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Article:Messaging with the Oldheads: Alex Holowczak and Manny Stiles

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They say you can't tell a man by his font. But you can warn other people after you get your ass KICKED in a game of chess. Some people you'll never forget. For me, it was Alex Holowczak - the guy who ended my Cal Ripken-like streak of chess dominance. He KICKED my ass. Sure I was "rusty", but I got polished in two straight - very fast, even... "surgical".

Anyway, I've always liked the little British kid. I imagine his grandpop is probably like Benny Hill. I can't watch Thomas and Friends without thinking of what life is like on the Isle of Snooker with Alex Holowczak - the kid who spurned my newest obsession - going into pool halls and asking 'em "who got next on the snooker table?" and places that sell billiards tables and ask them "Do you have it in 'snooker'" (with the hand quotes and all).

So yeah I respect him. But when the FBI contacted me to take part in an investigation on him, I was doing a deed of patriotism and I wasn't about to let the Patriots down!!!

Oh, how tempting was it to create a new user name "Jamel Stiles" and write an article called "Tom Brady isn't Gay but he's going down on a guy named Sunday" and write an IM story, but I wanted to help America defeat the British for once...

Messaging with the Oldheads: Alex Holowczak and Dr Commento

Date - Late December 2007

Place - The Internet - Where if it's there, it's true.

Setting - I was hired by the FBI to shake this kid down and see if there was an coming attack from a traveling snooker team from England that had ties with terrorism.

The FBI figured Alex Holowczak would know more about snooker's inner dealings than anyone. And they knew they had an inroad to his secret filings and databanks of snooker related data. They just had to find the tallest stoolie they could on ArmchairGM.com.

Originally it was going to be Erooster; since being a rooster would help camouflage his stool pigeon role. And Erooster is certainly tall enough. But then the ArmchairGm User awards came out and people had reason to stir up mumbles and chatter arose making a perfect time to message Alex and grill him to see if he would crack and divulge information about any snooker terrorists planning to strike on New Year's.

They knew the setting was favorable and they would be in safe hands with the "Commenter of the Year" Dr Commento!

I mean, WHAT were they thinking???

Here's the report:

stiles How did you come up with your user name? I mean, how did the founders pry you off of wikipedia?

Big A My username is my real life name. It took zero thought, really. I just wanted something I could remember. I didn't even use wikipedia before Armchair, I joined wikipedia after. I only really edit my school's page on there. It appears to have become my unofficial job. I came to Armchair via Myspace, infact. Rob spammed the Red Wings forum, and I followed and started here. And here I am now...

stiles I love that you always answer my questions, no matter how ridiculous. As the only person in the last 23 years to beat me in chess are you extremely pissed that I haven't written my cricket article yet? And if we played 10 more times how many times could I beat you?

Big A I am very disappointed that you haven't written my cricket article yet. When I lost a "challenge", I always tried to fulfil my obligation as swiftly as possible. Nobody else did, however. Any challenge that I won was meaningless, since I don't think there were many people that ever did the forfeits. How many times could you beat me if we played more times? 0, I'd like to think!

stiles You realize I won a lot of challenges? ...but paid off my debts except yours. I want to do it right! Not like False Prophet's WNBA related missed payments... I digress.

How many F1 races have you seen in person, how good are you at snooker, can you Bend it like Rooney and do you speak softly while carrying a sticky wicket?

Big A I have seen precisely 0 F1 races in person. They cost so much money, and there's only 1 per country each year, so there's limited supply of them to actually spectate. Although, I do plan to go in the future, provided Britain doesn't lose it's Grand Prix (which is possible after 2009). I'm not that good at snooker, but I haven't played it that often. A player can boast about their highest break in snooker, and 147 is maximum. My highest break is only 22 I think, so I'm not that good. But I've only played the game fleetingly. I once cleared an 8-ball pool table having broken off, but I think some of that was more by luck than judgement. I managed to make a 147 on my World Championship Snooker 2005 game. Indeed, I'm a three time World Champion on the game, and in Year 4, I am currently 8-4 down to Ronnie O'Sullivan in the Quarter Final (it's best of 25), so I have to get a move on! I'm World Number 1 on it too. My prime footballing position is goalkeeper, I was starting goalie for my House at school earlier in the year (I had a GAA of 1 over the 3 games) and I didn't do too badly. But my house were third out of 4. I've played cricket for my school too, at wicketkeeper, and am not too bad. I played for my school's rugby team for a few years, but we won about 3 games in 60 throughout our existence. I managed to annoy everybody by taking quick tap penalties, so quickly that even the ref and my own team hadn't noticed. I managed to score a try once too, which puts me in a rather unique position in the team, since only about 7 of us ever did score a try. I shan't be turning pro at any of these sports any time soon though!

stiles If you could attend any sporting event in history as a VIP, what would you attend?

