Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Books: "The Path to Paradise: A Francis Ford Coppola Story" By Sam Wasson


The Path to Paradise: A Francis Ford Coppola Story

By Sam Wasson

HarperCollins Publishers/Harper Books; hardcover, 400 pages; $32.99; available today, Tuesday, November 28th

Sam Wasson is the author of six previous books on Hollywood, including the New York Times bestsellers Fifth Avenue, Five A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and The Dawn of the Modern American Woman, and The Big Goodbye: Chinatown and the Last Days of Hollywood.

In the new book, The Path To Paradise: A Francis Ford Coppola Story, Sam Wasson turns his lens on a true original, with this in-depth portrait coming ahead of the release of his long-awaited film, "Megalopolis" in 2024. 

"They say you only live once. But most of us don't live even once. Francis Ford Coppola has lived over and over again," Wasson writes of one of the greatest filmmakers of all-time known for such classics as "The Godfather" and "Apocalypse Now."

The Coppola depicted here is a charming, brilliant man who is grounded in family and community, and at the same time, a restless, possibly reckless, genius. He has been on a half-century long quest to reinvent how films are made through his visionary production company American Zoetrope. It is a Greek term meaning "life revolution," and he brought the resources of filmmaking, business, technology, and the natural world to the stage in a laboratory of his own making.

Wasson writes, "Coppola initiated a colossal, lifelong project of experimental self-creation few filmmakers can afford - emotionally, financially - and none but he has undertaken."

That was shown in Coppola's very first feature film, "You're a Big Boy Now," which was released in 1966. He acted as his own producer,  as far away from studio control as he possibly could, which was rare in that time. He envisioned shooting most of the film on natural locations, in the vein of the freedom and spontaneity of The Beatles' film "Hard Days' Night." Without introduction, Coppola approached stars Geraldine Page, Rip Torn, and Julie Harris and signed them on to the project, and the budget jumped from $250,000 to $1.5 million. A lot of where they shot the film in New York City was unprecedented, as they convinced Mayor John Lindsay to expedite permits to shoot inside the New York Public Library, which had a ban on filming, and the same thing with Macy's.

Wasson was granted unprecedented access to Coppola's archives, conducted hundreds of interviews with the artist and many who have worked closely with him, including Steven Spielberg, who said he was intimidated by the big ideas that Coppola and his colleagues had, along with talk of revolution. One of Coppola's main collaborators was George Lucas, the visionary of "Star Wars."

The story of how Zoetrope turned into a communal utopia is also the story of Coppola's wife, Eleanor, and their children, underscoring how inseparable each part of the filmmaker's world have been. Wasson also ties it into the creation of his quixotic masterpiece, "Apocalypse Now."

It also is part of Coppola's longing to finish "Megalopolis," which he has pored over for forty years. He has thought about it, quarreled with it, added to, and altered, and the story keeps changing. It is all in a quest to discover his signature mode of filmmaking. His whole career has built up to this moment, as "Apocalype Now" exposed him to the surreal, "One from the Heart" showed him a theatrical mode, and "Bram Stoker's Dracula," he drew on the live effects of early cinema.

Wasson writes in this excerpt: "Megalopolis is a story of utopia, a story as visionary and uncompromising as its author; more expensive, more urgently personal than anything he has ever done; and for all the reasons and too many others, nearly impossible to get made. In the eighties, when Coppola, felled with debt after Zoetrope's second apocalypse - the death of Zoetrope Studios in Los Angeles - was directing for money, he read the story of Catiline in Twelve Against the Gods, tales of great figures of history who, Coppola said, 'went against the current of the times.' Catiline, Roman soldier and politician, had failed to remake ancient Rome. There was something there for Coppola. Something of himself. What if Catiline, Coppola asked himself, who history said was the loser, had in fact had a vision of the Republic that was actually better? Throughout the decades, he'd steal away with Megalopolis, a mistress, a dream, gathering research, news items, political cartoons, adding to his notebooks - in hotels and on airplanes and in his bungalow office in Napa - glimpses of an original story, shades of The Fountainhead and The Master Builder braced with history, philosophy, biography literature, music, theater, science, architecture, half a lifetime's worth of learning and imagination. But Coppola wasn't just writing a story: he was creating a city, the city of the title, the perfect place. Refined by his own real-life experiments with Zoetrope, his utopia, Megalopolis would be characterized by ritual, celebration, and personal improvement, and driven by creativity; it had to be. Corporate and political interests, he had learned too well, were driven mainly by greed. And greed destroyed.

