twenty-seven buckets of tarrgh


TAR26 (May 25-27, 2012) featured American players Johnny Archer and Shane Van Boening in the ring. The very next week, the winner of TAR26 would be taking on…


…Filipino legend Francisco Bustamante.


Mr. Van Boening is, at this time, the most dominant American player. He’s also been the most dominant TAR player, having lost only three matches out of the bazillion he has played. His TAR losses have come at the hands of Alex Pagulayan, Earl Strickland, and the aforementioned Francisco Bustamante. Bustamante had defeated Van Boening in TAR24 in three sets, 25-24, 19-25, 25-17.

Mr. Van Boening had avenged his losses to Pagulayan and Strickland (and come out ahead on the money after all sets) but not (yet) Bustamante. If he defeated Mr. Archer in TAR26, he would 1). add to his bankroll and 2). earn the right to laugh with an evil laugh.


Mr. Van Boening was not to have his vengeance (yet) as Mr. Archer defeated Mr. Van Boening in three sets (25-22, 16-25, 25-19).
Mr. Van Boening may have action history with Mr. Bustamante now, but it is Mr. Archer who was in the OG case of United States v. Bustamante For All The Jellybeans.


Join me for a quick trip in a time machine.

insert woo-woo-woo time machine sounds here used to have a neat section called “Stories from the Road”. Here is the story of Johnny Archer and Francisco Bustamante, as posted in that section:


13 & Out!

This month, our story is from the Scorpion himself, Johnny Archer.

It was in Toledo, Ohio, right after the Glass City Open Tournament, either 1992 or 1993.

Francisco Bustamante had just started coming over to America and playing the tournaments. Johnny Archer, on the other hand, was on top of the World at this point in his career.

Johnny and Francisco discussed gambling and finally decided on a game: race to 13 for $2,500.

Bustamante beat Johnny Archer the first set, 13-8. Johnny is down $2,500 and decides to play Bustamante again. They lag, and Johnny wins the lag. Johnny breaks and runs the first rack. Then, he broke and ran the next rack and then the next rack! Before you know it, the score is 5-0 and Francisco has been able to do nothing but watch. Johnny continues to break and run racks until he has won the set by running 13 racks in a row! Bustamante never made it to the table! Johnny was exhilarated after such a great run and the railbirds were going nuts. Amidst all of the excitement of this 13 rack run, Bustamante slides out of his chair and walks over to the pool table. Certainly he is coming to congratulate Johnny and call it quits after watching Johnny run so many racks.

Instead, Francisco calmly asks Johnny if he wants to double the bet! Double the bet? After watching his opponent run 13 racks, Bustamante wanted to double the bet!

Johnny thought about it but decided to keep the bet at $2,500 for the next set. Johnny lost the next set 13-11 and quit.

The pool table they played on is currently in Glass City Billiards in Toledo, Ohio. It was signed by Johnny and Bustamante that day. Next to his signature, Johnny inscribed, “13 and out.”


And there you have it.

And here they are.

Let’s go!



tarrgh twenty-seven (TAR27)

I’d missed out on TAR26, but I did have a weekend free for TAR27’s second (and if needed, third) day and so, off I went. Francisco Bustamante had won the first day, 25-19.

One of the first things I noticed about this match was the music selection.

4:30 PM, Jun 2nd
#TAR27 // 4-0, Francisco // It’s 70s Saturday playing on TAR airwaves. Both players in black polo shirts with sponsor logos. No Magic Pants.
follow me & be entertained

I am accustomed to TAR playing a whole lotta Black Keys, Notorious B.I.G., and various other bits of classic rock and rap. This time around, Gloria Gaynor, The Supremes, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers and more from Motown bubbled out of the speakers. Rumor has it Johnny did not like the standard music selection during TAR26 and exchanged gangsta bling for sequins and Soul Glo.


The Riviera and its overpriced miniature bottles of water haunt pool players wherever they go.


The magic number seemed to be 4. That’s the lead Francisco maintained over Johnny with a fair amount of consistency. Johnny seemed to have it a bit rougher in the beginning but I thought it was just him warming up a bit before he hit a gear.

