Blast from the past

Forty years ago, when were all young and handsome, some members of La Pétanque Marinière flew to Southampton, Great Britain to compete in the 1979 World Championship Cup.

They were Louis Toulon, René Di Maio and Marcel Parnell.

Rene Di Maio
Louis Toulon





Louis, with whom I had the pleasure to play last Sunday, is now the sole survivor, but memories of this event survived.
Yesterday I came across some photographs (taken by Mireille Di Maio) of that period, and you can now see them in an album called Southampton 1979. Notice the snazzy red caps and the tricolor jerseys worn by our champions.

Seventeen (17) countries took part in this event notably Algeria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, Morocco, the Netherlands, Senegal, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, USA and Venezuela.

Our people did not bring back any medals, but just participating in this event was a thrill.

If I am not mistaken, no women played (or were not allowed) to participate in this tournament. Fortunately, times have changed and women (some of them extraordinarily good) are now represented in all tourneys.

Enjoy the pictures.


Hey criminals…

Stop your nefarious business!
Stop armed robberies and all that petty stuff! You won’t get away with it. There are cameras everywhere and everybody is now carrying a recording device. Your chances of success are practically nil.

As a friend, I would advise you to branch out to another racket. Instead of a career in crime you could try running for office. Many people do.
Lately, it looks like many latent criminals chose politics over criminality. It is cleaner, less risky, and let’s face it, the job has more perks than of a Mafia’s “made man”. It has also a better chance of pardon.

What qualifications do you need to be a leader of men? Not too many, judging by the last elections. Above all, you need to have a big mouth, a short memory and being impervious to controversy. The perfect candidate is a Teflon candidate.

In politics, you start small and little by little, through sponsors and seniority you will gain power and influence. A man who can dispense favors is then very likely to be romanced by lobbyists.

“Lobbying is the world’s second – oldest profession.” Bill Press

The wooing starts insidiously (like a nice little lunch) and after a while a politico can reap substantial benefits for mutually agreed favors. All in the guise of helping his constituents naturally.
Why do you think that we have so many ridiculous laws on the book?

There is a thin line between a politician and a criminal. As long as you are not caught, you are a “respected” statesman. But if you get snared with your hand in the cookie jar, the story takes a darker turn.

To avoid long prison terms, you might have to rat on your old friends and become a pariah. And no more invitations to the Hamptons.

But generally speaking, politics are safer than a life of crime. To start with, the members of the ruling class can always afford a good attorney, not the kind thrown to penniless miscreants. And if convicted, don’t believe for a minute that politicians will be incarcerated with the riffraff.

Do you think that Paul Manafort will spend his prison term locked in a little cell like a common prisoner? Not for a minute. He will spend time in a fancy Club Med-like “pay-to-stay” prison, definitely not the Sing Sing kind. Money is always a great facilitator.

Crime does not pay; politic does!


Crying in the Rain

Urgent… high priority.

Stop all rain dances immediately! Repeat, stop all rain dances and drum beatings at once. “That’s an order.”

When the drought started a few years ago, medicine men all over the state were enlisted to entice rain to come our way. So, they dutifully started singing, dancing and beating the drums…
After a long waiting period the rain finally came. HURRAH!
And it came again. Hurrah! And again. Hurrah! And again. Sigh… and again. F**k!

The problem is that nobody in the rain bunker ever bothered to tell the shamans to stop beating their drums. So, it continued, uninterrupted.

Is too much rain a good thing? No, it is not.
Water is a basic necessity, and we need it. But too much of a good thing can be overwhelming. and never underestimate the awesome power of Mother Nature. Like a good mother she can be nurturing, but don’t get her mad…

And rain unfortunately is no friend to pétanque aficionados. It can linger for months and prevent players to do their stuff. Granted, some fans might be willing to frolic in the mud, but I am not one of them.

Pétanque is not a water sport! To me, it is synonymous with sun, shorts, T-shirts “espadrilles” and Pastis… not water puddles and floating cochonnet.

Like a thoroughbred I need favorable weather conditions to perform optimally. Playing in the rain might also injure some of my valuable body parts. Have you ever heard of a condition called “rusty elbow?” I have.

Some wise man said Rainy days should be spent at home with a cup of tea and a good book.”

 When it rains, you won’t find me on the field. I will be at home knitting and drinking tea.