and gamblers they have known – stuff that can’t be replaced. On a happier note, we are getting some good WWYD puzzles, and not all from the Ghost, either. That’s good – I thought he was looking a little peaked.

This period of nation-wide protests will be recalled for its longevity if nothing else. It’s big and getting results. The demonstrators are still in the streets, but they aren’t all pursuing the same ends. It’s really a spooky time for WASPs in several ways – and not funny at all. The football coach at Oklahoma State has seen his star running back leave him in protest over a T shirt he was seen in. At Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney is the subject of protests for his failure to take action against one of his assistants who used a politically-incorrect word in practice, back in 2017. Three years ago! Today’s athletes are powerful people and are much too influential to be resisted and some of them are loving it. This is money, folks, and if you are told to genuflect there’s nothing to do but hit your knees. This will all calm down – it always does – but the demonstrators will leave their marks on us. I guess it looks worse to us in the South. The universities are being held for ransom by student-politicians who are just realizing how strong they are, and they are getting support from certain outside groups. Not everyone is outraged by what is happening.

In Seattle, the CHAZ is still there, but now it is called the CHOP – Capital Hill Organized Protest. Not much is being done by city management. The chief of police is a very small woman who explains that the police vacated a precinct station for the safety of the cops there! She hopes they can get back what they have lost. The mayor is not very concerned, saying the CHOP is just a big block party and Seattle is a city that has always loved block parties. Strange situation. Who is feeding all those trespassers? How many have jobs? How long can they stay underwater? A few days ago, on YouTube, I watched a video called ‘Seattle is Dying’. It was made before the current strangeness. I saw the garbage lying in the streets, not unlike the horror stories of San Francisco. The local police have quit making arrests for misdemeanors because the DA won’t prosecute and the courts just put them back on the streets. Thousands of homeless drug addicts who pee, and worse, on the sidewalk in front of the stores and spit at the cops.

Last Wednesday in this journal I said I hoped that tonite’s post would be better, but it’s not. Disease, racial troubles and demonstrators and who ordered all those bricks? Not much to be proud of. I did find a more enjoyable video on YouTube. I watched the biography of one of my very favorite writers, Dominick Dunne, ‘After the Party’. He was a gossiper and a party-goer and a name-dropper, but he covered the murder trials of a number of Hollywood big names, like O.J. Simpson, Robert Blake, the Menendez Brothers and Phil Spector. Dunne, himself, is the main character in the video and you would get glimpses of many movie stars before they were big – he knew them all. He had a tragic life, a rich wife, a daughter beaten to death by a live-in boyfriend, and alcoholism, but he was powerful at the keyboard. Not for everybody, of course.

Wash your hands, wear your mask and be well. See you later.
 

vapros

Verified Member
Joined
May 24, 2004
Messages
3,730
It’s a rainy Wednesday, but the daytime temperature is only 78. There’s standing water in the driveway at my place and when I go out I will have to wade in an inch of water – chronic condition. And I will go out today. I’m waiting on a call about seeing someone for back spasms – failing that I will show up at the ER. Short post today for my journal, as I am sitting on a bar stool – if I sit in the desk chair I won’t be able to stand up – luckily I have a cordless keyboard and mouse, so I am set up on the desk top, rather that on the sliding shelf. I know where I could buy gas for $1.60 per gallon, and several places where they are getting $1.75, and one place right down the road where the price is $2.16. I don’t explain, I just report.

All the protestors and demonstrators who are vexing me will get the day off, but I must comment on the situation with the COVID19. It’s resurging and the numbers for Louisiana are not good at this time. New cases are being reported at an alarming rate and deaths and hospitalizations are up, also, but not as much. Medical staffs have learned a lot about treatments, and fewer people are being hooked up to the ventilators, and are going home sooner – two consecutive days with negative tests. So, what’s up wi’ dat? Well, not nearly enough people are being careful and the young folks are the worst offenders. Greatest number of cases currently is in the 18-29 age group. Bars in TigerTown are being closed, and the staffs and patrons are being sent home to isolate for two weeks – yeah, sure they will. State authorities had developed a plan to reopen the quarantine by stages, and stages 1 and 2 have come and gone. Stage 3 would have kicked in very shortly, but it is being postponed for 28 days in an effort to turn this thing around. SEC sports, especially football, will suffer, as some schools – if not all of them – are showing alarming numbers of positive results among the players and normal practice programs are shut down. If teams in other parts of the country are already getting their preparations made, they will have a running start – unless the NCAA will make them wait also. I haven’t heard.

Groups are bad. Groups without masks are worse, and groups without masks and failing to keep their distance are asking for trouble. Some of them are getting it, and some don’t seem to worry about it.

There’s a cloud of dust from the Sahara desert that has crossed the ocean and is coming ashore from the Gulf of Mexico in a few days, and it will make a lot of people cough and will add brilliant colors to the sunsets for a few days. Annual event, I read, but I don’t remember anything about that before. Unless the rest of you get it also, an obvious case of discrimination. Got to be one of them middle-east terrorist outfits. Keep an eye on the sky. Mike Tyson is threatening a comeback and working out very hard. They said he had shed 120 pounds and is down to a streamlined 220 or so. Do the math. I saw a video of one of his sparring sessions and it looked mighty impressive, but I suspect it wasn’t in real-time. His sparring partner was pretty impressive too. No doubt Mike could still draw a crowd and a lot of fighters want to get in the ring with him – or at least they are saying they do. One of them is Evander Holyfield, who is quite elderly, himself. He better wear his earmuffs.

