Tag Archives: frederick douglass

My Kind of Down

RECAP: Saint John’s defeated DePaul 78-68 Monday afternoon at Carnesecca Arena on Felipe Lopez bobble head day. It was a game they should have won – because DePaul is awful – and that they needed to win, coming into as they were on a four game losing streak and no gimmes on the horizon: of their next eight games five are on the road and three are against ranked teams and they may well be 3 and 12 ish come the end of February, so gird your loins. If there’s a bright side to all this it’s that I might have been right again, as usual. Regular readers will recall that after the Villanova game I postulated that Saint John’s was getting better but that it was hard to tell because of the competition they’d been facing. The way they won against DePaul might have been evidence of that: it was the first time in a while that Saint John’s imposed their will physically and mentally and where they looked almost as if they were toying with their opponent. It was the kind of effort you’d expect to see against Delaware State say or LIU – teams Saint John’s “should” beat and beat handily. Of course it could just be that DePaul stinks and there’s nothing to be learned either way, not even from a picture

If you looked at the box score you’d think the game was closer than it was: both teams shot forty ish from the floor; DePaul was plus six rebounds; and were 15 of 16 from the free throw line, where Saint John’s shot 65 percent (16 of 25). The difference was three point shooting – Saint John’s was 12 of 22 – and much of that the result of crisp and efficient ball movement: Saint John’s had 18 assists on 25 made baskets … One of the few enjoyable things about this year so far has been watching Mullin learn to become a head coach: he’s gone from last year wearing shorts and sitting on the scorer’s table and deferring to his assistants on the bench – I thought at the time that these things were no big deal and think so still but perception is often reality – to a guy in a suit and tie who’s clearly in charge of what’s happening on the court and fully engaged in the process. Yesterday there wasn’t a lot to do but at least he didn’t screw it up: he shortened the rotation appropriately and pulled guys when they messed up and ran a play here and there that actually worked. I know a lot of fans think the head coach’s job is to draw up epiphanic white board Xs and Os on the fly but that’s really the thing of bad sports novels by tortured dwarves like Mike Lupica. The fact is that if the coach has to do that during the game it’s because he hasn’t prepared his team adequately during the 20 or 40 hours he has them to himself during the week. So anyway Mullin has now increased last year win total by 10 percent and has increased his league wins by a whopping 300 percent. Three hundred percent! Imagine if your Roth IRA increased by 300 percent in a year, you’d blow your broker and at least give him a handy. So congratulations Chris, it seems your job is safe for a another month

PLAYERS: Malik Ellison had what was easily the best game of his career: 23 points and four assists, including 5 of 6 from three and even 4 of 4 from the free throw line, where’s he’s otherwise been awful … Everyone’s favorite whipping boy Bashir Ahmed had 14 points, and seven rebounds and three assists. Unfortunately he was 7 of 13 from the free throw line, where he’s at 65 percent for the year. I’ve never understood it when players who are obviously hungry for points don’t bother to learn how to collect the free ones … Ponds got hot late and finished with 14 points, including a couple of confident and very welcome threes. Among his six assists was a nifty behind the back pass to Ahmed on the break … Owens was one rebound shy of a double double, Williams made both his field goal attempts and Yawke took his man off the dribble and finished with a dunk. Stitch the three of them together and you’d have one pretty above average basketball player … Lovett was pretty much missing in action: three points and three assists. On the bright side he didn’t force anything and from what I could glean from careful examination of his facial expressions and body language it does not appear that his poor performance will cause him to transfer …. After all this time people write still wondering why I am so mean to poor Federico Missini: The answer’s quite simple: he stinks. And the truth is I wish he didn’t, because if he was better I wouldn’t have to spend so much time coming up with creative ways of describing his shortcomings. The good news is that on Saturday Missini played so adequately (eight points, three rebounds, two assists) that this morning I don’t have to. And what’s more I’m going to say something nice: they ran a play for him at the end of the first half and he got open and made the three, which that hasn’t happened in a long while …. The rest of them didn’t play, not even in garbage time, coach’s decision. I can’t say that I blame him

NOTES: Saturday was Martin Luther King Day, which frankly has always struck me as an odd holiday. Not because I’m a right wing troglodyte – although I am – and not because I think the struggle for civil rights is unworthy of commemoration – of course it is – and certainly not because Doctor King, martyred in the struggle for freedom, is unworthy of celebration. And not even because other than than genocidal Italian lunatic Chris Columbus he’s the only individual the US honors with his own holiday – and Columbus day isn’t even a real holiday anymore and neither is Saint Patrick’s. None of that. But what this holiday does – and I think unfairly – is ignore the sacrifices that so many other people made in the cause of freedom: starting with the five or ten million Africans murdered in the diaspora, to the half million woke white men who lost their lives in the civil war, to various individuals who dedicated their lives and sometimes gave them in the same way Doctor King did: Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, and even king hell crazy loon John Brown, who was hanged by the neck until very very dead after the raid at Harper’s Ferry. Nobody asked but I’d be much happier with a Civil Rights Day that celebrated the struggle for everybody’s freedom – blacks, women, LQBGTQWERTIES, everyone – and especially our liberties, with which we would have been endowed by our creator, if we in fact had a creator, which probably we don’t.