Over the years, Megalopolis grew characters, matured into a screenplay, tried to live as a radio drama and novel, and for decades wandered like the Ancient Mariner, telling its story, looking for financing, or a star: DeNiro, Paul Newman, Russell Crowe...The story of Coppola's story became a fairy tale for film students, a punch line for agents...and in 2001, paid for with revenues from his winery, it almost became a movie. On location in New York City, Coppola shot thirty-six hours of second-unit material. But after September 11, he halted production. The world had changed suddenly, and he needed time to change with it.

He passed the script to Wendy Doniger, University of Chicago professor of comparative mythology (and years before, his first kiss). She introduced Coppola to the work of Mircea Eliade - specifically, his novel Youth Without Youth, the story of a scholar who is unable to complete his life's work; then he is struck dead by lightning and rejuvenated to live and work again. Coppola, rejuvenated, made a movie from it. It was his first film in a decade. Thinking like a film student again, he kept making movies  Tetro in 2009; Twixt, 2011 - modest in size and budget, fearing that Megalopolis, a metaphysical, DeMille-size epic, was and always would be a dream only, beyond his or anyone's reach. Utopia, after all, means a place that doesn't exist.

Then he decides to finance the picture himself, for around $100 million of his own money."

Books: "Elvis and the Colonel," Greg McDonald's Inside Look At "Greatest pairing in entertainment history"


Elvis and the Colonel: An Insider's Look at the Most Legendary Partnership in Show Business

By Greg McDonald and Marshall Terrill

St. Martin's Press; hardcover, 384 pages; $32.00; available today, Tuesday, November 28th

Greg McDonald is an entertainment producer who got his start in show business with Colonel Tom Parker, and they knew each other for almost four decades. As a teenager, McDonald drove the Colonel around Los Angeles when his top client, Elvis Presley, was making movies in Hollywood, spent time with him when Elvis began his residency in Las Vegas, traveled with him when Elvis hit the road when he started touring again, and worked with Parker at his home office in Palm Springs, California. 

McDonald went on to manage Ricky Nelson for seventeen years, ran Sonny Bono's mayoral and congressional campaigns, and was president of Transcontinental Records, which had the Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, and O'Town. To this day, McDonald manages Colonel Tom Parker's show business assets, including his name, likeness, and image. 

The new book, Elvis and the Colonel: An Insider's Look at the Most Legendary Partnership in Show Business, is McDonald's attempt to set the record straight on Colonel Parker, a largely misunderstood figure in Elvis' life. This is a contrarian and corrective view on a man who was truly a trailblazer who had a long, strong, warm and complex relationship with Elvis.

The imagined lore is that Parker took advantage of "poor country boy" Elvis to sign the singer who became "The King." A lot of this, McDonald contends, comes from a lack of knowledge of their business and personal relationship. These are never-before-hears stories of Parker's collaboration with Elvis that reveal the man behind the legend and the strategies that made Elvis a commercial groundbreaker. Parker had such a lasting impact on the music industry that many of the practices he established are still used today.

A lot of this book is devoted to the real life story of Colonel Tom Parker, which gets lost in the image of a balding, rotund man with steely eyes and a knowing grin, who was always outfitted in a blazer, buttoned-down shirt, and porkpie hat.

Andreas Cornelius van Kuijk was born on June 26, 1909, in Breda, Holland, a small, bustling seaport village near the North Sea, in the southern region, and his parents were hardworking people who struggled to make a living and feed their nine children.

From an early age, Andreas was captivated by the circus, as he liked clowns and acrobats, but what won him over was the animals, especially elephants. Eventually, he would go by himself and volunteer, lending a hand with chores with the animals. More than anything, he discovered a love of show business, and he soon began creating tents out of newspapers and charging neighborhood children the equivalent of a penny to witness his "backyard circus." There were songs, acrobatics, and a special show with trained beetles, a goat, and a crow named Blackie. 

When Andreas found his way to the United States, he jumped a train in Huntington, West Virginia, and he was looking for work and came across a small carnival. He was fascinated by American horses because they were much smaller than what he was used to back in Holland. He introduced himself to the owners of Parker Pony Rides and told them about his experiences handling animals, and he was hired on the spot.

