dance music because it’s a short week and there’s pool this weekend
Cherith Valley pickled garlic
a great supporter of billiards and its players
Chuck Markulis, owner of Hard Times Sacramento has passed away.
He will be missed by the billiards community as he has always supported the sport and its players with great tournaments and the pool rooms (geared towards recreational and serious players alike) he built over the years.
follow-up on vegetarians topic
In reference to one vegetarian’s decision to “not eat anything with eyes”, 62% of you said that he shouldn’t be allowed to eat oysters and clams, because, even though they do not have eyes, they are animals.
38% of you said, go ahead and eat them, they don’t have eyes, they’re okay for his diet.
One reader had a good point that most reasons to go vegetarian/vegan have to do with morality (sparing the souls of animals and such), the environment (production of meat takes a lot of resources), and/or personal health (vegetarian/vegan diets are generally better for your body).
Thanks for participating in the poll, and thanks to everyone who wrote in with an opinion — I like reading about all topics and new angles and opinions are always interesting. 🙂
snacks for thought
stuff to think about
I would like to know, do you think “killer instinct” something you are born with, or something that can be learned?
By “killer instinct”, I mean the drive to win. I know this is very general but I haven’t got a way to make it more specific. Let’s take, for example, Tiger Woods (because he’s all over the dang media and he’s a good example anyways). He picked up golf at an early age, mostly due to his father (y’all can correct me if I am wrong — I don’t know very much about him). How much of his drive to win is innate and how much of it was a product of training by his father and mentors?
That is, if Tiger Woods was introduced to golf, but not pushed to play — would he still be the champion he is today?
I suppose you could look at this as the classic “nature vs nurture” argument. I see a lot of people who are extremely dedicated to playing pool — they practice everyday, take lessons, read books, enter in many tournaments, and gamble at the game. Yet, they haven’t improved and can’t seem to improve past a certain level. Then, there are the players who pick up the game and improve extremely quickly, even with minimal practice and instruction. Are these players “born to play”?
Vote… and email me your thoughts if you like.
BET Celebrity Billiards Bash
e n t e r t a i n i n g . . .
The yellow OMGWTF phone rang a few weeks ago and I and my better half were drafted into the service of Jay “Stars Fall On Me (Especially When They’re Inebriated)” Helfert as referees for the BET (Black Entertainment Television) Celebrity Billiards Bash.
At the pre-event orientation, we were told repeatedly by the production staff that, although this was a charity event, the participants could get VERY competitive, and that was why we were there — to guide the players and make sure they played within the rules. Hmm. Yeah. Well, I’ll use my best judgment when a seven-foot basketball player wielding a cue asks what the hell are “ball-in-hand” rules and insists he didn’t foul. I’ll just yell “FOUL” and run as fast as I can in the other direction.
The event was held at Hollywood Billiards in Hollywood, CA. We were also warned that about a thousand people would be showing up to this event. Gah. Major claustrophobia for me. No cameras were allowed except those of professional photographers and press people, so no photographs will accompany this post. Aww. Sucks, I know.
There were thirty-two players, and one referee for every two tables. The format was race-to-one, single-elimination. I looked at the list of players and didn’t recognize any names — so I had to look up the professions of the people listed after the event. I have included them here for your convenience.
My first two matches to oversee were Kenneth Lombard (business dude / President of Starbucks Entertainment) vs Lamorne Morris (actor dude / various commercials) and Baron Davis (athletic dude / Golden State Warriors) vs Lance Gross (actor dude / Tyler Perry’s House of Payne).
Mr. Lombard played very well in practice, and made some great shots in his match against Mr. Morris — even after Mr. Morris reverted to sharking tactics that included dance moves from the 1980s in front of his shots. Ultimately, Mr. Lombard won because of Mr. Morris’ scratch on the eight-ball.
Kenneth Lombard : very nice, highly educated, very competitive, uses vodka to improve concentration (just like the rest of us)
Lamorne Morris : very funny, does MC Hammer moves flawlessly, tells me that the winner of the charity tournament every year is pre-determined by “a conspiracy of old people”
Baron Davis vs Lance Gross was slightly painful to watch. Neither seemed to play very often, although both were competitive, and Mr. Davis made a few good shots. When it came down to the eight-ball, each kept missing and leaving the other tough. The other would then miss, and leave yet another tough eight-ball. This went on for several innings. Finally, Mr. Gross had a straight in eight-ball along the long rail. he couldn’t reach it, so he brought out the bridge. He hit the eight-ball too softly, and it didn’t make it to the pocket, leaving Mr. Davis, more or less, the same shot. Mr. Davis couldn’t reach it either, because he was right-handed and the balls were along the right long rail. He did the behind-the-back thing, and poked in the eight-ball to a crazily roaring crowd that was watching.
Mr. Gross then had to endure a vicious, high-pitched scolding from his very thin date in very high heels on why “you should never use the helper stick” in pool because it will “mess you up for sure”. Very amusing stuff.
Baron Davis : wore a red leather fedora with a lil bowtie on it
Lance Gross : very patient when scolded, a good sport
The next match-up for me would be Kenneth Lombard vs Baron Davis. This was a good match because they were both shooting good shots. Mr. Lombard had the better understanding of position play, but the cueball kept escaping his control. In the end, Mr. Lombard made a spectacular eight-ball cut — the kind of cut down the rail most of us would rather bank — and scratched.
I oversaw one more match between Chris Webber (athletic dude / Golden State Warriors / retired) and Some Other Dude with A Lot of Bling. Chris Webber won that one, and the rest of the matches were held downstairs after that, which was good, because that released me from being dressed like a zebra and saying “foul” every 3.7 seconds during a match.
