Road to Utopia


I don’t doubt that the moral victory brigade is out this morning in force on various Saint John’s fan forums and perhaps not without reason: despite being undermanned, undersized and playing without their only big man for much of the second half, SJU overcame a 6 minute scoring drought and a 15 point deficit and were at the end only a couple of boneheaded plays away from stealing a victory against the 10th ranked team in the country. On the other hand, they didn’t and they lost, and so Saint John’s is now oh for one in games that might matter on selection Sunday, and by the end of next week will likely be oh and two after they lose to New York’s team at the Carrier Dome and with not a lot of chances to make it up afterwards. After five games this group reminds me of the 2011 team, hard-nosed players whose resilience trumps Lavin’s incompetence and whose experience plays to his only strength: cheerleading. With Chris Obekpa on the floor they can keep it respectable with every second-rate program in the country. Without him they probably can’t keep it respectable with anyone …. By the numbers SJU was once again abysmal: they shot 30 percent from the floor, 30 percent from three, 60 percent from the free throw line, and turned it over 14 times. Lest that were not enough, three of the wonder five fouled out: the only starter not in foul trouble was Phil Greene, who doesn’t even pretend to guard his man anymore. If Gonzaga had not been equally awful – they missed 10 threes and 10 FTs – it would not have been as close as it was. For their part Gonzaga looked surprised by SJU quickness and athleticism early and never seemed to get on track, assuming they have one. I don’t watch enough college BB anymore to have an informed opinion, but I wasn’t impressed. Pangos showed flashes of being a mediocre white guard and other than Sabonis their big men were slightly less agile than golems. If this is the tenth best team in the country maybe Saint John’s can make the tournament … Recognizing the significance of the game, Lavin wore his lucky red sweat suit under what is apparently the only suit he owns. The longsuffering Mrs. Fun opined that he looked like a mental patient and said that she’d change subway cars if someone entered hers done up like that. Maybe it’s because I know what a buffoon he is but Lavin does not seem to me dangerous and instead looks to be wearing something that Morty Seinfeld might to judge a shuffleboard tournament at Del Boca Vista. The good news is that between his suits and Obekpa’s pants I might not have to hear about Lavin’s prostate again unless the unthinkable happens and we lose three in a row … Once again the officiating was awful. The main culprit was Pat Driscoll, who through dint of this week’s hard work has cracked the FunList of the top 3 worst referees in college basketball, replacing drunkard emeritus Tim Higgins. Among his other gaffes Driscoll T’ed up a GU player for pulling his hand out of Dom Pointer’s grasp and in a crucial situation late awarded the ball to Gonzaga despite it having bounced off the GU players leg 5 feet from Driscoll’s face; I can only conclude that he momentarily thought he was watching a soccer game and awarded the ball to the player closest to it. The call was reversed after video review, which frankly I didn’t even know they had in college basketball, wtf. Anyway, this level of incompetence bodes well for his seeming goal of scaling the mountain of suck that is Jim Burr. Driscoll is incidentally a longtime municipal employee in Syracuse, where he currently earns $ 110,000 per year as director of “Say Yes to Education,” which sounds like a shit salad of three appalling things: sociology, pedagogy and civil service.

PLAYERS: Phil Greene came out shooting and continued shooting and for a refreshing change half of them went in, including his first three of the year. Congratulations Phil … Dom Pointer was once again a human wrecking ball and ended with another near double double. Got away with his second flagrant foul of the year when he attempted to cripple Kevin Pangos with SJU down three late. Eventually his recklessness will come back to bite SJU in the ass. We can only hope it’s not at a critical point in the post season NIT semi finals … Harrison had an off night but managed 15 points and 5 rebounds … Jordan had 18 points but 9 turnovers to go with only one assist. Through his last two games he’s 13 for 23 from the FT line, which is not very good … Last year Chris Obekpa regularly got punked by bigger stronger front lines. Against Gonzaga he cleverly fouled out before that could happen. He committed three fouls in six minutes between the end of the first half and the beginning of the second and fouled out three minutes after Lavin put him back in, finishing with one point and 4 rebounds in 20 minutes …. Those who have been clamoring for Jamal Branch to play more got what they wished for: zero points in 21 minutes … walk on Miles Stewart logged more minutes, points and rebounds than Christian Jones, erstwhile replacement for Jakarr Sampson.  I’ve been trying to figure out who Jones reminds me of and it turns out it’s Eric King, which is a shame for Christian Jones.