I have seen a couple of good one-pocket match videos on YouTube recently, that I can recommend to you. Reyes and Pagulayan had an excellent contest at the 2017 Make it Happen. In 2018, I think it was, Mark Jarvis and Steve Linglebach put on an entertaining show. I thought they were both impressive and both wanted to shoot and run balls. Linglebach let a game get away from him when he was ahead by 7-0 and passed up a routine long-rail bank to try a safe shot that was not safe enough. I know Jarvis was, at one time, one of the top 9 ballers, but he played good aggressive one-pocket in 2018. I think a good mover might have been too much for him, however. He was always ready to attack.

My typing is normally laborious, but on this bar stool it is much worse, and I’m out of here. Wash your hands, wear your mask and be safe. See you later.
 

vapros

Verified Member
Joined
May 24, 2004
Messages
3,730
It’s 11:56 PM on the first day of July and most of the gas stations are closed and I’m running even later than usual and I will be late getting to bed again. I don’t really care – most of my enemies are asleep by now – so I have the night to myself. I haven’t watched any exciting one-pocket videos on YouTube lately, what with all the other stuff going on, but the site has been busy – unusually busy. The usual suspects provided some fairly respectful back and forth traffic on political topics and are currently changing their ponies between chukkers and readying their mallets – they will be back soon, no doubt. Props and appreciation for the members who keep the WWYDs moving, and there have been some good ones with plenty of action. The Ghost is usually our pusher and makes fun of our responses. I could do that, too, if I knew the punch line, Ghostie. Speaking of which, I know my sense of humor has some rough edges and now and then I push my luck with it, but I am learning who is willing to participate. For the record, I am more than willing to laugh at myself and the rest of you are welcome to take a cheap shot, too – as long as it’s all in fun. Diagrams from those who know how contribute to the puzzles, and Whitey is the guy who will sometimes go to the table and demonstrate a shot and record it on video, with his comments. He did one this week for me and hit it perfectly – thanks, Whitey.

Lots of local news to examine tonite – Baton Rouge is a jumping town, as is New Orleans, one of our suburbs. Louisiana recorded more than 2,000 new cases of COVID19 today and deaths in East Baton Rouge Parish stand at 279 and more than 3,000 in the state. Talking about a lot of people lost. Starting here on Friday, masks will be required by law when entering any place where crowds might gather. Not sure just how they will enforce their rule, but the return of the virus is serious business and Joe Blow needs to wake up. The restrictions that were lifted in May might be seen again soon. I know all this might seem overblown to our members who live in areas that have escaped the relative effects of this thing, but it’s real.

You can die in other ways in Baton Rouge, too - four shooting deaths in the space of 48 hours. The mother of one victim has now lost two of her three sons in this manner, as well as two of her cousins. At the current rate this could be a record year for homicides. A convenience store parking lot has been the scene of four fatal shootings in the past two years. These are mostly young men and mostly in the same neighborhoods – I don’t know of any other way to put it. The only real news when killings are noted in the Morning Advocate is the name of the dead guy and a picture of the perp, if they know him or have him. Sometimes it could just as well be Chicago or Detroit. Or Baltimore.

On the North Shore this week a woman was attacked by her two pit bulls. Someone called the Sheriff’s Department and the mauling was still under way when the deputies reached the scene. The dogs then turned on the deputies who killed them both in self defense. The woman was taken to a hospital, but she died of blood loss later that same day. The report said she was a Jehovah’s Witness and would not accept blood transfusions. There are two morals to this story and I don’t need to point them out.

In 2017 Tom and Gayle Benson bought the Dixie Beer Brewery in New Orleans and moved the operation away from the Tulane Avenue address and built a new building in New Orleans East, one of the areas hit hardest by Hurricane Katrina. The Bensons were owners of the New Orleans Saints and the Pelicans - Tom is gone now and Gayle is the owner of all of it and last week she issued a statement announcing that the name Dixie, after due consideration, will be changed. After more than a hundred years. It was offensive to some people. No new name has been selected yet. The widow Benson said it was to show their solidarity and their desire to join with the new character of this country, or something to that effect. Was it Jersey Red who said ‘I don’t know where it’s going, but it’s not staying here’?

This will be in line with the tearing down of monuments connected to the Confederacy and the ouster of David Duke’s site on YouTube. Well, Duke was once the leader of Ku Klux Klan and needed to go, anyway. It’s part of the movement that succeeded in pulling down the name of the Troy H. Middleton Library at LSU, and the name of Lee High School and is hot on the trail of all things Confederate, which is to say Southern. I know where there is a subdivision here in Baton Rouge in which the name of the main drag is President Davis Drive. I suppose it has not dawned on them yet. The only statue of Stephen Foster that I know of is already gone. It was in Pittsburgh and was taken down two years ago. I guess they are more progressive in the North. Foster was born on July 4. The Stephen Foster Cultural Center is located near the intersection of Interstate 10 and Interstate 75 in northern Florida. Lord only knows what will become of it, but I still have a wooden hiking staff that I bought there many years ago. A docent in period costume played Foster’s music for me on a piano, for more than an hour. I loved it. It’s a quiet and peaceful locale in the woods, right on the Swanee River, which Foster wrote songs about, but never saw. Oddly enough the water is black.

