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Thursday, 21 January 2021


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[So true. --Mike]

At this rate, there will emerge a new champion to dethrone the incumbents. I just love the likes of that Netflix series "The Queen's Gambit".

Lovely to hear updates from your shed and the joy you and even the dog gets out of it. Hoping that you and everyone else gets through this ordeal in a way as good as possible. At least small things are more appreciated.

Cheering news, along with all the other cheering news this week. Well done.

Glad you are getting to enjoy something that engages you on so many levels.

"Treat Yo' Self" - Tom and Donna -Parks and Recreation.

The question about darts reminded me for the first time in years of my college friend George.

We played with a dart board in one of the rooms, and sometimes George would stand next to the board and grab darts right out of the air when we were throwing. It was both supremely annoying and supremely impressive.

I decided to try that trick myself one day but I just couldn't work up the courage to stick my hand into the path of a flying dart.

I would not call that a shed. Please think of a better description. Do not be humble.

Mike, you picked the wrong job. You should have been a pool hustler 8-)

When I was young, a local beer-bar had eight tables. $100.00 games (8 ball mostly) were common.

What next "The Online Poolplayer"?

I’m glad it all came together. Congratulations on your new sanctuary. I came across this video the other day of Ronnie’s first and fastest maximum break at the age of 21 and thought of TOP. If it weren’t for TOP I would not have known what the video was about and would have surfed on by. Amazing stuff.

I didn’t realize it is a nine-foot table. Although I’ve never played as seriously as you are, I had enough time on the longer table to learn that the difference between eight and nine feet is way more than 12 inches. You can probably shoot blindfolded on a seven foot bar table. Have fun.

Mike, I've been reading TOP with great pleasure for several years now. I've enjoyed lurking here quietly getting to know you. This column, with your usual "aw shucks" charm, prompted me to say hello and encourage you to keep up the off topic stuff and discussions of film cameras. I like pool too, but am just awful at it. Maybe if I had my own pool table I'd improve, though having reached 80 that looks doubtful.I wish I had never sold my Oly OM2n and earlier, my Konica FTA (I worked one summer in the late 50's in the stock room of Konishiroku, which led to my learning Japanese and eventually becoming the Assistant US Trade Representative in charge of trade negotiations with Japan in the 1980s and early 90s. One thing I've been meaning to ask is when were you at Dartmouth? I taught there, in the Government department, from 1970-1980 and then again at the Tuck School from 1992-2007. Also please tell John Camp to write more. I'm in need of another of his novels to help me through this damn COVID plague.

[I don't think a stockroom job inevitably leads to a career as a trade negotiator! Congratulations on your manifold success.

By chance I had a welcome visit from an old Dartmouth dorm-mate and friend just yesterday, Greg Aftandilian, who from my view has had a rather dazzling career as a Middle East analyst among other things. Freshman year we lived in Lord Hall, which as you know is tucked in a corner of campus near Tuck, on Tuck Mall.

I matriculated (with Greg) with the class of 1979. Unfortunately, after four quarters, my father abruptly "withdrew his support" and interrupted my education. It was not a matter of money.

I did well during my truncated Dartmouth career. I was exempted from English 5 (mandatory for all freshmen at the time) by the professor on the basis of my first paper; I earned almost all A and B grades and a College Citation in an English course; I was a columnist for the "Daily D" newspaper as a freshman; and in my fourth term, the Summer after freshman year, I was invited to take an English 89 one-on-one seminar that was normally only open to upperclassmen. I was one of (IIRC) only two freshmen invited to a breakfast reception for Saul Bellow, who had just won the Nobel Prize. So while I wasn't a standout student on an absolute basis, I had made a pretty good start toward success as an English major. (My goal throughout my childhood had been to become either a teacher or an academic or both.) I was also privileged to be one of the students President Kemeny spoke privately with on an intermittent basis, I assume in an effort on his part to keep a finger on the pulse of student issues. (His secretary disliked me because our meetings, which were supposed to last an hour, often ran over.)

I very much regret not being able to continue at Dartmouth. It changed the course of my life for the worse. I never earned an academic degree. However I eventually did earn a BFA in photography, a studio art degree.

I will pass your comment along to John! --Mike]

Pictures please! :)

Instagram livestream? Play pool and talk to us. We can just watch and listen.

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