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  #141  
Old 12-17-2018, 02:04 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, we’re 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 you’re 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. That’s 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 can’t 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 O’Sullivan was playing a guy named Maguire. They played with pointed sticks that had little mushroom tips, and they shot very straight with ‘em. 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 don’t 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 wasn’t 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 it’s not just for one-pocket. Good suggestions are being posted and it’s 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 winner’s circle and for that reason I just keep going back to Reyes’ matches at Hard Times several years ago, when he was taking on all comers and giving up 10-7. You wouldn’t 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 – 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 King’s English. Good, good folks, too.

In case you don’t act in movies but follow organized crime, George Anastasia’s 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. I’m a fan.
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  #142  
Old 01-14-2019, 03:17 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 couldn’t go? Well, a lot of this are in this fix, and I don’t 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 – as you were, folks. There’s 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 won’t 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 – 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 Arpaio’s 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 – don’t 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 01-31-2019, 12:06 AM
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 that’s 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 ‘the Dragon’ 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 isn’t 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 it’s 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 – 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. It’s no wonder that big name players from the American scene go home to play. It’s not one-pocket, but it’s pool.

Last week I got an offer in the mail from The New Yorker Magazine – 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 – 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 it’s 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.

They’ve got all the magazines at the public library, anyway.
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  #144  
Old 02-18-2019, 12:43 AM
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 couldn’t tell if it was the enemy or just one of the soldiers. His father wasn’t 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 – it has always been a fascinating time in history for me. The internet has it all in videos – battles, invasions, ships and soldiers, airplanes and rifles – and photos of more dead warriors and civilians of many countries than one can imagine, and I can’t 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 it’s hard to believe, nearing my eighty-seventh birthday, that I’m 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 didn’t 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 didn’t 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 people’s 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 Grisham’s 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 – 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 – bad wars, all – 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 – nothing to see here.

And another interest of mine – 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 can’t ever leave it behind. It is what it is.

Thanks for reading.
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