April 29, 2009

Petanque in Orange County CA

Veronique and her friends of Orange Accueil in Irvine get together with their boules once a month for petanque and hold their annual tournament in June.
I just got the film of last years' event. They're having a blast!
Kudos to Marc, le cinéaste, for the special effects and his choice of music(*).

Video Clip

(*)French folk, playing petanque in S California, on the music of Gloria Gaynor in a Dutch remix by Hermes House. How more cosmopolitan can you get?

April 27, 2009

Tournament in Austin TX

Heart of Texas Petanque Club presents their first annual tournament.

Sunday May 3
French Legation Museum
Doubles (2 players/team)

Registration: 9:30am - start at 10:00am sharp
Entry fee: $5 p/p for club members, $10 for non members
Bring: Folding chairs & tables, food, drinks & sunscreen

Register with Arsène Dupin at arsene.dupin[at]gmail.com
Any questions, call him at 512-468-0957

Open to everyone!
The museum will be open for guided tours at 1:00pm

Petanque in Petaluma

Good news: things are moving! Literally.
Dave and his friends brought out some heavy equipment to speed it up.

Patience and persistence have paid off for petanque players in Petaluma!
Almost time to party ;-)

Petanque in Lakeway TX

A one-day petanque camp on May 16.

<--- click on the poster for details

April 17, 2009

Petanque with dice

Last year, Editions Dujardin (makers of the famous "1000 bornes") came out with a petanque board game in France, "Pétanque aux dés", with round dice. I haven't had the chance to try it out, but a set is on the way to us to check it out, and possibly work on a translation of the rules.

To launch it, Dujardin shot a couple of short video clips of Patrick & Manu, two fanatic petanque players who are always ready for a game. But the weather can be so uncooperative!

Rain and thunder is frustrating. Especially when the caddy du jour (their nephew) walks away with the umbrella.
How about mistral, the violent wind in the South? At least you can read the paper until the caddy reports back on the score. Manu wins the second game on a 2.4 kilometer distance, but the caddy refuses to hang around for "la belle", the tiebreaker.

Maybe better to play indoors?

And thàt's when they came up with the board game idea...
Anytime, anwywhere.

April 16, 2009

Petank Party

For the diehard petanque + internet fans this may be old news, but since it came out during my "blogger sabbatical" I had not posted it here yet ..

In October, UFO Games in Lyon released Petank Party for PC, followed by an Xbox 360 version in December. The animation is top class, the controls are very intuitive and the sounds quite realistic (apart from the giggling). And you can customize sound and other effects all you want.

The BEST part is that you can download a (75 Mb) working demo version for free. It has a few limits (like you can only play in the Provençal villa, nothing wrong with that..) but it gives you an excellent feel for the game. Last night I spent an hour getting my ass kicked by an alien. I'll return the favor tonight.

And if you like the game, the full version costs only $ 9.95.
That's a very fair price for hours of entertainment on a cold or rainy day.

Petank Party

The reviews on expert gamer sites are quite positive as well.
"Chapeau bas" to the team at UFO!

April 15, 2009

Surrealistic boules

Part of the collection of Philadelphia's Museum of Art is a famous piece by French-American artist Marcel Duchamp."Etant donnés" is a tableau of a waterfall with of a nude woman and a gas lamp, hidden behind a monumental door. Two little peep holes (well worn as you can see) allow you to discover the scenery he concocted in secret for 20 years, while telling his friends he had given up art for chess, his second passion.

In 1994, Bay artist Paul Kos decided to make a "male" version for the
di Rosa Art Preserve in Napa CA, with the appropriate name "Zizi Va !"

Again, one needs to peek through the door to see the surprise.

Go ahead, click on the door ---->

Here's a previous post about Paul, who also has (at least) two passions: art and petanque.

April 14, 2009

Off topic

Once in a while something comes along that you just have to share. Probably you've seen it already. But if not .. :

On Friday, Susan Boyle, a 47 yr old lady from Blackburn, Scotland was virtually unknown outside her town. Single and unemployed, she took care of her ailing mom for the better part of the last decade and sang in church, and as a hobby.
On Saturday night she appeared on the opening show of "Britain's Got Talent". Barely 72 hours later, thanks to YouTube, she has made millions of people cry (or at least blink very hard) around the globe.

Here she is: Susan Boyle (YouTube)
Crank up your speakers!

