Gold Crown IV

Gold Crown IV
FastMikie's Fun House, Del Mar, California

Monday, December 31, 2007

For Sale

Only one of each item.
Subject to prior sale.
Proceeds go to this charity.

Item #1 Sold

Chameleon Rack - 10 bucks + shipping
used, good condition

Item #2
Tim White DVD series, 10 DVDs, 10 bucks + shipping
used, good condition

Item #3
Breakrak, 10 bucks + shipping
used, good condition

Item #4
Can you imagine shooting pool in a place
where you want to keep a low profile?
Yeah, me too.
I've been in a few of those places.

It may be a good idea to leave your favorite cue at home.

For occasions such as this,
you can not find a better instrument than this:

The Warrior Spirit #1, far left.

Predator P2,basic black, with black leather wrap,
no points, no markings.
Predator 314 shaft (29"), Moori medium tip.
Overall weight 18.7 oz.
Good condition.

Price $US 395.oo
Includes Certificate of Provenance by FastMikie.
Free shipping in USA.
PayPal accepted.
Proceeds go to this charity.

This is the first cue I bought at the end of the
Forty Years of The Dark Ages of No Pool.
I wanted to take advantage of the new low deflection technology.
I was using this cue when our team won
the City Championships, 9-ball, in 2004.
I also used this cue to go
undefeated in the US Amateur championships in 2004.

This cue has the spirit of a warrior.

Why would I sell such a cue?
It is The Way of The Cue
to be not attached to the things of this world.
As Miyamoto Musashi said,
in his 21 Precepts,
" Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons
beyond what is useful."

The spirit of this cue
needs to be set free in competition
in the hands of a worthy warrior.

Are you that warrior?


Saturday, December 29, 2007

WPA: New Rules & Regulations

Here are the new rules for the world of pool
as compiled by the
World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA)
for the next 5 years,
starting January 1, 2008:

WPA Rules

Included are general rules,
rules for 9-ball, 8-ball and straight pool.

And here's more, but they are called "regulations".

WPA Regulations


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Straight Pool Video: Ortmann vs. Mizerak

Ortmann vs. Mizerak


Amsterdam Billiard Club, NYC, 1993

Ortmann puts on a show,
demonstrating straight pool as it should be played.


Painting on Green Canvas

Painting on Green Canvas
Bob Watson

With such a poetic title,
maybe I was expecting too much,
but this book left me wanting more...

First off, it is fiction,
and I like stuff that is real.
I want facts.
I want to learn.

But there are lots of people who shoot pool
who are completely different than me,
so if you're one of them,
you will probably really enjoy this story
of a college freshman who finds a pool mentor
in his first week at school.
He also finds a girl, gets in a tournament,
and... well, you can probably see it coming
even if I don't tell you the ending.

It's a fast, rather enjoyable read,
with some good pool bits.
I found myself underlining some of the
things he learns from his mentor.

Good gift item for the pool shooter who reads.

Click here to buy it at readers give it 5 stars.

Click here for the rest of the books, DVDs, etc
in my billiard library.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Billiards Ad Infinitum

More experimenting with the camera...
I found a new angle on the table,
looking through only one pane of the balcony window.
The table seems to be an integral part of
the continuum to infinity.

Photo taken at sunset today,
the last full moon of 2007.


Seeing Ghosts

I was experimenting with my pocket camera
(Canon 950, 12.1 megapixel)
set it on self-timer, 10 seconds,
set up an easy 9 in the corner
and stroked slowly through the shot.

After a few tries,
which digital photography encourages for free,
I got the shot above,
clearly showing the trails of the overhead lights
following the cue ball on the tangent line,
and very faintly, the 9 ball into the pocket.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Truth and Beauty: found at last!

Those visitors who have paid any attention
to the sub-headline on this home page
may have wondered about my
search for "Truth and Beauty" in this game.
(Many, if not most, pool players seek money
or domination, or even social success)

Here's an example of what I had in mind:
(click the play button to start the video)

Got it?


Monday, December 17, 2007

8 ball stout, the pool shooter's brew

When Dan showed up yesterday to shoot pool,
he came bearing a seasonal gift:
A six-pack of 8 Ball Stout,
made by the Lost Coast Brewery
in Humboldt Nation, CA

I guess he was hoping to get me off my game
by tempting me with the booze,
but I held off until today,
and the report is good.

Here's what one guy had to say about it

Uber roasted aroma, body tastes heavily of toffee and chocolate.
Very sweet beer with a nice mouth presence."


Thank you, Dan. Good stuff.


Sunday, December 16, 2007

Good news, bad news

First, let's get the very bad news out of the way:
Dan drove down from Orange County,
and proceeded to destroy me in straight pool,
by a score of 100 to a number that is
so humiliating that I will not repeat it here.

It seemed I could just not get going.
He would run a rack and play me safe,
and repeat, ad nauseum.

He played well. I didn't.

So we took a break for food,
then played on,
and that's where the good news started.
(couldn't have gotten any worse!)

In nine ball, I won 7-5,
and then eight ball, I won 3-0,
and then he had to drive back home.
Needless to say, I was playing a LOT better
after getting some food.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas at Mikie's Fun House

Nothing says Christmas like stringing lights outside
to try to convince the world I'm not the Scrooge
they think I am.

It probably doesn't work,
but I like the lights anyway,
and I may just keep them up all year.


The IPT tries a comeback

The International Pool Tour (IPT) is back?
Who woulda thunk it?

Check out the revamped website
and the free videos of tournament 8-ball.
Free! Last year you had to pay a membership fee.

And even more free:
A live, online challenge match between
Johnny Archer and Earl Strickland
on December 19, 5pm Pacific time.
Grady Matthews and Mike Sigel
will do the commentary.
If this actually happens,
it will be a must-see.

How can they do it?
I guess one way is to not pay the prize money
earned by the tour players...
Oh, wait, they already tried that!
I guess we'll just have to wait and see
what Kevin Trudeau has up his sleeve this time.


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

New Book: Kid Delicious

Running the Table: The Legend of Kid
Delicious, the Last Great American Pool Hustler

The book is very well written,
but suffers from some errors of fact,
and less than perfect editing.
Just one example:

"...the hall had...a few seven-foot co-op seven-by-seven
barboxes, the seven-foot tables."

