Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Please Would Somebody Shoot Noda!

All is doom and gloom among the foreign contingent of the Cock's-Eye 3-Player Mahjong Club this year.

Last Friday was another episode of Noda beating up the foreigners, especially in the second game when the Poor Little Cypriot, who was quite happy finishing the first on zero, suddenly found himself looking at an empty tray and racking up the debts to Noda and also to Jaime.

Mind you, there was one enjoyable moment when Noda committed an elementary Chombo by going Riichi and claiming a tile that Jaime threw after checking Noda's discard pile! Of course, Jaime happened to have a hand with numerous bonuses with should have, could have, if-only-he-hadn't-would-have raked in a large pile of score sticks. That game was the only point in the evening when anybody (Jaime) apart from Noda was in the black.

So, Noda commits his second September Chombo. Perhaps we should not have laughed and whooped so much, because he went on to win the next game +57

For the Poor Little Cypriot, the most irritating point of the evening was not losing the second game -99, but getting caught by Noda at some point during the last game of the evening. Noda went Riichi after about three tiles, yet again. He discarded Coin after Coin, and both foreign players avoided giving anything away for a while. But, near the end of the hand, the PLC had run out of safe Coins to discard. Noda's discard row showed ONLY Coins. The PLC had 10 x dodgy looking Bamboo, a North bonus (when three were already out), and a pair of dodgy 1-Characters, with none showing on the table. The PLC chose not to expose the fourth North, and rather than throw a Bamboo, threw one of the dodgy Characters.


Of course, Noda had been waiting with a vicious double head of 9-Coins and 1-Characters, as Oya, with a stack of bonuses, for a total payout of 28,000 points.

If mechanical mahjong tables were not so heavy, the PLC would have cheerfully turned the table upside down and emptied the contents on Noda's head. But they are, so he didn't. He ordered another beer instead.

Noda jumps from the +1,100s to the +1,300s while the foreigners sink deeper into the mire.

I seem to remember that that Vladimir Lenin fellow wrote a book called "What Is To Be Done?" Perhaps we ought to start reading it.

Noda +39, +99, -28,* +57 = +157
Jaime -29, 0, +35, -40 = -34
David 0, -99, -7, -17 = -123

* Noda Chombo! (Claimed Jaime's 9-Bamboo discard, despite having discarded one himself.)

David Hurley
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Monday, September 15, 2008

The Doctors Prescribe A Remedy With Unpredictable Side Effects...

On my last trip to the doctor's I was asked a few questions about my drinking habits...

"Can you drink Asahi Super Dry?"

DH: "Well, yes, I do sometimes drink Asahi Super Dry. Yes, indeed."

"Ah so desu ka... How about Kirin Original Brew?"

DH: "Oh yes, I quite often drink that one."

"What about Yebisu All Malt Beer?"

DH: "Oh, um, well yes, I don't mind if I do on occasion."

"Do you drink wine as well?"

DH: "Yes, I do like a little drop with my dinner."

"Ah so ka! And you like cheese..."

DH: "Ooh yes, I am partial to cheese."

"Ah yokatta! Good! We received many summer gifts. Please take some when you go home."

DH: "Thank you very much."

Having given me a thorough diagnosis of the situation I was immediately served the first of I forget how many Kirin Lagers from the fridge as the doctors felt that treatment was urgent.

I forget the details of the game. I remember that it was my fault that the mechanical table broke, when I shoved some tiles down the wrong slot because I was a bit slow to react.

I seem to remember that Mrs M won rather a lot of hands and that I came bottom. Well, after such good treatment it would have been rude not to!

The game finished quite early, early enough for me to save the hefty taxi fare by legging it to the station and catching the train. I envisaged carrying a couple of bags with some beer cans wine bottles, not too great an impediment. However, when I got to the door I was presented with three presentation boxes of beer and a presentation box of wine (two bottles) plus a slab of cheese the size of a breeze block... The junior doctor helped me cart them away to the nearest taxi!


I was drinking my way through my prescription medicine the other night and reading Peter Pan to my daughter when the tefelone rang and immediately clicked over to the answering machine. I heard the pleasant tones of my old pal (and reprobate) Mr Merin Waite dragging me away from Never Land.

