Friday, August 28, 2009

Bowling Alley Mural Review: Space Dolphins

Every art lover knows the feeling. You walk into a room in the back corner of a gallery, and hanging on the wall is a piece that speaks to your soul. You stand there. Silently. Absorbing the piece into your being so that its memory will forever be burned into the neurons of your mind. The alley mural known to aficionados of bowling art as "Space Dolphins" by Anonymous is just such a piece. It is a composition so striking, so beautiful, and so perfect that when one steps up to bowl, it is difficult to even begin your approach as you soak in its majesty.

The center of the mural depicts a watery planet on which resides a pod of serene blue space dolphins. The space dolphins must spend their calm nights staring into the "pinny" sky pondering the bowling pin satellites of their world. Rendered in a full air-brushed pseudo-impressionistic style, one is taken aback by the shiny orbs that cohabitate dolphin space. Only one word truly can describe this work of art. Masterpiece.

Monday, August 24, 2009

The Rules of Bowling: Youth Apparel

One of the rule changes in the USBC's 2008-2009 Playing Rules regards youth apparel. Youths competing in tournaments are no longer permitted "to wear apparel or use equipment depicting alcohol, tobacco, gambling, an illegal substance, or inappropriate language/gestures during competition." According to Time Magazine, this rule has dramatically improved the "quality of competition and atmosphere" in youth bowling tournaments.

Way to go, USBC Rules Committee. I see you have spent your time wisely, but I wonder if you have gone far enough. For example, have you considered banning other types of speech? I think for the next edition of the rulebook, you should consider banning political clothing. And what about religious content? Or at least religious content that does not align with the official ideology of bowling. And here's a good one. We could also prohibit kids from wearing tees maligning the USBC. Can you imagine the cracks in our foundation that might form if we permit children to express themselves as they and their parents see fit?

Also, to be fair to the young ones, we should broaden the jurisdiction of this rule to include adults. I mean think of the objectionable stuff that full grown people can still do. Imagine how much the game would be improved if we also banned people with tattoos from entering bowling alleys, and dudes with long hair. And what about those whiny liberals! They always ruin my bowling day. Imagine a bowling alley with nothing but wholesome family values types. Paradise. Who wants to see this when they go to the bowling alley?


Or what about the ad below? Hammer should be ashamed of themselves advertising bowling balls this way. Sexier and deadlier than ever? Don't we have enough sex in bowling already? Look at this piece of trash. The ad line says this ball as an "aggressive back end reaction" and "They'll never see her coming." Holy crap! And if you think that's bad, there is a pair of handcuffs attached to the footboard of some kind of crazy S&M dungeon-like sex lair!!! Can you imagine if children saw this ad? I mean what trashy magazine would even publish an ad like this? Oh wait a minute. It's in the most recent issue of US Bowler, the magazine the USBC sends to every member. But you don't send this to kids do you? God, I hope not. Never mind. That would be almost as bad as publishing some kind of "pearl necklace" ad.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Anyone else get their copy of US Bowler?

When I recently received my Fall 2009 issue of US Bowler magazine, my first thought was, "Why is Sarah Palin on my bowling magazine?" Then, I did what I usually do with it. I thumbed through it on the way to its normal storage location, the trash can. No offense to Pete Tredwell, but I find this publication to be less than desirable and only marginally readable. They really need to spruce it up. New content would be nice. Heck, I'd be happy to contribute some BM type material. Take for example the story titled "All-American Bowler?!?" on p. 12 with a pic of some tweaked out rocker dude looking like an idiot. Is this supposed to appeal to the kids or the rebels in the USBC? It does not appeal to me. Anyway, the content of p. 21 really takes the cake for the easiest humor in the whole magazine. Did anyone else notice this ad? I mean come on Executive Editor Pete Tredwell, did you think that there was no intended double entendre? It speaks for itself. It reads like a bad pickup line at the bowling alley lounge.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Presidential Bowling Watch

If the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, has a kryptonite, it is bowling. First, there was his 37 game at Pleasant Valley Lanes in Altoona, Pennsylvania on March 29, 2008. Then, there was his Special Olympics crack in an interview with Leno. Both of these are among the low points of his presidential campaign and career, respectively. But for the first time, there has been a bit of news about the President's bowling game that is not bad, although I'm sure Limbaugh or O'Reilly could find a way to turn this into some nonsensical scathing critique. During President Obama's 48th birthday weekend at Camp David (8/1- 8/2), he bowled a 144. Now, a 144 is not a very good score by most bowling measures, but it is perfectly respectable. And it is a full 16 pins better than the last score reported. I must also admit that it is four pins fewer than what I predicted.

Nonetheless, the president seems to be improving at bowling. Below is the official Presidential Bowling Time Series. It now has three data points, and it will be filled out with time. I'm guessing that the Obama pledge to transparency in the White House does not extend to bowling scores in that we will only hear about his best games. So, we'll treat this as a record of his high scores. Over a period of 491 days, his high score has improved a full 107 pins, or an average of approximately .22 pins per day since that fateful day in PA. If that trend continues, he'll have a high score of 314 by the end of his first term. See, he really is Superman. If we should be so lucky to experience a 2nd Obama term, by its end, he'll be regularly bowling in the low 630's.


Kidding aside, the guy's bowling game seems to be improving, but if the administration truly wants to demonstrate this, they should post every score he gets right here. I will happily analyze his progress and advise as to whether a repeat trip to the Pleasant Valley Lanes would be a strategic move in his next campaign.

Two more thoughts, Mr. President. First, I predict that the next bowling score reported will be somewhere around a 160, but that they will quickly plateau after that. If you really want to improve your game and a make a big impression three years from now in Altoona, it is time to start working on a hook. It's not like you have anything else to do. It will take a little practice, and at first it might be ugly, but if you walk into a campaign stop and throw a big swinging strike, you will walk out of there with your head held high.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Bowling Alley Mural Review: Crystal Balls



In the realm of artists, there is one brand of hero who plogs through the world of oils and watercolors without recognition, the muralist of the lanes. The distal walls of bowling alleys are invariably adorned with the labors of heretofore unrecognized Picasso's whose works form the backdrop for sporting drama. Much like the architect who designs a ballpark, the bowling alley muralist provides an often unappreciated ambiance to our bowling experience. Their work is out there and in your face, yet for some reason, it is also barely noticeable. It is time recognize these neo-classicists of the hardwood.

Today's review concerns the work Crystal Balls by Anonymous. This piece combines geometry, surrealism, and irony in a Dali-esque composition. A series of crystalline balls sit in the foreground upon an obliquely chequered floor. Masterfully rendered distortions of bowling pins, blue skies, and clouds can be seen through the balls. The humor of the artist is expressed in the juxtaposition between ball material and the drilled holes which appear transparent and opaque, respectively. Clearly this is not intended to portray reality in a really realist sense of the word, nihilistically speaking. Just as crystal balls permit insight into future happenings, crystal bowling balls speak to a bright future for an artist who first imagined this remarkable composition.