Last Stand On The Oche – Eric Bristow

Golf, bowling and darts: America’s everyman sports. Well maybe not darts in this country but the other two for sure. Anyone can do them. You don’t need to be an athlete; you don’t need expensive equipment. You don’t even have to be particularly skilled to have fun. They all came from England with our pre-revolutionary war forefathers.

Another thing about the three games is they are not actual sports. That embitters some of their more serious players to know end. But assuming you have two legs and at least one arm, you anyone can play them regardless of how obese, old or uncoordinated they are. If you don’t believe me, drive down to a local golf course on a week day afternoon and watch 70 year old ladies lugging their little oxygen carriers around from putting green to putting green. Golf requires you swing your arm 70 times in a four hour period, walk to and from an electric cart each time you swing your arm and periodically sip beer using the arm you aren’t swinging at the ball with. Donald Trump, who can’t walk up a path in Italy without nearly passing out, can play 18 holes of golf and still have the energy to pat some asses in the clubhouse. The average golfer’s caloric intake from the beer during a typical round far exceeds any burned through in an afternoon’s play. You can make the same argument with bowling and darts.

Beer is the twine that binds the games together though the part it plays varies by game. Golfers have to bring their own beer and since it is an English tradition that players stand upright through the whole game, its consumption is usually modest – a six pack a player a round is the common club rule. Bowling thrives on the stuff. Building a bowling alley is an excuse to build a bar. Beer Frames, Pitcher Perfect, Strikes and Splits – these are all time honored bowling traditions for guzzling brew at the alley. Remaining upright is optional going into the third game – that’s when most bowlers swear they bowl their best – their arms are finally relaxed and legs loose. Typically bowling nights end with a detailed post mortem of game strategy, plunkered balls and cheating over burgers and more beer.

Darts makes no pretense that a drink or two is incidental to the game. Darts is a drinking game. You play it in bars. You play it with dart in your right hand and a beer in your left when it isn’t holding a cigarette. Lose a game, chug a beer. Win a game, chug a beer. Waiting to play a game, chug a beer. It makes no difference. If you’re a darter, you’re a drinker.

Name any of the world’s top five bowlers (Dick Weber and Earl Anthony don’t count – they have both been dead for 20 years).

Darters. We don’t have real darters in the U.S. But England has them. They have lots of them and they are real good. Popular too – darters a better known in England than NASCAR drivers are in the U.S. They are certainly more popular than pro golfers and bowlers. (Though nobody knows any pro bowlers do they? (Hint, hint – the top four bowlers in the world aren’t even Americans. Betcha even Trump didn’t know that one or we’d be doing some serious bowling alley building in this country.))

Everyone knows the top dart players in England. They are on cable TV just as much a basketball players are over here. There are dozens of darting franchises organized into darting leagues which play each other in games for league championships which end up in inter-league championships which lead to world championships (very similar to our baseball’s world championships – only played by the British franchises that organized it).

That is why the U.K. is experiencing a time of somber mourning right now. Last Thursday, Eric Bristow, England’s most revered darter (think Babe Ruth, Mohammad Ali, or Michael Jordan) died at the young age of 60. He died with his boots on. He was in Liverpool as a celebrity host at a Premier League event in Echo Arena. He suffered a heart attack midway through the games and died immediately.

Eric Bristow in Liverpool prior to the start of the Premier League games.

Bristow was not the U.K.’s first dart world champion. He didn’t he hold that crown the longest. If you look at his stats compared to say Phil Taylor or Jockey Wilson, he wasn’t the best well rounded player either. But what Eric did have was wondrous charisma and great timing. He broke into the game in the late 1970s just as British TV was searching for any sport and any player that they could splash on the evening telly and grab an audience. Eric Bristow did that. His was boisterous, sassy, and fast on his feet. They nicknamed him the Crafty Cockney both for his ability to confuse opponents on the oche and his cocky panache. Born in the Hackney area of southeast London, he was about as cockney as you could get. He mixed charm and humor with the instincts of a street fighter; he had the face of a Dickinson street urchin grown adult – a round head that framed a full mouth of jutting gapping English teeth. When he smiled – and he loved to smile – he glowed. When he laughed, everyone around him gleamed in a piece of his halo.