The political demonstrators, the political protestors, have got an effective plan for this part of the country and they are making it work, and they don’t have to go to Congress for it, either. They can go to a town like this one and recruit enough activists to have a march or two and bring enough pressure to get what they want. I believe the southern silent majority is taking it in the neck again. I wish they would march on out of town. I wish life would go back to normal. I wish writers like me would quit whining about it and go back to speaking up about . . . . .well, the local shootings and the coronavirus, I guess. I’ll be glad when the quarantine is over, so the pool players could get back into action and make some pool news. Where did that German kid go? What’s happening at Roy’s place? Do something for heaven’s sake, LongArm.

The midnite oil is all burnt out for this week and I’m out of here. Be safe and be well. See you later.
 

vapros

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Wednesday evening and I’m just returned from a four-day adventure with AT&T and glad to be able to answer roll call only a week late. I lost contact with the internet last Tuesday evening and called the vendor just before midnite, and was able to speak at length with Stephanie, who finally decided that I should have a new router, so she had one sent by UPS. It arrived on Thursday and did not help at all, so I phoned again late that evening was put thru, eventually, to Al. ‘You can call me Al’ he said, in a definite Latino accent – cheeky devil, I thought to myself. It was maybe an hour later that his punchline finally clarified itself to me. Was he really that hip? Well, I don’t know – but I wasn’t.

Anyway, Al decided that I needed a visit from an AT&T tech, who came to my door on Saturday and was able to assure me that my PC was getting a signal but not making use of it. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, etc. and here I am. Good to realize that the One-Pocket Ghost has kept the site up and running while I was gone. The WWYDs may be all that has sustained us so far in this pandemic. I thought we might put up a modest monument to Ghostie, but no doubt someone would take it down. Speaking of which, up in East Feliciana Parish the Police Jury has rejected a move to remove a statue of a Confederate soldier, put up before the Court House in 1909 by the local chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. I applaud the Police Jury, if only for being the first to say ‘no’. You might recall the great old court house from the movie ‘The Long, Hot Summer’ – Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.

Locally, the gunfire continues without letup, but with so much practice the shooters show very little improvement. Eight young folks were wounded at a street party a few days ago, but only one dead. And the COVID19 news is keeping them from their rightful place on the front page and there’s no end in sight for that, either. The governor has ordered all the bars closed again, as well as reneging on some of the liberties that were allowed just a few weeks ago. Stricter regulation in the matter of masks, social distancing and limited crowds is on the way. Ever the villain, he is forced to do what the citizens are not smart enough to do for themselves.

Bayou Billiards is out of action again, I am told, even before I was bold enough to venture inside to fire a few shots in anger for auld lang syne. Buffalo’s, I have not heard. Writers of text books are standing by to record the duration of the era of the Corona virus, and the final body count. They can record it in the empty space where the American Civil War used to be.

Word of the day is ‘confabulate’ and one of the definitions is ‘to fill in gaps in memory by fabrication’. Next time I see Steve I might suggest such a forum here in our site, but without naming names, of course. And it’s only fair that those of us who cannot draw the cue ball should have some stage of our own on which to showcase our talents.

Yep, I’m glad to be back. Post a picture, Luke, and I’ll tell you what I would do. Be safe and be well, you guys. See you later.
 

vapros

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Wednesday again and I’m more or less back on schedule after missing one when my PC went tits-up without notice. Not sure where to begin – meaning where in COVID19, of course. There isn’t anything more important to talk about or to write about today, and I hate to recognize that it’s going to be this way for a while yet. I didn’t ever intend to make this journal about a virus, and I won’t, but it’s today’s topic anyway. It was never a pool blog, but rather a casual report on what I’ve been reading and viewing.

Yesterday I bought a bundle of twenty-five face masks, being convinced that I’m in it for the long haul. Long Arm had given me some, way back when, and I had picked up a few here and there, and received two or three by mail, but this makes it official – I am a masker. The chief medical officer at Ochsner has warned that we should plan to cover up for at least another full year. Today the Baton Rouge area reported more new cases than on any day since May 1. Our Lady of the Lake hospital is suspending elective surgeries that would require overnite stays, to make more beds available for victims of the pandemic. The daughter of my best friend has it, but so far is recuperating at home, and hoping it won’t take a turn for the worse.

Sunnyone has made her annual visit to this site, not once but twice and both this month, and hasn’t been much help with either morale or tranquility. Her poorly-chosen words about masking have ruffled more than a couple of feathers, and she has decided that the administration in Washington is to blame for the high casualty numbers. She has sort of aligned herself (surely not on purpose) with our two primary left fielders on the subject. In 1974 Helen Reddy came out with a hit song, ‘You and Me Against the World’, but this week it is more like you and me and Sunny against the field. Sunnyone is still a New Yorker, as far as I know – the only place with statistically worse COVID19 than Louisiana.