Say what? Shouldn't a pool player edit a book on pool?
(By the way, all those sevens are on page seven!)

Even with the excellent writing,
I just can not see what all the buzz is about.
If you want to learn how to improve your pool skills,
there is nothing in the book to help you.
It's just a bunch of mini-stories about how KD beat so-and-so
for how much money in some dive joint,
in some one-horse town,
doing drugs, crashing in cheap motels...
However, it might make a good Christmas present
for that overweight, drug addicted, depressed
pool hustler on your gift list.

Instead of buying the book,
Check out the interview at this link
with Sports Illustrated writer L. Jon Wertheim,
the author of the book mentioned above.

The piece looks at today's game -- why women draw more
interest than men, if the popularity of billiards is
decreasing and some funny stories from the road.
He says his book is currently being reworked as a screenplay and
should be in theaters sometime in the near future.

(blog top)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Never seen while shooting pool

Here is something you will never see
while standing around a pool table,
except at FastMikie's Fun House.

Panoramic 180 degree view of the ocean front,
beach and surf, at low tide, full moon, sunset.
Video recorded in front of FastMikie's Fun House, Del Mar, CA


Friday, December 07, 2007

Run out of tape

Another clip from Wednesday night straight pool match:

(Video link)

Opponent plays safe, but leaves the 8 barely exposed
for a shot into the side pocket,
which is an extremely small opening at this angle,
but I love these shots.
They require a confident follow through,
and good pre-shot, including breathing
slowly out before stroking.
It's a great looking shot.

After the 8, I could have taken the 12 for the easy shot,
but that would have put me down-table from the rack
and no way to break the pack, so the 5 is the better shot.
But I hit it way to hard to get shape on the 12 for the break,
and got lucky by bumping the 12 instead.

If I hit the 12 directly into the right side pocket,
it would have given me a low quality break,
so I opted for the cross-side bank which
gives the cue ball a better angle into the pack.

The 1 ball break into the bottom of the pack
turned out lucky with the 6 ball exposed for my only shot.
I was unhappy with the shot because I wanted
to glance off the rack not get welded to it.

The rack has a nice almost-dead cluster
giving the 10 ball into the bottom left corner,
so I work around getting a clear shot on it.

The tape ends as I'm down on the 9 ball,
but I remember sinking it,
and the next two for a run of 14.

Some things I'm learning from these videos:
1. I should get a higher camera angle.
2. Use a more solid bridge, heel of hand to table.
3. High Definition video is the way to go. Soon.


Short side shape going 3 rails w/ rev. eng.

Wednesday night's straight pool match:
there was this little run of only 12 balls,
but I spent most of it trying to
dislodge a 13-14 cluster
and nothing seemed to work
until I gave up trying to break it up,
and finally decided to
use sacrifice my ideal break ball, the 6, and
go 3 rails to get short side shape.

(Video link)

Opponent pockets the 4 but goes around the rack
without breaking a ball out,
then plays safe on the rack.

My only shot is the 10 to get out of jail.
Then use the 8 to break the rack some more.
And get more breakage with the 9, drawing into the 13,
but that's the start of my trouble...
I use the 15 in a botched attempt
to break the cluster, and only make it worse.

In the next shot, on the 3 ball,
I try to get short side shape on the 13-14 cluster,
but fall too high on the 13 and I get so frustrated
I poke the 5 ball with a one-handed air shot
instead of using the bridge.
Totally stupid, but it went in, only to leave me with
a low percentage combination 11 into the 7 in the side.
Then the 11 in the side to drop down on the 2
so I can break the cluster but I
gave it too much right hand english.

In my last attempt to get the cluster,
I abandon the idea of breaking them up and
decide to use my break ball, the 6,
to go three rails using inside (right) english,
and it works like a charm. Finally!!

What an absolutely pretty shot,
even if I do have to say so myself.
And fun, too!!

Now, sinking the trouble balls is easy,
but unfortunately, I get a little too straight on the 1 ball
so I have to really smack it in order to get shape
on the final ball, the 12, for the break shot,
and to continue my run.

As with all great runs, it ends badly.

What a pretty shot!
And I owe it all to El Maestro, Tony Sorto,
for showing me what the rails are for,
and for teaching me how to stroke
with high inside english.

It used to seem impossible,
but now it's as natural as breathing,


Thursday, December 06, 2007

Getting back into stroke

One of my sparring partners (Malve)
emailed me to see if I was ready to
get back into the game.

I felt that I should give my injured shoulder
some more time to heal before I
gave it the kind of workout that a
serious match of several hours would bring.
I really needed some pool.
You know the feeling.

So, yesterday, for some 5 hours,
we shot some straight pool matches, to 100,
and I remained undefeated.

At first, my play was awful,
with 4-ball runs as the best I could do.
But then my stroke-memory kicked it,
and I actually ran a rack!

FastMikie is back!

That's the good news,
but the bad news is that I was wiped out.
My back was killing me after four hours.
I need to work on stamina.

The entire session was videotaped,
so a couple of interesting shots
may soon appear here.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Zen Pool

"Zen Pool"


Max Eberle

is an excellent book
offering new insights into the mental game.

I gave it 4 stars out of 5
and I don't give out stars very easily.

Click here to buy it at

See what else is in my pool library
with this link


Sunday, December 02, 2007

Where have all the bloggers gone?

Where have all the pool bloggers gone?

Some of my favorites have gone quiet,
but their blogs are still on the web,
like some sort of digital archaeological artifacts.
Did they say all they have to say?
Are they ok?
Do they still shoot pool?

Robert Johnson,
8 ball in the corner pocket,
May 2006 to December 2006
Robert is a frequent commenter on my blog,
but we miss his thorough, analytical approach.

October 2006 to March 2007
The readers of this blog were so astute as to
vote my blog the best on the web!
We need more smart people in pool...

Adventures of a Northern Snooker Hero
July 2006 to August 2006
I really enjoyed CueLad's irreverent approach.
Aye, we miss you, CueLaddie. Have a pint!

And, here's a whole slew of them at
AZ Billiards listing of pro blogs.
Notice the most current blog date for the list.

Where have all the bloggers gone?
And why?


