One of the great perk of retirement is the re-appropriation of time.
Having long ago been hijacked by your employer, time becomes yours again the minute you turn in your badge.

When you are working, your company monopolizes your time and your thoughts.
From the minute you wake up until the end of your commute, your internal computer keeps humming and rearranging files.
Not your own, the company’s.
This doesn’t leave you much time to smell the roses.

Retirement changes everything.
When you hang up your business suit, all the noxious fumes are flushed out and the walls of your mind are spruced up with a fresh coat of white chalk.
With an uncluttered brain, you can now luxuriate in your own personal thoughts.
Your unshackled mind pulls on the bit and urges you toward new horizons.

When your mind is free to roam, magical things start happening.

First, your ears become unclogged.
Just like doctor Doolittle, you suddenly start hearing and understanding what animals are saying. “Give me a piece of your sandwich please”, “play with me”, “let’s go for a walk”…
The scientific explanation is very simple.
While you were working you were tuned-in to the company’s beacon.
When you retired your listening frequency switched automatically to the animal channel and it enabled you to instantly comprehend your four-legged friends.

Second, you start seeing in things in Technicolor.
Objects and people, previously seen in black and white, start appearing in color. Instead of the blurry shapes of the past, you know distinguish sharp edges and smiling faces.

Third, scales fall off your eyes.
You become aware of previously unnoticed things.
Flower petals, cobwebs, foraging bees, and rainbows suddenly catch your eye and entice you to a closer look.
You are seeing the world again through the eyes of a child.

Time is money say the Temple Merchants.
But according to Jim Rohn “Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.”

To conclude, “The bad news is that time flies. The good news is you are the pilot.” –



May-December tournament

Yesterday we drove to Lafayette to participate in the 2013 Northwest Regional 65 over/under tournament.
This is the time of the year when old geezers have a good excuse to hit on young chicks.

The Lamorinda Pétanque Club hosted the tournament and as usual it was a class act.
Etienne Rijkheer, Carolina Jones, Bill Hansen, Carlos Couto and Rosa the dog did a bang-up job to make everybody feel comfortable and welcome.
Croissants and coffee were served and, sparing no expenses, Lamorinda even sprung for a portable potty. As I told you, a class act!

As a veteran of foreign wars, I was invited by Shannon Bowman to team up with her for this tournament. Despite a still sore right foot I couldn’t refuse her invitation and agreed to fly with her as her wingman.

Twenty-two teams competed in this event and they were are as follows:

  1. Peter Mathis/Carolina Jones
  2. Yor Lee/Inez
  3. Shannon Bowman/Alain Efron
  4. Bernard Passmar/Emily Etcheverry
  5. Liv Kraft/Kevin Evoy
  6. Jean-Michel Poulnot/Sabine mattei
  7. Patrick Vaslet/Holly Sammons
  8. Ed Porto/Denyse Haney
  9. David Riffo/Dollzee Austin
  10. Rene Di Maio/Tamara Efron
  11.  Antoine Lofaro/Danielle Gusella
  12. Barbara Hall/Gustave Foucher
  13. Henry Wessel/Calvert Barron
  14. Bill Hansen/Chrsitine Cragg
  15. Jean-Claude Bunand/Mireille Di Maio
  16. Carlos Couto/Minette Etallaz
  17. Jean-Claude Etallaz/Colette Van Der Meulen
  18. Simone Furlan/John Morris
  19. Frank Haney/Helene McGill
  20. Robert Belforte/Beth Lysten
  21. Alain Gusella/Eva Lofaro
  22. Jocelyne Krauer/Mickey Coughlin

Three 13 points games were played before lunch to separate the hot shots from the mere humans and to determine who would play in the Concours and would frolic in the Consolante.

We qualified for the Concours thanks to Shannon  great shooting job.

In the morning, in our 1st game we beat Christine Cragg and Bill Hansen: 13-8
In our 2nd game we beat Simone Furlan and John Morris: 13-9
In our 3rd game we beat Beth Lysten And Robert Belforte: 13-6

I need to reiterate that Shannon’s shooting greatly helped our cause.