Eric Bristow in the early 1980s.

Eric Bristow dominated the sport from 1978 through the late 1980s. But in late 1987, he developed a throwing condition called Dartitis that prevented him from controlling his throw/release. Dartitis is like Yips – a mental block a person develops that stops them from doing something they routinely excel. Eric spent the next 10 years trying to overcome Dartitis. He regained is control from time to time but it never lasted very long so he turned to what most jocks do when their playing days are over – he became a TV commentator. His network was SKY.

Bristow worked for SKY from 1990 through most of 2016 when he was sacked for texts he sent ridiculing some victims of a British soccer coach pedophile. It was Eric being Eric. He apologized quickly but you could tell he was trying to figure out why. (He basically said that instead of the victims waiting for 20 years to go to the police with their accusations they should have just beat the fucker up as soon as they were old enough.)

Eric at Jocky Wilson’s funeral. Pimping Harrow Darts. Jocky would have understood.

Eric wrote an autobiography in 2010. His basic message was that he lived a good life, had no regrets. He was what he was.

‘I never drink before a game.’

A commentator once asked Eric if he ever drank during league play. ‘Never’ said Eric. ‘Oh, I’d have one or two pints to loosen up before the first round but that was it until the game ended’. One or two pints didn’t count as drinking to Eric. He said he usually had 10 to 12 pints on average every day between tea time and closing time. The man liked his drink – a couple of pints before a game was nothing.

Eric was a heavy smoker and had a fondness for curry. ‘I should be dead by now,’ he wrote in the autobiography. And eight years later he was. Watching darts and sipping Guinness. He wrote that script.

Eric Bristow 1957 – 2018

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The Germans Are Joking

“In Buddhist metaphysics, there is the idea of ’emptiness.’ To realize the emptiness of things is to say, ‘This is neither real nor nonexistent.’ Our perception of the candle refers to something real, in the real world. But this candle – the one we see – it’s mental content. And yet it’s also not true that the experience, the model in our minds, is unreal. It’s ’empty.’ ‘Empty’ may have been their way of saying that it’s just a virtual model. ‘Emptiness’ could be ‘virtuality.'” Thomas Metzinger, the German philosopher, to Joshua Rothman over coffee at a table lit by a candle discussing virtual reality, The New Yorker, 2 April 2018.

 


Thomas Metzinger, Professor of Theoretical Philosophy, Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz – Looking Very German

I know what you’re asking – did ‘real’ philosophy die with Ortega y Gasset in the middle of the last century? Is the mumbo jumbo of Thomas Metzinger any different than the nonsense that Peter Sloterdijk repeats in book after book (60(!!) so far) then the ethical fairy tales Thomas Pogge weaves around morality between diddling students? Ortega likely would have said ‘of course the candle is real – its light illuminates the table which my eyes perceive, the flame flickers in the same breeze that also waifs my face; should I touch the flame (which because it is real, I do not), my fingers will burn and blister. ‘Mental content’? More like neo-Kantian crap a la Metzinger. The added slam at Gautama Buddha is gratuitous. Though I am sure the Buddha would have much to say about virtual reality were he ever asked, ’emptiness’ would be the adjective he’d apply to the head inside the helmet, not to the virtual reality experience. I suspect he might add dullard somewhere in his description as well.

Joshua Rothman Demonstrating Practical Philosophy with the German V.R. Rig.

Rothman was too much of a boner to say anything of substance of Metzinger’s profound insight. He called it neither gobbledygook nor trenchant insight. Instead, he simply changed the subject and went on to describe how the experiences he had in the Virtual Reality laboratory earlier in the day fucked up his mind. He was being paid, of course, to write a sympathetic story about Thomas Metzinger. Let his editor take a crack at adding a clarification sentence if she dared (and she didn’t).