NOTES: Gonzaga is the program SJU pretends to be: a small Catholic college that competes in Division One basketball on a national level. This was the fifth meeting between the two schools. In 2000 Saint John’s, a 2 seed and ranked ninth in the country, suffered a 82-76 first round NCAA tournament loss . In 2001 Saint John’s lost 68-58 in the Alaska Shootout. In 2011 Saint John’s, ranked #18 in the country, lost in the NCAA tournament to unranked Gonzaga 86-71. On the positive side of the ledger Saint John’s defeated Gonzaga 97-69, in 1960, which is only 60 years ago, so suck it Zags … Gonzaga alumni include Bing Crosby, who despite his wholesome image was an abusive mobbed up alcoholic degenerate gambler. When not beating the shit out of various Mrs. Crosbys he cheated on them with a bevy of Hollywood beauties, including Ingrid Bergman, Grace Kelly, Ingrid Stevens and the delectable Yvonne Craig, whose Batgirl costume was responsible for a severe bout of dehydration I suffered in my childhood. An excellent father, Crosby sired 5 children, only 40 percent of whom blew their brains out. There’s a rumor floating around the internets that Bing had himself fixed towards the end of his life, allegedly to keep his voice up to snuff but that the castration was actually his way of preventing sexual urges he had for men, which as a good Jesuit he found, er, distasteful. He needn’t have been so worried: Gonzaga is named for Aloysius Gonzaga, the patron saint of plague and AIDS victims … Crosby made with Bob Hope a series of seven Road picture – Road to Bali, Road to Singapore, and so on – in which the two played bumbling conmen whose wacky schemes got them into hot water from which they extricated themselves through zany hijinks. (An eighth was planned but Crosby died while the Road to the Fountain of Youth was in preproduction. Lulz.) Somewhere in my files is a film treatment for Road to Golgotha, in which the two scheme to defraud a Jerusalem Pharisee; when the plan backfires they end up being crucified on either side of the baby Jesus on Good Friday, Crosby smoking his trademark pipe and Hope wisecracking to the camera. Dorothy Lamour played the prostitute Mary Magdalene. In the Crosby Hope versions only Crosby got the girl. In mine, everyone did.

Gopher Broke


Saint John’s fans usually don’t have a lot to be thankful for but this year is different: we can be thankful for Elliot Eliason, the Minnesota forward whose atrocious performance – he threw an outlet pass to Dom Pointer, who subsequently posterized him, and one; committed a stupid foul and got T’d up for it; and fouled Harrison on a three late – provided the margin of victory that will afford SJU the opportunity to be humiliated by Gonzaga Friday night in the NIT championship game. I had this game down as a loss – to be fair I had not seen Minnesota and so did not know how awful they are – with a win in the consolation game and so coming out of this weekend we are about right where I figured: on the road to the NIT. The players spent much of the week talking about how they had to treat this as an NCAA tournament game – not that they’d recognize one – so it was nice to see that they didn’t come out as flat as usual. And in fact it was Minnesota that started slowly, throwing the ball out of bounds and bouncing the ball off their feet and missing everything insight, at least until freshman Nate Mason replaced starting point guard Andre Hollins, after which things quickly turned to shit for Saint John’s on the way to a 10 point half time deficit. Now, fluids have run down Rick Pitino’s leg that know more about basketball than Steve Lavin, so one would think that a fertilized zygote like Rick Junior would be at a huge theoretical advantage, but that was not the case in the second half Wednesday: in a Lavinesque move MiniPitini sat Mason for most of the second half, allowing Saint John’s to hang around until a humiliating and protracted scoring drought – MU scored only 10 points in the last 12 minutes – ended it. Some of the credit for that drought probably goes to the Saint John’s defense, but not as much as certain delusional Saint John’s fans think … The stats were per usual: Saint John’s was mediocre from the field (40 %) and once again awful from 3 – they’re now shooting 22 percent for the year. They missed 15 free throws, managed 9 assists on only 23 made baskets, and turned the ball over 18 times. Fortunately Minnesota out-sucked them, shooting 35 percent from the floor turning the ball over 21 times. What was somewhat surprising was that SJ outrebounded MU 51 – 39. I say surprising because MU is huge across the front line, but their biggest player Mo Walker (an Adonis clone at 6’10 250) is the softest Midwest big man since Bob’s Big Boy: he made Kyle Cuffe look like Maurice Lucas … For his part Lavin did not do anything terribly stupid (other than once again wearing a sport coat over a sweat suit – it’s a shame that John Wooden, who probably put on a tie to go take a shit, failed to impart his fashion sense to his alleged protégé) and for the most part confined himself to jumping up and down on the sidelines pumping his fist. Sure, he burned some pointless time outs late – once after a Harrison field goal capped an 11-0 SJU run and once with 30 seconds to go up 8, immediately after which Chris Obekpa committed a foul to stop the clock and give MU one last gasp – but for Lavin reining in his stupid is as important a strategic device as backdoor screens were to Pete Carill so all in all this was a successful outing … I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the referees, who were atrocious. They called the first 35 minutes like a rugby scrum and the last 5 minutes like a badminton match, 40 personal fouls in all; the primary beneficiary was once again SJU, who were awarded 37 free throws to Minnesota’s 16. Despite SJU appalling foul shooting – they missed as many FTs as Minnesota took – the free throw differential once again accounted for the margin of victory. That’s the fourth time this season out of four for those of you scoring at home

