The other day, in Part I, you took an imaginary $20 million and wrote a list of what you're going to with it, spending half on yourself and half on others or on charities.
You might have noticed that performing Part I—if you actually put pencil to paper—brought up a few insights.
Part II is this: Take the lists you wrote, and prioritize it, from most to least important.
Since this is off-topic and Sunday is our usual off-topic day, I'll post Part III (when the payoff comes) next Sunday. So you still have time to do the work if you want to participate. Again, I think you will find it interesting, and it might end up giving you some practical information. We're not entirely playing games here. The point of the exercise is a good one.
'Chess with balls'*
I've become a big fan of snooker, for several reasons. First, the parlous state of American pool**; second, in stark contrast, the orderly, tidy and civilized presentation of the British and international snooker game; and third, the game itself.
Pool can't seem to figure out a game that really works—one-pocket is too esoteric, straight pool is boring to watch and can keep one competitor away from play for interminable periods; 9-ball places too much emphasis on the break, which is only barely controllable at the best of times; and so on. No one game really "works," such that formats for competition are always changing, and people keep trying to come up with better games (most recently, Joe Tucker's American Rotation).
Snooker, by contrast, is like American baseball: fundamentally perfect in its exquisite balances, its arc, and its variety of fascinating aspects. Like baseball it can be understood both at a basic level or on a subtle and profound plane. Each snooker frame, for instance, necessarily begins with a safety battle in which the tension between risk and reward is brought to the fore.
At first blush, snooker looks to Americans like a quintessentially British sport, which is to say eccentric, over-involved, and a spot daft: vaguely Monty Pythonish. But that's wrong. It possesses variety and complexity, and requires great skill, strategy and luck in ideal proportions. A lovely game.
If you'd like to try a snooker match, watch this one, between two-time Masters champion Mark Williams, one of only three players to win snooker's triple crown, and Ronnie O'Sullivan, the sport's biggest star and five times the Masters champion. A competitive match that ebbed and flowed, and that features some scintillatingly good play. The basic rules are simple: the colored balls have higher point values, but to earn the right to try for one you have to pocket a red ball first.
And if you want to see just how well the game can be played, watch Mark Selby's clinic in the first four games of this match. Both are from the current Masters tournament, which concludes today (Sunday).
Note: Please don't post any spoilers for any of the Masters matches!!! I haven't watched all of them yet, and I don't want to know who won what. Thanks.
I do not like my hat
I get the best advice from readers. Someday soon I am going to do a post collecting the best of all the wonderful tips I've gotten.
Meanwhile, a question. As recently as last week we were having nice November days. Then Winter very belatedly arrived. Now it's gone again, but it reminded me it exists. Oh yeah, Winter.
So is there any such thing any more as a warm winter hat? I seem to be able to find only the sort of light, stretchy, wool-like (but seldom wool) beanie cap of the sort that Millennials wear as apparel even when it's warm outside. Makes sense, because I got my hat from my son, and it says "UW Oshkosh" on it. I actually do like it. But I also need a soft, comfortable, pocketable, but warm Winter hat. There is not as much blood in my head as there used to be, as evidenced by my declining proofreading abilities. My feet neither, but the mysterious puzzle of socks is another post.
This could test the collective knowledge; I'm not sure such a thing as a warm hat exists any more, outside of Russia. (The Russians seem to do Winter hats the best of any people on Earth.)
Any ideas? Just askin'.
Hope you have a nice Sunday. Keep your head warm.
*"Whoever called snooker 'chess with balls' was rude, but right." —Clive James
**Compare pool to golf. The 37th player on the money list in pool in 2015 didn't even crack 30 grand. The 37th-ranked player on the golf money list earned $2,298,516.50. Pool is in a serious depression. In pool there are guys in the top 50 who, when they travel to tournaments, have to sleep in their cars. In snooker, the top prizes are considerably higher, and in the 2014–15 snooker season, 37th place was good for £58,739, about $83,000.
"Open Mike" is the off-topic editorial page of TOP. It can be eccentric, over-involved, and a spot daft.
Original contents copyright 2016 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Hendrik Broekman: "I wear a Stormy Kromer Original all winter long. When it gets too cold, I pull a hood over it. The brim is stiff and gets in the way of shooting portrait orientation, but then I just reverse the hat. They're accurately sized so that they don't blow off easily. My wife hates it but it elicits a lot of positive comments from the greater world."
John Gordon: "Try an NZ Lothlorian possum fur / merino wool beanie. The possum fur is hollow fibre and said to be the world's best insulator. The socks are good, too. I've got both. They work."
Mike replies: I think I might have to get one of those just for the pleasure of explaining that my cap is made of possum fur.
Adrian adds: "In reference to John Gordon's possum merino fur wool hat. He is absolutely right. No hat is as comfortable and warm. And if you are flinching at the idea of wearing a cute opossum on your head, then don't! The Possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) is no relation at all to the North American Opossum (Didelphimorphia). The Australian native Possum was introduced to New Zealand in the 19th century where with no natural predators its population exploded. Possum-ravaged forests are devoid of the once abundant bird life so there are extensive pest-control programmes targeting the introduced mammal. So wearing a possum fur hat promotes environmental values!—unless you are a Vegan. Then that's a whole different can of beans."
Michael Roche (partial comment): "It's interesting to compare the two sports, snooker and pool. They appear to be very similar but in fact are very different in many respects. Snooker as seen on TV is tightly controlled and well packaged with its clean-cut appearance, players' dress code straight out of stately mansions of long ago, referees mimicking butler-type figures, players with a very strong sense of ethics, i.e., calling fouls on themselves before even the referee does—all this leads to a strong sense of theatre which is attractive to watch and also to product endorsement.
"Contrast this with the way pool is presented and I think we can see why it is struggling to attract audiences.
"Although snooker is enjoying something of a revival at present, largely due to Barry Hearn taking over, and also the unbelievable talents of Ronnie O'Sullivan, as a participation sport it has lost a lot of its attraction. There are a few reasons for this falloff by the general public in playing the game: a) the game is extremely difficult to become proficient at and almost impossible to reach the level of even the lowest ranked professionals; b) unlike pool the size of the table makes it unsuited to all but the largest of family homes which means having to frequent some public snooker halls in what can be very insalubrious areas in most cities."
Mike replies: Having tried hard to buy a house (my old house in Wisconsin) with enough room for a full-sized pool table (9x4.5 feet), I can only imagine the difficulty of siting and maintaining a snooker table in a home. You would need not only a dedicated room, but a very large one.
Bob Blakley: "I was trapped in an English manor house for a week one time at a meeting, and the only real thing to do whilst drinking in the evening was to play on the snooker table in the basement. It's always mystified me that on such an enormous table they can't find room to put pockets larger than the balls."
Mike replies: Trapped in an English manor house? Sounds like an Agatha Christie novel! Was anyone murdered?