Johnny observing the results of one of his misses from behind a duck blind.


4:54 PM, Jun 2nd
#TAR27 // 6-2, Francisco // Johnny made awesome long bank on 10B to get on the board, won another singing along to “Under The Boardwalk”.
follow me & be entertained



After a while, it seemed Johnny was having the worst of it and that would not change any time soon.

5:22 PM, Jun 2nd
#TAR27 // 8-4, Francisco // Miscues during basic run outs costing Johnny games. Jackson 5 annoyingly claims “It’s easy as A, B, C!”
follow me & be entertained

Johnny would be on his merry way to running out and then random weird sh#t like freakish miscues, overrun or underrun position, and just plain ol’ shanking would derail him and leave Francisco with the easy pickins.

The integrity of the chalk was brought into question but it turned out it was the same chalk Johnny used the previous week in his victory over Mr. Van Boening. But, you know, chalk can be fickle. Maybe it switched allegiances during the week.



TAR27 did not have nearly the same amount of spectators as the previous events I had been to, but it still got its share of billiard luminaries.


5:28 PM, Jun 2nd
#TAR27 // Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” playing as Shane Van Boening walks in all dressed up. Johnny says, “Ooh! Shane’s on a date!”
follow me & be entertained
Mr. Van Boening (the prettified one) sweated a good portion of the match until, uh, duty called him away.
Shawn Putnam (the phone-ified one) stayed for the entire match.


Break and runs were rather scarce considering the elite level of the players. I may have paid more attention to the songs playing than the match at times.


5:38 PM, Jun 2nd
#TAR27 // “You do me wrong now, my love is strong now — You really got a hold on me.” These Motown singers must be singing about the game.
follow me & be entertained
5:46 PM, Jun 2nd
#TAR27 // “If you don’t know me by now, you will never, never know me.” I think that’s the TAR table talking shit to the players.
follow me & be entertained


When the break was announced and we were free to move about the cabin, everyone stood up in relief. Some went out to smoke. Johnny did what Johnny does and cleaned the table.


Pulitzer-prize winning photograph “Staring Contest with Fruit and Billiards Periodical”.


TAR Studio is usually well-stocked with snacks. Due to time constraints, there was no time to lay in provisions so there were no munchies, just drinkies.

6:16 PM, Jun 2nd
#TAR27 // Someone tell Earl Strickland chips eaten in TAR Studio are extra crunchy and extra delicious.
follow me & be entertained

A bulk bag of assorted chips was found and we went to town on them.


As the match wore on, we all noticed that it — wore on.


Both players slogged forward and seemed to lose steam.

6:31 PM, Jun 2nd
#TAR27 // 12-8, Francisco // ♬ I love it when we’re cruisin’ together… This is not a one-set stand. ♬ (I may have modified those lyrics.)
follow me & be entertained

We were all stuck in a TARRGH pit.


Johnny to short people like me: “Sucks to be you!”


I will admit, I have probably been spoiled by the excitement of previous TAR matches and that may have been why I got just a squidget blasé about this one. I think we were all waiting for SOMEONE to hit a high gear and run dozen racks. We would have settled for a half-dozen. Quarter-dozen, even.

6:50 PM, Jun 2nd
#TAR27 // 14-8, Francisco // Both struggling. Right when they look fluid, random miscues, bad position, bad rolls & shanked shots show up.
follow me & be entertained

Okay, two would be fine.

7:08 PM, Jun 2nd
#TAR27 // 16-8, Francisco // Think last break & run was 3hrs ago. Table is dirty — more powdered than an 18th century wig.
follow me & be entertained

Fine, one would be great — and we Miss Sunny will buy make you a cup of coffee.

But, seriously. I understand real billiards life does not play like an ESPN highlight reel and sometimes, playing for big money is boring to anyone who doesn’t have a piece of the action. It’s not always six- or seven-packs. Sometimes it’s five misses in one game between two world champions.



