what comprise a man?
it’s for this reason i started the all about . . . project. so far i’ve interviewed two heavyweight guests, omg and ms. rousey. (funny enough, both of them are fairly petite.) will the third one be as interesting? you be the judge. for this round, i’ve wrangled snarkinus maximus, also known as the pcn guy, for an interview. yes, that snarky.
snarky has been a mystery to me. i can’t figure out if he’s on the side of angels or he’s best buds with the evil leprechaun. but the beauty of the greatest nation on earth is that we all get to have our own opinions, and that we’re free to voice them, for better or for worse. so i decided to give snarky the floor and let him express himself, sans interruptions.
while the blogsphere does not lack those who hate/despise/ridicule/doubt the snarky one, i hope everyone will read the entire interview and form your own opinions afterward. in this day and age, it’s all too easy to take one sentence and skew it out of context; it’s why i’m doing an interview instead of asking for one-line quotes from my guests, so they won’t be taken out of context. and while it is a person’s right to take anything out of context, i fear that decision won’t be beneficial to whoever decides on that route. free country though.
anyway, a quick recap of the format. i email a list of questions to my guest, and he/she emails back the responses. i send my guest additional questions if that’s needed. i’ll do minor edits to correct spellings and such, and i also blur out the cuss words (if any). if you see something in brackets [like this], i’m adding a comment to a response. whatever type of editing i do, however, i do NOT change the actual responses themselves; all responses are posted as-is, minus the minor edits. simple enough.
a big thank you to snarky for agreeing to this interview.
anyway, onto the show. if you hate it, remember that this time it’s not about you, it’s all about . . .
hairl00p: you have been a pretty controversial guy. so what led you to go from equipment review to your current state of snarkiness?
snarky: I always think its funny that people find my blog controversial. For the most part, I’m just saying what other people are thinking. There’s a lot that’s wrong with pool and the billiards industry. I just talk about stuff that people already are aware of and every once in a while try to throw out some helpful hints for turning the industry around.
hairl00p: a number of your posts contain interesting tidbits only pool industry insiders would seem to know. how do you come about your info, or is that classified?
snarky: There are surprisingly large number of people that have information that they want to talk about, but feel they can’t for one reason or another. Sometimes people email me with these little tidbits and I talk about them.
hairl00p: in some of your posts, you seem to direct your ire toward certain people in pool. what would prompt you to unleash your snarkiness unto a person? is it something a person would do, or is it the person’s character that would tick you off?
snarky: Yeah, that’s something I’ve tried to tone down a bit. The few months leading up to be killing the blog the first time got really nasty which isn’t what I’m all about. I’m always going to make fun of the Brown Recluse, but I do have love for all that she’s done for pool from a promotional perspective. She’s the biggest draw in pool and has the most potential to get pool in the mainstream.
hairl00p: speaking of which, you seem quite critical of the black widow in some of your posts. what prompts such criticism of her?
snarky: Let me say that I have much respect for the way that Jeanette has positioned herself. She works extremely hard and knows how to get what’s best for Jeanette. When non-players think of pro pool players that are currently playing, JL is the first one that comes to mind. The relationship between Jeanette and pool is akin to the hottie social climber dating the ugly, connected guy. They’re both getting something out of the relationship, but it is very much a use/use situation (in my eyes anyway).
Other than that, the biggest issue I have with Jeanette is that no one really knows who Jeanette is (other than her immediate family of course). I’ve seen her be extremely nice and approachable, but that’s typically when she’s “on”. I’ve also seen her play a number of mind games prior to and during matches. Doing small things like chatting up her opponents when they’re trying to warm up or forcing re-rack after re-rack because her opponent isn’t racking the balls to her liking. I don’t necessarily think that these are bad strategies, I just think that most people aren’t aware of the fact that she uses this sort of gamesmanship to her advantage.
hairl00p: tell us about your pool experience. do you play leagues, tournaments, gambling matches, or just weekend/recreational stuff? what attracted you to the game?
snarky: I am what is commonly referred to as a banger. I play with friends (yes I do have some of those) and the most I’d ever bet on a game of pool is a round of drinks. Leagues are too much of a commitment (plus I’m not very good). As for gambling, there’s this misconception out there that I don’t like gambling when in fact the opposite is true. I love to play blackjack and craps and I live in the sportsbook when I’m in Vegas. My feelings about action and hustling have nothing to do with gambling. As to what got me into pool, its the same as most people. There were some tables at places I hung out when I was a kid. We’d rent a table and bang some balls around. As an adult, its pretty much the same. If I’m out with my boys, we’ll play a few racks while we’re grubbing, boozing and watching the game. I love the social aspect of pool. Unfortunately, this is not what the industry chooses to focus on.
