Author Archives: Dartoid

June 2019 Double Out Shot: IIrina Shayk




IIrina Shayk

Column #574 Darts survives perfect storm in Fukushima, Japan

Monday, July 1, 2019
Column 574
Darts survives perfect storm in Fukushima, Japan

First came the 9.0 magnitude earthquake. Then a towering tsunami that raged inland for miles, sweeping to their death more than 15,000 people and countless animals.

Then it got worse, much worse.

In what would become a catastrophic nuclear meltdown, claimed by many to be worse than Chernobyl, three nuclear reactors began to leak radiation at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan. The government immediately declared a mandatory and near instantaneous evacuation of nearly 200,000 people. Untold numbers of animals were left behind.

But darts survived…

It took 18 months to arrange to enter Fukushima’s no-go radioactive zone for a business meeting. Among others, Rob Heckman helped me make connections.

Clad in a hazmat suit, with the tick-tick-tick-tick of my Geiger counter as a constant and unnerving background warning, I handled business just miles from Ground Zero and quickly moved on.

While inside the zone I witnessed the still eerie apocalyptic aftermath of the disaster. Cigarette packs left on café counters. High-end cars abandoned by the roadside. Vending machines still fully stocked.

Overnight, thriving communities were frozen in time. They became ghost towns.

Yet, darts survived…

In 2013, just two years after the disaster, DARTSLIVE held its Stage 11 qualifier in Fukushima Prefecture (a prefecture is sort of like a state). In 2015, the Soft Dart Professional Tour Japan Stage 13 qualifier was hosted here.

Darts bars are everywhere. There’s Locotribe, Blanca Dart, Pub Grand, Barca and Space Creation Jiyukukan, to name a mere handful.

I ended up at Bar Dream (Fukushima Nihonmatsu Motomachi 2-196) located in Nihonmatsu City in the Tohoku area. The mountains are beautiful and, supposedly, so are the rice fields in the spring. When I arrived it was snowing.

Bar Dream is a quaint little joint owned by a family who also run a hand-made soba (thin noodles made from buckwheat) shop in a hot spring town about 30 minutes away.

Unlike typical Japanese bars which generally have private rooms for their customers, Bar Dream is more western-like with a row of seats along the bar, behind which is an ample display of liquor bottles. More Japanese-like, there is a second room with two more glistening tables – a more traditional private setting. Here’s where one will find the darts, one board, electronic.

The bar is cozy, like a home. There are paintings on the walls of landscapes, not dogs playing poker or naked girls, the later quite unfortunate. In this respect the place is most definitely not western-like. There are fresh cut flowers in colorful vases. It’s welcoming.

A beer runs 600 Yen (about $5.35), not unreasonable, particularly for Japan (or Las Vegas). There’s also pizza, soba noodles with spicy sauce and Japanese bar food that I didn’t try but which probably wiggles and has eyes and whiskers.

The bartender is as good as any but it’s the owner – a nice middle-aged lady – who makes the place extra special. She’s friendly, attentive and even kind of protective. She makes you feel at home in her home away from home.

I didn’t throw darts this night (although I did do something that found me about $100 lighter when I stepped back into the falling snow). Had I thrown darts and had “Pulitzer Prize-winning in his mind” author Michael Winkler (who’s been dodging a money match with me for months) been with me I’d have shown him how absurd his “Iron Laws” of darts are. (That said, I’m pretty sure Jason Carter would be easier money.)

Bar Dream is a terrific little venue – one among so many examples of how darts in Fukushima survived the perfect storm (not that Nihonmatsu City is anywhere near the Daiichi nuclear power facility).

NOTE: In the event you are not familiar with the “Iron Laws” of darts and want to read an in-depth but easy to understand discussion I encourage you to limber up your feet and then Google the “Hokey Pokey.”

That’s what it’s all about.”