Website Improvements

You may notice some new and interesting behavior
on this website starting today.

As before,
links to other webpages are colored light blue.
Starting today, you can hover your cursor
over the link and a box will appear
that shows you what you will see if you click it.

For instance, if I were to show you a link
for an interesting 9-ball safety battle
"Long Dong vs. The Three Foul Rule"
you could simply hover over the link,
and the video clip will appear,
right here, so you never leave this webpage.

Or, for example, if I said that our website policy
of continuous improvement is known
in Japanese as "kaizen",
you could simply hover over "kaizen"
and the Wikipedia article appears, right here!

Or, if I were to mention that there is
a movie actor named Michael McCafferty,
you could hover over that link above,
and it would show you his profile
in the International Movie Data Base.

I haven't activated all the links on this website
with this new feature,
especially if they are links to other pages on this site.
But you can have fun discovering which ones work.
If you click in the box, you will leave this website
and go directly to the new site,
and then just click the "Back" button to come home.

Let me know how it works for you.


Friday, November 30, 2007

Undefeated, Again

Yesterday I saw the physical therapist again,
and endured some seriously deep massage,
which was not at all enjoyable,
but seemed magically effective.

Completely worn out from the experience,
I got to bed early and slept late this morning,
so I was good and rested when I finally rolled out of bed.

I knew when I was in the shower that
it was going to be a good day.

I could reach straight up with my left hand,
extending as far as possible,
and still there was no pain,
not even discomfort.

It was strangely wonderful.
To have a normal left arm again,
even for just a moment.

I had been waiting for this sign for months.
It meant that today I would hit some balls,
and rejoin The Way of The Cue,
the path to enlightenment,
and of course to global domination at billiards.

Some may suggest that such a goal is unrealistic.
I suggest that the people who say these things
have a certain lack of imagination.

In any case, the Universe provided me with an opportunity
to take the first step along The Way.
The phone rang, it was Dr. Mark,
my arch-rival who challenges me at every turn,
and between us, according to him,
we play for the "World Championship",
and bragging rights, of course,
which are of the utmost importance.

Aye, the gods were with me today,
and I went undefeated in two matches of 8-ball,
and won back the crown which he took from me
when my arm was at its weakest.

Undefeated. I love that word.

Even though this was only a local grudge match,
it was nevertheless a win.

Starting at the moment of a win,
a person becomes, or continues to be,

How sweet it is...


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

New Pool Countdown

It has been coming for a long time,
but I never really knew When it would start,
so I have just now committed to draw a line in the sand,
and decided that New Pool would start as of the New Year,
which seems appropriate.

To that end,
and to help keep me focused on that new beginning,
and to help with the math,
there is a New Pool countdown,
located at the bottom of the right hand column,
quietly ticking off the days, hours, minutes and seconds
until the start of New Pool.

Stay tuned...


Monday, November 26, 2007

Lag Shots - part 2

Above is my last attempt, from last night,
at the exercise mentioned in the first part of this
discussion on lag shots.

You are looking at the foot rail.
I shot from the foot string to the head rail,
then back to the foot rail.
Yes, this is the reverse of how a lag is typically done,
but it was closer to the electrical outlet for the cameras.

Nine of the shots are within two ball diameters
from the cushion.
Four shots had their midpoint within 1 ball diameter.
One shot was snug on the rail.

And, of course we can not ignore
that one shot sitting out there by itself
that didn't even make it past the last diamond.
It's pretty clear that I must have been
thinking about something other than
the shot at hand.
Or maybe I had a stroke-spasm, who knows...

Another thing that shows up from this drill,
especially obvious from marking the resting places,
is that all the shots have drifted off to my left.
(All shots started on the foot string,
midway between the rightmost diamond and rail.)
This drifting may indicate either the table is off,
or I'm giving the slightest bit of left english.

What I would like is a tighter pattern, of course.
Ideally, I would have 10 pasties
all piled on top of each other, 1.125" from the rail.

As Buddy Holly sang so well:
"That'll be the day".


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Beginner's Mind - The Lag Shot

I have been giving some thought
to how I will get back in stroke
after I am recovered from my shoulder injury.
That got me to thinking about
different drills that may help.

Then, I took it one step more,
as I often do,
when I look deeply into the nature of things,
especially around the time of the New or Full moon.

I imagined that I was new to the game,
a rank beginner who never hit a ball,
and also that I was a teacher.
What would I have a novice do first?

The answer I got was the lag shot.
It is very basic, just the cue ball, no object,
and yet combines the elements of speed control,
absolute center ball hit,
follow through,
stance, grip, etc.

I devised a simple drill to test all this:
Taking ball in hand, lag 10 times.
Mark the resting place for each shot
(using self-adhesive ring binder hole reinforcements)
to give visual evidence
of the consistency of the results.

I probably did this lag drill at least 10 times today.
Certainly more than 100 shots in all.

At first I was all over the place,
and I noticed that my pre-shot routine
was highly erratic.
So I focused on the process,
and not so much on the results.

After lots of attention to what I was doing,
I devised a pre-shot routine as follows:

I started each shot from the same stance,
about 5 feet away from the table,
and moved into the shot
keeping my eyes burned into the
cue ball, exactly where I intended to hit it,
on the vertical centerline,
just above horizontal centerline.

I move forward from the pre-shot stance
at the moment of completing a full breath in,
and release the breath as I move to address the ball.
One more breath in as I take warm up strokes,
then release the breath, then stroke through the ball,
staying down until the ball reaches the far rail.

The challenge in all of this is
to stay in the moment,
to think of noting else but the shot at hand,
and to do this consistently for all 10 shots.
I found it helpful to think to myself:
"Come back to the rail"
at the time of the stroke.

I videotaped all of these drills today,
adjusting the camera position many times
to find the ideal location
to analyze my stroke,
and to correlate it with the result.

The entire process was very educational,
and I highly recommend it.

I'll have a video and photo soon.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Full Moon Scribbles

The sun has just set,
and the full moon is rising.

It's that time of the month again.
More precisely,
it is one of two times per month,
the New Moon, and the Full Moon,
which have a most predictable influence on me:
I write.

For the longest time I had no idea
of any particular cause for my writing.
I didn't notice any cycle to it.
After I got interested in celestial mechanics
and especially lunar influences,
it was then that I put it all together.