hairl00p: what first led you to blog about pool? what kept you going?
snarky: There were a couple of reasons. I dig the game and the business so it seemed like a good topic to write about. There are a ton of great pool blogs out there, but almost all of them are either very technical or written from the perspective of the serious player. It seemed like there was some room for a blog written by a casual player who has a passion for the business.
hairl00p: you’ve shut down your blog once; we won’t talk about that. what made you restart your blog though?
snarky: I really enjoy writing. When I shut down the blog, I really missed putting the pen to paper (well the virtual pen to paper anyway). Plus, I wanted to try rebuilding the blog to be a little more constructive instead of just ripping on the standard industry punching bags.
hairl00p: describe your favorite foods. what does maximus eat typically, and what does he eat on special occasions?
snarky: Ok, here’s the thing. I joke every now and again about my diet consisting of Hot Pockets but actually I’m kind of a foodie. Probably not to the extent that OMGWTF is, but I really like good food. It doesn’t matter what kind of food it is, as long as its good. There are so many good eats that it just doesn’t make sense to waste calories or stomach space on garbage. Next time I hit Vegas, I’ll be at Mandalay Bay grubbing at Hubert Keller’s Fleur de Lys and Rick Moonen’s RM Seafood. I’m not a food snob though. I love having dirty water dogs in NYC, cheesesteaks in Philly and street tacos in LA and nothing beats an In ‘n Out Double Double. Sometimes the best food is in those dingy hole in the wall joints that you’d otherwise walk by. If its tasty, its going in my belly.
hairl00p: your posts reference a number of tv shows and movies. what are some of your favorite shows and movies? what attract you to those shows?
snarky: On the TV side, right now I’m really into Breaking Bad, Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia, South Park, The Daily Show and Dexter. I dig Entourage, but not nearly as much as I used to. Same goes for Weeds. For the network stuff, there’s not a whole lot. I still tune in to the Simpsons every now and again and 30 Rock is always good for a laugh. Chuck is a must see, as is Fringe and I’ll watch Wipeout whenever its on (because there’s little funnier than someone getting hit in the crotch over and over). For the record, I hate Family Guy. Easily the stupidest and most overrated show on TV.
On the movie side, there’s really too many to list. I’ve seen (although not necessarily enjoyed) most of the AFI 100 and I’ve pretty much worn down my Kevin Smith collection. The original Die Hard remains the single greatest action movie of all time. The Bourne flicks are great popcorn and any time Roadhouse, Total Recall or Tombstone is on I have no choice but to stop what I’m doing and watch.
hairl00p: do you enjoy books? what are your favorite books and why? are there books that you consider life-changing?
snarky: I read a ton. Again, there are so many great books that its hard to just pick out one. I have lots of memorable books, but none that I would consider life changing. Twain was an influence for sure. Steinbeck too. One book that I read recently which was an absolute riot was Candy Girl (Diablo Cody). I have a mad crush on her and love the way she writes (although it doesn’t always translate well to the screen). I’m usually reading a couple books at a time (I have serious focus issues) so right now I’m doing Water for Elephants (Sara Gruen), The Big Picture (Edward Jay Epstein) and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest (Steig Larsson).
hairl00p: since you asked j barretta a question about the kroft superstars, here’s one for you. if you are a superhero/super villain, who would you be? (choices limited to marvel & dc universe characters.) 🙂
snarky: The guy I most identify with has got to be Magneto. Bada~*, wears a cape and a b~*in’ helmet and he has justification for what he does. If I had to be a good guy though, I’d go with Gambit. That cat is a playa.
hairl00p: you seem to be pretty preoccupied with female pool players. what’s behind that fascination, or is it purely primal?
snarky: I’d say primal, but that’s not really true. Here’s the thing. I’ve met a lot of pool players and with the exception of a very select few, all the women have been very friendly and approachable. If you walk up to one of them, they’ll talk, they’ll sign an autograph and generally speaking they’ll work there a~*s off to promote pool and put the game in a positive light. The men on the other hand, not so much. Don’t get me wrong, there are some really good guys in men’s pool but for the most part all they seem to be interested in is matching up and getting a check.
hairl00p: since you’re in the los angeles area, describe the LA pool scene in your perspective.
snarky: I’m not much into the hardcore pool scene, so I can’t really give a good answer to that. If I’m going to an actual pool hall, I’d go to House of Billiards in the Valley. Nice place, very casual and not the standard scumbaggery you find at other pool halls. Fantasia over in Burbank is kind of the same thing. Clean place, lots of tables and no drama. Hollywood Billiards is nice too, but every time I’ve gone there the place has been packed.