So this is how the whole thing happened: The New Yorker sends Joshua Rothman out to write on the current state of virtual reality. This is the New Yorker so we are talking to academia researchers, not the guys from Google or Microsoft or Apple who are productizing the technology. Somebody says, “Go to Germany. That’s where it’s happening.” and so he does. He finds a lab that has V.R. helmets, robots, AND Thomas Metzinger all in the same place. The Germans strap him in a helmet and start playing with his mind big time. Then he has cake and coffee with Tom (please, just call me Thomas). Eight thousand words of polished prose result. And that’s exactly what the publisher ordered. The story reads great. Dr. Metzinger gets another citation. When you finish the eight thousand word read, you sigh. Thirty minutes of your life now ’empty’. The Buddha would have called in endless suffering.

Gautama Buddha in the Buddha Helmet© Rig.

 

 

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Killer Dads

I was walking my dogs up Fulton St. last week. We were nearing the intersection where Fulton runs into Blue Fin Drive. There is a Chipotle on the corner. Their parking lot takes most of the block going down Fulton.

In the parking lot, a Dad was helping two little girls out of their Suburban. It was jet black. The girls looked to be between 7 and 12 years old. Good old Dad was taking them into Chipotle’s for lunch. My first reaction was Jesus Christ. You are going to kill those kids!!

If the Tomatoes Don’t Kill Ya, the Servers Will.

Yea, it is alright for adults to eat at Chipotle’s, at least now that they started washing the vegetables and allow a tad of antibiotics in the chicken. Servers still don’t get paid sick days so there are always a few of them snuffling around the serving line but this is Miami – our colds are mild and the flu rare. So if you are an adult, you basically are dealing with the usual Chipotle menu of bacteria and virus that, if you have lived to make to 30, you are probably immune to. But not little kids. They’ve had their exposure to day care and elementary school bugs but, unless they were raised in a strict vegetarian or vegan kitchen at home, they don’t have the resistance to the likes of infections that lurk in a Chipotle’s restaurant.

A Dad should know these things. I bet the two girl’s mother wouldn’t be caught dead bringing in a kid to Chipotle’s. Too dangerous. The mom can ingest the critters that lived in the tomatoes that graced her burrito but the worst she’ll get is some slimy shit the next day (face it, we all look forward to the natural laxative a meal at Chipotle’s supplies). But kids – Come on!




Dumb, Dumber and Dumber

I was tempted to say something to the guy but then I thought, he is driving a Suburban. So he is not dumb. (There was a GMC Yukon parked three spaces over. It’s the same car priced $10,000 more because it has ‘GMC ‘in big big letters on the grill. Unless the Yukon owner was spectacularly stupid, he would have known that. He didn’t. BUT – he is smarter than the Escalade owner who bought the EXACT same car as the Suburban but paid at least $15,000 for it (or for the big Cadillac shield on the grill), proving P.T. Barnum’s dictum that nobody ever went broke underestimating the stupidity of an American. There were no Escalades in the Chipotle parking lot. But this is the north side of Miami. I’m not sure we get a lot of Escalade owners here unless their packing side arms and Rottweilers.)

I wanted to scream “Take them down the street to the McDonalds. Nobody gets sick there!” But I didn’t. Seriously, when is the last time anybody got E. Coli poisoning at a McDonalds? 1988, you can look it up. And Chipotle? 2017 but 2018 just started so give them a chance.

Dads want to be good fathers and good fathers want their kids to eat something they like but something that is good for them too. That’s a tall order. I guess if you drive a Suburban, Chipotle’s makes all the sense in the world. Can’t explain the Yukon guy though – would have guessed he’d be more into big burgers slathered in bacon and Velveeta. Maybe he came for the queso.

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Shed No Tear For Melania Dear

I Wonder Where Daddy Is Tonight.

London’s The Independent newspaper today referred to Melania Trump as the ‘most popular’ member of Donald Trump’s family. The article was discussing her decision to hide out at Mar-a-Lago rather than accompany the President to Davos. The poor girl was pissed at the President again – This time because Stormy Daniel’s shared that she and Donald had a months long fling in summer 2006. This, as you probably don’t recall, was a couple of months after the birth of their son Barron. Melania’s motherly instincts apparently were that hubby should still be caught up in the joy renewed fatherhood – after all, it was his third son thereby increasing the odds by 20% of having an heir with more brains than a coo-coo clock.