Although I have to admit that recently I’ve been having doubts about my atheism, the religion to which I converted at the age of 12 or so, having been before that raised a papist. It seems to me that if this infinite universe is one of an infinite number of infinite universes as physicists postulate then there’s bound to be one created by a god. I just find it hard to believe it’s this one. I frankly find it easier to believe that we’re a neglected fish tank or perhaps characters in a children’s video game 10,000 years in the future than to believe that this mess was created knowingly by an omniscient merciful being. Fortunately I decided a while back that the examined life is not worth living, which eschewing of philosophy leaves me more time to watch television.

Anyway I don’t see that celebration of our collective rights and liberties coming to pass. Because we live today in an Orwellian dystopia in which a rapacious government works relentlessly to diminish our freedoms and personal autonomy, all in the name of public good, which fuck the public good. Because at the bottom of the slippery slope of utilitarianism is the rice paddy in which your children and grandchildren will be toiling to meet the quota imposed upon them as part of a five-year plan to increase agricultural production by 7.8 percent developed by some over achieving Harvard douche bag as an outgrowth of his slash her interest in the Cambodian economy that he slash she came to while getting his slash her post doctorate degree. You might think I’m making that up but there is in fact a dissertation entitled and I’m not making this up: Pol Pot Pie: Indigenous Cooking and Khmer Rouge: a survey of the literature. Okay, I did make that up. But I didn’t make these up:

Perceptions of Canadian Meeting Professionals of Environmentally Responsible Hotel Practices

Ovulatory cycle effects on tip earnings by lap dancers: economic evidence for human estrus

Impact of wet underwear on thermoregulatory responses and thermal comfort in the cold

Sword swallowing and its side effects

Pressures produced when penguins pooh – calculations on avian defecation

Termination of intractable hiccups with digital rectal massage

Digital rectal massage, finally one we can use. Anyway, to cut to the chase, if you have kids, they’re fucked: they’re going to be slaves and they’re not even going to know it. They’re going to get up in the morning and go to work and every day donate 40 percent of their time, energy, labor and lives to a government, one of which we were once citizens, but are now subjects …. After one of my recent essays I reader wrote saying that what I had produced was very depressing. Shurg, that’s what happens when your inner monologue makes Pink Flamingos look like It’s a Wonderful Life. You can complain all you want but you people couldn’t spend 20 minutes in my head. Anyway for that reader I end on a cheery note about the slave trade: the European slave trade started more or less with Henry the Navigator in the 15th century. It was run for four hundred years in approximate order by the Portuguese, then the Spanish, then the Germans, then the Dutch and then finally the English, all under the auspices of papal authority. The practice generally was to sail down the western coast of Africa, trade trinkets and rum to African chieftains for their already enlaved peoples and then transport those slaves to the New World to work in the sugar cane field: white indentured servants, while ubiquitous, died too quickly, not being accustomed to the heat. Of the 10 million or so humans enslaved over those 400 years, 7 million were transported to Brazil, 2 million to Cuba, and a scant 500,000 to the United States: most US slaves were – as Jimmy the Greek astutely noted – bred domestically. So to recap: the slave trade comprised Hispanics purchasing black slaves from black slaveholders and transporting them to South America, where they were worked to death by Latino landowners. Which means that when the US gets around to finally paying reparations Gisele Bündchen is going to owe Pele a whole lot of Tom Brady’s money. Happy civil rights day.



Thank God Almighty I’m Free Throw At Last

GAME: Xavier defeated Saint John’s 97-82 Saturday afternoon in Cincinnati, in a game so atrocious that I can barely bring myself to write about it. It wasn’t the game itself. I mean, sure, Saint John’s sucked but they’ve sucked before and in fact most of the time the more they suck the more entertaining I am. And Xavier put on a clinic that probably I’d have enjoyed if I was on the other side of it. They looked to me like the best team we’ve played all year even taking into consideration the competition. What made the game nearly unwatchable was the officiating. Pat Driscoll – who until recently earned nearly $130,000 a year as full time director of a youth program in Syracuse while simultaneously refereeing 70 basketball games between November and March which seems nearly impossible – and crew called 47 fouls – that’s a foul every 51 seconds for 40 minutes; combined SJU and XU took 57 free throws; and both teams were in the bonus in both halves, at the 12 minute mark in the first and the eight minute mark in the second. By way of comparison, last week versus Creighton Saint John’s didn’t take a free throw until 12:39 in the second half; today there were four offensive fouls called in the first two minutes. And it’s not like this was a particularly physical game: of the 100 or so field goals the two teams took combined about 50 of them were threes. There was no chippy play, there were no particularly hard fouls, and for their part Saint John’s barely played defense. So the game was essentially two hours of bird calls and commercials interrupted by the occasional dunk. Colorman Colorperson Stephen Brando noted that the head of officials was in the arena and maybe that had something to do with it but all in all it really was just stupid and disgusting and a big waste of my time. And I still have the Lion game to look forward to this evening. It’s a shame Aqueduct’s card got snowed out I would have hit the trifecta of suck … Last recap rather than rehashing the box score I used a graphic to demonstrate how lopsided the game was, which turned out to be a real time saver so I’m going to do it again.