Have you noticed
how these cycles influence you?
If the moon's passing can lift the oceans as it does,
then why can't we harness that power
to create free energy for all?

Even solar energy is subject to weather,
and latitude,
but the lunar energy has no such limitations.
Who's working on that,
and what's holding them back,
the oil companies?


I just got back from a walk on the beach.
I love the Full Moon sunsets
because they bring massive low tides
and the wide beaches bring expansive feelings
and deep breathing
and my thoughts are unrestricted,
in harmony with the universe.


It was just yesterday, for the first time in two weeks,
that I picked up my cue
to play a game of pool.

It's probably the longest I have not played
in 4 years.
I have been healing and strengthening my shoulder,
and after a month of focus
I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
My range of motion increases a little, almost daily,
as the pain decreases,
and now it could only be called discomfort.

But I need to be a lot stronger
to get back into tournaments.
It will take time.

Meanwhile I've been giving a lot of thought
to where I go with my game from here.
I feel that my game is strong
and will get stronger.
I have not yet reached my prime,
but that may be closer than I might imagine.
I try not to think about that too much.

I know I do not want to turn pro.
Because I do not want to travel.
I'm a hermit, first and foremost.

Therefore I need to get the pros
to come to FastMikie's Fun House.
This plan is still in development.

Also, future plans will include video,
and of course writing will continue.

So: pros, video, writing.

Stay tuned...


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Be Bold

Begin It Now!

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy,
the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.
Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation),
there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which
kills countless ideas and splendid plans:
That the moment one definitely commits oneself,
then Providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help one
that would never otherwise have occurred.
A whole stream of events issues from the decision,
raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents
and meetings and material assistance, which no man
could have dreamed would have come his way.

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has Genius, Power and Magic in it.
Begin it Now!



Tuesday, November 20, 2007


You heard it here first:

As in Metropolis, Superman's town.
Or as in, Megalopolis.

In this case, it is Pool-opolis,
or, Pool City,
a place where pool is what it's all about.
Good name for a pool hall?
Or a place that sells pool stuff?

I Googled "Pool-opolis"
and got nothing.
Now that I have posted this bloglet,
there will be one, and only one
instance of this word on the web.

This is called a GoogleWhack.
Techies like these things.

Remember, you heard it here first.


Monday, November 19, 2007

What's it all about, FastMikie?

Some people ask: Why do I write this stuff?
It's complicated, but here are a few answers:

"We write to taste life twice."
(Anais Nin)

"Words come to me and
I must write to set them free.
If you read these words, or not,
my work is done.
I had to do it."

This blog is a diary, or journal, of my pool adventures. It began in early 2004 when I decided to get serious about the game after having been away from it for 40 years. It's all here, as it happens. The lessons, the wins, and even the losses. The people, the strategies, the emotions, and hopefully, sometime in the future, the Enlightenment, that point when it all makes sense, and it comes naturally, as if it were there all along...

There are many reasons why I write:

1. Reference. The primary purpose of this journal is for my own reference, so I can learn more fully from my experiences, record my progress.

2. History. So I have something to remember as it actually happened, when I'm old and gray and my memory, vision, judgment, and/or stroke have gone away.

3. Clarity. The act of writing slows the mind to select the right words, so thinking becomes clearer, priorities emerge.

4. Book. Keeping this journal has been a good way to accumulate material for a book on the subject, coming soon.

5. Commitment. The reason why I put this private stuff on the internet is because I have learned that by sharing with others I become more committed to my goals.

6. Law of Karma. Additionally, by making my experiences available to help others who come along after me, the Law of Karma is working to help me.

7. Immortality. A final motivation: writers write in the hope of some measure of immortality; the possibility that future generations of pool shooters, possibly in another millenium, will look on these words with appreciation. The Way of The Cue will persist as long as it brings good into the world.

8. A worthy cause. All profits from this blog are donated to this worthy cause.

So, bottom line:

this blog is one of the better things I can be doing
to improve my game, whether or not anyone reads it,
but my game will benefit as it benefits others.

Miscellaneous Notes

1. Everything always changes. Many times I will post an entry, then go back later and make some changes, additions, deletions. For example, I frequently re-read my old posts, and notice that I should clarify some point, or eliminate some redundancy, or add a link to some reference, or add a photo. So readers may want to occasionally review some of the posts you have already read, just to see if there is something more. People who subscribe to the post notices (free) will only be notified of new blog entries, and will miss out on getting notified of minor edits and revisions of previous entries.

2. Positive comments and questions are encouraged. If you have something to share on the topic of a blog entry, please leave a comment or question. However, this is a place for positive vibes only. Other vibes are deleted.

3. No Gambling. I play only for the love of the game, so there are no references to gambling here. There is no paid advertising on this website. All pool tournament winnings are donated to these charities.

(blog top)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Not the shameless self-promotion it appears.

This entry may seem entirely self-congratulatory,
and even capriciously, gratuitously so.

However, I can assure you that all is not as it appears.

(click for a really good look)

Today is cleaning day here at FastMikie's Fun House.
A trained professional comes in to do the job right,
and to take care of the heavy lifting,
an activity to which I have become increasingly allergic
over the years.

Since the last Fun House major cleaning,
just a month ago,
there were huge wildfires surrounding Del Mar.
Wildfires cause ash,
which gets everywhere,
even into the hallowed halls of FastMikie's Fun House,
and even, (oh, the horror) onto my cherished pool trophies.

I like my trophies.
But I don't gloat about them so much,
as time goes by.
After a year or so, they're kinda old news.
I like the memories, that's the best,
but the trophies seem to accumulate,
get moved around the Fun House,
used as paperweights, doorstops, etc.
Been there, done that.
What's next? Show me something I can't do...

And now, here is this cleaning mission I didn't ask for.
It was an Act of God.
(the fire thing, remember?)

So I had the need to gather up these trophies,
for special handling purposes only, you see.
Even a trained professional cleaning technician
should not be given such important personal mementos,
especially with the pointy sticks, delicate materials, etc.

Now here I am presented with a gaggle of trophies.
A bundle of bling, if you will.
And, the photographer in me immediately noticed
the Kodak Moment.

