Appearance is everything. Any political adviser will tell you that.
Some guys were blessed at birth with a great body, abundant hair, straight teeth, slim waist etc. and just when they started to believe that the world would be their oyster, Shazam! the Almighty cut them down to size by saddling them with knock-knees.

Knock-knees are the curse of power-seeking people. It makes them look awkward and unmanly.

No superhero or savior-of-the-world wannabe can be taken seriously if he is sporting knock-knees. Imagine for a minute Batman or Superman with knock-knees…
You simply cannot strike a heroic pose (legs apart, fists on hips) with such pathetic limbs. It would be laughable.
And leotards don’t help; they magnify this pitiful flaw. That’s probably why many men are loath to wear this garment. You simply cannot bang your chest and utter a war cry if your legs don’t stand straight. That’s probably why Hitler never wore shorts.

The same requirement also applies to women by the way. Forget about becoming a cheerleader or Miss America if your gams don’t look the part.
Bad legs are a curse worse than death. You can save the world even if burdened with a big nose, but you are simply not believable with weak knees.

The only way around this problem is to conceal the faulty equipment as much as you can. One possibility for men is to embrace the priesthood. The sacerdotal garment does a good job in concealing the knees and that could explain why the Pope or the Dalai Lama have managed to be successful for so long.

For a woman I envision a long evening dress, the kind royalty is wearing. Queen Elizabeth indubitably owes her enduring popularity to these long gowns. I am not implying that she has knock-knees, but if she did, it would be the perfect disguise.
Did you know that Sarah Bernhardt had her right leg amputated? She smartly concealed this flaw with long dresses and was successful till the end of her life.

People running for the office of President of the United States, should be required to wear shorts during their television debates. It would definitely weed out the weak candidates and substantially shorten the pathetic primaries.
I wonder what kind of knees Mitt Romney has? If he had good knees it might have helped him to show them. Lederhosen would have been nice…

Sturdy knees inspire confidence, knock-knees don’t.  And what a fantastic slogan the right candidate could use: “vote for a man who is not weak at the knees”.

I don’t know what kind of platform this job seeker would promote (it’s not that important), but with straight knees, you can hardly fail to inspire confidence.
Never mind unemployment, budget deficit, the price of gas, etc…

Show me straight knees and I’ll vote for you.



February 10, 2013 tournament

Yesterday, La Pétanque Marinière of Marin County hosted its first pétanque tournament of the season.
Despite sunny conditions, the attendance was rather small.
This might have been due to the fact that early that morning it was fairly cold. At 10:00 a.m. the thermometer showed 37 degrees Fahrenheit, a few degrees above freezing.
Later, conditions improved significantly and Sunday turned out to be a sunny and very pleasant day.

The club provided coffee and our local benefactor (Jean-Claude Bunand) provided croissants and “pains au chocolat”. Thank you Oh Bearded One!

David Riffo, sports director of La Pétanque Marinière, ran the tournament and was assisted by Christine Cragg our club president.

The format of the tournament was “triplettes a la mèlée”. Liking it or not, each competing team would stay with the same partners for the duration of the event.

David and Christine put together 8 triplette teams that were as follows:

  1. Jean-Claude Etallaz, Francois Moser, Helga Facchini
  2. Dan Feaster, Jurgen Weise, Eva Lofaro
  3. David Riffo, Christine Cragg, Mireille Di Maio
  4. Rene Di Maio, Henry Wessel, Genevieve Etallaz
  5. Jean-Claude Bunand, John Krauer, Nan Walker
  6. John Morris, Dan Velasco, Monique Bricca
  7. Antoine Lofaro, Joss Krauer, Calvert Barron
  8. Bleys Rose, Larry Cragg, Sabine Mattei

A total of four, 13 points games were scheduled, two before lunch and two after lunch.
2013 club membership cards were also handed out. If you didn’t get yours, be sure to ask Christine for it.