From the Field,

Dartoid

June 2019 Double Out Shot: Samantha Hoopes

Samantha Hoopes



Samantha Hoopes

Column #573 How to Master the Game of Cricket – a book review

Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Column 573
How to Master the Game of Cricket – a book review

Full disclosure: Mesa, Arizona’s Jason Carter and I have a history. It dates to when I took issue with an article he wrote about MAPP (Minimum Advertising Price Policies). It was riddled with inaccuracies and fundamentally argued that American darts suppliers were gouging consumers. “Greedy” he labeled them. They are “ripping off” the American consumer. I was compelled to set the record straight, with facts.

So, when I heard that Carter had written a book – and that the book was about Cricket – my visceral reaction was negative. Carter has also promulgated his opinion that along with “ridiculously” high darts product pricing Cricket has led to the demise of steel tip in this country when, in fact, the predominant cause is a complex stew of years of ADO nonchalance (and possibly worse) and the concurrent rise and professional management of the electronic game.

Thank goodness we have the Championship Darts Circuit guys.

And now, I thought, Carter is a fan of Cricket?

My reaction was unfair. One can’t have an opinion about a book (or the Mueller Report!) unless they have read it.

So, I purchased the book. I’ve read it three times. At 128 pages it’s a quick and interesting read. Carter is a good writer.

I must now admit that my initial reaction was not just unfair; it was wrong.

How to Master the Game of Cricket belongs in every dart player’s library. Both Carter and Dr. Patrick Chaplin, who wrote the Foreword, are correct, at least to my knowledge, that until now, there has been no “book” published that deals exclusively with Cricket. (Note that Chaplin did not “endorse” the book – as a historian he “support(s) research into areas of the sport of darts which have not previously been comprehensively covered in a ‘single volume.’”)

The book, the “volume,” is cram-packed with advice on how to play and excel at the game. The advice is founded on three main principles: 1) don’t chase, 2) point if you’re behind and 3) close if you’re ahead. Nothing earthshakingly new here. These basics are time-worn.

There’s some discussion of counting, using the bull, and more. Again, nothing new.

There are a handful of oddities. Carter, who is described as a “not even decent player” by some who know him, talks about his hitting 7- and 9-marks. Well, maybe. He comments that there is no “video proof” of anyone ever hitting a perfect Cricket game (which is possibly true – but I witnessed a perfect game by Roger Carter in Greensboro years ago and once when calling the ADO Cricket National Final saw him just miss a perfect game against Paul Lim). Carter the author occasionally mixes up steel and soft-tip terms. None of this is a big deal, just curiosities.

Certainly, there is no reason why someone who’s not expert at the line can’t coach others on ways to become expert. And again, the book is full of good advice.

But there is nothing new, nothing significantly new anyway, anywhere between the covers. It’s all there, the first time ever between the covers of any book.

Therein lies a problem, and it is a significant one. Or perhaps to some, entirely insignificant.

Surely the reader is familiar with Yogi Berra Yogi-isms. “You can observe a lot by watching” or “Nobody goes there anymore – it’s too crowded.”

Perhaps the most recognizable Yogi-ism is: “It’s déjà vu all over again.”   It’s unclear if Berra said this – he both denied it and copped to it. Some say he said it after the Yankees won the 1953 World Series by defeating the Brooklyn Dodgers for their fifth straight title. Others insist they heard him say it after Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris hit back-to-back home runs against the Chicago White Sox in 1961.

By definition “déjà vu is the eerie and intense sensation that something you are experiencing has happened before.”

Again, there’s the rub.

After reading just the first dozen pages of Carter’s book, I experienced that déjà vu “sensation.” I knew I was reading something I had read before. The words were different. But the message, the ideas, were familiar. I just couldn’t immediately identify the source, not for certain.

So, I began to dig into my library and boxes of old issues of Bull’s Eye News…

Then it struck me. It only took a moment. No doubt about it.