Once again Saint John’s is the red line, and what you see is eerily like last game. Other than a 16-1 first half run that put them briefly in the lead they spent most of the game behind and by quite a bit. In fact no sooner had I written “SJU 16-1 run not going to last but fun while it does” in my notes Xavier went on a 12-0 run that turned into a 36-9 run that turned into a 45-21 run that might have been worse had not Saint John’s ended the half of a 7-0 mini run to pull within 15 at the break. The rest of it was dead even and dead boring except perhaps for those greedy optimists among you who took the 14 points … Xavier shot 60 percent from the floor and nearly 50 percent from three and frankly that seems a little low, because they did not seem to miss; Saint John’s was at 40 and 40 but if you take Lovett and Ponds out they were 9 of 40 from the floor and 3 of 13 from three and that’s not going to beat Xavier’s women’s team. The bright side if there is one is 15 assists on 26 made field goals and 20 of 25 from the free throw line … Nothing Mullin could do about it because SJU was just over-matched but there were some extremely peculiar line ups from time to time: in both halves for example Missini, Alibegiwitz and Freudenburgh were on on the floor simultaneously, which unless that’s supposed to be some sort of reenactment of the Axis advance into the Ardennes in the summer of 1939 does not seem like much of a good idea. Those three probably shouldn’t be on the floor at all, much less together. Maybe there’s a method in the madness or maybe it was the fouls but it was passing strange … So two and two sixth place and oh and four Georgetown up next on the road. I’m not sanguine but John Thompson III is the worst so anything is possible

PLAYERS: Marcus Lovett had a career high 32 points: 10 of 14 from the floor, 4 of 7 from three and 8 of 8 from the free throw line and Ponds had 21 points and seven rebounds, albeit mostly when the game was already over. The rest of them don’t deserve mention and yet I persevere … Owens had six points and four rebounds … Ahmed was 3 of 12 from the floor … The best thing Ellison did all day was foul out … Yawke scored no points. Again … Freudenburg also scored no points but he has an excuse: he stinks … Alibegovitch had six rebounds, which is six more than I thought … With about 5 minutes to go and Saint John’s down about a thousand I turned to long suffering Missus Fun and said: wake up toots, it’s Missini time. She scooted to the edge of her seat and was immediately rewarded by a dagger three that pulled Saint John’s within 997. Missini was oh for otherwise and made a spectacle of himself chasing Edmond Sumner around the court in what I can only imagine was intended as a parody of a college basketball player playing defense. For the record Saint John’s is now oh and two since his return … Forgetting someone, oh yeah Darien Williams

NOTES: I received not one not two but three messages this week from helpful readers informing me that all this time I’ve been spelling Saint John’s wrong: I’ve been spelling out the s-a-i-n-t bit whereas evidently the official name is St. John’s, that is capital S, small t, period. My initial reaction – as usual the uncharitable one – was first to wonder what sort of a fucking moron spell checks some else’s blog and second to wonder why if that moron was so concerned with spelling he attended a shitty commuter school in Queens. But as I said that was uncharitable. The truth is that I frankly had no idea. Upon reflection I’m surprised that a school that’s so bad at marketing that it has to refer to itself as STJ because Saint Joseph’s in Philadelphia owns the online trademark rights to SJU would have the gall to even have an official spelling. So anyway I’ve decided to continue calling it whatever I want but what I won’t ever call it is St. John’s, because screw those guys … From the not the onion files and speaking of guys – or at least what used to be guys – Frederick Douglass High School in Fayetteville Kentucky announced this week that due to community pressure they’ll be replacing their team mascot, the stallion, because it’s not “inclusive enough.” The issue it seems is that not only “stallion” a term for a male horse that has not been castrated but is also slang for a “powerful and virile man.” So this is what we have come to in postmodern America: it is no longer politically correct to be a male with a functioning cock and balls, because testosterone is offensive. Fans of irony will appreciate that Frederick Douglass was himself something of a powerful man: he escaped from slavery and afterwards was amongst many other things influential in its abolition and if his five children are any indication he seems to have been able to maintain an erection. Perhaps soon the Musketeers – manly men brandishing phallic symbols – will become the Mouseketeers and the Providence Friars the Providence Nuns and Valparaiso Crusaders the Mamalukes lest we offend our Muslim friends. We can only hope, because only then will there truly be justice. Anyway some clever wag has started a petition to change the mascot’s name from stallion to scallion and I’d suggest you scurry over to sign it as I have several times


… This is the second year in a row where I’ve missed Lou’s birthday: he turned 92 two days ago. I grew up watching Lou coach and his unparalleled record of post season futility convinced me pretty early on that the game had passed him by – which it had – but at the same time that frustration blinded me to what an extraordinary career he actually had and considering the conga line of losers and buffoons who followed him it makes me wish I’d been a little more appreciative back then. So happy birthday Lou and returns on the day.