In all fairness, she is spot-on about the masking. For various reasons and in various localities around the world masking has been common among certain groups who sought to protect themselves from diseases or evil spirits by breathing thru masks similar to ours. Not nearly so common is the current circumstance, in which we are urged to cover our mouths and noses as a courtesy to those around us – in other words to prevent or lessen the spread of germs we may be carrying. You don’t have to be sick to be a carrier.

And locally – there’s always local news, as this is a jumping town – there is weather building in the Gulf of Mexico and this always means get ready. The middle of the hurricane season is like right now. Looks like maybe a tropical depression this time, and Saturday landfall can be expected on the Texas Coast – but we don’t count on it. Androd could explain to you about rain in Houston.

John Schneider is making a movie just east of town – ‘Stand on It’, sort of a Smokey and the Bandit flick. John used to be Bo Duke on the Dukes of Hazard. For his new movie he made a 100 foot jump across the Tickfaw River in a Dodge Challenger. (Or somebody did) It seemed to be a successful jump and there is a picture of it in mid-air in the Morning Advocate. Shades of Evel Knievel.

Couple of local billboards on display this week, as follows: Warning: Enter at Your Own Risk. The Baton Rouge Union of Police is sponsoring, and the mayor is pissed. It will not brighten up her evening at all to hear that two citizens were critically wounded during the making of a rap video about 7:30, near 38th Street. More to come, no doubt, maybe next Wednesday.

Before the next installment of this journal I will take part in a bilateral hydrocelectomy, and I will let you know how it goes. Could be of some interest to the other elderly geezers among our members. Lady readers, if any, can skip over this announcement.

That’s it, I’m out. Next Wednesday should be better. I will try to be funny. Be safe, be well.
 

vapros

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Yesterday I shared a sorta miserable experience with a wild-eyed urologist, and that explains why I sit at the keyboard tonite with an ice pack in my lap. With the worst of it now in the books, I’m expecting to get thru the rest of my life without a jockstrap. If it works out that way, it was a good move – I think two or three more days will be the end of it. As my friend Big Al would say, that’s probably more information than you were hoping for, but it is what it is. We’ll move along.

No politics tonite – after a thorough search I find that everything has already been said, over and over. Nothing proven, very little demonstrated and no heathen souls driven into the light. I had my COVID test on Saturday, required before the urologist would speak to me, and on Sunday the result was posted on my page in the Ochsner website – and I am officially cleared – for now, anyway. As a public service, let me note that in the library of Smilies provided here, a number of the cartoons exhibit some very revealing and expressive eyebrows. With a bit of practice one can use them to replace the facial expressions now hidden by our masks – expressions you may have feared were gone forever. With another year of masking, at least, ahead of us this can be helpful. Or not.

I recently found a short video of an old Johnnie Carson show in which the main guest was none other than Elvira, Queen of the Dark. Spectacular attraction for any show and at one point she assured Johnnie that everything was firmly anchored in its place and he need not worry about it. Cassandra Peterson found a shtick and learned to use it well. She was entertainment. Speaking of which, I reported last week that two local citizens had been critically wounded by gunfire among a party of performers and spectators who were making a rap video near 38th Street. I must tell you that both victims expired from their injuries, which turned the case into a double homicide. All the potential witnesses bailed when the shooting began, and nobody had any info at all for the police. You may fill in your own comments.

Watching one of several instructional videos aired by C.J. Wiley, he offered this advice to help us make our shots as we play: Approach every shot, said C.J., as if you had already made it. Now, that would surely describe a positive attitude – which is very important – but how does one do it? If I ever get to play again, I might try to take advantage of his counsel, if I can. Wiley made some of these videos in his vehicle, while driving down the road. That’s a novel approach to teaching. He also has lots of stories about the world of pool, and I enjoyed hearing them. His reputation indicates that he has been a tough competitor who would bet it up.

Hurricane season weather is right on top of us. A storm named Gonzalo has already come and gone, followed by Hanna and Isaias. That’s nine named storm systems already – pretty early for that. They hosed Androd out of Houston several years ago, and now they are hunting him again down in south Texas

It’s late and my ice cubes have melted and I’m going to bed. Do us all a favor and wear your mask – we do appreciate it. Be safe and be well. See you later.
 

vapros

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Today is a normal Wednesday in Baton Rouge – normal for 2020, anyway – and the price of gas is not the favorite topic of our conversations. Coronavirus is. We think we are making a heroic effort to slow it down, but we are still the epicenter of it in this country. If anyone knows why, they aren’t telling. Every authority has related data they want us to look at, so they make graphs. But graphs look just like the makers want them to look. Using the very same figures, Joe Blow’s version can look like 500 new cases is a terrible spike, while John Doe makes a graph that shows 500 as only a small bump in the line. All depends on what increments you have used in setting up the scale on the vertical line on the left. But both have illustrated their arguments – graphically.

The Morning Advocate has pictures this week of the crew taking down the sign letters at Lee High School. They will be replaced with the new name – Liberty High School. We are told the cost of all this is to be $250,000. Luckily they have not relocated the school building. It is still right there, on Lee Drive! Maybe the demonstrators will have to come back to town to take care of that. Also locally, three shootings last night – two guys getting well, one who won’t. Usual areas.

Word-of-the-day on Monday was ‘risible’, and it means laughable, or capable of causing laughter. This will be a very usable word on this site, as we discuss the WWYDs. As in your solution is risible, as compared to mine. More genteel way of showing scorn on the internet.

