In ancient Cathay, in the province known as Xian, there lived a migrant terra cotta worker named Bo. Bo specialized in figures in the shape of the female form, and Bo was something of a perfectionist. Any figure which came out of the fire with even the slightest blemish he would destroy.
Unfortunately, Bo's eye was much keener than his hands, and it became very tiring to smash each less-then-perfect figure one by one. So he started smashing them three at a time, using the big hammer used to strike the giant gong. Then five at a time, with a tree branch. After some time he would just pile up ten of them and throw rocks till they were all smashed.
Resigned to a life of imperfect figures, Bo started to be more creative with his smashing. He would line the figures up in various gemoetric patterns and see how many he could smash at once by hurling a large rock. By chance he found a rock about the size of his head which water and time had worn three holes in, and the holes fit three fingers of his hand.
On a certain Spring day, Bo cleared a narrow path, and arranged ten of the figures in a pyramid. As chance would have it, as soon as he tossed the rock at the terra cotta figures, a famous general was leading his army up the street past Bo's house, and arrived just in time to see the figures, all 10 of them, being smashed to pieces by the large rock.
Of course being a general, the general absolutely adored the sound of things being smashed, but was a little bit alarmed that what was being smashed were perfectly lovely figures of very pretty women.
But, being a general, he was not all that alarmed.
He told Bo that this game looked like fun, but it was not politically correct to play this game with figures of women. The general ordered Bo to make figures which were almost the same shape, but did not have recognizable human details, and to teach him this game with the rock of three holes.
Luckily, Bo was a quick thinker, and was able to improvise. The general was very pleased, and gave Bo a large order for many sets of figures, and those big rocks with the holes.
As a reward for inventing this game, the general also gave Bo an order for thousands of terra cotta soldiers, which were used to decorate his secret underground game palace.
Bo was, of course, none other than the legendary Bo Ling. And the general? The Chinese knew him as Qin Shi Huang, but his closest associates called him "Amf".
The story behind the story
I needed another form of exercise besides the stationary bike. Something which did not involve being in a gym, but did include an element of eye candy. It occurred to me that I still have my old bowling ball from college, in fact I just bought a new bag for it last year when the old one fell apart during packing for my move. I was a very good bowler in college, with a 252 average. But I haven't bowled in years, and the last time I used my ball it didn't quite fit anymore so my expectations were not very high.
So I went online, and found the closest bowling emporium is Homestead Lanes, just off 85, about 7 minutes from home. I printed out the yahoo map at work, and completely forgot about the print-out. But the directions were simple, it was right where Homestead meets Hollenbeck, and it's pretty hard to miss a bowling alley, right?
I drove way more than the 1.1 miles it was from 85. No sign of a bowling alley on either side of the street. Made a U-turn and came back to Hollenbeck, and drove all around the big shopping center parking lot, but no bowling alley.
So I drove home and cracked open the yellow pages, and the only bowling lane listed was one in Palo Alto.
Very strange. I know there's Moonlite Lanes near Goodwill in Santa Clara, so I went online again and found an actual web page for Homestead Lanes. Turns out I looked right at it while I drove past. It was on the other side of Homestead from the Hollenbeck shopping center. At Homestead the road becomes Stelling. There is no sign for the bowling alley on Homestead, it actually faces Stelling, about 3/4 of a block off Homestead.
They have a $2-per-game special on Tuesdays and Wednesdays after 9 pm, so at 8:55 I was in the car and headed over there, bowling bag in the trunk.
Every lane was taken with league players. There was a sign at the front desk which said no lanes would be open till 9:15. It was 9:05. So I got my name on the waiting list, and waited. There was much eye candy. Maybe I should join a league. But wait, most of the women were loud, beer-drinking, not at all atttractive. And it isn't much exercise when you bowl with four other people - you spend most of the time sitting on your butt. For exercise, better to bowl solo.
Finally got a lane at 9:30, and by that time there was a very long line, so getting there early paid off. To my right were Koreans, two men and a woman. One of the men had a fancy speckled multicolored ball, a wrist brace and a very professional-looking delivery. But he had a ferocious curve which made the ball slide off of the pins instead of push them down. The other man was using a generic house ball, and had no real style, but was knocking down more pins. The woman was a complete novice, she didn't use the holes in the ball, she just got up to the foul line, put her hands under the ball and rolled it gently down the lane. Eventually she hit some pins.
To my left were Hispanics, also two men and a woman, but all three were novices. One used whichever ball came out the chute, the woman used an orange house ball (the lightest weight) and the other man tried several balls before deciding to share his friends'. The woman was gorgeous, and I spent a lot of time watching her bowl.
I stunk. The ball did not fit my hand correctly, and I had to hold it in a way which made my arm fly way out if I tried to hurl it full speed. I use a 16-lb. ball, and rely on power to make up for my lack of consistency. But tonight I sucked. 96 on the first game, 92 on the second. For the third I slowed way down, concentrated more, and bowled a 132. Still awful, but better than the folks on either side of me. And one thing I did right is got a spare in the 10th frame of each game.
It was definitely a workout equal to half an hour on the bike, using more muscles. And it only cost $8 for three games, shoes included. Nice lanes, the scoring is completely computerized, and it's intelligent enough to only give you one extra shot on a 10th frame spare.
Time to buy my own shoes, have my ball re-drilled and start making a habit of this.
Bad joke of the day:
Q. What do you call a bunch of homosexual lions?
A. Gay pride