Now you know the story.
Every word of it true.
It was an Act of God.

God wanted me to show you all my trophies.

I've done my part.

Now I know what you are asking:
"What are all those trophies FOR?" right?
Ok, here goes:

Left Side, front to back:
1. 2005 Triple Play "Masters" MVP (undefeated)
2. 2007 Perfect Season (undefeated) 8-ball
3. 2004 Division 9 ball champions (team)

Middle column, front to back:
1. 2005 Division 8-ball champions (team)
2. 2004 City Champions 9-ball (team)

Right Side, front to back:
1. 2007 MVP 8 ball (undefeated)
2. 2004 US Amateur Championships, California (undefeated)
3. 2007 Division Champions 8 ball (team)

Included in the photo are various patches to wear,
for those times when carrying your trophies into a party
or to the store, is a bit awkward.
And that's my cue butt (Samsara #1676) in the foreground.
It seems my cue is always butting into the picture.

All right, little children.
You're all cleaned up and now off you go.
Back to your lonely lives as
doorstops, paperweights, and bookends.
Back to your lives of obscurity,
to serve quietly until some wayward glance will greet you,
and memories of your big day will give me a smile.

And today was another shining hour, with all your friends,
brought together for a moment in the sun.
I hope you all enjoyed it.

There you have it, dear reader.
True story. Act of God.
I'm not the raving ego-maniac you might judge me to be.

And now that I have shown you mine,
you should feel perfectly at ease showing me yours.



Saturday, November 17, 2007

We are not alone...

There were 1,930 people from 421 cities in 50 countries,
who visited this humble website,
since counting started less than 11 days ago.

That's a lot of visitors for a hermit like me.

But they were all well-behaved:
they didn't track in any dirt,
and they were very quiet.

I didn't even notice them.
They slip in the front door without a sound,
and root around, looking for cookies,
and pearls of wisdom,
as if they owned the place,
but again, it's all very quiet,
and they don't get in the way...
no harm at all, really.
Maybe it's like living with Casper the Friendly Ghost.
(Although I'd just be guessing.)

So, all you spooky people out there: "Howdy!"
Thanks for stopping by.

If you want to have some free fun,
and do something good for yourself, and others,
click on this banner below:

And then, tell a friend about Free Rice!
Kids love it too.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Gold Crown: it ain't real.

Three years ago,
when I decided to get serious about pool,
I replaced my 8+' Olhausen table
with a new, standard 9' Bruswick Gold Crown IV.
I have given this table strong use over several years.
It's a good table.

A real pool table has real wood, and leather.

Gold Crown lacks both.
Brunswick designed and built these tables
as a unit of commerce first and foremost.
Built to survive hazardous environments.
But it is soul-less.

The retro design is good.
I like it, actually.
Except for the moon-lander feet.

But what's with the bogus wood?
And all that metal?
Somebody went a bit too far.

One of my main disappointments with the GC IV
is the utter lack of attention to detail.
It's as if the phrase "fit and finish" were unknown.
The quality is at 1950's levels.

It needs real wood and real leather.

Can one be built this way?
And would it be built by craftsmen who
want to build furniture for discriminating owners
rather than units of commerce for pool halls.

If not, is there an option?
Is there a table that the highest level players
fully accept and welcome
as an alternative to the Gold Crown IV,
and that is built with real wood and leather?

Is that option a Diamond?

They make these tables with
somewhat more challenging pockets,
and a stunning Honduran rosewood is available,
real wood, real leather.
And it's available with normal legs,
without the moon-lander feet.

I'm not necessarily sold on the design.
But it's real wood and leather.
The way a real table should be.

If I got this table,
would I soon again find some fatal flaw in it,
and in another year or so,
start to look again, endlessly searching
for that perfect table,
which always rolls true, and gives me
effortless and spectacular runs in the hundreds?

(blog top)

Monday, November 12, 2007


For 20 years, a very good friend in Australia
has never, ever spelled my name right.
He insists on "Mikey" or "Mickey" or "Micky"
even though I always spell it "Mikie".
Don't get me wrong, I like Mikey (not Mickey),
but I figured you could only have it one way,
so I chose Mikie.

Well, I finally got tired of the game,
so I got and
and they come right here,
just like
and, for those who like the old way, gets here too,
but that's a lot to type,
especially if you're using a PDA, iPhone, iPod touch...

So, spell it your way.
If you like Mikey, Mickey, Mikie, Mike, or even Micky
just be sure to add Fast,
and you're on your way here.

I now have a Fast
Mikie/Mikey/Mickey/Micky/Mike market monopoly.
(say that 3 times, Fast)

(blog top)

Niels Feijen runs 259

Check out this excellent run!

Niels Feijen

straight pool run of



Sunday, November 11, 2007

Fast Mikie now FastMikie

On the entire worldwide web,
many are Fast,
and many are Mikie,
but there is only one FastMikie.

Notice that there is no space in FastMikie.
Space is Time.
It takes time for that space,
and if time is used unnecessarily,
then it is not as Fast as possible.
FastMikie is so fast
that it is all one word, no space.
FastMikie is so fast,
that it is spoken as one syllable.
This will take practice.
Be persistent.
You will succeed.

(blog top)

On the mend...

For the first time in a couple of months
the pain is subsiding,
and I can move my left arm
with more confidence.
This morning I could reach the top of my head,
for the first time in months.
Ah, the joy in simple things!

This is the first mention of my left shoulder,
which was in such pain and limited range of motion
that I actually went to a doctor,
my good friend Mark Kalina,
who gave me a shot of cortisone
which relieved the worst of the pain,
but then it wasn't getting any better,
so I went to a physical therapist Mark suggested,
and after two sessions,
and doing two sets of exercises, well...
it is a miraculous example of the power of
or if you want my system:
Think - Plan - Do - Repeat.

So it looks like I just may shoot pool again.
Thank you, god, whoever you are.

I have not spoken of this challenge before
because it is The Way of The Cue
to create only positive realities.
To write the words of a victim mindset
is to give life to that which limits you.