Eventually, he was traveling the country with the Parkers, traveling from city to city in the South, setting up small concessions in any location they could find, including self-service grocery stores, which were ideal locations since parents took their children with them while they shopped.

The Parkers took a liking to the hardworking and personable Andreas and decided to adopt him. When they went to a courthouse in the small Georgia town where they were working, they filled out the necessary paperwork. 

Thomas Andrew Parker was his new name, which he thought fitting since this was his new life in a new country. He chose his first name after his distant cousin, the clown, and his middle name is the Amrricanized version of his given first name, plus the surname of his new parents.

When the United States was involved in World War II in the early 1940s, Americans were stuck home listening to war news on the radio and trying to figure out how to survive with little gasoline, meat, coal for heat, and other necessities. 

There was virtually no entertainment, which is where Tom Parker entered the picture. In 1943, he left the Hillsborough County Humane Society and became the road manager for Pee Wee King, a songwriter, bandleader, and country recording artist. Parker also managed Gene Austin and Eddy Arnold, and booked personal appearances for Ernest Tubb. While he liked working with famous people, he realized he did promotion really well. The marketing concept he developed in his carnival days translated very well to promoting country stars. As he did with circuses, he would travel ahead of the show, arranging publicity, hanging posters, and setting up ticket sales.

It would be a decade before he would see Elvis Presley perform for the first time in concert, on November 24, 1954, at the Municipal Auditorium in Texarkana, Texas. Elvis was nineteen years old, and was becoming a sensation in the Deep South after Sun Records released "That's All Right," "Good Rockin' Tonight," and "Milkcow Blues Boogie."

Parker saw that Elvis was a singular performer, as his music was being played on Memphis stations that catered to rhythm and blues and rock 'n' roll, basically music meant for them, not their parents. He knew that Elvis, who was managed at that time by Memphis disc jockey Rob Neal, was about to break out of his Deep South base and could be an international phenomenon with the right push and a little time. Neal saw that Parker could be the one to take Elvis to the top, and Elvis saw a businessman who knew what he was doing.

McDonald writes in this excerpt, "What history and countless other books on Elvis Presley don't tell you is that Colonel Parker was the first mega-manager who made forays into today's multimedia world of music, film, television, publishing, and Las Vegas-style entertainment. Parker, along with his once-in-a-millennium star, Elvis Presley, blazed many paths in the span of two decades. Elvis (the artist) and Parker (the enigmatic manager that made it happen behind the scenes) were the greatest pairing in entertainment history.

Though the Colonel may have appeared to many to be shrewd, flamboyant, crass, and brash, in actuality, he was fair-minded, loyal, funny, a twenty-four seven workhorse, a man whose word was his bond, and even philanthropic in private. Many of Presley's artistic endeavors had a charitable aspect to them thanks to Colonel Parker's prompting. The two men provided major support - through financial contributions and raising awareness - for several charities throughout their two decades of success, including the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii, March of Dimes, the Salvation Army, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and the Kui Lee Cancer Fund. Colonel Parker was also a lifelong animal lover and even once worked for the Humane Society in Tampa, Florida.

Colonel Parker was sure to give fans, concert promoters, and business clients their full value while at the same time leaving them wanting more. Conversely, he got his client the best possible deals for the maximum amount of money. He was getting Elvis nearly $1 million a movie and 50 percent of the box office net when the biggest stars in Hollywood might have gotten 10 percent at most. Colonel Parker got those extraordinary deals because of his savvy and smarts. He was also strategic and Zen-like in his feats: getting his client the maximum deal while saving enough gravy for those who sat across the bargaining table from him.

Others wanted his services too: the Beatles. Frank Sinatra. George Hamilton. Ann-Margret. Tony Orlando. Tanya Tucker. They all wanted Colonel Parker to manage them. I remember when one of the Beatles (I believe it was Paul McCartney) called the Colonel at his Palm Springs home shortly after the death of Beatles manager Brian Epstein in late August 1967. He took the call, excusing himself to another room. After he got off the phone, he said he couldn't take them on because of his loyalty to Elvis. It was a testament to his greatness as a manager that the Beatles wanted him. The fact that he turned them down was a testament to his belief in his client.

