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Carlo's Table

Why Boomer Captains ignore Carlo.

Heck, so does everybody else.

Note:  This was written a few months after the Taliban was driven from Afghanistan.   

KABUL, Afghanistan – Only a few months ago, if Gaz Dumic had danced a little jig on the sidelines of Kabul's Ghazi soccer stadium, fans might well have sat silently while Taliban soldiers beat him senseless for violating strict rules against public dancing.

But as Kabul's two top soccer teams battled it out on Christmas Day for the city’s championship, Mr. Dumic suffered a sudden attack of "happy feet" and, well, he just couldn't hold himself back.

The toothless, elderly man danced heel to toe up and down the sidelines, at one point mimicking an American-style break dance.

He even did an Afghan version of the twist. And the crowd, unaccustomed to such public displays of spontaneous joy, erupted in something that hasn't been heard much around here in years: mass laughter.

KABUL, Afghanistan – A woman lifts her Burqua, smiles a big happy feminine toothy smile, shows off her makeup and lipstick, and rapidly drops the Burqua back in place, prudently not yet confident that the Tali-bastards are really gone to Tali-hell.

KABUL, Afghanistan – A bunch of crazed men on horses mull around, waiting for one to make a break for the scoring object hanging on a post at a distance. 

Eventually one of the bolder riders, sensing that everyone is just a tiny bit out of position, makes a break for it, grabs the scoring object and tries to toss it into a circle at some distance while the remaining riders are on defense, using horsepower and muscle power to unseat the rider or steal the object.


The game is Buzkashi.  I'm pretty sure that is how you spell it.  I do know the translation:  Goat Grabbing.

There are even two sets of rules!  Tudabarai & Qarajai.  Kind of like 8-ball and 9-ball. 

Skeptics can check it out at:


Goat-Grabbing.  The scoring object is a beheaded goat.  I guess they had to behead the goat or the scoring object (the goat) would zoom off on it’s own goat legs far the hell away from all those scary horses and riders.  Or maybe it is tough to look a dead goat in the eye as you try to toss his carcass into a circle for honor and wagers.

I walked into a pool hall carrying an expensive cue and case.  That pool hall, sadly for me, contained a dozen World Champions.  They looked at me like I was a not-yet-beheaded goat.  It was a weird feeling.  I could sense the impending stampede to get to my carcass and I was nearly overcome with an urge to make goat sounds.  It looked something like this:


The goat’s weight is about 150 pounds.  Goat-Grabbing is not a game for the timid.  I’ll never complain about the weight of my cue case again.  Or carry it into a strange pool hall right off the bat.

When THAT EVIL DAY 9/11 occurred, I was away on business in Memphis and eventually had to drive back to Dallas because the airports had shut down.  I had a couple of days in Memphis to hate Afghanistan, wherever the heck it was, and all Afghans. 

During my drive back I tried to equate the number of dead at the WTC to the volume of players at the BCA and it would be the equivalent of killing ALL BCA Las Vegas teams.

I talked to myself, to the perps, to the Devil, and to God.  I screamed, cursed, cried and telepathically tried to encourage our President to uncork a Boomer submarine with orders to return from Afghanistan totally empty of MIRVs.  What the heck, send two Boomers in case one of them miscued or got lost.  Use both barrels.  Flatten the freaking place.  Or leave really BIG holes.  Whatever.   

I skipped many pool nights to watch the news and hoped that we fried ol’ what’s his fuzznuts right in his cave. 

The silly sport of potting colored balls in tiny pockets, while relying on teeny tiny changes of speed and spin to get to the next shot, seemed rather meaningless.  Pool was shelved.

Well, I eventually lightened up and migrated back to normal life and pool playing practices and then Afghanistan news clips like the ones at the start of this article started to appear. 

I am glad that calmer heads than mine prevailed, for it is tough to say OOPS when you try to recall a couple of sub-loads of nuclear bombs having just made numerous countries uninhabitable for 1,000s of years.  Afghani-where?

I no longer hate the Afghan people, for I totally understand the dancing man at the soccer game and the laughter of the crowd.  I get joy from the smiling woman showing her femininity and I even roared at the prospect of a gregarious galloping game of Goat-Grabbing. 

Where were cool games like Goat-Grabbing when I was 18?  I would have played!  I can hear the announcer:  "Carloooooooo scores!"  The women love Carlo because whenever the see him grab his goat, they swoon!  Crap like that still go through my mind..

The Tali-turds ruined their fellow countrymen’s games, their laughter and the joy of feminine interaction.  Those days appear to be over as music, dance, kites and other funzies return to the Afghan way of life, hopefully forever.  It may never turn into a Los Angeles Porn District, but at least they won't stone you for wearing lipstick.

Pool certainly would have been condemned by the Tali-Buttholes. 

They might have tortured a few thousand of us for having late-night games at private tables not so cleverly disguised as day beds, couches or lumpy desks.  I guess that means there is no BCA: Billiard Congress of Afghanistan? 

“Did you hear?  Carlo got caught with a cube of chalk and has been dumped into ice water in solitary confinement awaiting trial!”

If we introduce pool tables to the Afghans like we did in the Philippines after WWII, the Afghans may eventually mix a few of their favorite ancient games together with pool and develop Afghanipool , a hybrid game that works on a pool table, but pays homage to their 1,000s of years of history.

I don’t hate all Afghans.  They just want to have a place to lay their head, a meal, a laugh, maybe get a little, and play a game now and then. 

Sure, some Afghans might want to kill me, but heck, there are those in the USA who would do so for my pocket change if they had the chance and thought they could escape the law.  I even think one teammate would do me in if he had the chance. 

Maybe some decades from now, you might wander into an Afghan pool hall and be woofed at the door by the local hotshot. 

“Hey, wanna play a game of Afghanipool?  (Goat-Pool?)  I’ll give you the breaks and two fresh wild goat garbonzos on the wire?” 

I understand why they behead the goat.  The eyes.  I just hope nothing on the table is looking back at me.  It really messes up my shot.


Nobody paid me any money to put these links here, I just thought they deserved it.  Tell them Carlo sent you, maybe they'll buy me a beer.

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