But Donald was being Donald. The only really surprising thing is that Melania herself was somehow offended by Trump’s behavior.

For those of you who shed tears for the suffering that Melania may endured as Trump’s marital partner, get a life. The woman is not some innocent back-country Slovakian swept off her feet by a handsome American playboy who now, as years and years of abuse unfolds, finds herself living with a devil she never suspected.

The Owner Has To Check Out The Goods.

Melania knows all about Donald Trump. She lived with the man six years before they married. She watched him cruise into the Miss USA and Miss Universe dressing rooms on award night, ogle the nude contestants up and down, then boast about how he was the only one who could get away with it (he owned the franchise after all) and man, what great stuff he got to see. He didn’t do it just once – he did it every year and Melania not only got to see it, she got the hear Donald boast about it on the radio in 2005 to his buddy Howard Stern. Yak, yak – that’s my Donald.

What about the groping, the kissing, the ‘come up to my room’ after the show stuff? Eight women have accused Trump of molesting them between 2005 and 2013. There were twelve others before then, but let’s just look at what occurred after Melania and Don tied the knot. The women’s stories are all similar – some event threw them in a room with Donald Trump. He comes over, forces the woman to kiss him, squeezes her breasts or ass or both, puts his fingers up her skirt, and then invites her to come up to his room a little later. These were the women who said ‘No’. Some said ‘Yes’. Stormy Daniels for sure but also, for sure, many, many others.

Would any of this surprise Melania? Absolutely not. Remember, she is wife number three. The other two shared plenty of dirt on how Donald played fast and loose on them during their years of bliss together.

No, Melania didn’t miss a thing. She had her own goals and liked the odds. In January 2005, she married to New York’s wealthiest landlord. In March 2006, she gave birth to their son Barron. Melania figured Don was 60 years old, a walking heart attack with a golf club in his hands and lived like a ravaged pig. Time was on her side – she’d just out wait the prick.

You Have To Admit She Has Nice Eyes

What changed was that the prick ran for President and then, against every value America was supposedly based upon, won. That’s when Melania’s world turned wretchedly bleak – now she has to ‘live’ with the man. Worse, she has to appear the devoted spouse as all the dirt comes out: first the Hollywood Access Tapes (and she just buried her head in the sand), then 20 women accusing Trump of some type of sexual assault (buried her head deeper) and now Stormy Daniels. Burying one’s head here gets tricky because Stormy likes to editorialize on what a slob Trump must be to do this to his wife right after his son was born; and how this wasn’t a one night stand – no she and Donald fucked month after month after month. Talk about shoving it Melania’s face.

Women’s March 2018 – Las Vegas

It is easy to be cynical about Melania – she was a social climbing money grubber who never let scruples stand in her way to get what she wanted. Now she has it. To most of us, it looks pretty tacky. No matter how she got there, it is hard not to feel a little sympathy for the poor woman. Just don’t feel too much sympathy. There’s that aphorism about reaping what you sow. Children could learn a real life lesson here from America’s First Lady.


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Goodbye Miami


October 2017 Fort Lauderdale – Tooling down the A1A.

 

Bloomberg recently published a news story about a business man in southern Florida named Ross Hancock who was having bad luck coping with the area’s high tide flood problems. Florida State officials pooh-pooh the idea that climate change exits – in fact, Governor Rick Scott’s administration will fire any state worker who even uses the phrase. Yet, the ocean levels around Florida mysteriously have risen year after year – some say pretty much as predicted by those climate changer fake news people – which leads to localized flooding once a month when a king tide hits. King tides happen during those couple of days each month when there is a full moon.


“I’ve not been convinced that there’s any man-made climate change,” Governor Rick Scott

Even though Governor Scott said it couldn’t happen, Ross lived in an area of Coral Gables that flooded each time of the month a full moon came out. The city’s response was to start raising the levels of the streets by a foot to keep the cars dry as well as to construct a high powered storm sewer system that would blow water back into the ocean (up hill!!). Ross’s decided it was time to sell his house which he did four years ago.