All business dealings were done with military-like precision and secrecy. Parker kept his mouth shut for several reasons. What he concealed was far more astounding and complex than has ever been revealed. Although an uneducated Dutch farm boy who grew up in a modest apartment above horse stables, he had an innate knack for creating a spectacle and weaving the public's heart and soul into it. The Nashville music scene, Hollywood, and Las Vegas were not going to be a match for him.

Before he got to the top, Colonel Parker rode the rails as a hobo, sailed around the world in the merchant marine, served four years in the United States Army, and spent a decade as a traveling carny perfecting his act. He understood human behavior and learned how to squeeze a nickel out of all of it, making him the perfect power behind the entertainment throne."


Sunday, November 26, 2023

College Football: FWAA-NFF Super 16 Poll - Week 13


The FWAA-NFF Super 16 Poll for Week 13 of the 2023 College Football season has the top four schools in the final week of the regular season Georgia, Michigan,  Washington, and Florida State, which is a big change from the prior poll, which had Ohio State in the third spot.

Saturday, November 25, 2023

St. John's Lets Loose At The Lou In Win Over Holy Cross


The St. John's bench celebrating one of their many baskets on Saturday night. @StJohnsBball.

St. John's returned to Carnesecca Arena in style on Saturday night, as they cruised to a 91-45 win over Holy Cross.

The Red Storm, who are now 4-2 on the season, were led by Joel Soriano, who had 16 points on 8-9 shooting, with six rebounds and an assist. RJ Luis had 14 points (6-13 FG), four rebounds, and an assist, in his season debut off the bench. Jordan Dingle had 11 points on 5-8 from the field and 1-4 from behind the arc, with two rebounds and an assist. Simeon Wilcher had five points (2-6 FG, 1-2 on threes), five assists, and three rebounds. Brady Dunlap also had five points (2-5 FG, 1-3 on threes), with five rebounds.

Pitino Postgame: St. John's Head Coach Rick Pitino addressed the media after the game, and he opened with this statement: "When it was 20-20, I liked how we stayed with our gameplan. We said we are going to have our run, don't panic. When you have the lead, play fundamental basketball, which we did do. We made a point of emphasis all week long not to turn the ball over and we really only had seven turnovers in the game, excluding the one we took at the very end. That's the way you must play basketball. I really thought [Simeon Wilcher] did a very good job offensively but did a great job defensively. He was active with his hands, very good at finding open people. I thought he was terrific. [RJ Luis Jr.] is just getting back into the groove. He is one of the more gifted players that I've coached, because he does so many different things. He is a shot blocker, great ball handler, great playmaker, great scorer. He is a very good rebounder. He is just coming into his own, but he is a very talented young man, who is a great teammate and only great things are going to happen for him going forward."

On RJ Luis Jr.'s return: "RJ had to go out there tonight and play [power forward]. Not only has he not practiced much, but he has not played the four much. We want to play him at the four and the three and the two. He is a point-forward. It's difficult on him learning all the sets at the four. He really only made one mistake the whole night, but outside of that he really picked everything up. He is a natural and a terrific young man."

On Kevin Durant attending the game: "It's a great honor for St. John's. Kevin has a lot to do, and there's a lot of people he knows in New York. Him and his agent, Rich Kleiman, who is a great friend of our program, I wanted to thank them and we are very honored to have both of them here...For all of us, [Kevin Durant] is one of the great players in the history of the game. I've said this all along, he is a top five player in the history of the game. One of the great offensive, [6'11"] guys of all time. I don't know if there is a better [6'11"] guy in the game and that's how good he is. I've always told everyone that and have said it for years. We are very honored."

On the team's depth: "I'm not afraid to play any of those guys. I thought Drissa [Traore] played terrific tonight. All these guys are still learning. I told Daniss Jenkins, who played for me at Iona, that they were going to trap him, and he immediately threw the ball into the stands. The next time, he used his pivot and created a great assist. It's great for Simeon to learn behind Daniss because he is the heir to that position. RJ is going to play multiple positions. If we are in a war with West Virginia (their next opponent on Friday), I have not problem putting Simeon or Brady (Dunlap) in the game at any time. Brady played really good defense tonight. They all played really good defense. They all rooted for each other. It was great."