PLAYERS: Harrison – who Lavin threw under the bus during his halftime interview – had 19 point and 9 rebounds and is averaging a double double for the year. Colormoron Dan Dakich noted that if Harrison “played with Chris Obekpa’s passion he could play in the NBA.” Dakich also claimed that “if everyone had Obekpa’s desire this team could compete for a national championship.” Dakich also spent an inordinate amount of time focused on the Obekpants ®, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Dakich’s mancrush finished with near a double double but was nowhere near the force that he’d been against Division 2 opponents: most of his points came from the FT line and he managed only three blocks … Rysheed Jordan is 18 points and 7 rebounds closer to playing professional basketball … Dumb Pointer – I can’t believe it took me three years to think of that – had 11 rebounds, 5 steals, and 8 points … Phil Greene had his usual 9 points on his usual sub 500 from the floor game. He did though credit where due hit a couple of big shots in the second half. Had a remarkable zero assists in 35 minutes and remains oh for 2014 from three … Jamal Branch played 12 pointless minutes. In the first half he threw a behind the back pass into traffic that was so stupid that even an imbecile like Dan Dakich was able to recognize it as “idiotic” and in the second did a spin move into the lane on a one on five fast break only to bounce off two Minnesota players who were standing motionless under the basket. He’s awful … Another fine game by Chris “Addition by Subtraction” Jones, who had two points and 1 rebound in 9 minutes. On the bright side he still remains the only Johnnie to attempt to take a charge this year. Jakarr who? … Of the rest only Balalou played and only 3 minutes. Note that five players played 88 percent of the available minutes. On the one hand it’s refreshing that Lavin has figured out who his best five players are – last year it took him until March to work that out – but on the other the new Wonder Five are but a sprained ankle away from disaster. Evidently Lavin realizes that after 4 years of failure and ineptitude he risks being exposed as a fraud should he fail to make the tournament this year and so is going to ride his best horses and if they drop beneath him on his way to glory so be it

NOTES: Sideline reporter John Goodman noted that MU guard Daquein McNeil was suspended after an incident in which he’d “allegedly had it with his 28 year old girlfriend.” I don’t think that’s what he meant to say – I listened to it three times to make sure – but that’s what he said, a Freudian slip which leads me to suggest to Mrs. Goodman that she makes sure John’s dinner is on the table tonight when he gets home, and hot if she knows what’s good for her … Minnesota is coached by little Ricky Pitino, who as far as I have been able to determine through cursory internet research was not spawned as the result of his repulsive father’s congress with a stranger in a crowded restaurant in front of members of his coaching staff but through normal marital relations with Mrs. Pitino. Former Gopher coaches include Bill Fitch, Bill Musselman, Clem Haskins and Tubby Smith. Musselman’s tenure was marked by a near fatal on court brawl in which NYC’s own Ron Behagen nearly beat an Ohio State player to death and Haskins by an academic scandal that vacated a run to the Final Four. Former gophers include HOFers Lou Hudson and Kevin McHale, Dave Winfield, Jim Brewer, Mychal Thompson, Flip Saunders, Voshon Lenard, former Knicks Trent Tucker and Ray Williams, and the great Archie Clark, inventor of the cross-over dribble …. As for Minnesota itself, it’s pretty messed up, much of this probably due to its close proximity to Canada, the worst country in the world. The state motto is (predictably) French and their politicians comprise a motley conga line of professional wrestlers, failed comedians, career criminals and communist sympathizers. Minnesota is the site of the largest execution in US history – 38 likely innocent Sioux were hung in the aftermath of the Dakota War of 1862 – and its most important cultural artifact is either a shopping center – the Mall of America – or a cartoon – Rocky and Bullwinkle, which spawned Cracked Fairy Tales, Dudley Do-Right, Peabody’s Improbable History and the World of Commander McBragg … Rocky and Bullwinkle was narrated by William Conrad, of Cannon and Jake and the Fat Man fame. Oddly, Conrad was great friends with polymath Anthony Burgess, who died 10 years ago this week at his home in Saint John’s Wood, London. For the illiterates in the audience, and let’s face it that would be most of you, Burgess is probably best known for having written A Clockwork Orange, which is not his worst book, but is close to it … Today is of course Thanksgiving, the day on which Americans commemorate the transfer of smallpox infected blankets to the Native American race traitor Sasquatch, a member of the Wambaugh tribe who helped the Pilgrims survive their first winter in Plymouth in exchange for 40 pieces of silver and a mule. Although we think of Thanksgiving as a uniquely American holiday involving turkey and crappy Detroit Lions football it is in fact a harvest festival celebrated in various countries around the world, including Canada, although in the great white north it is instead of Thanksgiving Day called “Thanksgiving, Eh?” and commemorates the fact that being Canadian they really having nothing to be grateful for.

The Triumph of the Will


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”