Around noon, everybody stopped for a bite and Jean-Claude Etallaz became the unfortunate victim of some hungry (or angry) insect.
He was stung by some critter and his arm swell alarmingly. See picture.
But J-C is a tough guy and it was not him who suffered the most. We believe that the insect paid this unprovoked attack with its life.

After lunch, in the Concours Shannon and I faced Frank Haney and Helene McGill. We beat them 13-5
In our fifth game we came across ta-dah! Mickey (the Terminator) Coughlin and
Jocelyne Krauer.
In spite of our spirited resistance, Mickey shelled our positions mercilessly and defeated us: 9-13

The end of the tournament for us.

In the finals Mickey Coughlin (the same evil one) and Jocelyne Jrauer faced Patrick Vaslet and Holly Sammons.


To everybody’s surprise, Mickey and Jocelyne got off to a very bad start.
They kept losing “mène” after “mène” and at one time, they were led 1-10.
It looked like it was going to end up in a humiliating defeat for the Terminator.
But little by little, due mainly to Mickey’s fantastic shooting, his team narrowed the gap to a respectable 8/11.
They finally lost the game and the tournament 10/13.

The last game was essentially a “mano a mano” contest between Mickey and Holly Sammons who did an absolutely marvelous job of pointing. Most of her balls were right up to the cochonnet.
Mickey kept shooting but Holly kept pointing, and scoring.
With an assist from Patrick they finally defeated the Beast.

If ever Mickey teamed up with Holly they would be invincible.

FINAL RESULTS (provided by Etienne Rijkheer)

Concours: final score 13/10

1st Place: Patrick Vaslet and Holly Sammons, (both of Valley of the Moon Petanque Club)
2nd Place: Jocelyne Krauer (La Boule d’Or) and Mickey Coughlin (Redwood Empire Boules Club)
3rd Place: Peter Mathis (Valley of the Moon Petanque Club) and Carolina Jones (Lamorinda Petanque Club)
4th Place: Bernard Passmar (Valley of the Moon Petanque Club) and Emily Etcheverry (La Petanque Mariniere)

Consolante: final score 13/9

1st Place: John Morris and Simone Furlan (Both of Club Français de Sacramento)
2nd Place: Jean-Claude Bunand (La Boule d’Or) and Mireille DiMaio (La Pétanque Marinière)
3rd Place: Barbara Hall (Valley of the Moon Pétanque Club) and the venerable Gustave Foucher (La Boule d’Or).

Great tournament, great organization.

Thank you Etienne, Rosa and the entire Lamorinda team!


PS: To look at pictures of this event, turn the sound on, and click on “My photos” located under BLOGROLL on the right side of the page.

Boston bomber

Another bomber! Just like the mad bombers of the Middle East.

I have never been able to understand what would compel anybody to build an explosive device for the avowed purpose of killing or maiming a bunch of innocent people.

I could possibly comprehend an individual seeking revenge on another person (or even 2 or 3 people), but I fail to understand what would motivate somebody to indiscriminately kill people he/she has never even seen before.

Anytime I hear about such lunacy, I cannot help but thinking about (political or religious) indoctrination.
The process by which some lost soul uncritically accepts a set of outlandish beliefs formulated by some fanatical crackpot.

Such people tend to be low self-esteem loners, introverted, resentful individuals seduced by the idea of punishing people who didn’t justly appreciate them.

I will show them, must be their motto.
I will show those smug sons of bitches what I can do.
It is a desperate act of recognition seeking. By his peers or by the people who underestimated him.

Bombers usually don’t have much to lose but will get their 15 minutes of fame (and their due reward in heaven they hope) by way of their demented act.

I assume that the Boston bomber is somebody familiar with the area, the city or even the country where the attack took place.
This person though did not have any qualms about killing people who took him in their bosom.

Did he work alone, or was he some puppet manipulated by somebody fomenting hatred from a safe distance?
I would opt for the second hypothesis. Troublemakers are usually cowards inciting feeble-minded individuals do their dirty work.

I have always favored capital punishment. I know that it is politically incorrect, but I believe that our society has become too lenient. Today you can literally get way with murder.
In the Boston case the Code of Hammurabi (Talion Law) should prevail.

What do people do when they corner an unfortunate wild animal that killed a human being?
They unmercifully destroy it.

No less should be done with somebody who wrecked so many lives.