Chris Webber : tall
Some other people I saw included Dorian Harewood (actor dude / too many credits to list), Paul Pierce (athletic dude/ Boston Celtics), Pauly Shore with two hot chicks (actor dude / various tepid movies), and Keenan Thomas (actor dude / various TV shows).
Keenan Thomas : plays with a glittery red Earl Strickland Signature Series Cuetec
Pauly Shore : knows how to play pool, fouls blatantly, won’t call his own fouls
Paul Pierce : man of the moment (due to Celtics winning championship), won the charity tournament, interestingly enough, a lot of people I talked to thought of him as quite a Masshole
Dorian Harewood : extremely nice, prefers nine-ball, plays well, can run a rack on you…
After my duties as a referee were done, I got to enjoy the rest of the event, which, for me, consisted mostly of eating a variety of tasty appetizers (I ate more mini-cheesecakes than anything else), and playing pool with Mr. Harwood and listening to his friends tell me how they put themselves through college playing pool… Yes… I’ve never heard THAT one before…
My friend Queen G found Chris Webber and told him “My girlfriend and I would like to play you and Paul Pierce some doubles eight-ball.”
Chris Webber responded, “Paul and I would murder you two at pool.”
Queen G, who is much spunkier than I am, said, “BRING IT ON!”
Chris Webber thought about this for a moment and said, “Oh… well… we… have to go…”
Darn. They didn’t end up going anywhere, though. Queen G and I were hoping to play for something — even the lint in their pockets might have been hiding a few hundred-dollar bills…
never a dull moment, but plenty of dull people
I went to a barbox eight-ball tournament and got knocked out early. Since I still had friends in the tournament (and they were the ones with vehicular transportation), I sat around and waited. Eventually, some of the tournament tables opened up for play and I got one of the tables. I played a few people and played well enough to stay on the table when it came time to play Kelpy.
I am naming this man Kelpy because of an interesting feature he sports — his hair. While most combovers I’ve seen tend to go from side-to-side, or, occasionally, front-to-back, Kelpy had a rather rare back-to-front combover. I kept waiting for a strong wind to come through the door and blow his hair into an upright position. Since I had recently been at the tide pools, his hair immediately reminded me of strands of seaweed left on a rock after the tide recedes — they shrivel into thin strands in the sun and just sort of lay limply across the rock until the tide comes back in.
Kelpy was a good player — better than the ones I had played before. I played a nice safety on him and froze him behind one of my balls. He fouled and I went to take the cueball, as we had all been playing by tournament rules (BCA).
“Oh, no no no no no no no!”
“You no take ball. You jus’ shoo’ from there.”
“What? No. We’re playing by BCA rules. You foul, so I get ball-in-hand.”
“Oh no no no no no no no. You jus’ shoo’. You no move the ball. Dees is the real eight-ball. You go anywhere, anywhere all over dee WORLD, theys a play you no move dee ball.”
“Uh, NO. I’ve played in many different places, and each place has different rules. I don’t know what your rules are, but all of us have decided that whoever is on the table picks the rules. We’ve all been playing by BCA rules.”
“Oh ho ho ho ho! Yah, they do that sometime!”
“Yeeeeah… soooo… I’ve got the table… You’re the incoming challenger… You play by my rules. When you win, we’ll play by yours.”
“Oh ha ha ha ha, you funny girl you!” I went to pick up the cueball again, and Kelpy said, “Oh no no no. We’s jus’ play dee straight eight-ball. No move the ball.”
“Dude, I just told you, we’ll play by your rules when you win.”
“Oh, you no unnestan… dees way… is easier.”
“Easier? How the hell is it easier? Is it easier for you?”
“Oh no… is easier for YOU!”
“What the f—?!”
He indicated the two players on the table next to me and said in a hushed tone, “You see them? They is a-playing dee tournament way. When they miss, they can put dee white ball anywhere they want.” Kelpy looked at me with horror in his wide eyes.
“Okay… I knew that. What about it?”
“You miss, you miss a lot, is better for you I no move the white ball. Is easier for you. Better for you!”
I thought about this for a second, and it took me a little while to come to this conclusion: Kelpy meant well, but he was obviously uninformed.
“You’re saying that it’s better for me that we don’t play tournament rules because if we played by tournament rules… It would be hard for me to win… Because I’d foul or miss… A LOT… And that would make it too easy for you to beat me because then you’d be able to put the cueball anywhere you want.”
“Yes!” He beamed on my revelation like the Pope over his repentant masses.
“Huh. Interesting.” Kelpy wanted to do me a favor because he expected me to play poorly. He wanted to spare me the pain of losing when he gets ball-in-hand and runs out after I foul. He’s assuming I’ll foul. A lot. He also was not going to give me the respect he gave the other male players by adhering to the rule of “your table, your rules” that he gave everyone else. However, there is a difference between malice and ignorance, so I decided I’d take it easy. “I just shoot from here? Even after you didn’t hit your ball? Even after you fouled?”
“Yes, you jus’ shoo’ from there.”
I was jacked up over the pocket and also jacked up over another ball because the cueball was frozen to it. To say that was an awkward position to be shooting from was a massive understatement. I had only one shot, which was a long, steep cut on a ball that was slightly off the rail. I can’t say I liked the shot, but when I’m fueled by irritation, I can occasionally play very, very well. I hit the shot perfect, even with the heavy cueball, got the exact position I needed on the next ball, and ran the f— out.
Kelpy’s eyes got wider, but he put a quarter down and said nothing.
I went through the rotation again, and Kelpy was back. I broke and ran the rack on him and said, “Thanks for going easy on a player like me. I appreciate it.”
“Oh, you know, you not actually play too bad.”
“Really. You think so?”
“Oh yah. You pretty good! Pretty good for a –“
“Thanks. Let’s just stop it there — at ‘pretty good’.”