2023 NorCal Regional Select Triples

Sunday morning, I arrived at the field around 8:30 am hoping to find some relatively easy parking, but I was in for a shock. Due to some flea-market event, our parking lot was chockfull of vehicles, often parked in a very irresponsible manner. I finally managed to find an available parking slot and entered the pétanque field.

Fourteen (14) teams had signed up for the event and most of the players were already actively practicing on the terrain. By this time, it was already warm, and it got much warmer as the day went by. There was plenty of sunshine and everybody was grateful for the shade provided by our great trees. Everybody but me. Shade is wonderful when you are playing, but it makes it very hard for a photographer and greatly affects the quality of his pictures.

Nevertheless, I started shooting early, as my union requires it. Then suddenly, around 11:30 am, my camera’s battery conked out. It greatly surprised me because usually, I can shoot most of the day with a single battery. I then inserted a spare battery in the camera and continued shooting.

Most of the people stopped playing after 2 games and took a break for lunch. But a great number of wasps heard about it and were at the rendez-vous. These pesky little guys have an extraordinary sense of smell and came by the dozens. It became almost impossible to stay seated at the table. Where were the yellow-jacket traps?

After lunch, I witnessed the merciless slaughtering (13/1) of the Pierce/Marcovecchio/McPhee LPM team by Vang/Choulamany/Bissonette, a well-known Fresno gang. The assassins showed no remorse for their deed.

In the afternoon, my second camera battery also gave up, which again surprised me greatly. Intrigued by this unusual series of events, I consulted the Internet and discovered that “Battery life is reduced at higher temperatures – for every 15 degrees F over 77, battery life is cut in half.”  Now you know.

I also watched in its entirety the Concours Semi-finals between the Mathis team and Phomenick’s trio. Phomenick is an awesome shooter and it started very badly for Peter’s team. They were led 0/9 mid-game and it looked like his team was headed for a resounding fanny.

Then at 0/11 Mathis and his guys dug their heels and started a slow comeback. It was like Lazarus raised from the dead. To everybody surprise, Peter, Dave, and Bill managed to win the game by the astounding score of 13/12. Moral of the story: you are not completely dead until the lid is nailed to your coffin.

The Concours’s Finals proved also very interesting but never reached the dramatics of the semifinals. Janice, By Vang, and Choulamany played very well but could not stop Peter’s resurrected and rejuvenated team. Final score: 13/9 for Mathis’s formation.

1st place: Peter Mathis/Dave Lanter/Bill Miller  $126.00 ea
2nd place: By Vang/J. Bissonette/K. Choulamany $105.00 ea
3rd place: Phomenick Lee/Mike Lee/ Pao Ly  $84.00 ea Continue reading “2023 NorCal Regional Select Triples”

Santa Rosa extravaganza

It was around 90° F yesterday in Santa Rosa, but the blazing heat didn’t prevent some pétanque aficionados to gather up and indulge in their favorite pastime.

Jean-Michel Poulnot and Ellen Leznik had invited a few friends for a potluck lunch spiced up by “une partie de boules”, and few people declined the invitation.

We were summoned to show up at 10:00 am for our first game and we did. Jean-Michel is fortunate to possess a large vegetable garden where he managed to set up a very nice little pétanque court, very propitious to a few games.

He is also a very organized individual, and, in a few minutes, he divided us into 4 separate teams. Two games took place before lunch and two games after lunch. The morning games were not too demanding, but in the afternoon, due to the increased heat, the task proved a tad more challenging. Unlike our blessed field in San Rafael, his little court provides no shade, and in the afternoon, only “mad dogs and Englishmen (dare to) go out in the midday sun.”

To make it even more challenging, the small court, due to the nature of its topsoil, is eminently tricky, and a boule will seldom go where it is told to go.

Nevertheless, everything went according to plan, and we stopped at noon for lunch. Everybody had been very generous and brought plenty of food. When it is hot though, I am never inclined to eat (particularly hot food) so I bid my time and waited for dessert, particularly for a cool fruit salad and ice cream. The least I could say is that it was a very decadent and wicked lunch, bearing striking similarities to a Roman Bacchanalia.

Jean-Michel supplied lots of beverages and regaled us with a mandatory, late version of La Marseillaise. His singing was so inspiring that everybody felt ready (as the lyrics demand) to take arms and defend the homeland. This yearly ritual is also very useful for expats, to practice a hymn that we were taught at a very early age and that we might otherwise (God forbid) forget.

The contest resumed in the afternoon with the following results:

1st place: Tamara Efron and Francois Piccin
2nd place: Bernard Passemar, Antoine Lofaro, and Jack?
3rd place: J-Michel Poulnot, Christine Piccin and Pia Coyle
4th place: Alain Efron and John Coyle

Thank you, Jean-Michel and Ellen, for a great day filled with fun and camaraderie.


PS: Please enjoy these few pictures


The Second Coming is near

So, believe the faithful…

“The Second Coming, also called Second Advent or Parousia in Christianity, is the future return of Christ in glory when it is understood that he will set up his kingdom, judge his enemies, and reward the faithful, living and dead.”

 Some people believe that this blessed event will happen toward the end of 2024. Enemies then, will be judged (and probably sent to gulags) while believers will be rewarded with Gold, Frankincense, Myrrh… and cushy government jobs.

Heretics say that the Second Coming (if it ever materializes) will be nothing but harsh vindictiveness from somebody who already tried and failed to be an inspired leader.

But if the Second Coming does indeed occur, what will happen to human rights? We don’t need democracy are trumpeting some dark angels. We just need strong leadership where dissent and lawlessness will not be tolerated. Strong men are beloved everywhere for their guidance and devotion to their people… “law and order” is their sacred mantra and under their wise guidance, everything runs smoothly and efficiently. Look at great democracies like Russia and China… Do you ever hear any peep coming from these model countries? Of course not.

But the Second Coming might not be everybody’s cup of tea. Some dissenters simply believe that we don’t need it. The First Coming was enough. When Napoleon left Elba and tried a comeback, it didn’t end well. His troops were defeated at Waterloo and the “Ogre” was exiled to exotic St Helena. He was never heard from again until his early demise in 1821 at the tender age of 52.

It is always wise for would-be strongmen to remember that in ancient Rome the Tarpeian Rock was not far from the Capitoline Hill.

So, the Second Coming might inspire the faithful, but scare the hell out of non-believers. Everybody likes a winner, but no one likes a sore loser. It is not sporting! A well-mannered individual accepts defeat graciously, shakes hands with the winner, and vacates his official residence without hauling away half of the furniture with him.

Trying again when you have failed is laudable, but also keep in mind that “If at first, you don’t succeed, you may be at your level of incompetence already.”— Laurence J. Peter


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