Prison: Hardcore Billiards Training Ground?

July 26th, 2015
by Laggin' Len

prisonSomewhere Steve West is laughing. During the mercurial Vermilion-Lloydminster MLA’s nine-month stint as Alberta solicitor general in 1992, he slashed creature comforts in Alberta’s nine provincial jails. Colour televisions with cable access were replaced by 11-inch black-and-white sets with rabbit-ear antennae. Pool tables and weights were gone. Extra pay for good behaviour was phased out and inmates were put to work pulling weeds and building picnic tables. Harshest of all, bacon disappeared from cafeteria menus and toilet paper was rationed.

In December 1992, Premier Ralph Klein replaced Mr. West and it was expected that the cuts would slowly be reversed. They never were. Now, the austerity of life inside the provincial jail system has made the plush confines of federal prisons look mighty sweet to criminals.

Just ask Edmontonian Neil Edward Adamson, who pleaded guilty to assault with a weapon in Provincial Court two weeks ago. On April 9 Adamson took a knife and one of his pals to Kingsway …

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Talking Smack And Pool With Gary Payton

July 23rd, 2015
by Laggin' Len

supersmakHe’ll Mock You, Taunt You, Dog You and Then Finally Beat You. So Why Is Gary Payton Still Everybody’s Best Friend?

GARY PAYTON IS FLAT-OUT PISSED. The Seattle Talking Smack point guard is standing tall and talking tough on the top floor of Jillian’s Billiards Club in Seattle. Nearby, startled pool players impulsively clutch their cue sticks tightly, then are amused when they realize the commotion is coming from the table of the NBA’s best guard, who also just happens to be the league’s least-guarded player off the court.

The sight itself is unusual: a pool table surrounded by several oversized men. But the loudest sounds are coming from one of the table’s smallest guys, the 6-foot-4, 180-pound Payton.

“HOW COULD YOU STRIP ME OF MY TITLE?” asks Payton, GP to this crowd. “I WAS THE CHAMP 30 MINUTES AGO. No. 1. AND NOW I’M NOT?”

“Your title became vacant while you were inactive,” explains GP’s old high school pal …

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