Music trivia: in "Les Misérables" it was the character Fantine who sang "I dreamed a dream". The entire soundtrack of the musical was composed by Claude-Michel Schönberg.
Anyone who lived in Europe in 1974 will remember Schönberg from his slow hit song, that made dance floors look like the couples had frozen up, forever, "sur place" ;-). Another classic:
Le Premier Pas - C-M Schönberg
That record was produced by the man who launched Schönberg's career and became his close friend: Franck Pourcel, a true Marseillais who loved his regular games of "boules" ... We're back on topic.

April 13, 2009


In the series OMG, here's another example:

6 crappy boules for $170.00
Maybe the extra inch in diameter (100mm) explains it?

If you missed it, here was OMG # 1.

Petanque on Wii

Hudson Entertainment (Konami) announced today that Deca Sports 2 will have 10 sports again, one of which is petanque. Available in the US in the fall.
In Europe it will be out in May and called Sports Island 2.

It's not the first Wii petanque game, because Ubisoft already included petanque in its World Sports Party package earlier this year. Reviews on the net are not raving on that one, but.... the most important part is that millions of people will no longer say: "Petanque? Never heard of it." The more petanque on Wii, the better.

Here's a funny screen shot from a French review that says:

"So, do I shoot or point?"
"Do whatever you want, the result will be the same!"

April 12, 2009

Petanque in London

There's a petanque pitch in famous Hay's Galleria along the Thames river. But for the fact that it's covered, it replicates the South of France to a tee.

Look at the 360° view on this link. It makes you want to go there right away! Pan up to see the roof.

To book the pitch, you have to contact Balls Brothers. Seriously.

I picked it up from an article in today's Sunday Independent, that lauds the fact that there are several spots where you can play petanque in the city during the summer. Great!

But why did the journalist have to spoil a good story by adding that ... " in France the players tend to be old, male and drunk" ??
Precisely what I mentioned two weeks ago.

April 11, 2009

Big boule

Talking about small boules, I suddenly remembered this old picture.

If I'm not mistaken it was used by Europe Assistance, the travel insurance company, in one of their magazine ads.

April 10, 2009

Small hands

For the folks with small hands (like myself) we now have a wider than ever range in stock:

Obut Match in 71 millimeter (680 to 730 grams)
Obut *Match 115* IT in 71 millimeter (670 to 700 grams)
JB Junior in 70.5 millimeter (650, 660 and 670 grams)

Small boules, big players ;-)

April 9, 2009

Portland Bouligans

Shaughn and his friends, previously known as La Boule Rose, the club that plays in Jamison Square - downtown Portland OR - have a new name: Portland Bouligans, and a new website.


April 8, 2009

USA Women's National Team 2009

This past weekend the qualifiers were held in Boca Raton FL to decide who will represent us in China in September Thailand in November.
All great players, but we can send only one team...
And the winners are:
Cynthia, Mia (both from Blue Hill ME) and Marieke (Boca)
Diana, Sandra (both from LAPC) and Antonia (Sonoma)
Narin, Erin & Barbara (Sonoma)

Thanks to Juan - always smiling even when on duty - for the report and photos.

Many more in his album

Fresno Petanque tops 100

From 0 to 100 in 19 seconds months. We're talking members of course. That must be a worldwide record!

Read about this and other recent achievements in Fresno Petanque Club's latest newsletter.

April 7, 2009

High school petanque

John in El Paso, TX was recently invited by Cathedral High School to initiate a class of students into the art (and fun) of petanque.

As an accomplished all-round sportsman he has a knack for explaining and getting straight to the point.

To any school principal or teacher reading this:
if you are ever looking for a petanque teacher, do give us a call. Maybe we know someone in your area. Petanque is one of the simplest games on earth, but it helps to have a person with experience to get 20 or 30 students going within a short time frame.

April 6, 2009

La Partie de Boules (Pagnol)

I blogged it in 2007, but the clip kept vanishing, so last week I kindly asked the folks of Marcel-Pagnol.com if they could please add it to their online library.

Today I received a friendly message from Nicolas Pagnol, the maestro's very own grandson, to let me know that the classic fragment from the 1932 movie "Fanny" is now online - with English subtitles.
Though it depicts "boule Provençale", the prédecessor of pétanque, not much has changed in those past 77 years, in terms of expressions, manierisms, and trash talk!
Raimu, who plays Cesar, was a master in all.