Ross moved his family into a high rise condo on Key Biscayne. Key Biscayne is one of the higher patches of land in Miami; Ross figured he was safer here than anywhere else. But ‘high ground’ is relative in Miami where the average variance between sea level and land four miles inland is less than three feet. So in August, when Irma hit, the Key Biscayne shoreline was turned into a swimming pool for miles around. Ross’s condo was high enough to be undamaged but the condo building’s power systems, elevators and parking lots were heavily damaged. His share of the cost to fix things came out to be around $60K. Once the damage is repaired, Ross plans to move again – to really higher ground, 10s of miles north of southern Florida and the coast.


Fake Data from the Corp of Engineers and the Weather Service.

Florida has always been run by land sharks and swindlers looking to sell swamp land to the idiots. Of course climate change doesn’t exist. Talk to any real estate agent about buying a property in Miami, and not one will say a word about tidal flooding. If you bring it up, they say the probability of it happening to ‘this property’ (this property being any property you name) is negligible and besides, everyone has cheap flood insurance and you know those insurance companies wouldn’t sell cheap flood insurance if there were actual floods, wink-wink, poke-poke. The industry’s state wide trade group, Florida Real Estate, tows the governor’s line – nope, we got no climate change goin’ on down here. Nope. Nope.

What the real estate agents don’t tell you is that flood insurance availability is mandated by the state legislature in order for insurers to do business in Florida. That state underwrites catastrophic losses which they have historically covered through disaster relief grants from the Federal government. At the end of the day, the insurers make money, the State doesn’t ante up a nickel and the real estate industry thrives.

But all of this is bound to unravel and likely pretty soon. Irma caused over 190 billions in damage. U.S. Taxpayers will cover most of that but it is likely insurers are going take some hits. The insurers are in with the swindlers but they don’t believe the swindler’s pitch. They know the oceans are warming, the seas are rising and that cyclic violent weather is one result. Irma was not a once in a lifetime thing – Irma is what the new normal looks like. Insurers are going to raise their rates. What the property owners don’t pay, taxpayers will. At some point, someone will say ouch.

Zillow says in 30 years, 200,000 homes in the Miami area will be underwater (not flooded, under). Talk about trying to get a 30 year mortgage on those guys. The number goes up to half a million by 2090. Yea it seems a long time from now but wait one generation – when your young toddlers are looking for their first house – well there are going to be some awesome deals around for nice beach front properties that they can buy and then just discard in ten years.


Raising Fthe highways two feet in Miami Beach.

Coral Gables figures they can avoid things for a while by raising the roads and pumping water back into the ocean faster than it can flow in. Miami is doing the same thing. The mayor of Miami Beach is proposing 400 million dollar levy to get homeowners to pony up the money. It’s that or just sit there and watch you house float away. The mayor will likely get his money.

It is not hard to see how the real estate market in sourthern Florida is about ready to tank big time. Insurance rates will sky rocket over the next five years, property taxes will jump to pay for new highways, big pumps and flood walls, and the ocean will inevitably creep higher and higher each year reclaiming a yard of shore here, a couple feet there. Each year, every year. And it will happen real quietly because everyone in charge loses if people start to decide to move out in groves.

Ross Hancock is a smart dude. He expects to take a loss when he sells the condo. But a lot of people believe the swindle and one of them will buy it. His realtor told him so.

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Doggerel

 


I am old and have a cold – it is four degrees outside

the dog sits in front of me entreating

black eyes open wide,

mouth flickering down a long white snout back and forth

His nostrils try to scent my intend

for a walk.

 

But I have a cold and winter’s frigid fingers

slip between the house’s bricks

and shiver my bones and draw my heat away.

 

“It’s four outside you stupid dogs. Too cold

to walk and sniff and squirrel watch. Be still and warm.”

but they don’t understand a word I say nor care too –

they want a walk today. Their patience has no end.

They will sit and stare even as I pretend to edit words

and draw charcoal marks on paper masks.

Hours pass and still they sit:

I want my walk today.

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