Category Archives: fascism

Niagara Falls

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To no one’s surprise Saint John’s beat Niagara at Alumni Hall Tuesday night 70-57. Unless Norm Roberts is coaching – or Louie – that’s what usually happens: SJU has beaten NU 71 out of 99 times going back to the Woodrow Wilson administration. Coming off a close loss to a highly ranked opponent and with a showdown with an instate rival looming a different coach might have used the in-between cupcake game to work out some wrinkles in the zone offense or full court press. Not Steve Lavin though: he’s too smrat ® for that. What Steve Lavin did instead was break out a new rotation, benching his most talented player and starting a walk-on. Except as a reminder of what a numbskull Lavin is it didn’t matter much – Niagara is small and young and couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn in the first half, during which SJ built a 10 point lead. As is their wont SJ then coasted on defense and chucked up a bunch of threes on offense and let Niagara back in it, to the extent that they pulled within one halfway through the second. Of course the outcome was never in doubt and when Lavin put his starters back in – well, not his starters, but his best 5 players – they put Niagara away, although not by enough to reward the suckers who laid 19. (Meanwhile out on the west coast Seton Hall’s freshmen were putting a 30 point beat down on Mount Saint Mary, much as their hungry coach Kevin Willard has put a beat down on Lavin on the recruiting trail. Saint John’s opens the BE season versus SH at the end of the month and speaking of beatdowns I don’t see much good coming out of that) …. SJU shot 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from three, although much of the credit for that goes to newly minted starter slash walk-on Miles Stewart. They failed to outrebound Niagara – Steve Lavin says rebounds are overrated so that’s not a problem – but the reversion to 60 percent free throw percentage might be, unless Lavin determines that FT shooting is not important either, in which case never mind … Other than his incongruous rotation (obviously a big other than) Lavin didn’t do anything particularly boneheaded, but that’s probably only because he didn’t do much of anything. In fact, if he hadn’t made an ostentatious display of subbing out offense for defense up by 12 points with 2 minutes left – and no doubt the rubes were all impressed – you might not have known he was there at all. We can only hope. On the bright side, having grown tired of being relentlessly mocked for dressing in layers like an insane homeless person, Lavin wore a shirt with a collar. Credit Morty Seinfeld.

PLAYERS: Harrison scored the 1700th point of his illustrious career with three minutes left to go in the first half and finished with 16 points and 9 rebounds. He should pass the great Glen Williams on Saturday in Saint John’s loss to New York’s team … Regular readers will recall that I wondered earlier in the year what Lavin was planning to do to mess with his current bugbear Rysheed Jordan. Now we know: he’s going to bring him off the bench behind a walk-on, an event foreshadowed a game or two ago when Jordan came off the bench in the second half behind Felix Balamou. If I had an angel on my shoulder it might be whispering that this is a motivational tool designed to improve Jordan’s game and life prospects; but all I have is a devil, and he says Lavin is just messing with the kid’s head, probably for spite following their personal issues last year and possibly even to convince him to stay in school next year, when the cupboard will be bare. Lavin’s toadies will scoff, just like they did this week after Jim Boeheim made comments they claimed were designed to convince Chris McCullogh that he was not ready to play professional basketball … Jamal Branch finally got the start his fans have been clamoring for and played well enough. No one’s killed him more than me, and I’m happy to admit this morning that he demonstrated last night that he could easily be an honorable mention third team player in the MAAC if he were able to sustain last night’s level of play over a full year and refrain from throwing lob passes into the bleachers and committing fouls 75 feet from the basket as he did again last night … Pointer was the other starter to come off the bench, which is what he should have been doing for three years … Miles Stewart – who Lavin compared in pregame interviews to NBA Hall of Famer Reggie Theus – played creditably enough, hitting half his threes, but brought little to the table other than that. When not babbling about Jordan the devil suggested that Lavin is lavishing attention on Stewart because Stewart constitutes the fruits of entire wasted recruiting year and Lavin wants everyone to think he recruited like that on purpose… Chris Obekpa seems to have lost a bit of the fire he showed when pushing around Division 2 teams earlier in the season. Seven points, 5 rebound and three blocks isn’t going to get him into the NBA, although between his hairdo and his shorts – astute viewers will have noted that the pair he wore yesterday were hemmed rather than rolled up – maybe he has his sights set on the WNBA. When he wasn’t grinning inappropriately he elbowed one guy in the face, punched another guy in the groin, and missed a dunk …. Coming off the best game of his career Phil Greene was suddenly replaced in Lavin’s affection by a walk on. I felt sorry for him until late in the second half when he attempted to take his man off the dribble by doing a spin move in the lane and fell over when his legs got tangled up, then I just started laughing … Jessica Albagovic got the biggest cheer of the night when he hit his first three of the year. He is on SJ fan boards this morning drawing comparisons to our last great shooters, Sergio Lyuk, Fred Lyson, and Heath Orvis … Speaking of knowledgeable fans, Christian Jones provided a welcome replacement for selfish cancer Jakarr Sampson for 3 minutes and the rest of the time sat on the bench.