At least, I THOUGHT the person who was telephoning me from England was Merin. After 3 minutes or so of chat, in which he told me he was in Guildford, which was news to me, I started to regale him with a detailed account of how we had been out on a boat fishing in the Inland Sea with Old Satoru, the herbal medicine voodoo doctor fellow, who sticks needles in people and sets fire to small pyramids of herbal extract on their buttocks and indulges, I doubt not, in other arcane and superstitious practices that a large number of the natives of these parts persist in clinging on to (even though there are perfectly kosher doctors such as the Doctors M in whose company I passed a merry evening of mahjong recently). When my "friend", the supposed reprobate Mr Merin Waite, persisted in not knowing who I was talking about, I put it to him in no uncertain terms that he must be some lesser spotted species of a blithering imbecile...

... at which point the voice on the other end of the line pointed out that I must have the wrong person. It further elaborated in tones that suggested its owner was somewhat put out, that not only was the speaker to whom it belonged NOT this Merlin fellow, but that he had never heard of him, and that he was in fact a customer telephoning about a mahjong order... just as we had arranged a few nights ago in an exchange of email.

Ah yes. I remember now! It certainly put a new spin on the old phrase "caveat emptor"!!

I must take this opportunity to thank my customer, Mr I. F., for his long-suffering tolerance at the hands of that reprobate Merin Waite, who ever seeks after crafty and malicious ways to persecute me when I least suspect it.
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Friday, September 12, 2008

Mahjong & Other Political Games

Two weeks ago Kenyon returned to the table from his summer holidays. Tim was present for a beer and the talk inevitably turned towards Barack Obama's acceptance speech.

I shall spare the blogosphere yet another ramble on the intertwined subjects of BO's prospects, policies, race and religion. 

Far more important than those political games is the effect that BO - or more to the point, Tim's talking to Kenyon about BO - had on Kenyon's ability to concentrate on mahjong.

I don't know if BO plays mahjong, but I sure hope he can concentrate if ever he happens to be fondling the Nuclear-War-A-Go-Go button while Joe Biden is engaging him in some pleasant chat about the mad mullahs of Persia or the oil moguls of Moscow.

That was when it looked as if BO and JB might actually make it to the Whitehouse...

A week later and it was Jaime who was the returning holiday maker, playing along side Ray and David, with Tim once again in attendance.

This week it was JMcC (the Scottish JC??) who had taken the American presidential election campaign by the coglioni  by finding himself attached to a naughty-but-nice leggy VPC&MJMcC(&O)WL2F* hailing from a melting igloo somewhere near the North Pole.

Nice legs. Ideal for a running mate.

That - or perhaps I should say "those" since SP has two legs - and Russia's "First Western-Style War" against Poor Little Sucker-Willy of Georgia - gave us plenty to distract ourselves over...

...but remarkably, apart from a few comedy spillages of mahjong tiles all over SP's legs, a grip on the game was retained.

Whereas the former top foreign player in the ratings, Kenyon, came back from his holidays and came a cropper, the former bottom player came back from his holidays and staged a recovery mostly at Ray's expense, and only capped at the end of the evening by the long awaited Ray Revival...

But Ray's revival was not enough to stop him from replacing Jaime on the bottom of the pile.

Six games were played at Jantopia, despite the malfunctioning table.

David received one more beer than he called for as mother seems to be a bit deaf and can't tell the difference between a late night cry of "Omizu kudasaiiii" and "Obeeeruuu kudasaiii".

The score sheet got lost but the final scores are etched in Jaime's memory, which has a remarkable capacity for storing all sorts of trivia...

Six games were played, and the results were:

Jaime +67
David -6
Ray -61**

* Vice Presidential Candidate & Mother John McCain (& Others) Would &c...
** Yakitori x 1

David H


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Monday, September 01, 2008

A Message From The Wild Wastes Of Northern England...

A message was received from one of the members of the Cock's Eye Club from the somewhere in the wild wastes of the north of England...

Summer has ceased to exist in England it seems, the weather has been truly horrendous. The occasional warmish day has been annihilated by the onslaught of the rain and wind.

Tim and I played some golf last week, on Friday i broke new ground on a golf course - I walked off after just 5 holes. Tim, being either a hardened Yorkshire man, or just plainly nuts went on to play all 18 holes. The gale force wind I could take, heavy rain soaking through my wet gear too was acceptable, even the temperature hovering around the low teens was manageable, but when hail rained downed like a Biblical god, I had had enough. Never have I been so cold and wet on a golf course. And the date - 22nd August....

I took sanctuary in the club house, with a hot drink, a whisky (i hate whisky) and a pint whilst Tim braved the elements. I have some great photos which I will put on the blog, Tim emerging from the rain as though he had just tramped out of the ocean...


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