Between the years 1984 and 1998, Bull’s Eye News published a 31-part series by Tony Payne called “Thermonuclear Cricket.” Payne, who among his many other darts accomplishments was a five-time consecutive member of the US World Cup Team, is probably best known for his writings on Cricket strategy.

The unacceptable thing is that nowhere, not on any of the pages of Carter’s book, including the Acknowledgements, does he mention, attribute or credit a single word, phrase or idea to the man who defined and chronicled Cricket strategy. Only a quote from Jay Tomlinson mentions Payne as (historically) “one of the great players east of the Mississippi.”

Carter does acknowledge the “wonderful community of Reddit r/Darts (which)… helped contribute either directly or indirectly to the preparation of this book.”

Along with Carter, one of the most active contributors at Reddit is “misunderstood” convicted sex-offender John Doyle (aka JD Maine, JD, JD3, Sean Murphy, Smurphy, Cyanide, Bruce Kelly and Worldwide Darts). Both Carter and Doyle are moderators at Reddit.

Doyle has also scanned and posted 22 of Payne’s “Thermonuclear Cricket” articles on Reddit and BRANDED some of the articles with his logo (although, admirably, or perhaps accidentally, he doesn’t remove Payne’s byline). What Doyle, or whatever alias he may be hiding behind today, either isn’t aware of or doesn’t care about is that Payne’s articles are copyright protected.  People can obtain them by ordering back issues of the magazine. Payne receives a royalty.

One might reasonably argue that in effect what Doyle has done (and Reddit has permitted) is steal sales from Bull’s Eye News and royalties from Payne. Yes, perhaps insignificant to some.

What Carter, who writes, “…it is my hope that these writings will become the ‘bible’ for all things Cricket,” has done is reword, restructure and regurgitate (and supported with graphics strikingly similar to those in “Thermonuclear Cricket”), Payne’s series without an iota of attribution to the man who actually did write the “bible” on Cricket.

Again, none of this is to suggest the book isn’t a useful purchase and packed with good advice. It is. I recommend it, at least to players just starting the game. It’s just that the advice is not original. The honorable thing would have been to acknowledge Payne.

It’s not easy these days to identify which old issues of Bull’s Eye News carried Payne’s series, and even if one makes the effort to purchase one of these back issues some of them are no longer available. But this is no justification for being dishonest, except perhaps to Doyle.

It’s long past time for Payne’s series to be chronicled in one place. No argument there. But the decision should be his.

For the record, I do not know Tony Payne, but I did communicate with him through a friend to ascertain his take on being ripped off. The message I received was not unexpected: “Tony has not read the book and has no plans to do so.”

Why should he?

He wrote it.

From the field,

Dartoid

Column #572 Shoe for Dart, again!

Darts Shoes

Thursday, May 9, 2019
Column 572
Shoe for Dart, again!

Ronnie “Rocket” Baxter, who once demolished me repeatedly one evening at CD’s Lounge in Las Vegas, was recently asked in a Facebook post what type of shoe is best for darts.

His answer: trainers. In American lingo that’s tennis shoes.

This may or may not be correct. Seeing how Baxter is a two-time BDO world championship runner up (1999 and 2000), World Masters runner up (1997), two-time PDC world championship quarter finalist 2002 and 2010), World Matchplay runner-up (1998) and a WHOLE lot more who am I to argue?

On the other hand, the following was once published by Dartoid’s World. It’s an important and in-depth discussion about shoes and darts (and more) and possibly the definitive answer to the question…

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Hallo. I just regestered now and this is forst post (so kind please be) it may seem a goofy but it serieus and am wondering what kind of shoe you wear for dart? Where I live in Mesa most of time I practice in the flip-flop (or am barefot) I wear the flip-flop during league to and is comfortable and I like. But (!) I told real shoe are made to be worn in tournament now and I don’t think that just fair. I know that dart have “bad” reputachion a problem about but I really thinks it really about smoke and drunking not clothes at least not the shoe! I wouldn’t feel comfertable in Nike shoe or the fancy shoe. And also, it would be disadvanteous thing to me since the shoe would cause me throw dart from different height than practice. Doesn’t make the sense and not fair to make me or dart player anywheres to wear shoe. I don’t see why? I not spending my money go tournament and losing because I told to wear shoe. What do you do about shoe?