"Merci beaucoup" on behalf of all the "boulistes du monde" for this timeless piece of art.

Read more about Marcel Pagnol, his life and work

Update 05/16/09: Jac Verheul wrote a great story about this scene on Boulistenaute. The article is in French, but the collection of postcards alone is worth a visit.

April 5, 2009

Petanque at the Biltmore

Starting this Tuesday the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables (Miami) will have weekly tournaments at 6:00pm.
With happy hour drinks.

<-- Click on the poster for details

An excellent way to unwind after work on a Tuesday evening.

Petanque at Club Med

Some 10 years ago we started supplying Club Med resorts in Mexico, the Caribbean and Florida with boules for their guests to use. Strangely enough, in recent years, all we ship is "cochonnets" (target balls). LOTS of them.
To the point where both Club Med's regional purchasing manager and myself sometimes wonder what they do with them!

The answer lies in these beautiful photos on Flickr, of the boules area at Club Med Punta Cana, in the D.R.
Pretty obvious: notwithstanding daily use (and abuse), on the beach, in a salty environment, year after year, the boules are holding up extremely well. Scratched, beat up, dented, you name it, but totally adequate for hours of fun. But the little wooden targets inevitably get lost here and there in the soft beach sand.

More Club Med photos by Ed Yourdon

April 4, 2009

Petanque in Yucatan

Pierre and his friends in Merida are serious about AFYP, and are planning to develop it into a full fledged Mexican Petanque Federation.
I made contact this week and hope we'll soon have yet another petanque neighbor in N. America.

As you can see in the clip, they got the right spirit.

If you're like me and wonder who again sang that summer hit "Allons z’à la campagne" : it was Kent, in 1994.

Florida tournaments

This time of year our RV friends in the South are heading back home (up North, that is). The end of another winter season with almost daily petanque play in hundreds of RV resorts. And regular tournaments, sometimes with close to 100 participants. Many resorts have increased their playing area, in some cases by simply tearing up the unused shuffleboard courts.
Here are a few souvenirs from ...

Green Acres in Dover:

Camp Inn Resort in Frostproof:

Citrus Park in Bonita Springs:

Many thanks to Gorden, Dennie and Allen (nice T-shirt!) for these pics. It was great to talk to y'all again, and I look forward to next season. Hopefully for a meeting in person.

PS: There must be a severe shortage of digital cameras in Arizona because I just cannot seem to get any photos from my buddies in places like Yuma!

April 2, 2009

Petanque Festival in Canada

From Sat July 25 till Sun Aug 2nd

in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield
about 40 miles SW of Montreal.

That's 9 days of petanque in a beautiful town along the St Lawrence River!

The local club website

The full program in English (PDF)

Our dear friend Roger Arpaia is President of the organizing committee. Feel free to contact him with any questions at rarpaia@hotmail.com

There will be 72 petanque courts alongside the marine, and RV and camper locations all around. So to our RV friends in AZ, TX and FL I'd suggest to head across the border at the end of July!

Assembling teams

Whenever you get together for fun games with random teams there's the question: Who plays with who, versus who and - if you're a bunch and have several courts - on what court.
Traditional ways are:
- take one boule from each player, toss them in the air and line them up, or
- have all players toss one boule towards the target ball at the same time
and then pick from the result. 1+2+3 vs 4+5+6, or 1+3+5 vs 2+4+6, etc...

Our ever inventive Gary came up with a simpler, faster way. He takes as many cards from a deck as there are players, and says - for example: "7 plays vs 8 on court 1" and "Aces play against Kings on court 2". Everyone picks an unseen card and within seconds the teams are made. Totally random. And he does it in a breeze while some of us are still shooting it ;-)

Another possibility: say you have some advanced players and you want to avoid they end up in the same team. Give each of them a card of one suit (say, spades) and let the other players pick cards from the other suits.

German championships

A nice video promotion trailer for the upcoming national championship in Bühl. Not only the shots, also the sound. Well done.
They have plenty of play areas available.

Six balls, four eyes, two partners, one aim

April 1, 2009

Los Angeles newsletter

LAPC's April newsletter came out today and - as usual - has interesting stories about daily club life, especially on days like today.

LAPC Newsletter April (PDF)