7:47 PM, Jun 2nd
#TAR27 // 19-9, Francisco // ♬ You got soul & everybody knows that it’s all right ♬ (Soul is not enough, you need heart, too.)
follow me & be entertained



Sometimes, it’s two world champions shanking the same shot, the same way, one after the other.

8:02 PM, Jun 2nd
#TAR27 // Francisco jumps cue ball off table shooting 3B. Johnny, with BIH, then ALSO jumps cue ball off table shooting same 3B! #OMGWTF
follow me & be entertained

Stick a hayfork in all of us.


Even with all the weirdness, Francisco eventually hit a double-digit lead. Johnny had continued to miss shots that suprised us all, including two routine-looking shots in the side pockets that caught the rail right before the pocket. It was painful to see, especially because we all knew the fan-f#cking-tastically lights-out play both men were capable of.

8:15 PM, Jun 2nd
#TAR27 // 21-11, Francisco // ♬ “What becomes of the broken-hearted?” ♬ Johnny: “This isn’t as fun as it was last week.”
follow me & be entertained
8:26 PM, Jun 2nd
#TAR27 // Johnny to Francisco: “Do you just hit EVERY kick?!” Hate to tell Scorpion fans, but I think JA comeback tour has been cancelled.
follow me & be entertained

For a moment, Johnny seemed to give up, but then bore down and found his game.

8:35 PM, Jun 2nd
#TAR27 // 21-13, Francisco // JA playing much better now, that last rack was well played. Scorpion comeback tour negotiations resumed.
follow me & be entertained
8:49 PM, Jun 2nd
#TAR27 // 21-15, Francisco // ♬ Shake it up, baby, now… Twist & shout ♬ If Ferris Bueller had today off, he’d be watching this match.
follow me & be entertained

By contrast, Francisco was now fudging shots and giving Johnny the chances.

9:17 PM, Jun 2nd
#TAR27 // ♬ Said he’s leavin’ on that midnight train to Georgia… ♬ I think Francisco secretly requested this song.
follow me & be entertained

Francisco looked increasingly uncertain and shaky while Johnny floored the pedal and pushed the NOS button.

9:21 PM, Jun 2nd
#TAR27 // 23-16, Francisco // Francisco got bad shape on 10B, chopped it in the corner & rattled it in, & thanked pic of Efren on the wall.
follow me & be entertained
9:35 PM, Jun 2nd
#TAR27 // 23-18, Francisco // Etta James’ “At Last” playing & making us all mellow. Etta was Minnesota Fats’ (Rudolph Wanderone) daughter.
follow me & be entertained
9:42 PM, Jun 2nd
#TAR27 // 24-18, Francisco — Francisco on the hill // JA broke, pushed, FB gave it back. JA missed safe & FB ran out.
follow me & be entertained

But, it was not to be — Francisco successfully limped to the finish line before Johnny’s turbocharger caught up.

9:52 PM, Jun 2nd
#TAR27 // Francisco Bustamante d. Johnny Archer, 25-18. Bustamante wins TAR27 in two straight sets. I get a free day in Vegas tomorrow!
follow me & be entertained

In case you were wondering, this is the first TAR match to finish in two sets since they moved to the best-two-of-three sets format.


Here is Francisco Bustamante, leaning in the style of the classic Filipino pool player.

After Francisco’s predictably funny post-game interview, it was time to EAT!

I went with Miss Sunny as one of the spectators’ guests to have some Filipino food for dinner. The music was insanely loud and although I left the club temporarily deaf, it was totally worth it to be temporarily stuffed with great food selected by a super-nice person who knows how to eat (and randomly, also graduated from my high school)!

I went to the Greyhound station to take the bus back and found that ALL their buses were out of service. I waited many, many long hours until Greyhound finally rented charter buses from a tour bus company in the area. By the time I got back to Los Angeles, I had already missed a full day of work…

adventure to be continued in next post



t h a n k s taste the rainbow
EMCA | Mark & Sunny Griffin | Justin Collett & The Action Report
first time hello & hello again
Jeff (thank you for a lovely dinner) | Paul (friend of Jeff) | Edward


Just send it!