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Hola Jose! Welcome to (the Website That Shall Not Be Named).

I think that’s a great question! Personally, I also prefer open-toed sandals or flip-flops. I like the comfortable feeling and with the looseness I can actually adjust my stance slightly without moving my ‘shoe’. Also, I know at least one guy here at (the Website That Shall Not Be Named) that has a carpeted area, and a no-shoes in the house-rule so people play in socks or barefoot – it’s quite comfortable to have your feet in a nice snuggly shag carpet! So, I’m sure many folks practice this way…

Obviously, at a tourney, you should wear some kind of footwear, and I can understand if for safety, they make footwear required – ruling out being barefoot. But I see no reason why a flip-flop style or open toed sandal – like Teva’s – should be banned. I have no idea about the exact ADO rules or such, but lots of others here do! They’ll tell us!

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Jose – welcome.

This is a good question and one that we have discussed before a long time ago. I may have even been the one that initiated it, but I remember who turned me onto the best dart shoe I have ever worn. Yes – we all like to wear sneakers, trainers, flip-flops and slippers for that matter, but when playing in tournaments and such, there may be a dress code imposed that shoes be worn.

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The ones I recommend are called TredSafe. They are very comfortable – in fact, they are called restaurant worker shoes and are designed for someone who spends a lot of time on their feet. They come in 3 or 4 different styles (only in black, I think). And the best part is, they are about $25.00 – $30.00 and available at WalMart. Check them out.

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If this isn’t a trolling, I’d be amazed….

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Hello Jose’, welcome to (The Website That Shall Not Be Named).

This is a subject that I personally feel is one of the major steppingstones to getting our sport noticed as not just a bar game. The appearance is the first thing “non-players” see when they walk in a room or a dart hall. I feel that players should be dressed in a resort casual or even business casual manner. This is something that was brought to light to me about a month ago.

A gentleman in our area made a comment that, “whenever you come to play, you are always dressed like you’re ready for business.” This kind of got me thinking… what would you rather see if you were a supporter or sponsor or organizer of darts: a room full of guys wearing shorts, tank tops and sandals or a room of people wearing slacks, collared shirts and dress shoes?

The ADO has a dress code as well as the major European promoters. It adds an air of respectability to the sport. I for one am a great supporter of this measure. Personally, I wear a pair of Michael Toschi “Lorenzo” Oxfords when I play now. They are comfy and have a great angle on the outstep of the shoe. This is great for me where I actually position my foot sideways on the oche. That with a sturdy wooden heal and a smooth leather sole they are the best that I have found for all day shooting. In my humble opinion sandals belong at the beach, not the oche.

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Que Pasa Jose. I used to wear work boots but changed to sneakers, since my fiancé/wife hates boots. I wear shoes for the simple fact that I have seen a dart bounce back and hit a guy in the foot who was wearing sandals. I also tell my step kids and their friends that if they are going to play, they have to wear shoes unless they are behind the oche.

I prefer soft leather loafers with comfort soles. Something I could wear all day long and be comfortable in and that looks decent. But then I try to wear collared shirts at tournaments too.

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I myself prefer boat shoes for league night… and for tournament play I’ve found Dr Scholl’s black dress shoes to be the most comfortable shoe I ever wore for all day play.

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Agreed – Dr. Scholl’s are also one I use (in addition to the TredSafes mentioned earlier).

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Dr. Scholls – comfortable and not expensive…

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For most tournaments I have black Docker shoes that look nice but are very comfortable. For local events, small tournaments or league I just wear deck shoes or tennis shoes.