Additional background on this physical challenge:
It was midsummer this year,
about 4 months ago,
the right side of my neck became
progressively tighter, with pain
that I relieved with Advil to excess.
I figured the cause was the stress of
continuing my undefeated season.
The pain moved to my left shoulder
and increased right through
and after,
the end of the season.
That's when I resolved to rest and heal,
to take a vacation from pool,
but without positive results
after several weeks,
that's when I finally gave in
and decided to Act.
It is only by positive action that
results are achieved.
It is The Way of The Cue.

(blog top)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Way of The Cue

As with
The Way of The Sword,
The Way of The Cue
is a way of Life,
whereby a participant discovers their true Self,
and the secrets of the Universe.

As the Samurai has his sword,
the pool shooter has his cue.
Each is a Warrior who faces opponents
in a contest where there is only one winner.

The one who has greatest focus,
concentration, stamina, knowledge and skill
will survive to be victorious.

Full Attention
is the primary element.

The Way of The Cue
is celebrated in its highest form
in a formal event.
There are 4 types of events:

1. The Lesson
2. The Competition
3. The Exhibition
4. Practice

Each event has these defined elements:
1. It is video recorded. Each participant gets a copy.
2. One - two hour segments.
3. 15 minute break before resuming next segment.

Pre-Event Preparation
At Home
1. Full body cleansing with unscented soaps, deodorants, etc
2. Uniform: all black, pants, shirt, no adornments,
no advertisements, jewelry, buckles, rivets, etc.
(respect for the table)
3. Water, candy, etc.
4. Equipment: case, 2 cues, 2 spare shafts,
chalk, tool, towel, glove,
(no powder - respect for the table)
5. Meditation, self-hypnosis, affirmations, etc.
6. Any item not specifically permitted above is disallowed.
(no iPods, earplugs, books, papers, computers, PDAs, etc)

Note on chalk use:
participants keep personal chalk
in pants pocket at all times when not chalking,
not on table.
Chalking takes place over the floor,
not over the playing surface or rails.

Pre-Event Site Preparation
1. Clean balls
2. Clean table (vacuum, Chalk-off, then brush)
3. Video setup
4. Refrigeration for water
5. Participants' personal private area (restroom, soap, towels)
6. Participants' event chairs and table

Immediate Pre-Event Preparation
1. Participants remain in dressing rooms
until one minute before the event.
2. Meditation, final equipment preparations,
3. Use the loo, wash hands.

The Four Event Types:

1. The Competition
is a contest between two or more participants
with only one winner determined by known rules.
a. quiet: no talking, etc. no sounds.
b. calm: no displays of emotion
c. respect: integrity, sportsmanship, no sharking, etc.
d. At start and finish, Participants face each other, bow.
(no physical contact during entire event)

2. The Lesson
is an event whereby the student and teacher
work on one specific element of the Way.

3. The Exhibition
is an event whereby a 1 or 2 participants perform.

4. Practice
is an event whereby a sole participant
focuses on one or more elements of the Way.

Each event is identified with a
unique series of letters and numbers,
and a website address where more information
about the event is available.
(Names of participants, date, location, notes, etc)
Also at this website address is an open forum
for further discussion after the event.

(blog top)

Friday, November 09, 2007

91 degree cut

It sure looks like it would be impossible,
but clearly, it can be done.
And if I can do it, you can too...

El Maestro, in the white shirt, demonstrates first,
then me in the dark shirt.

Lots of low left english, lots of follow through,
aim to hit the cushion first, but close to the object ball,
so that the cue ball cuts the object ball in from behind.

A spectacular shot.

(blog top)

Monday, November 05, 2007

89 degree cut

The first time I saw this shot made,
I couldn't believe my eyes.

However, the proof is in the video.
And if I can do it, so can you.

The object ball is frozen to the foot rail.
Shoot the cue ball with extreme low right english,
lots of follow through, aiming to hit the rail first,
and the object ball is cut in from behind,
on the rebound off the rail.
When this shot is hit perfectly,
the cue ball comes straight back to the head rail,
and the object ball runs strongly into the pocket.

In this sequence, El Maestro, in the white shirt,
demonstrates first. Then it's my turn (dark shirt).

After you've seen the video clip above,
check out the short one below.
In this one El Maestro challenged me
with the same shot, only tougher.

Every once in a while everything just goes right
and the quality of hit is perfect.

OK, now you've seen it,
and it's your turn to do it...

Video shot on location at
Fast Mikie's Fun House in Del Mar, CA.

(blog top)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

One tough position shot

The cue ball and object balls are frozen to the foot rail,
and you need to get shape on the 9 ball on the head rail.

Use extreme low right with a strong smooth stroke
with lots of follow through
while aiming just to the left of the center
of the object ball.
The resulting action of the cue ball is caused
partly by draw, and partly by the english
which spins the cue ball off the long rail.

El Maestro, in the white shirt, demonstrates first,
and then me (dark shirt).

Through the miracle of video editing,
you don't have to suffer through the 40+ times
I flubbed it before I finally made it.

Now it's your turn...

(blog top)

Monday, October 29, 2007

What's in a name?

Where does the name "Fast Mikie" come from?

What a fascinating question,
and I'm glad you asked,
so we can clear up the issue once and for all.

It happened in 1963.
Wow, that's almost half a century ago!
Amazing how time just slips away...

It was my senior year in college.
There was a pool hall on campus,
and I spent a lot of time there.

It took me a couple of years of losing
before I started to catch on to the game,
and then the summer before my last year
I practiced a lot, and got pretty good.

In the first couple of weeks of my senior year,
I won a lot of money at the game,
as I systematically released my new 'speed'
just enough to get the money,
until ultimately I was giving them the spots
that they used to give me, and more.

During one particularly profitable round at the tables
I was cleaning out a couple of old foes,
and there was a considerable gallery of sweaters attending,
and when a passer-by innocently asked what's all the commotion,
one of the kids was overheard to say:
"Fast Mikie is cleaning up!"

It was pretty evident that he was making a reference
to Paul Newman's character "Fast Eddie"
in the movie "The Hustler",
released just a couple of years prior.

It was really an appropriate name
for more than the obvious reason.

Another reason which resonated so strongly
was my firmly established reputation for driving fast.
Very fast. All the time. Everywhere.
My internal clock was just turned up.

And, I ran track and cross-country.
Loved to run.