[me: just a quick note about hollywood billiards. according to hb’s website, they’re currently closed for some remodeling stuff; i couldn’t find any info on when they’ll reopen. if you’re planning a visit there call first; (323) 465-0115.]
hairl00p: what do you think the state of pool is, at this moment?
snarky: Well, the old Threat-o-Meter has been on extreme for a long time and I don’t see it getting better anytime soon. Right now pool has a bad rep. People who don’t play see pool players as hustling scumbags and pool halls as places that aren’t safe. Anyone looking to hit some balls around is far more likely to go to a bar and grill type place or a Dave and Busters than an actual pool hall. Pool wants to be taken seriously as a sport, but then you have the top pro players matching up for $1,000 a set or making a spectacle of themselves at events like the DCC in order to win a gambling title.
Pool players love to compare the game to golf, but when was the last time you heard about Tiger, Lefty, Paddy or Vijay going to the local muni looking to play someone for $1,000 a hole. The defense is always “yeah, but golfers make lots of money on the tour”, but that isn’t a valid defense. Others will say that you have to gamble in order to keep your game sharp, but that isn’t a valid defense either. If you talk to most pool players, the action has a lot more to do with the gamble and bragging rights than making a living. Action is all about the rush and the stories. Anything else is simply an excuse used to chase the gambling dragon.
What pool really needs is to decide on a path and take it. If you want to be a social, casual game with world class pros then be that. If you want to be about the action and gritty underground then forget the “everyone’s game” stuff. Vegas had the same problem. In the 80s and 90s, they wanted to be a family destination where you could gamble. It didn’t work and casinos were literally giving rooms away just to get people to come. It wasn’t until Vegas adopted their “what happens in Vegas” mentality (and marketing campaign) that the city really thrived. In my opinion, pool could be very successful going in either direction but as Mr. Miyagi said: “Walk on road, hm? Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later, get squish just like grape.”
Oh, and having a standardized set of rules and regs that everyone follows wouldn’t hurt either.
hairl00p: you’ve had a slight tiff with justin collett of TAR. care to tell us what led to the online exchanges in the first place?
snarky: Blast from the past. I haven’t thought about that for a long time. From what I can remember, Justin doesn’t like me for a couple of reasons. A while back, I made the following statement about his boss (Mark Griffin) in reference to him running for a seat on the WPBA board: “The guy who bought the BCAPL, Diamond Tables, part owner of TAR and creator of that CSI league. He’s passionate about pool and will likely win a seat, but let’s just say that not everyone is a fan of how he does business.”
While this was clearly a true statement, as Mark himself later went on to say that the APA wrote an “it’s us or him” type letter to the WPBA in reference to his nomination, Justin got all bent out of shape about it, as at the time he clearly thought that everyone loved Griffin. So, he went after me for being anonymous, called me a “creepy WPBA stalker” and some other names. I tried the “I’m rubber, you’re glue” defense but I spent many nights crying myself to sleep knowing that I’d never be allowed into the TAR clubhouse. He also clearly didn’t like the fact that I paid so much attention to Sarah Rousey, which of course is ironic seeing how he wants to see Sarah grow in popularity. Meh. Whatev. The guy doesn’t like me. Not the first and certainly won’t be the last.
hairl00p: if you had your way, what would you like to see happen to pool the most?
snarky: I’d like to see pool find its true voice and take that path. Be a wholesome “everyone’s game” or be a sleazy degenerates paradise. It doesn’t matter to me which way pool goes, as both can be successful paths. The important thing is that pool needs to choose a direction and go with it. Oh, and standardized rules that were followed by every pro and amateur match would be nice too. The fact that there has to be a players meeting before every tournament to go over the different little quirks and changes that the TD has made to the rules tells you all you need to know. Each game should have one universal set of rules that everyone follows. Until that happens, no one in the mainstream is ever going to take pool seriously as a sport.
hairl00p: and last but not least, cuisses de grenouille or escargot?
snarky: Escargot, but only because I haven’t had a chance to try frogs legs yet. Plus, they’re usually dunked in garlic butter . . . mmmmm . . . garlic butter . . .
that’s it folks. thanks for reading. if you care to leave comments, please remember the rules of posting comments for this blog. if you don’t know the rules, read them here. and for this particular post, i ask all to be civil when commenting. remember, only a civil dialog can foster growth. if our verbal exchanges degenerate into a cuss match, no real opinions can be heard anymore. as a ground rule, i reserve all rights to edit or delete your comments if they become personal attacks, irrelevant to the discussion, or morph into a cussfest. again, thanks for reading this post!