In Minneapolis, the town where George Floyd ran afoul of a rogue cop, the city council is phasing out their police force – their version of defunding, I suppose. They will ‘recreate’ the public safety there, hiring law-enforcement professionals. Don’t look now, but you are talking about more cops, likely many of the same ones. I think they are just culling the force. It’s the way the Russians handle their business. When the NKVD got out of control, they abolished it and replaced it with a new agency for the same reason, bringing back all except the guys they didn’t want. ‘Sorry, comrade, there is no job for you in the KGB. What can I do? But not to worry, the Party has a retirement plan for you. Get on that train over there’. I suspect this will be the way many police forces in this country will be defunded.

Here's a funny from an old western movie. In ‘Shane’ we see professional villain Jack Palance sitting on a horse. Then he dismounts to get a drink of water. We are told that he couldn’t get back on the horse, so finally they took the film of him getting off and ran it backwards for the movie, to show him getting back in the saddle. Jack was a wussy.

I’ve got a little TV set in my bedroom, and having divorced the cable service I bought a little indoor antenna with rabbit ears, and I go to sleep watching reruns of the old TV shows on Me TV. One night this week the Perry Mason show had a guy named Dick in the story, and whenever his name came up in the subtitles it appeared as ‘xxxx’. The next night there was a cocktail waitress in the witness box and she was always ID’d as a ‘xxxxtail’ waitress. The infancy of censorship, I guess. Today one might say it is breathing its last.

YouTube – 1989 9 ball championships – Mathews hammers Mataya, Varner does the same to Strickland. The finals match is a genuine classic. Long video, 2 hours 12 minutes, all three matches on it. Picture quality a bit better than some of the old contests, and I wonder if technology could help preserve it. I hate to admit it, but I sat thru it all and had a good time.

Here’s a thought for the day: I think my race is the best one. Does that make me a racist? Either way, wash your hands and wear your mask and be safe. If the virus gets you, you automatically go on my list of people I can beat. See you later.
 

vapros

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Nearly halfway thru August and I think I might have enough items on a variety of topics to make up a post without talking about Corona virus. The most important thing, whether anyone else is excited about it or not, is that during the wee hours Sunday morning I racked up the 30,000th view of this journal. That seems big to me and it’s one of the things that returns me to the keyboard once in nearly every week. I can’t ID the most faithful readers, but I’ve got my suspects and I’m grateful to them.

There is political news, as of yesterday. In case you had not heard, Kamala Harris has suddenly become a fan of Joe Biden and is his candidate for vice-president. Between the lefties and the righties there is no shortage of reactions and you are welcome to add your own – whatever it is. Looks to me like the campaign for president in the 2024 election has already begun for the Democrats, and maybe a whole lot sooner than that. There are a few political observers who still suspect that the ticket is not yet firm, and what a headliner that would be! But if it came to that, I imagine Harris would survive and the other guy would take the blow. We’ll see, and that’s enough about that.

Things being as they are (and they are, aren’t they?) one-pocket action is of interest to members of this site, and we have to take it where we find it. Roberto Gomez and Chip Compton put on a fine match for two days last week, but Gomez faded on the third day and the final turned out to be a laffer for Chip. Thanks to both for the entertainment. Now we are told that Tony Chohan and Scott Frost will square off, in a similar three-day race to 24, as soon as details can be worked out. That should be an exciting display of one-pocket offense and imagination.

In a more definite time frame George Teyechea and Preacher Ronn will play a race to five on August 23rd, presumably in Arizona, with the loser having the option to immediately get even, in a manner of $peaking. I predict that he will go for that. No reason to call this a jayvee game, because I have seen both these guys play they can go with almost anyone. They are not Chohan and Frost, of course, but they ain’t Larry and me either. I am taking the liberty of naming my friend, Larry, only because he has down-played his own game already this week. I suspect that if you and just about anybody match up soon at one-pocket, it would not be out of line to mention it on the website at this time. We are interested.

A lot of this year’s law school graduates in Louisiana, because of the you-know- what will get their licenses without taking the bar exam. The ones already scheduled for the test will be allowed to take it with books open, and tests submitted online. I suppose this is one way to deal with the serious shortage of lawyers. Didn’t you know?

Also, the Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will open the NFL season without any fans in the stands. Again, it’s because of the you-know-what. This is like nothing ever seen before – will the cheerleaders be there? In college football, the Big Ten and the Pac 12 conferences have decided to cancel the fall football season this year. Other leagues may follow, but Donald Trump and Coach Orgeron have consulted, and are urging the SEC to play. Stay tuned.