Nowadays, my running is less fast,
and so is my driving,
and I sure don't hustle pool any more,
so maybe I should give up the name?

Not so fast!
(if you'll excuse the pun)

There's a lot more to "fast"
than you might think, at first.

What does it mean to be "fast"?

What a fascinating question,
and I'm so glad you asked,
so I looked up the word in the dictionary,
and here's what I found,
slightly edited so it wouldn't be too long.



1 moving or capable of moving at high speed : a fast and powerful car. • performed or taking place at high speed; taking only a short time : • performing or able to perform a particular type of action quickly : a fast reader. • (of a person or lifestyle) engaging in or involving exciting or shocking activities :

2 (of a clock or watch) showing a time ahead of the correct time :

3 firmly fixed or attached : he made a rope fast to each corner.
(of friends) close and loyal.

4 Photography (of a lens) having a large aperture and therefore allowing short exposure times.

1. at high speed : he was driving too fast. •
within a short time : they think they're going to get rich fast.

2. so as to be hard to move; firmly or securely : the ship was held fast by the anchor chain. PHRASES pull a fast one informal try to gain an unfair advantage


1 a fast pace speedy, quick, swift, rapid; fast-moving, fast-paced, high-speed, turbo, sporty; accelerated, express, blistering, breakneck, pell-mell; hasty, hurried; literary fleet.

2 he held the door fast secure, fastened, tight, firm, closed, shut; immovable, unbudgeable. antonym loose.

3 a fast color indelible, lasting, permanent, stable. antonym temporary.

4 fast friends loyal, devoted, faithful, firm, steadfast, staunch, true, inseparable; constant, enduring, unswerving.

5 wanton; informal easy; dated loose.


1 he drove fast quickly, rapidly, swiftly, speedily, briskly, at speed, at full tilt; hastily, hurriedly, in a hurry, posthaste, pell-mell; like a shot, like a flash, on the double, at the speed of light; informal lickety-split, PDQ (pretty damn quick), nippily, like (greased) lightning, hell-bent for leather, like mad, like the wind, like a bat out of hell; literary apace. antonym slowly.

2 his wheels were stuck fast securely, firmly, immovably, fixedly.

3 he's fast asleep deeply, sound, completely.

4 he lived fast and dangerously wildly, recklessly, self-indulgently, extravagantly

Yep, that's me,
Fast Mikie.
So there were all these other reasons
why the name Fast Mikie stayed with me,
even though I stopped playing pool after graduation from college
when I took a job, started workin' for the Man,
got married, had kids, moved around, changed jobs,
then went into business on my own,
got lucky, retired, got into Ferraris and airplanes
(more of the "fast" stuff again)...
all the while, all 40 years of what came after college,
these were The Dark Ages of No Pool.

It's just amazing how time slips away...

That brings us up to four years ago,
when I picked up my old cue,
and started shooting pool again.

Fast Mikie is back!

(to be continued...)

(blog top)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Ragged Point

Something good finally came about
from my loss at the US Amateur Championships,
the finals of which will be played this coming weekend.

On my drive to the tournament in Mountain View, CA
(a trip of about 8 hours driving time)
I decided to break it into two parts,
and stay over at Ragged Point,
about halfway up the coast.
It is of one of my favorite places on the planet.

Click here for link to YouTube
Ragged Point Video

or, click the play button, below:

Video of the surf and rocks,
looking south from my room at Ragged Point, CA,
which is about 12 miles north of San Simeon (Hearst Castle),
and just south of Big Sur.
It's a great place for peace and solitude and the sounds of the surf.

There are no phones in the rooms, but there is wireless.

Just outside my room, there is a path of about 15 feet,
then the low chain link fence right at the very edge of the cliff.
I balanced my camcorder on the top of this fence,
and let it capture a few moments of paradise.
I figured it would be good material for those meditative times
back at Mikie's Fun House, in Del Mar, CA.

I put this video on the internet and The Public Domain
as a gift to all who may find this clip,
and also find a moment of tranquility.

There may be more Ragged Point video clips coming soon.
To find them, search YouTube for "Ragged Point FastMikie"

(blog top)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Shot of the Day: Natural Combination with Surprise Ending

Some shots just seem to look "on".
It's a feeling as well as a mental thing.

Normally, I would take the time
to carefully line up any combination,
but this one just looked natural.

What I didn't count on was
the 7 ball going in the opposite corner pocket!
What I hoped was for the 7 to
come two cushions and stop near the rack
for a good break shot.

Getting shape on the third ball can be a challenge,
especially when it has to do some traveling,
as in this case.

(blog top)

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Google and YouTube
are making it easier
to enjoy, and learn from,
some excellent video of the cueing arts.

I've been working on organizing
some of my new video clips
and some of my favorites
in pool, carom billiards, and snooker.
No trick shots.

Click for


(blog top)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Nero Fiddled, Mikie Played (pool)

I did not sleep easy.
There was an outside chance I could be wrong
about ignoring the mandatory immediate evacuation order.

Hanging on my decision:
not just my life,
but the life of my 90-year old adopted-mom neighbor.

By noon, the police and fire officials announced
that Del Mar residents could return to their home.
So, I cheated Death again.

There's not much you can do about massive wildfires.
Officials recommend you stay indoors,
and use as little electricity as possible.
That easy for a hermit pool-shooter.

I performed more experiments
with my new Apple MacBook Pro
using iMovie to capture and edit pool videos.
Experiments include tripod locations,
lighting, sound, POV height, angle, etc
as well as editing decisions on format, file size,
white balance, etc.
Lots to learn.

Several new video clips will be YouTube'd soon.
Stay tuned.

That is, assuming the fires die and I don't.

(blog top)

Monday, October 22, 2007


The first call came just as it was getting dark.
It was the Sheriff's department,
an automated message
(Reverse 911)

"Prepare to Evacuate"

Two hours later,
the San Diego police left the message:

"Mandatory immediate evacuation"

The moment of decision is here.
How much time do I have?
What stuff do I grab?

I was working on answering these questions,
and it was only after a couple of hours
that I realized that my cue case
was still sitting in the corner of the fireplace
not in the pile of stuff to take.
Wow! How did that happen?

Where do your pool cues stand in your priorities?

I have been putting together
a couple of "Go bags".