Due to a lingering case of Plantar Fasciitis, I regretfully opted out of this tournament and spent a few hours (sitting) photographing our athletes in action.
Be sure to look at them. You might see yourself like you never saw it before.

I was gratified to see new club members Henry Wessel, Calvert Barron and Dan Velasco participating in the tournament. Nothing like jumping in the water right away.

Yesterday was also Evelyne Marchand’s birthday. We were ready to party with her, but due to a severe case of the flu she elected to remain at home.
This didn’t stop us from gobbling up her birthday cake, gracefully provided again by Jean-Claude Bunand.
Happy birthday Evelyne!

Due to a calculating error made while determining the three winning teams (and caught after prizes had been handed out) it was decided to allocate prizes to four teams instead of three.
The team that was left out actually placed second. Its players were paid the percentage of money normally earmarked for the club.
They will also get waved registration fee at our next tournament.

Below are the corrected tournament results.    

1st Place:
Jean Claude Etallaz / Francois Moser / Helga Facchini  – $22.00 each

2nd Place:
Rene Di Maio / Henry Wessel / Genevieve Etallaz  – $6.00 each + waved entrance fee at our next tournament

3rd Place:
Antoine Lofaro / Joss Krauer / Calvert Barron – $17.00 each

4th Place:
John Morris / Dan Velasco / Monique Bricca – $11.00 each

Congratulations to all winners!

Many thanks to Christine Cragg for providing me with the final results, and to Larry Cragg who managed to take a picture of the 1st place team and the 4th place team.


To look at pictures of this tournament, turn on sound and click on “My photos” located on the left side of this page


Root canal

I don’t think that I could ever be a secret agent. I have the capabilities (brains and brawn) but I don’t endure pain very well.
If captured and tortured, I would spill the beans faster than you could say “no new taxes”.
I cannot help it, when it comes to physical discomfort I am a sissy!

A few days ago I had to go to the dentist for a toothache.
Bad news, he said after poking into my mouth. You have an infected tooth and you need a root canal.
Upon hearing this masochists no doubts would rejoice; not me. When I hear “root canal”, I get the impulse to run and hide. And I did.
I don’t like strangers to stick sharp or pointed objects in my mouth. It makes me nervous.

But my tooth imperatively demanded attention, and a few days later I reluctantly went back to my dentist to meekly submit to his whims.

You look a little nervous he said, would you like some Valium?
Gladly doctor, a joint might also be helpful.
I didn’t say the latter of course, but I meant it. To me, that would be the ideal time to take a few puffs of locoweed, don’t you think?

Anyway, my dentist and his accomplice (they called him “assistant”) strapped me to a chair and prepared me for surgery.

I told them that I didn’t care for pain, and to use as much anesthetic as the law allowed.
Don’t worry they said, you won’t feel a thing.
A few minutes later, my upper right jaw seemed to have dematerialized. I knew that it was still there, but it had become totally desensitized.

The torturer and his Marty Feldman-like assistant put a bib on me and gave me dark glasses to wear. I was ready for butchering.

After a few tense minutes I heard the sound of scrapping, filing, and the disturbing hissing of a high-speed drill. And it was coming out of my mouth!
Under induced euphoria, I grinned and bore. Actually I bore more than I grinned.
I tried to think happy thoughts. Besides Pasta alla Milanese, I couldn’t come up with anything.

While this was happening, I heard the assistant starting a casual conversation with the receptionist.
This I don’t like. When somebody is dealing with my body parts, I don’t want any distraction for the operating team. But with my mouth invaded by foreign parts and substances I couldn’t say anything.

After I while I caught a whiff of some acrid smoke.

OK, we are done for today, said the dentist.
But, I need to tell you that you have a cracked tooth. I cannot complete the entire procedure. We will probably have to pull out the damaged tooth.


Oh Mighty God of Dentistry, stop chasing the Wood Nymphs and pay attention to me! I need help!