My YouTube is burdened more and more with advertising, and there’s no reason to believe this will ease up. The biggest sales promotion I have seen in a long time is all about the Stealth Board. I see it multiple times every day, and I can’t wait to see how it endures, if it does. It’s a body-building gimmick that sells for $99 and it’s being flogged in a real advertising blitz. We are seeing men and shapely women down on the floor on their tiptoes and their forearms on the Stealth Board, wiggling around and supposedly creating six-packs on their bellies. Someday when you aren’t busy, get down on your toes and elbows and see how long you can keep everything else off the floor. Over the years we have seen some strange gadgets come and go, but this one might be a hall-of-famer among them. I can hardly wait fast enough. Be safe, be well and I will see you later.
 

vapros

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Good week going on the website and mostly in the spirit of fun and one-pocket. The Ghost has posted two WWYDs that have generated several hundred posts, including contacts from some members who have plenty to contribute and are showing signs of becoming more regular responders than they have been of late. That’s good. One of the puzzles was a BIH with all the balls still on the table, and the other was a problem that was tougher than it looked. In a tie situation, and with only three balls left, the shooter was hard-pressed to find something to like. Both exercises demonstrated that WWYDs sustain us when interest is lagging or when billiard news is slow. Happily, we now have several guys who can challenge us in this manner.

During the present period of quarantine, caution, shuttered pool rooms and our reluctance to bunch up, heads-up match play has suffered greatly. Even if an event is held in someone’s basement (anything happening at Roy’s?) it involves some number of people being less than careful. Masks are rarely seen – which reminds me – on August 8 John Hendy posted an excellent demonstration of the effectiveness of the plain paper masks in blocking the tiny droplets that leave our mouths when we speak, sing, cough or sneeze. Hard to watch it and then ignore the measure of safety we can offer to those around us, if we try.

Anyway, on Tuesday evening we were treated to a contest between top-level players. Getting 10-8, Chip Compton won a race to seven from Dennis Orcollo. The venue left a lot to be desired, but someone with a camera did stream it for us. The camera was down too low, and at the head of the table, making it impossible to second-guess most shots, but still entertaining and appreciated by starving railbirds. Good old-fashioned one-pocket for the most part, and I was especially impressed by the great number of times Chip left Orcollo up against the foot rail. The action really dragged in some spots and trying to recall, I want to say that in one game Chip led by two balls to none after nearly an hour. Maybe that is exaggerated, but not much.

Entertaining myself on YouTube, I continue to follow organized crime and crime busting, when I can find it. Elderly mobster Frank Cullotta, who has his own show, is down with Corona virus, and we may not see him again. Michael Franzese is another ex-Mafioso with a show, but I’m not too impressed with him. He has more to tell than anyone, but admits he misses some aspects of the life, and continues to revere his own father, convicted of many killings and spent more than fifty years in prison. Mike could do better, if he would. On the other hand, I am seeing The Mob Reporter, up to date stories of organized crime and videos of really big drug busts around the world on land and on the oceans. Fascinating stuff, if that’s your gig – like it’s mine.

Getting along toward bedtime in Baton Rouge. Hot, hot weather every day in August, over 90 degrees, and at least three weather systems building over the warm water east of here. Warm water makes fierce hurricanes – they feed on it. Not me. I generally feed on Mini Spooners and bananas and oatmeal-raisin cookies. My doctor asks me about my diet and I tell him it’s terrible. Don’t change anything now, says my doctor. I won’t. Be well. Living long is the best revenge. See you later.
 

vapros

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I will post this a bit earlier than usual, today, in case the electric power is out later in the evening. I don’t think we will get the worst of the hurricane here in Baton Rouge, but it could get pretty nasty anyway.

The weather report for my neighborhood is not atypical for this time of year. The last days of August are our Ides of March, and we spend more time than usual looking toward the south. A small hurricane named Marco has fizzled out in the Gulf and come ashore as a very rainy tropical storm, to the relief of a lot of people living just a little above sea-level.

No sighs of relief just yet, however. A meaner-looking blow called Laura is beefing up offshore and looking to hit the beach around the Texas line, and might be a major-league hurricane when it gets there. Can’t help recalling Audrey, that hit Cameron Parish in 1957 and pretty much blew down everything it didn’t drown. More than four hundred people died, and no one knows how much livestock. Cameron is under an evacuation order this time, and the people are much more inclined to listen. Nothing else they can do. Hurricanes are for the states that are denied big forest fires. Something for everybody, I suppose.

* * 4:00 PM the hurricane-hunter airplane near the center of Laura is registering winds up to 157 mph. That would be a category 5 storm, and still time to become the worst to hit this country since records have been kept. The expected twenty-foot storm surge would likely put a lot of water into Lake Charles, at their 13 foot above sea-level elevation. You have to go pretty far off the beach to find elevations above twenty feet, anywhere in south Louisiana.

Since the Compton/Orcollo re-match didn’t happen, and since onsite commentary and discussion has been quiet since the weekend, the one-pocket news is mostly from the archives (bless the archives). The Cincy Kid has posted a link to the 2019 final match of the Derby City Classic between Corey Deuel and Francisco Bustamante, and it offers great watching. They played five games in less than an hour. When Deuel is at the table, it’s tempting to study the pattern and try to guess what he will do. When it’s Django’s turn one can’t resist hoping to play at his level at his age – or at any age, for that matter. Like Parica and Reyes, Bustamante endures very well. In an interview after the match, Deuel noted that the TV table played easy, and that the sixty-second shot clock tended to inhibit one-pocket players.