Big A I would attend the 1981 Ashes Test Series between England and Australia. If I had to pick one match from the series, it would be the one at Headingley. Australia forced England to follow on (which basically was invented to let the team enforcing it win a bit quicker to save time), and England were 135/7 and still losing. At odds of 500/1, England soon recovered, thanks to a century from Ian Botham and a plucky tail end performance from our lower order (the equivalent of the pitchers in baseball). So suddenly, Australia needed 130 to win. After a strong start for them, they collapsed, and England won by 11 runs. It turned the series around, and England went on to win the Ashes. The 2005 Ashes would come close to that, it was arguably a better series (the best of all-time), but having never seen 1981 before, I'd rather see that.

stiles Hah! I was trying to slip one by you there... "what one" instead of "which one"! I gotchya!!! Admit it, the balance of arrogance and ignorance that we Americans demonstrate is highly fascinating to you, isn't it? OK, but you like American food though, right?

Big A Americans are stereotypically to Brits, fat and all ego. I must admit, some of them on the chair correspond neatly with the ego bit. Although some actually deviate from the expectation. American food? Not really, I'd take fish and chips over a burger any day!

stiles I eat a lot of fish, actually... If you could change/eliminate any rule of grammar what would you change/eliminate?

Big A I wouldn't eliminate any grammar rule. I think they are all worthy. American English doesn't bother me, it's just when it slips into English that it does. Somebody insisted I was playing them at checkers the other day. It took an hour of discussion to convince him that we call it draughts.

stiles I would make a rule that says if you shouldn't make citizen's arrests on behalf of the grammar police.

Big A, I've always thought very highly of you as a tremendous contributor and knowledgable sports fanatic. How many times have you teetered between hating me and liking me?

Big A Manny, you are a complete nutcase. Which is why I like you. I just wish you didn't get involved with trolls from time to time.

stiles Let me get my Birmingham to the President's Inglish translator out - umm hmmm... says right here... so you DO hate me...!

What user(s) that hasn't been around a while do you wonder about every so often? Who would you bring back if you could and what kind of Users are you hoping for to join Armchair in the future??

Big A Steaksammich and Madproof9. Madproof was an Avs fan. Indeed, I suggested writing an article with him on the Av-Wing rivalry of the late 90s. I did my bit for the Wings, but he was never to be seen again. Also, it's a tad of a shame that Steak left us no way at all to get in contact with him. You can't even email him. At least his memory lives on with the AGMVC. Also, Awrigh01 seems to be around here very little lately. I hope more fans of cuesport and F1 come to use the site. The reason I ceased with the F1 reports was because they took about two hours to write, and a lot of research, and they only ever got about 3 votes. So hopefully, people that have an interest in those sports. If a Speedway fan comes along too, then that'll be great. Realistically, Stats Bots for those three sports would be nice.

stiles Do you have any "secret" projects you're working on for 2008? Or can I start rumors of some for you?

Big A Secret projects? Well, if I told you them, they wouldn't be secret would they... However, I am planning on upgrading the Snooker section in 2008. I've let the bios get a bit outdated, and I've missed the odd tournament out. I'd like to redo some of the tournament templates too. My most important thing in 2008 is the A Levels, so I will not even make a start on the snooker until July, when they're all over. But I will have a chance to work on it until September/October, hopefully.

stiles Well, you kinda let the cat out of the bag a tad... if you could get trapped as a real person in any video game for eternity, what game would that be? (I'm guessing it's NHL Hockey '01)

Big A Hmmm, you mean as a player? Then I'd like to get trapped in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2000 and whatever. They're some of the best sports games ever made. I just wish they were more realistic, so that I don't have to shoot 55 in every round to have a chance. My favourite NHL game is EA NHL 00, because of the intro alone. The best intro ever made.

stiles Really? I haven't heard you say that before? What's the difference between draughts and a draught beer?

Big A Draughts = what the US call checkers. Draught beer = this

stiles See? Like I said... every question!

Ha ha! You - heart - wikipedia!

Who are you calling the US? It's We. Don't you know "us" is you and "we" are them?

Whom would win in a grammar fight - you or StupidSidelineReporters?

Big A We wouldn't fight. As intellectual individuals (at least, appearing to be intellectual individuals...), we would not create two warring factions, unlike some sports.... We would work together fighting grammar wrongs until people sat up and take note. Although he'd be the guy correcting the Americans, and I'd be correcting the British. Far from acting as enemies, we would work as equals!

stiles So what have you heard about the terrorist snooker team? Coming to America to teach our children snooker are they???

Yeah right! Fess up! I'm onto you!!!

Big A (no response)

Stiles OK, maybe you won't answer ALL my stupid questions...

Thanks, Big A!!!

To dig through Alex's archives: Click HERE


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