At the US Open this year, I complied and wore my dress shoes, as I didn’t have anything else that would have met the PDC dress code. After arriving at 7 a.m., watching all the chairs disappear around 10 a.m., then standing, playing and walking until after midnight, my poor puppies and legs were mush. AND, as it would happen, my right knee has never been the same… I call it Mohegan Knee. I think the shoes and the standing did a major number on me. So, yes, the shoes make a difference.

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I hope your wrong about the trolling, but you might be right on. I’m off to search for TredSafe shoes.

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No reply, no profile and what appears to be incredibly intentional bad English. I can sniff a troll two threads away.

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Forgive my ignorance but what is a troll? What purpose does it serve for the poster? This is the one forum I use on a regular basis (I think I’ve made less than ten posts on Stars of Darts in two years) so I’m completely ignorant to these things.

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I occasionally play in sandals/slippers in the comfort of my own home. I don’t like it much because I like the whole shoe to move with my foot. That and I fell off a flip-flop last Christmas and had a sore ankle for months. I like my Airwalk trainers, which are black and very understated.

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What purpose does trolling serve? I have no idea, but a troll is someone who posts in such a way to elicit responses just for the sake of argument or instigation. Had this person just stuck to the “what type of shoe” I wouldn’t consider it to be trolling, but the comment about not seeing why he should have to wear shoes at all and paying money to lose blah blah… that’s trolling.

If you go onto the Stars of Darts site and start a BDO/PDC bashing… your trolling. Start a thread about why someone should defect to the PDC… trolling. The person who started this thread could be legitimate, but he says he’s in Mesa and the IP address is Malaysia. No profile, etc.

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“Trolling” – wow, you guys are really into this.

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You’re so paranoid about someone sabotaging our sacred forums, that you’ll call them out publicly? It seems to me that this hideous cretin (I like this better than ‘troll’) brought up a subject that many find very interesting (at least 10, in fact) and yet some of you keep coming back to read the responses and posting mean things about the new member instead of letting people talk about the subject.

Don’t get me wrong, I would totally defend your right to do so. I believe in (also for lack of a better term) freedom of speech in a public forum, but hey man, we know how you feel. You’re kind of flogging a dead horse. Let people talk about shoes (or lack thereof) if they like.

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Do you always greet new users with such open arms. Man, you’re all heart. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure you’re a fine fella, but you should let this go. If you don’t like the post, move on to another or come up with one to steal people away from the new guy, so no one will read his abomination of the English language. I truly believe that (the Website That Shall Not Be Named) will survive this “troll.”

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I assure you, I’m not trying to get an argument going here. I’m just posting my opinion like everyone else. To stay on target, I prefer tennis shoes (cross-training, actually), but I do occasionally wear heavy, black, dress-type Sketchers. In my garage, I’ll wear whatever I happen to have on my feet.

Trolling is obviously a fishing term and I’m glad all the replies (except mine) have stuck to the topic of their shoe preference and not risen to the bait on the rest of the post. Like I said I could be wrong and if the guy is legitimate, I’d welcome him with open arms. I’d even apologize for the horrible things I said about him.

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Well, of all places, I found my shoes in a golf shop. I kid you not and it seems that golfers know a thing or two about walking comfort. Best shoes I have ever owned. I wear them whenever I play. Black shoes, non-sneaker, were required for the Las Vegas Open and so I went out and found the shoes in a local Las Vegas mall. I don’t recall the name, but they are the most comfortable things I have ever had on my feet.

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Hallo again. Does there exist some kind of code for lady shoe too? How about the panties? Have they to be black? I are hoping. Thank you.

May 2019 Double Out Shot: Isabeli Fontana

May 2019 Double Out Shot: Isabeli Fontana



Isabeli Fontana

Column #571 Darts in Hiroshima, Japan

Monday, April 29, 2019
Column 571
Darts in Hiroshima, Japan

“I’m a travelin’ man, I’ve made a lot of stops all over the world,” cooed Ricky Nelson in 1961. The song was a massive hit, rising to the top of the charts. Teenage girls swooned. Not widely known is that the tune was written for Sam Cooke, but his manager was not impressed. We all make mistakes.

