September 18, 2016 Picnic

Death ValleySo how was it?
It was, excuse my French, f***ing hot. Ninety-four degrees in the shade. Too hot to allow my superbly tuned machine to function properly.
I think that I overheated and blew a gasket, maybe two. I subsequently failed as a photographer and as a player.
We thoroughbred need decent conditions to perform optimally. Sorry about that.

I also realize by the way that I took a lot of pictures of young Julien Bourgade, but I am partial to kids… so sue me.

But enough with the confounded meteorological conditions.

A respectable bunch of people showed up for the picnic and the tournament.
A picnic for about 60 people is not a walk in the park. It takes a lot of hard work to bring this to fruition.
I don’t have all the facts but I know that Verena, Claudie, Liv and Helga, Alain Marchand, Antoine and Jean-Claude Etallaz worked very hard to make this event a success.
Don’t forget to show your appreciation, or even kiss them (yes) next time you see them.

40 people signed up to play in the tournament. Based on a random pairing the teams were as follows:

  1. Bleys Rose & Tamara Efron
  2. Damian Jonathan & Sandra Shirkey
  3. Brigitte Moran & Nancy Jencks
  4. Marc Di Maio & Liliane Sebban
  5. Francois Moser & Gilbert Sonet
  6. John Johnson & David Lindsey
  7. Charlie Davantes & Evan Falcone
  8. Philippe Arnaud & Verena Rytter
  9. Mark Shirkey & Harry Helms
  10. Ed Porto & J-M Poulnot
  11. Teri Sirico & Mireille Di Maio
  12. Alain Efron & Ellen Leznik
  13. J-C Etallaz & Sabine Mattei
  14. Albert Wood bury & Calvert Baron
  15. Gustave Foucher & Logan Ginsberg
  16. Noel Marcovecchio & William La Velle
  17. Louis Toulon & Caitlin Woodbury
  18. Joe La Torre & Helga Facchini
  19. Julien Bourgade & Alain Bourgade
  20. Christine Cragg & Claudie Chourre

Three games were played in afternoon and at the end of the day the results were as shown below:


1st place: Ed Porto & J-M Poulnot $35.00 ea
2nd place: Damian Jonathan & Sandra Shirkey $30.00 ea
3rd place: Joe La Torre & Helga Facchini: $25.00 ea
4th place: Brigitte Moran & Nancy Jencks: $20.00 ea
5th place: Bleys Rose & Tamara Efron: $15.00 ea
6th place: Julien Bourgade & Alain Bourgade $10.00 ea

After taking the usual celebratory pictures, I ran away like a thief to take a much-needed shower and to cool off in the sanctuary of my air-conditioned abode.
Don’t be offended if I did not say goodbye. It was “un cas de force majeure”.

I still love you.


  1. To look at photos of this event and listen to the accompanying background music, turn your computer’s sound on, and click on the link “My Photos” located on the right side of this page. For best viewing, go Full Screen.
  1. If you are reading this page in the WordPerfect format and cannot see the links located on the right side, click twice on the title of the post (in blue) and twice on the “Home” link to access the original format.

Change of mind

The problem with political jokes is that they get elected.Henry Cate, VII

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Fifty-three days until the elections. Can the so-called “undecided” finally decide and can some voters forsake traditional party allegiance?
Can some Trumpists vote for Clinton? Or vice-versa?

Fat obese chance.

“Trying to change someone only makes them cling to their existing behavior with brutish, primal force.” Brian D’Ambrosio

It is visceral. People only believe what they want to believe and nothing short of a major miracle could sway them.

An open-minded person could possibly change his mind, but it would be a very slow process that would require a lot of research.
You would need to have the willingness to seek details and sift through the mountains of baloney spewed by the candidates.
Television sound bites cannot possibly give you all the data you need. If you are serious about the electoral process you absolutely need to do some research and verify the various outlandish claims (e.g. Obama founded ISIS) made by the candidates.

“Give me a man or woman who has read a thousand books and you give me an interesting companion. Give me a man or woman who has read perhaps three and you give me a very dangerous enemy indeed.” 
Anne RiceThe Witching Hour

I could not put it any better.

Then there is the much ballyhooed “honesty” factor.
Is “clean” Donald more honest than “crooked” Hillary?
After considering his checkered past and his various shady enterprises, I very much doubt it.

Trump is a crude carny barker. He will say anything to get voters into his tent without anything to show.
So far I have not read or heard any of his concrete solutions (I will build a great, great wall?) about the various problems besetting America.

Trump is also a crafty dodger. When are we going to see his fabulous Health report and his Tax return? Why aren’t they forthcoming?

At election time you need to be pragmatic. You need to deal with things sensibly and realistically.
Before trudging to the polls and committing to a candidate, you need to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Who is more qualified to become Commander in Chief?
  • Whose decisions would you trust in a situation like the Cuban Missile Crisis?
  • Who would be cooler under pressure?
  • Who has more experience dealing with world leaders?
  • As an average American, would you get a better shake from Trump or Clinton?
  • Who has more skeletons in his closet, the Donald or Hillary?
  • And finally, and be honest about it, would you buy a used car from Donald Trump?

I rest my case.

An erratic and unpredictable leader (like Korea’s Kim Jong-un) can make quick irresponsible decisions without weighing the consequences.

In November you are not only voting for yourself, but for your children, the future of America and probably the fate of the free world.

Vote carefully and thoughtfully.
Mind 1933. Don’t repeat German history.


Losing is therapeutic

You learn more from losing than winning. You learn how to keep going. Morgan Wootten

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A good player and a nice guy.

In any discipline winning is gratifying… but not particularly educative.
Winning will boost your ego but might also give you an exaggerated sense of self-importance.
It is always good to remember that no matter how good you think you are, there is always a gunslinger out there ready to take you on… and outgun you.

Losing on the other hand might be initially unpleasant, but helpful in the long run.
Losing is often more important than winning. It will in the long run forge your spirit and temper your resolve.
Learning how to lose will teach you how to win.

Personally, I don’t care to be known as a great player; I would rather be recognized as a friendly, good-humored and fair competitor.

It is true that the world likes winners, but up to a point. It is not unusual for many top performers to be stinkers who alienate their fans by their unsporting attitude.
In some case cases, supporters have been known to boo a top player and cheer an underdog.

Modesty is the most endearing attribute of any sports figure. Skills are important but character is a close second.
As the saying goes, a well-rounded player is “humble in victory and gracious in defeat.”

Points to remember about this little Sunday sermon:

Never overvalue yourself. Never brag.
“Do not talk about yourself; it will be done when you leave.” Wilson Mizner.

Never become complacent. Always treat your opponents respectfully.
“Be Nice to People on Your Way Up. You’ll Meet Them On Your Way Down.”

 Never take a win for granted. If you do, Lady Luck will take a wicked pleasure in deflating your ego and taking you down a notch.

“When you win, say nothing. When you lose, say less.” Paul Brown 

Pax vobis!


We are all worms, but I do believe I am a glowworm. Winston Churchill