Friday, November 24, 2023

Books: New Cookbooks, Including From Ree Drummond & Jessie James Decker

As we enter the holiday season, it is a time for gatherings and parties, a great time to add some new recipes to your kitchen repertoire, and these new cookbooks will do the trick: The Pioneer Woman's Cookbook: Dinner's Ready!, by Ree Drummond; Just Eat: More Than 100 Easy and Delicious Recipes That Taste Just Like Home, by Jessie James Decker; The Olive Oil Enthusiast: A Guide from Tree to Table, with Recipes, by Skylar Mapes and Giuseppe Morisani; and Scandinavian from Scratch: A Love Letter To The Baking Of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, by Nichole Accettola.

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Yankees Name Brad Ausmus Bench Coach


Yankee Stadium. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Yankees named Brad Ausmus as their new Bench Coach on Tuesday afternoon. He will be Manager Aaron Boone's new right-hand man, taking over for Carlos Mendoza, who became manager of the Mets after spending the past four years in the position in The Bronx.

Books: New Novels With Historical Themes

In this review, we will look at some of the wonderful new novels that are out: The Winthrop Agreement, by Alice Sherman Simpson; Hercule Poirot's Silent Night, by Sophie Hannah; Good Taste: A Novel and In Search of Great Food, by Caroline Scott.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. On JFK Assassination; Campaign Calls On Biden To Release Docs


Robert F. Kennedy Jr. From the candidate's Facebook page.

"John F. Kennedy's assassination left an indelible scar upon the American psyche. Everyone who was alive at the time can remember where they were on that day."

Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy wrote that on Monday ahead of the 60th anniversary of when President Kennedy was slain in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

"Of all the legacies that my uncle left for our country, there is one that has not yet been fulfilled," RFK Jr. wrote. "During his term in office, he upheld a vision of America as a nation of peace, a vision that was abandoned after his death.

"For the next 60 years, we maintained a military empire, squandering trillions of dollars as our economy hollowed out and our health and infrastructure decayed.

"My promise to the American people is that I will put us back on the road to peace that JFK led us toward when, shortly before his death, he issued a national security order to withdraw American advisers from Vietnam. We will instead take a path back toward peace and prosperity for our country."

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s presidential campaign released a petition calling on the Biden administration to keep its promise and release all documents on the assassination of his uncle, President John. F. Kennedy, as required by law. You can find the petition titled Release The JFK Files by please clicking here.

The RFK Jr. campaign wrote the following statement accompanying it (as they presented it): "As the petition explains, the 1992 Kennedy Records Assassination Act mandated the release of all records related to the JFK assassination by 2017. Trump refused to do it. Biden refused to do it. Kennedy asks, 'What is so embarrassing that they're afraid to show the American public 60 years later?'

"Trust in government is at an all-time low. Releasing the full, unredacted historical records will help to restore that trust. In the spirit of transparency, the Kennedy campaign asks Americans to call upon President Biden to obey the 1992 act and release the Kennedy assassination documents to the public." 

Books: "The Dissident" On Alexey Navalny


The Dissident: Alexey Navalny: Portrait of a Political Prisoner

By David M. Herszenhorn

Twelve; hardcover, 320 pages; $30.00

David M. Herszenhorn is chief Brussels correspondent of Politico, and prior to that, he worked for over 20 years at the New York Times as a reporter, Washington correspondent, and foreign correspondent based in Moscow.

Alexey Navalny can be described many ways, as he's a lawyer, blogger, anti-corruption crusader, protest organizer, political opposition leader, mayoral and presidential candidate, campaign strategist, provocateur, poisoning victim, and dissident, but the one that got him sent into jail is that he is Russian President Vladimir Putin's biggest political rival.

The Dissident is one of the most deeply-researched books on this compelling figure in the crosshairs of Putin, who despises Navalny so much he never utters his name.

Navalny's story is modern Russia's story, in a sense because his generation straddled the end of the Soviet Union and the birth of the Russian Federation. He spent his childhood summers with his Ukrainian grandparents near Chernobyl, and he had a fellowship at Yale University, which spurred conspiracy theories about his ties to the United States.

Offended by the dishonesty and criminality of the Russian political system, Navalny became an anti-corruption crusader and mounted a relentless opposition movement. He felt that an entirely different country can be created, one that defies the old saying that Russia without corruption isn't Russia.

The anti-corruption investigations Navalny led revealed billions in graft at Russia's biggest state-owned companies and vast bribe-taking by top Russian officials, including his blockbuster revelations about Putin's Black Sea Palace. He also held huge street protests, and he became known for controversial views on nationalism, gun rights, and Crimea, and is now a prisoner of conscience bravely opposing Putin's war in Ukraine, which began in February of 2022.

