Column #HR160 Howie’s Asian Love Tour

Thursday, March 10, 2016
Column HR160
Howie’s Asian Love Tour 

There’s a lot going on for those who live and die on the Tungsten Highway. But Houston Hartwell Reed II, aka The Old Dart Coach, was taken deep with a punch of the lazy stick and has been AWOL. There would be an apology except “Sweet Fanny Adams” describes his attitude.

The ODC was consumed with planning and preparing for his annual HALT tour of Thailand and the Philippines.  The name of this year’s event was provided by Mr. D. Brooks formerly of Patong Beach, Thailand, who has relocated to BumFaulk Village, Northern Thailand.

‘Lest there be any mistake, the preparation for the ODC’s  trip was extensive and far-reaching. A major task was packing the two pieces of luggage allowable for international travel.  Once upon a time, when regularly donating (translation: entering events) to dart players throughout the world, the ODC was best known for his colorful dart shirts. Holding up various beverage serving stations was second. The shirts were made in Thailand as was his love life or lack of same.

For this trip, he packed 24 bottles of Heinz Jalapeno Ketchup for his pal Pablo. Pablo meets him at Bangkok’s Suvarabhumi Airport with a six pack of ice cold San Miguel Light, wedges of lime and permission to smoke a cigar in the truck.  In addition, Pablo gets Turkey-Bacon Bits, a battery can opener and a back brace. It’s possible that one might ask…

“Why 24 bottles of  Heinz Jalapeno Ketchup?”

Because that’s what Pablo wanted.

Last year, it was ten pounds of coffee creamer which the ODC stupidly removed from the large cardboard box labeled “COFFEE CREAMER” and placed in a plain plastic bag. The tungsten God was smiling on him as no Customs officials asked…

“Sir, what is this white powdery substance in the plastic bag?”

If the ODC has answered “coffee creamer” he would have heard…

“Sir come with us please.”

Also being schlepped were three boxes of expensive cigars for Ned-Son (one of which the ODC will say was confiscated by customs officials), ten pairs of reading glasses from the 99 Cents Store (where everything now costs a dollar), various parts for a Harley for Sir Frog and three bottles of expensive perfume. One of the bottles is for Mrs. D. Brooks for her birthday which she now won’t get as there won’t be a party in Patong Beach as she’s in BumFaulk, Thailand. The law of unexpected consequences invoked.

Then it was time for the ODC to pack is personal belongings. Being the “shirt guy,” he packed 27 shirts.  He added six pairs of white socks, four pairs of shoes, three pairs of tan shorts, one pair of white shorts and one wearing of underwear.  Can’t write “a pair” of underwear as there’s only one.

If that wasn’t enough on his plate, the ODC  received some sad news. His long-awaited radio debut, pronounced DE BUTT, on Chinese radio in Toronto was canceled due to snow. The good news is that this occurrence qualifies for a Guinness World Record as being the first radio program ever canceled “due to snow.” He offered to re-tape the program but was told…

“Not now. Maybe later. We’ll call you.”

This space has been slack in reporting results for the Premier League for a very good reason. Like the National Basketball League in America, it goes on and on and on and on. The ODC can hear his late mother yelling “Enough already!” which she gleaned from Gertrude Berg as Molly in the original “Goldberg’s” TV Show that ran 1949-57.  Then up jumps “Marvelous” Michael van Gerwen with a performance – the Premier League is about performance – that makes a person yell “WTF!” which all know is “Well, That’s Fine” or words to that effect.

In a 7-1 win over Michael Smith, he averaged a world record-shattering average of 123. It took van Gerwen just four minutes to open a 4-nil lead with legs of 11, 12, 11 and 12 which the astute darter  will recognize as a pattern.  He upped that lead to 6-nil with a nifty pair of 10-darters. Following that run, his average was above 135. With the chance for a 7-0 win van Gerwen missed double 18 which allowed Smith to take out 116, avoiding the whitewash. Had van Gerwen covered the d18 his average would have been 136. What a wanker. The previous record was Phil Taylor’s at 118.66  in the 2010 UK Open.

During the Coral UK Open Mr. “Skin Head” continued his assault on the record books when he defeated amateur Rob Cross. Van Gerwen was 6-3 up with a 177 to leave 170, which he eliminated. Then for the 8th time in UK Open history “The Marvelous One” used 180, 180, 141-out for a 9-darter. At 7-3, the 11th leg was a replay of the 9th with van Gerwen using a 177 to set up a 170 finish. Not to Chablis.

The ODC took a lot of stick from many directions when he predicted that Phil Taylor would never beat van Gerwen in a meaningful TV match again. At the semi-finals of the UK Open the two met again. Van Gerwen had won seven of their last eight meetings.  Now?   Eight of nine and 18-16 all time.

In a scenario that has become all too familiar, Taylor jumped out to leads of 3-0 and then 4-1 at the first break. When they came, back Taylor brought the “Mental Yeaps” with him. Van Gerwen, throwing first, used T80 to leave 8.  With 121 remaining, Taylor used 60, 33 to  leave 28.  He missed d14 allowing van Gerwen a shot at 8 which he didn’t waste.

That’s when the wheels fell off the Taylor wagon.  A 4-2, van Gerwen would win 6 of the next 8 for the 10-6 win.  Taylor did have a 5-4 lead when van Gerwen erased 151 to level. In legs 11 and 13 Taylor missed doubles to win. Eric Bristow, echoing his pal the ODC posted, “Taylor 4-1 up loses 10-6 to MVG again… great game… Taylor didn’t look like winning at 4-1 up… times have changed?”

Van Gerwen rolled over Peter Wright 11-4 for the UK Open title. He collected £60,000 plus  £10,000 for his 9-darter which is $99,937 and a meaningless 13 cents.

By a unanimous vote of  one the “official” PDC will now refer to Michael van Gerwen as “Marvelous.” The ODC is over the moon.

There has been some question as to what HALT means regarding the ODC’s Asia trip. Last year, almost no one remembers the trip was called “Looking for Love in All the Right Places.” Mr. D. Brooks has duped this year’s adventure HALT. That stands for

Howie’s Asian Love Tour.

Stay thirsty my friends.

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Howie Reed
The one and only Howie Reed (the Old Dart Coach) goes back decades with the legends of our sport - he knows where the skeletons are buried. Just ask any of the ADO and WDF old-timers! His widely popular column, Toeing the Oche, is a must-read.