NOTES: I haven’t checked Fox Sports One this morning: has Tarik Turner shut up yet? … Old time fans will recall that in 84-85 final four season Niagara was the only team that SJU lost to other than Georgetown. That game did not really count though as starting point guard Mike Moses did not play and the then #4 then Redmen were forced to start unreliable freshman PG Mark Jackson, whose 3 TOs in the last 2 minutes sealed the loss. “You’ve got to give Niagara all the credit,” Lou Carnesecca was quoted as saying in the NY Times. “ They played a marvelous game.” …. I did a bit of googling in search of something to say about Niagara University to pad this out a bit but there’s really nothing. Other than NBA great Calvin Murphy and Joe McCarthy – not the patriotic American senator who exposed the communist infiltration of the Roosevelt administration, the other one – there doesn’t seem to be an illustrious graduate in the bunch. Niagara Falls of course looms large in the American psyche as a cultural artifact, what with people consummating their marriages there and lunatics going over the falls in barrels and who can forget Joseph Cotton strangling the shit out of Marilyn Monroe and her pink sweater in the tunnels beneath the falls in eponymous 1953 film noire. The Falls also figure prominently in a vaudeville sketch performed by inter alia Lucille Ball, Abbot and Costello, and the Three Stooges in which its invocation (Niagara Falls … slowly I turned … step by step … inch by inch) turns a storyteller into a homicidal maniac. This does not sound particularly funny in theory, but is hilarious in practice. The sketch also formed the basis of the tune Native Love, the nadir of the career of Harris Milstead, aka Divine, which was otherwise marked by illustrious triumphs like Lust in the Dust and Pink Flamingos. If Milstead had been from Buffalo that would have tied this all up nicely but he was from Baltimore.

 

The Triumph of the Will

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Saint John’s squeaked by the LIU Blackbirds Wednesday night at Carnesecca Arena 66-53. If they’d beaten them the way a good team beats their preseason opponents – DooK is averaging over 100 points per games while nearly doubling their opponents score – I wouldn’t have had to sit here for 10 minutes thinking up the worst opening line in the history of sports commentary, and that includes everything written by tortured dwarf Mike Lupica. I could have dashed off some nonsense about the 9 and 20 blackbirds baked in a pie and we could have all gotten on with our days. But this is not a good basketball team. Sure there were some positives. The ball movement is encouraging, when they move the ball, which isn’t often: there are in a game fewer offensive sets with crisp passing than there are breaks where a SJ guard takes the ball to the hoop one on four. But it’s there all the same, sometimes. Also encouraging is the free throw shooting, which was once again exemplary. And at times the defense can be stifling, but I’m going to wait until Dom Pointer blocks seven shots by Rakim Christmas before I get too excited, rather than shutting down Sven Gunderson of the Reykjavik High School Lutefisk, Iceland’s player of the year. The bad news is that when the defense is not stifling – which it’s not when Obekpa’s not in the game – it’s pretty atrocious, a fact the Lavin press is designed to obscure. Ask yourself: how much of Chris Obekpa’s considerable defensive prowess is the result of the team’s poor exterior defense? If defenders weren’t continually blowing their assignments there wouldn’t be so many shots at the rim for Obekpa to block, would there. Pointer gets a pass because he lets his man go by intentionally because he wants to block the shot from behind and get on Sportscenter, but the rest of them are either gambling for steals or failing to rotate or blowing their assignments. Except Phil Greene obviously, he couldn’t guard himself …. The stat line was per usual. Saint John’s shot under 50 percent from the field, 10 percent from 3 – the second time this year when the 4-guard offense has shot under 15 percent from 3, gee, I wonder if anyone’s going to zone us – were outrebounded (46-40), and out assisted (13-7). If it were not for LIU’s poor shooting – which likely was more the result of first game jitters from nine underclassmen than any sort of shutting down by SJ’s nine upperclassmen – things might have been different. And of course SJU was once again the beneficiary of generous officiating: in all three games they’ve made 10 more FTs than their opponents and in two of those those 10 points were the margin of victory. One might wonder – if one were in the habit of calling oneself one – if that discrepancy will continue once they play real opponents. One suspects not … Something of a strange rotation by Lavin – resplendent in a Jim Rockford sportcoat over a sweatsuit top – although that’s not really news. Lavin has 4 serviceable guards, but seems intent on mixing two other guards into the rotation, at the expense of Christian Jones and Jasilionus II, both of which big men would seemingly be of value as the season progresses. It seems that Lavin, having examined his ill-constructed roster and determined that he will have no choice but to play small has decided that an even better idea would be to play smaller. The cynic in me whispers that Lavin is doing this so that the fact that he’s been reduced to fielding a team of midgets looks like a conscious decision, rather than the result of his incompetence as a recruiter and manager of personnel.