This is what made him such a threat to Putin that the Kremlin wanted him exiled or dead, which led to an assassination attempt in August 2020 with a military-grade nerve agent by an FSB hit squad in Siberia. After he recovered, he did a vigilante-style investigation with news outlet Bellingcat to identify and confront his own would-be killers. The Kremlin is intent on leaving him in a prison colony for decades. 

In this excerpt, Herszenhorn writes of the trial that gave Navalny's crusade a worldwide audience: "Navalny just won't stop. So, it was no surprise that upon returning to Russia in January 2021, his plane was diverted to a different airport - thwarting throngs of supporters who came out to greet him - and he was arrested before he could cross passport control.

There are many ways to take a life. Poison had failed. Prison was now the fallback.

Two weeks after his arrest, Navalny stood in a packed courtroom in Moscow, defiant as ever, to address the Russian government's latest absurd accusation against him: he failed to check in with parole officers while in a coma.

Navalny wore a dark black hoodie and khaki green pants. His light brown hair was combed perfectly in place, his angular jaw and dimpled chin uncovered while nearly everyone else in court wore masks as protection against coronavirus.

Watching him, jaunty and flashing iconic smiles from inside the locked glass-enclosed dock that Russians call 'the Aquarium,' it was hard to believe that just five months earlier, he was nearly killed with an internationally banned chemical weapon. The tricked FSB officer was right. Navalny's life was saved thanks to a combination of stupidly lucky events: the bumbling of the security agents who tried to kill him; the quick emergency landing by the pilots of the plane he was on; and the professionalism of an ambulance crew and doctors in the Siberian city of Omsk, who were never told that they were supposed to let him die.

As he spoke, Navalny's voice was firm, edged with his trademark tone - a mix of supreme confidence and abject disbelief - that has come from years of tangling with the inane illogic of the Russian judicial system. It is a system that makes sense only when recognized as beholden to political masters, delivering preordained outcomes disconnected from laws and facts.

Navalny perfected that tone of voice and his bemused, friendly, storytelling style, by narrating YouTube videos, viewed millions of times, in which he revealed spectacular corruption by Russian government officials. In one such video, he exposed his own would-be assassins - providing a surreal dispassionate account of how they plotted his death.

In court, as was made obvious by his captivity in a glass box, Navalny was the defendant, charged with parole violations that could - and would - lead to a sentence of nearly three years in a notorious Russian penal colony.

But as he delivered his statement that subfreezing February afternoon, Navalny turned the absurdity of the Russian court system to his advantage. He transformed himself from accused into accuser, and his defendant's statement into a prosecutor's closing argument, in which he leveled charges against the one man he held responsible for his poisoning and imprisonment: Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, Russia's modern-day czar."

Sunday, November 19, 2023

St. John's Takes Third Place In Charleston Classic


Jordan Dingle slamming home a dunk on Sunday night. @StJohnsBball.

St. John's beat Utah, 91-82, to win the Third-Place Game of the Charleston Classic on Sunday night. Houston won the tournament by beating Dayton, 69-55, in the championship game.

The Red Storm, who improved to 3-2 on the season, took two of their three games in the tournament, as they opened with a 53-52 win over North Texas on Thursday afternoon, followed by an 88-80 loss to Dayton on Friday afternoon before this win over Utah.

Joel Soriano led the way with a double-double, had he had 12 points, on 5-for-10 shooting, and racked up 15 rebounds, including five on the offensive end.

Daniss Jenkins had 19 points (8-17 on field goals, 0-2 on three-pointers), eight assists, and four rebounds. Jordan Dingle had 18 points (7-13 FG, 4-8 on threes), five assists, and three rebounds. Chris Ledlum came close to a double-double as he had 15 points (5-9 FG, 4-7 on threes) and nine rebounds, with two assists. Nahiem Alleyne had 10 points off the bench, as he shot 4-6 overall and 2-4 on threes.