Last week I noted that ex-Mafia hitman Frank Cullotta was laid up and suffering from the Corona virus and might not be seen again. Well, Frank died that night, an hour after I posted in this journal. COVID19 and COPD got him. I’m sure his show, ‘Coffee With Cullotta’ died with him. It was a YouTube tell-all about the mob in Chicago and Las Vegas. I’m left with my new crime show, Mob Reporter. Yesterday I watched a mixed force of European lawmen bust the Canary Islands chapter of Hell’s Angels. Laid ‘em down, cuffed ‘em up and hauled ‘em away to the pokey. The day before, the Australian authorities did a similar number on the Nomads. Cops + bikers = news.

Now and then I like to see boxing, but not Muhammad Ali or Mike Tyson. I generally go for videos of George Foreman and Butterbean Esch. As a teen-ager if I could get into New Orleans I would go to a dark, noisy and smelly gym on North Rampart Street to watch the fighters work out. I would watch the Docusen brothers. Maxie was smaller and flashier, Bernard was a bit more successful, and eventually lost a welter-weight title fight to Sugar Ray Robinson in 1948.

The Docusens were born in New Orleans of a Filipino father and a French mother. They were initially labelled black and could not fight the white boxers, but finally a judge ruled that they were half-white and that solved the problem. Talking circa 1947.

The glass is falling and it’s gonna blow. And rain. Whatever, it looks to be an interesting night, but I’ll see you later. Be safe.
 

vapros

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I don't know what happened to my formatting, but I can't seem to do anything about it, so - here we go:

Monday evening I spoke on the phone to my best friend, Gordon. He said he was feeling better than the last time we talked, maybe two weeks ago – at which time he was in danger of being put onto an oxygen system for his breathing difficulties – which would have hit him pretty hard. He has always been an active guy. He is thirteen years younger than I am, which makes him seventy-five now. He retired in 2002, thirty days after I did. He had been my immediate boss for a number of years.
  • Like me, he had no college degree. Unlike me, he worked hard and rose to the top in his vocation. He became the executive director of an agency of state government, and at one time served as president of a national council made up of the directors in the various states. Make a note – if you are a guy who gets things done you might make it.

  • Gordon and I worked well together and we understood each other. From the office, which was just across the street from the capitol, I usually left the building during my break time and walked around downtown. He came along when he could get away. In the spring we walked around the lakes behind the capitol and gawked at the numerous water snakes sunning in the shrubbery. Sometimes we poked sticks at them. We might walk all the way over to Government Street and buy ice cream at the Dairy Queen. Nobody questioned how long we had been gone. Whatever else, we laughed, at ourselves and each other and at the rest of the staff, at the bureaucrats and the politicians. In the lunch room we entertained almost daily. But always he was the boss.

  • Now, in retirement, we don’t talk very often and that’s mostly my fault. I don’t make phone calls. A couple of times each month we would get together for lunch, until this quarantine came along. He is a terrible tipper – maybe a dollar, maybe nothing, so I tip for both of us. Always separate checks. Sometimes we would hit the road for a day and scout around the southern half of the state, looking up his friends from civil service. With a dozen regional offices and contracts with nearly every DA in Louisiana, Gordon knew a lot of people and kept in touch with many of them. More than once we ran down an address only to find his friend had been dead for several years. When we spoke on Monday, he said we should go downtown one day soon and cruise around the old neighborhood, and I promised to call him one day this week. I don’t think he drives any more. My best friend from my time in Thibodaux died a month ago, and I had meant to get in touch with him for forty years. That’s sick. I’ll call Gordon. Sure I will. You guys should not neglect to communicate with your friends.

  • Among other things, we have a similar disdain for death – always have had - and we rag each other about it. Gordon reminds me that old people need to get the hell out of the way for the younger generations. I threaten to outlive him. My own sense of humor has a pretty rough edge, and it gets worse as I grow older. Here on the website I have to keep it in check – there’s no visual punctuation, of course. Just last week I took down a post, about twenty minutes after putting it up. What reason, asked the program. Bad joke, I admitted.

  • I imagine Gordon is a short-timer. His heart is not too bad, but his veins are terrible. I believe he has thirteen stents here and there, and probably could not get any more. He is a good Catholic, a good parent and grandparent and he was a good boss and he’s a great friend and I will miss him. Or maybe he will miss me. I promised myself, many years ago, that I would pick my own day. Coupla silly old farts. Flip it up.

  • Be well, wear your mask and I will see you later.
 

vapros

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It’s Wednesday in Baton Rouge. Gasoline is $1.75 per gallon and there are plenty of buyers – for a town in quarantine, you know. Scheduled to go to 96 degrees tomorrow and there is drive-by exuberance almost daily. Since Friday, two teenage girls have been shot, but are expected to recover. A three-year-old girl was not so lucky. None of them were intended targets – collateral damage I guess. I thought about calling WGN in Chicago, but they would not have been impressed.

Down the road from here a couple of guys have been arrested for cheating in a fishing tournament. They won a bass tournament but were busted for fishing outside of the posted limits of the event. According to the law, it could cost as much as $3K and a year in the pokey. News to me – I would never have guessed – but fishing is serious business in Louisiana.