I’ve been fortunate to be able to travel, to see a lot of places – Congo, Mongolia, Easter Island, the Okavango Delta – but for some reason girls tend to slap me rather than swoon.

I am often asked where in the world, what experience has been most memorable. It’s long been impossible for me to answer. No longer…

I can now state, unequivocally, that no place I have ever visited (or can envision ever visiting) – except the USS Arizona Memorial, 9/11 Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, the Hanoi Hilton and the beaches of Normandy – comes close to the profound impact of walking about Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima, Japan. And nothing in the Park comes close to the shadows…

As one author described it…

The shadows at Hiroshima are a haunting reminder of the brutality of the bombing that occurred on August 6, 1945, when the US B-29 bomber, Enola Gay, detonated a nuclear weapon on the city, destroying much of the architecture and killing – in many cases, vaporizing – more than 70,000 people instantly. 

The intense heat of the atomic explosion caused what are called nuclear shadows. The blast changed the colors of surfaces like steps, walls, and pavement because of the UV radiation that was emitted. When things that were soon to be vaporized blocked whatever was behind them, they didn’t allow this UV color change to happen.  As a result, outlines of people and objects incinerated in the bombing left haunting shadow imprints behind on such surfaces. 

Hiroshima shadow locations are found throughout the city and are the only “remnants” left of many of the human beings. Those vaporized in the blast left imprints behind – now ensuring the legacy of Hiroshima cannot be forgotten.

There’s so much more, so much gone. 70,000 people, most civilians, died instantly – another 70,000 died from radiation poisoning (the numbers are similar for Nagasaki). There’s a tree that two years after the blast somehow sprouted back to life. The domed Genbaku building, formerly the Products Exhibition Hall, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the only structure that was left standing near the bomb’s hypocenter.

I came to throw darts but was unable for hours to mentally pull myself away from the Memorial Park. Today and no doubt forever I am unable to get the shadows out of my head.

Although it felt wrong, I ended up a Bar Bee (4-11 Horikawacho, Naka-ku, Hiroshima Asahi Beer Building, Hall 7F) about a half mile from Peace Memorial Park. I needed a drink.

Bar Bee is a national chain, found in many of the major cities and darts (electronic) is among its claims to fame. There is also pool, ping pong and karaoke if you’re not athletic enough to play darts.

Darts is what Bar Bee is known for. There’s a cover: about $5. The cost for a game is 100 Yen (about 90 cents). What happened to quarters? Still, it’s reasonable. The last time I was in Japan a toothbrush cost me $13.

Bar Bee has six electronic boards. There’s neon everywhere. Darts accessories are available for purchase. Shiny silver tables and chairs are situated with a great view of the playing area.

The drink menu is bilingual, and the selection of beer, wine, and liquor is huge. There are more than 20 variations of whiskey. The food menu is only in Japanese but there are photos, so I was able to order something that wasn’t alive.

In short and as another visitor once wrote, “the Bee is a bullseye.”

I am compelled to add that there is one other place I’ve visited – with Stacy Bromberg and Horizon Darts’ Terry Maness – which to this day sometimes still jolts me awake at night. Deep in the Incan ruins of Machu Picchu is a spot where children (the best looking among those who lived there) were prepared for sacrifice. Off to the side is a large stone slab, table-like, where the sacrifices were performed, and blood was drained and then another area where the bodies were set out to “dry” before being dropped off a cliff into a river far below.

Many families disfigured their children so they would not be selected to die.

I cannot fathom the thoughts of these children as they awaited their fate in the holding area.

It’s haunting stuff, all of this, but it brings into sharp perspective the mental health value of escaping life’s trials and tribulations by focusing on nothing but a dartboard, at least for an evening – and the pointlessness of fretting about a missed double (sometimes).

From the Field,

Dartoid