Pitino Postgame: St. John's Head Coach Rick Pitino opened with this statement: "Before the game, I was just speaking about Houston and how they struggled the first year to put in an incredible culture. And I said, 'We don't want to be Houston, but we want to take the dynamics of Houston and be the eastern version of them.' Their toughness, the way they play with reckless abandonment...Our guys were very tough and aggressive on offense tonight. The end of the game, we made some mistakes, but these guys were flat-out exhausted. I had to call that timeout just to get them some rest. I'm proud of Chris [Ledlum] because I've been trying to get him to shoot the open shot because he's a very good shooter and it's going to set up the drives for him. I'm proud of Jordan [Dingle] because he's getting better and better, except for catching the ball with one hand. Outside of that, he played a great game and he's showing what he is because he's getting used to the rest of the guys. I'm proud of both of these guys...They really helped us get a great victory. We beat a tremendous team tonight. This tournament, I want to thank ESPN, Charleston, Shriners for giving us this type of competition this early in the season. It's flat-out great...We are a little disappointed we didn't win it, but elated to come out of it 2-1."

On team's outlook: "I just want them playing fast with offensive confidence, taking open shots, moving the ball. We had 19 assists tonight, we shot a great percentage. The great thing about is our defense is now 50% of what it was. We want to press intelligently. I'm going to try to form where these guys don't have to press as much."

On tonight's performance: "I think they all took good shots. They pushed the pace, they didn't let the pace get away. Utah could have beaten Houston. It was very close with a minute to go in the game. We knew they could some back. You see the way they shoot the basketball, you see the size. I think Joel [Soriano] played about as intelligent as a pivot man can play by walling up and not fouling. It was tremendous to see that."

College Football: FWAA-NFF Super 16 Poll - Week 12


In the FWAA-NFF Super 16 Poll for Week 12 of the 2023 College Football season, the top four schools are Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, and Washington, who leaped over Florida State to claim the fourth spot. 

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Books: Football Edition

We are in the heart of football season, as the NFL nears the playoff stretch and college football approaches the end of their regular season. There is a pair of books on two of its most recognizable figures, Swagger: Super Bowls, Brass Balls, and Footballs - A Memoir, by Jimmy Johnson; and Coach Prime: Deion Sanders and the Making of Men, by Jean-Jacques Taylor, and an encyclopedic look at the history of the game, The Football 100: The Story of the Greatest Players in NFL History, by Mike Sando, Dan Pompei, and The Athletic NFL Staff.

Friday, November 17, 2023

Pitino "Overly Disappointed" As SJU Downed By Dayton


St. John's Head Coach Rick Pitino on Friday afternoon. @StJohnsBball.

St. John's is out of the Charleston Classic, as Dayton pulled away late to earn an 88-80 win on Friday afternoon. St. John's will face Utah in the third-place game on Sunday night, while Dayton will play Houston in the championship game.

St. John's Head Coach Rick Pitino said he was "overly disappointed" in his 2-2 Red Storm team, and that, Right now, they are losing because they are not paying attention to their job."

One thing is clear about St. John's four games into the season, that they are not great down the stretch, as was the case in this one, as Dayton put up 50 points in the second half.

St. John's led this one 40-38 at the half, and it was neck-and-neck into the second half, with St. John's up 59-58 on a Joel Soriano basket with 11:46 left in the game.

Dayton responded with an 9-0 run and an elongated 15-4 run capped by a three-point play for Nate Santos at the 7:02 mark that made it 73-63.

The closest St. John's got down the stretch was when a Daniss Jenkins basket made it 76-70 with 4:59 remaining. Another Santos three-point play, with 1:33 left, put Dayton up 84-72 and basically sealed the win. 

Dayton was led by DaRon Holmes II, who had 21 points on 6-for-14 shooting, including 1-2 from behind the arc, with five rebounds and an assist. Santos had 18 points, including 13 in the second half, on 6-8 shooting, and he made his one three-point attempt, with five rebounds and three assists.

St. John's was led by Soriano, who had 21 points on 8-13 from the field, including one made three-pointer on his lone attempt, with nine rebounds. Jordan Dingle had 14 points (5-10 FG, 1-2 threes), with two rebounds and an assist. Jenkins had 12 points (5-13 FG, 2-8 threes), with eight assists and three rebounds.