Good viewing this week for matches on YouTube, including watching Efren Reyes win his first major tournament, back in 1994. I believe his victim, Nick Varner, was ranked number one in the world at the time. Great play throughout in this nine-ball event. Then, in one pocket at the DCC in 2019, John Schmidt won a hill-hill decision over James Aranas. Dodong Diamond proved he is learning to play this game, but Schmidt demonstrated that there is nothing wrong with taking a serious number of scratches if you can shoot your way out. Also in 2019 at the DCC, Skyler Woodward made almost no errors at all in beating the Robocop, Dennis Orcollo at nine ball.. Woodward was impressive and scored above .950 on the rating system. In a third contest from that tournament, Fedor Gorst, at age 18, benefitted from a mistake by Jason Shaw and came off the bench in a tie match to get the win. Ten ball on the ten-foot table. There you are – four good ones to watch at your leisure.

Cincy Kid is getting a pool table, gonna put it in his garage. Glad for him. In the Member’s Café he has posted pictures of the preparation and so far it’s pretty impressive. From being a run-of-the-mill garage full of this and that, it has become a neat open area fit for a genuine pool table, which is not yet on the scene. I couldn’t help wondering what he has done with all that stuff – probably too good to throw away. I imagine his wife must be impressed. Anyway, at some point he will have to tell her about the table. Don’t wait until the truck is at the curb, Chris.

It’s not easy to find something worth reading in the Member’s Café these days. Nearly all the current threads are political, and I make daily use of the little button that marks them as read. What are those guys up to in those threads? They aren’t making money or making new friends or changing any minds or disseminating useful information, so why are they there? I hate to see it become just a place to take a dump – a one-pocket latrine, if you will. Or I will if you won’t – and sorry for the harsh words but there it is.

The local poolroom is still closed – it’s a bar and not a restaurant – and I believe that is how the rules apply. No idea when it might return to action, or even if it will. I think we will get to play there again, but there must be a limit to how long the guy can wait. How about local rooms for the other members? What is the outlook? I don’t think we have many room operators who are members here so news is scarce, and there is no point in trying to see into the future when we don’t know when the future begins. And the pandemic is not the only thing making changes.

That’s all I know, and maybe even a little more. Wear your mask and be well. I’ll see you later.
 

vapros

Verified Member
Joined
May 24, 2004
Messages
3,730
For those of us who live along the Gulf coast or in the far western part of this country, it is becoming easy to be paranoid. California and the upper northwest states are on fire currently. Newscasts report blackened areas in the millions of acres – that’s a helluva lot of forests, towns and people’s houses. The big towns are seen dimly thru the smoke. Firefighters try to keep up and pray for rain.

Hurricane Sally has turned east and away from my old condo. Lots of wind and lots of water and maybe some tornados in coastal Alabama and Florida. Lots of power lines down in the roads, lots of people sweating. West of here, the terrible damage from Hurricane Laura won’t be repaired for many months yet. What Laura did to Lake Charles could just as easily have happened to Baton Rouge or New Orleans. You don’t have to be on the beach. The weather people report more stuff out in the Atlantic – stuff that could develop into serious bad weather and perhaps enter the Gulf.

For both the hurricanes and the western fires, the seasons are far from over, and each year seems more destructive than the last. These are summertime natural disasters, and in other parts of the country I suppose they sweat the winter weather. What with COVID19 and civil unrest that goes violent, it seems the safest places to build your house would be the rural areas in mountain country, and for that matter, nothing wrong with settling there any old time. City people might disagree, but even that bunch is having second thoughts today, as certain demonstrators are knocking out your windows, stealing your stuff and burning down your building. Choose your poison. Buy real estate. Buy it out in the country.

Here on the website it’s noticeably quiet right now. We’ve got no WWYDs currently active – where you at, Ghostie? – and even the Member’s Café seems to be catching its breath, resting up for the political campaigns and the election. Heaven he’p us.

A couple of members have initiated discussions about old poolrooms and action centers in California, and several of the more seasoned players are recalling old memories and letting the rest of us hang around on the edges and read about it. We are all ears, or eyes, to learn of the giants that were there and are no more. Richie Florence and Cole Dickson and Ronnie Allen among others, and Keith Macready, who showed the guys his own brand of child-abuse. Were they real?

On YouTube this week I found a couple of great one-pocket matches, both from this year’s Derby City Classic. Leading 5-0 in the first game, Scott Frost watched Josh Filler drop a long-rail bank and then take control and win the game. In the second game, Filler reached a 7-0 lead, with game ball right in front of his pocket, and then Frost ran the table to get even. The match went hill-hill. Frost showed that his game continues to rank with the top players, and Filler demonstrated the fearless and deadly shot-making that has gotten everyone’s attention in only a few years.

The second contest matched Tony Chohan with Evan Lunda. Lunda played very well, but suffered at close quarters and then seemed to reach too far in a couple of favorable situations and failed to make the first or second shot and turned the table over to Chohan, who knew what to do with it. Like my own little hero, Jose Parica, T-Rex has the eye of a turkey buzzard and the nerve of a house burglar. His game is not nearly as haphazard as it might seem, and his results are good much more often than not. From a position right in front of his own pocket he chose to take a scratch, going two rails in the far upper corner and then nestling Jojo up tight in the stack, with perfect speed. It looks easy when he does it.

Nothing exciting going on here in the Red Stick. Six people got shot in one day over the weekend, Coach Orgeron says most of his players have already had the Corona virus, and the Metro Council is balking about laying out five million dollars for Alton Sterling’s five children. Other than that . . . . be safe and wear your mask. See you later.
 
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