#1 survival clothing
(heavy duty footwear, cold weather gear)
#2 survival items
(first aid, water purification, compass, signal mirror, etc)
#3 technology
(phone, camera, laptop computer, backup, camcorder)
#4 out the door
(wallet, keys, passport)

Maybe, if I had all the above packed in the car,
and I had a spare minute to look around again,
I would have seen my case
and grabbed it.

What about my pool trophies?
Would that seem a bit tacky,
standing around watching my home burn down,
holding my pool trophies safe from extinction?

I've decided to stay put.
No immediate evacuation for me.
I drove to the top of the hill,
and there is no fire visible to the east.

I think the police alert was done
with an abundance of caution.
Government can't go wrong scaring people.
It makes people think their government
is doing something good for a change.

And then there's the whole issue of
the 90+ year old saint of a woman next door.
It seems that after being neighbors for 4 years,
I kinda adopted her as my new mom,
and she kinda adopted me as her son.

Well, she has trouble with her breathing,
so this smoky air is not good for her,
so I didn't want to subject her to the night air
and the stress of having to evacuate her
home of the past 35 years.

My aviation experience has given me
a good handle on weather analysis.
I think the fire will advance slowly
and be controlled before it gets here.

Am I an optimist, or what?

So here I sit, writing this,
and waiting for the fire to crest the hill.
Then I'll grab the bags, the old lady next door,
and maybe my cue case,
and head out into hell.


(blog top)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Shootin' Pool, Talkin' Trash

El Maestro stopped by yesterday
and we shot some straight pool for 8 hours non-stop,
talkin' trash the entire time.

I'm from Philadelphia,
so trash-talkin' is as natural as
wolfing down a cheese steak sandwich.

We didn't keep score,
but I'm sure I won.
And I'll bet he's just as sure he won.
But that's the joy of scoreless pool,
it's the only way both shooters can win.

We played mediocre, at best.
Neither of us ran much past one rack,
but that's ok
because, without keeping score,
we get to try shots we wouldn't
if we were keeping score.

And that's how you learn...

(blog top)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Video: Version Two of the Sorto String

Here's a better copy of the Sorto String drill.
Notice that I get a little long on some shots,
but all the balls go in cleaner in this video.

Since I've been taking break from competition,
I've had the time to work on
some long overdue projects.
I got myself a MacBook Pro computer
and figured out how to do the video editing,
so there may be more in the near future.

(blog top)

Run Six Balls on the Rails

Click above to see the video and then
try running these six balls:

The 1, 3 and 5 balls are on the long rail.
The 2, 4 and 6 balls are on the foot rail.
All balls are at the diamonds.

Run them
in sequence into the corner pocket.
No banks.

Position gets increasingly more difficult.

When you can do this effortlessly,
then try it without hitting any other rails
except the rail the ball is on.
I'm still trying to do that!

(blog top)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Sexy pool video

Any time I'm in the Denver area...
heck, if I can think of an excuse to get near Colorado in general,
I always find a way to visit my good buddy Samm Diep,
the foxiest Asian pool shooter in the game.

Click below to see

Samm's Sexy Pool Video

There's a pool table involved, but you probably won't notice it...


(blog top)

Gravely Addicted to Pool

Check out the headstone of Walter Lindrum,
Australian pool shooter of considerable skill.

I'd like one similar, but with green granite
for the bed of the table,
and a granite replica of my playing cue,
and make the table look more like mine.

Of course, I'm in no rush...

(blog top)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Hustler & The Champ

A must read new book:

The Hustler & The Champ
Willie Mosconi, Minnesota Fats, and
The Rivalry That Defined Pool

by R.A. Dyer

I could not put this book down.
Very well written, and very well researched.
The greatest rivalry in the game.
Lots of new facts, insights, stories.

* * * * *
Five Star Rated

See other books in the Fast Mikie Pool Library

(blog top)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Pool Vacation

I was just getting into discovering the joys of my
"Pool Vacation".

For several days I have been
getting a lot done,
all of it non-pool related,
you know, LIFE!

Being addicted to pool, or anything for that matter,
(I know, I seem to collect addictions)
seriously limits other activities.
That's what addictions are all about.
They take over your entire life
until all you do is the addiction.

Hello, my name is Mikie, and I'm an addict.

So here I am, doing good for a couple of days,
staying clean, no pool,
and then El Maestro (El Diablo?)
stops by and challenges me to a game of
Straight Pool.

I'm sure I could have resisted 8 or 9 ball.
But straight pool?
El Diablo knows my weakness too well.
The bastard.

We were well and truly into it,
it was my shot, and far up in score,
when the phone rings and I had to take the call.
I was away from the table less than 4 minutes.

While I was in the office on the call,
out of sight of the table,
El Maestro moved the 7 ball,
the exact one I was lining up before the call,
and snookered it for no shot.

Did he think I am a complete moron?
I may be a pool addict
doing a little backsliding at the moment
but my mind has not completely snapped,

It did not end there.
El Diablo continued to shark me
throughout the entire game.
At one point, as he was moving the scoring beads
at the end of a rack,
he removed several beads from my score
with a slight of hand that
he obviously thought I would not notice.

This confirmed my earlier thought that
he had caught up to my score rather quickly.

I wonder what other stuff he was doing
that I didn't see.
He is an expert at these things.
He has seen it all,
and over the past 4 years,
he has shown me some amazing sharks,
cheats, tricks, mind-games, and more.

Maybe that's what he is trying to teach me now...
He wants me to shoot pool,
but take my mind off the score,
take my mind off of "winning".

Pool without keeping score.
Just for the fun of it.
What a concept!!

Curse you, El Diablo!

In his defense,
he had a good reason to show up at the Fun House.
The shaft on his Joss cue
has been making some bad sounds,
a twangy vibration,
and it has been getting worse.

I needed to measure the shaft diameter precisely
so we could order up a replacement shaft,
and a spare.
(12.25mm, Moori soft tip)

Sherry, at Joss, made the process easy.

Sherry, Joss Cues

Looking at Sherry's photo,
I just want to order some more pool stuff.

Temptations are everywhere for the pool addict.
I gotta try harder,
but there's this big pool table
right in the middle of my living room.

Maybe I need to go to a clinic and detox.

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