PLAYERS: Pointer had the same sort of impressive game he usually has against inferior competition, before disappearing against Division 1 teams. The next time he has a game like this against a good team will be the first time … Rysheed Jordan allegedly missed a defensive assignment on a three a couple of minutes into the game and sat for the next 10 minutes. Despite several subsequent LIU three pointers no one else sat. Then Jordan was benched to start the second half in favor of fun-fave Felix Balamou. Perhaps this was just some more there’s more important things than winning light a fire under his ass grandstanding from our resident Svengali, but the conspiracy theorist in me wonders what sort of shenanigans are up the great and powerful sleeve in regards to Lavin’s most talented player. Speaking of Jordan, he managed 15 points, 13 of those in the second half … Obekpa had 10 rebounds and 8 blocks but was 1 for 7 from the floor. (Is it my imagination or are shooters shying away from his body for fear of contacting his member, which is in danger of slipping out the bottom of his taped up shorts?) He yesterday at least reverted to the weird fall away sideways jump shot he regularly displayed last year … For anyone else 14 points and 7 rebounds sounds like a good night but it is less than half of what Harrison put up against Franklin Pierce … Phil Greene is not quite oh for November, but he’s in Avery Patterson territory. He will have to get his shooting percentage out of the teens for this team to have any chance for a successful run in the NIT … Our only true PG Jamal Branch had no assists in 25 minutes … “Good thing selfish cancer Jakarr Sampson is starting for the 76ers, that really opened up 2 minutes a game for Chris Addition By Subtraction Jones” Fun said. “Fun really nailed that analysis” Fun added … Miles Stewart scored his first collegiate bucket … Balamou looks to be shaking the rust off

NOTES: Regular readers (hi Mom!) (just kidding, she’s dead) (thank god) will notice changes to BEB. Essentially I got tired of maintaining the wonky dB to the standards expected by its host and so have taken it off line in favor of this format: it’s called a blog, which I’m led to believe is the next big thing. And which, let’s face it, makes a great deal of sense, as nobody posted here anymore and I don’t care much about the opinions of those who did anyway. The only loss is the archives, which contain a wealth of witticisms, mostly by me; I copied a lot of them off beforehand because that’s gold jerry, gold. The demise of the old BEB is a little ironic, because I had recently been considering making the entire archive publicly available – by public archive I mean the hidden forums where the moderators discussed misbehavior on the board, much of it mine. You’d not believe the caterwauling that went on. I didn’t have much use for moderators then and still don’t and if you don’t believe that 70 years ago small-minded petty clerks like Tom in Simsbury would be shoving you into cattle cars for a one way trip to Birkenau, well, you’re probably a democrat and wouldn’t recognize a fascist if the entire Wehrmacht goose-stepped up your ass to film a Leni Riefenstahl bioepic in your colon … Regular readers are also aware that I skipped the FP game and I appreciate your emails asking about the website’s well-being. I didn’t have anything of import to say about Franklin Pierce anyway, so you didn’t miss much. There was a bit of a drunken ramble about Franklin Pierce dying of cirrhosis and another paragraph about the year I spent clerking in Concord where I lived on the third floor of a haunted pink Victorian inhabited only by myself and a woman named Helen who’d just been released from 40 years confinement in a mental hospital and who had the unfortunate habit of running out into the hall late at night and banging on my door yelling “I bet he’s jerking off in there,” which was all the more confounding because usually I was. Those are down the rabbit hole but I would remiss if I did not mention that the Pierce game saw the reemergence from the primordial slime of Jim Burr, the worst referee in the history of college basketball, whose every court appearance cheapens amateur athletics … Franklin Pierce are the Ravens and LIU the blackbirds, which motif leaves me an excuse to recycle this, which I wrote many years ago as part of a misbegotten attempt to stage a musical version of the works of Edgar Allen Pork. I think you’ll agree it still hold up.

 

Once upon a midnight snacking
While I dawdled,
meat-stuffs lacking
Over a many times reheated
platter of forgotten yolks
While I buttered,
bushed from boinking
Suddenly there came an oinking
Yes, a none too gentle oinking
“Oinking,” said I, “’tis a hoax”
“‘Tis some visitor” I muttered
“Oinking — surely ’tis a hoax
People and their little jokes”

So I sat, engrossed in guessing
Till at last I made the blessing
And employed some salad dressing
Hoping to improve the yolks

Presently my soul grew stronger
Hesitating then no longer
“Sir,” I said, “or Madam truly
Truly I approve of jokes
But the truth is I was eating
And so forceful was your bleating
And I’m peace and quiet needing
Lest on my eggs I’ll surely choke”

By and by I spied the lurker
Steady now — here comes the corker
Inside stepped a stately porker
S’truth — I nearly had a stroke
Not the least obeisance made he
Not a minute stopped or stayed he
But with mien of lord or lady
Plopped down on my plate of yolks
Picture that — his porcine pooper
planted on my plate of yolks
Perched — I nearly had a stroke
Quote the Bacon, “Th-th-that’s all folks”