Exploitation Retrospect | The Journal of Junk Culture and Fringe Media

Dante's InfernoSorry this week's column is popping in a little late. I made an excursion to the old South Jersey stomping grounds this weekend (land of the Pennsauken Mart and White Castles!), and by the time I arrived back in the Steel City it was 11 pm on Sunday and I could barely uncramp my hand long enough to type this little missive.

Unfortunately, my cramped hands weren't from driving or hoisting too many beers over the course of my visit. Nope, I dusted off Emil, my trusty bowling ball, and heaved him down the lane for the first time in about two years. Perhaps "rusty bowling ball" would be a more apt description after yesterday's fiasco.

The first of the three games was actually a pretty good synopsis of my entire bowling career. Without the benefit of any practice tosses I swung my arm across my body and threw Emil into the left-hand gutter. An inauspicious debut if ever there was one. Fortunately I struck out the tenth and clocked in with a not-quite-respectable 139 for my first game in two years. I should've quit while I was ahead. Game 2 featured a less-than-respectable 129, and my thumb was so swollen by the start of Game 3 that Emil was hanging on for dear life. This caused me to search for an adequately heavy house ball (I like 'em about 15 or 16 pounds) that'd move through the pins with the proper speed for the action my straight ball requires. Ball 3 did the trick, but respectability was well out of reach by that point...I'll take the 5th regarding my Game 3 score.

I know Emil needs to be redrilled (which my father has been telling me for years), but I kept ignoring the facts. Until yesterday. But, I've got bowlin' back in my system, so I went searchin' for a few bowling-related sites on the web this morning. Unfortunately, most of what I found was pretty dull; none of the sites captured the boozy, smoky charm of the bowling alley. I'll keep lookin', but here's a few of interest that I discovered...

Fantasy Leagues aren't simply the property of the major sports any longer. The Fantasy Bowling League lets you join a virtual team comprised of kegglers from all walks of life and geographic regions! Simply visit the site, read the rules, and you can join up for the 1997-98 season. But hurry, most leagues start the week of Labor Day, so there's not much time to "spare." Anyone with an e-mail address can join.

I always view tenpin bowling as a distinctly American sport. Hey, the Japanese are sendin' over baseball players, there's a bunch of foreigners in the NBA, and hockey...well, you can't swing a dead cat without hittin' a hoser, Commie, or Swede! And now there's a site called Tenpin World that's based in the UK!!! What's next?! This was voted a "Top Bowling Site," and who knew any such award existed? There's some league results, links to bowling newspapers and the like, but the site hasn't been updated in quite some time. Just like those limeys...can't count on them to stick with anything.

Too bad that I can't say the opposite about the Bowling Home Page. Guys, it's August and your site hasn't been updated since December of 1996! I can understand it if you're in the midst of a league battle in the second-half, but come on...it is the off-season! You can go here and fill out the Ball Survey, get info on Organizations and Tourneys, plus explore their links of home pages devoted to the sport, leagues, a Hall of Fame, and more. Put down that brewsky and update this thing before the new season starts!

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