Wednesday, March 16, 2016

I bet you didn't know that the cue balls in the billiards halls of America are magnetic.

I enjoy a game of pool at one of the coin-operated pool tables in a bar or billiards hall just like the next guy. I just haven't had much opportunity to play with anyone in a few years as most of my friends actually don't live in Salt Lake City, and those that do don't like to hang out at billiards halls.

My last trip to a billiards hall was a really strange one. I went with my friend Dylan and we were staying in Boise, Idaho with his dad. Bored, we went into town to play pool. It got late and being young guys we didn't really want to just go back home. So we saw this girl scraping her window out in the parking lot and she was parked next to our car. I asked her real nice if she knew of any place we could go that might still be open that had pool tables.

Out of the blue this car pulled up blocking my car from being able to back up. The doors popped open, and four guys with tattoos, spiked hair, chains (I saw a baseball bat too) hopped out and they asked the girl, "Are these two guys botherin' you, Wendy?" At that point I knew I needed to be very careful about what I said. Anyway, she said that we were just looking for information and they settled down and then we went on our way. But I never forgot that situation. How on a flick of a switch things can go wrong, and it doesn't matter if you are "right" or "wrong" because no one cares. I call that the "hidden pockets of civilized society" where we all live under this illusion that the law protects us but in fact, violence can occur in a matter of seconds and oftentimes you will be on your own.

So back to the "magnetic cue ball" thing. I always assumed that maybe the cue ball was a slightly different size or weight, but never bothered to follow-up on it. Then last night I saw this amazing video that does a breakdown of exactly how a cue ball always comes back to you when the other colored balls stay sunk. How you might ask? In one word: magnets. The cue ball has a thin layer of iron in it just below the white surface, and a strong magnet in the machine pulls it to one side so that it avoids the ramp that channels all the other balls into the storage box.

And that's not the only secret in this video. Watch and learn, friends.

Oh and in case you wanted to know, I changed up my blog a bit. It was looking kinda stale after five years of blogging (that seems like a lot LOL). Thanks for reading all those words. :)


  1. I knew they were magnetic. Clever idea.
    That situation almost went south real fast, didn't it?
    I haven' changed much on my blog except the header now and then and some decluttering.

    1. I think that's what I was going for with this new arrangement (decluttering). And yeah, definitely went south quick. Sometimes life is like that.

  2. I never really play pool so I didn't know that.

  3. No, I didn't know that. I like the new format of your blog. It's good to change it up once in a while.

  4. I did not know this. I saw the video pop up on one of my feeds. Interesting.

    Wow, that's quite the story. I wonder why the guys suddenly popped up. There must be a story behind that.

  5. This was an interesting video, and it brought to light much I didn't know. Actually, I've never seen billiard tables that were coin operated.

  6. I took a couple lessons in pool once and I didn't know about the magnets. Now I know.

    You're so very right about the hidden violence that can break out at anytime anywhere--moments of ugliness coming from the wrong people at the wrong time. I've read of theories that violence can spread literally like a virus. These days it seems more people than ever are infected.

  7. That must have been a frightening situation. Glad you kept your cool and went on to play pool :) I was always useless at pool. Probably because I couldn't be bothered thinking about angles and where to hit the ball so it would go in the pocket. We did have a small snooker table at home, when I was a kid, as my younger brother was a great player.
    Have a lovely week.