Pitino Postgame: St. John's Head Coach Rick Pitino gave this opening statement: "I wasn't overly disappointed with Michigan (referring to Monday night's loss), but I am overly disappointed tonight. We are losing because we can't pay attention to the scouting report. We have guys that just care about offense and they don't know how to defend. Not in terms of effort, the effort is fine, in terms of paying attention to the scouting report and how things are played. It's amazing from coming off the strong side, to giving a three, to the way you're playing the big guy on a pick-and-roll. It's a one-point game and we totally break down and don't play it correctly in a one-point game. Then it's a four-point game and we don't play it correctly. It's frustrating because the effort's there, they want to win, they're good guys, but they can't absolve a scouting report which is so disappointing. We'll just get onto the next game. [In the Charleston Classic] there are no weak teams so we got a hell of a game, but we're just not paying attention to scouting at all and that's what college basketball is all about."

On the team's performance in the first half: "They were doing a terrific job and then they backed it off, got lazy and didn't play the pick-and-roll correctly. Look, it's just going to take time with these guys. They've never guarded in their lives, with the exception of Nahiem [Allyene]. They need to learn to play that way or they are going to keep losing. It's all about defense. You can't beat a Dayton, you can't beat a Utah, you can't beat a Houston unless you match their defense. You can't keep trading buckets and tonight, we did it again. We were playing great basketball and in the second half just relented and didn't play it correctly. Now give them credit, their big guy played fantastic. He was great in taking us off the bounce. He's really a power forward playing the five spot. A tough matchup, but you have to move your feet."

On second half: "I think they are giving great effort. I think the bench was giving us a lift a little bit. We are making key mental mistakes defensively. Offensively, it's just going to take time to gel, but it's all going to come together...Right now, they are losing because they are not paying attention to their job. There are like 10 blatant errors of not doing your job defensively and if they make a shot doing it that way, then it's on us."

On the team's focus with a quick turnaround: "Well, you have no walk through, obviously...You make a great point. If you are a team that has been together, you know all your defensive rotations, you know all the terminology. They're all new, so you're walking through in a ballroom, trying to get them to understand. You're 100% right. If this was a team that was together coming back, they know exactly how everything is going to be played and that's what cost us. We have a day to prepare for a tough team, whoever it may be." (Houston-Utah followed SJU)


Books: "Borderline" By Vincent Vargas, On Life As A U.S. Border Agent


Borderline: Defending The Home Front 

By Vincent Vargas, Former U.S. Border Patrol Agent

JOCKO PRESS, an imprint of St. Martin's Press; hardcover, 320 pages; $30.00

Vincent Vargas is a Los Angeles native who served four years of active duty in the United States Army, with three combat deployments with 2nd Battalion of the elite 75th Ranger Regiment. He then joined the U.S. Army Reserves, where he continues to serve as a drill sergeant. In 2009, he became a Federal Agent with the Department of Homeland Security and served as a Medic with the Special Operations Group. He is an entrepreneur, actor, writer, and producer who currently stars on the FX show, Mayans MC. He is happily married with seven children and lives in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Borderline is Vargas' new book, and it looks at his life at war in the Middle East and as a member of the U.S. Border Patrol. It is an inside look at the border the United States shares with Mexico, 2,000 miles of our national border that's a thin line of underfunded, overworked, and underappreciated Border Patrol Agents who stand guard. 

It is a world that is dramatic, violent, and always controversial. From human trafficking to drug smuggling, Vargas has seen it all, and it is migrants who have mostly paid the price. It is the fate of these thousands of migrants that is at the root of the dilemma. 

While the migrant issue and border security is in the news all the time, very little time is spent on the humanitarian aspects of it, and the nation's leaders have turned the conflict into a political weapon. He cuts through the chatter to reveal the true human cost. Vargas' grandmother came to the U.S. as an illegal immigrant, displays heartfelt empathy for those entering the U.S. seeking a better life. He also captures the life of Border Patrol Agents, and recounts in novelistic style the many water rescues of migrants unable to navigate the treacherous Rio Grande River, as well as gun battles from both sides of the border and across the river with "coyotes," human traffickers, and drug cartel members.

A DISCUSSION WITH VINCENT VARGAS (Provided by St. Martin's Press):

St. Martin's Press: How did your family history shape your approach to your work with the Border Patrol?

Vincent Vargas: I never thought about being a Border Patrol Agent until I was older, and a friend mentioned to me what they do. It was never a thought. I would visit Mexico and I was oblivious to the immigration situation until I got older and really understood and dug into my family's history. and learned my grandmother came over illegally. That opened my eyes to the dichotomy of being a Mexican American Border Patrol Agent.

St. Martin's Press: What was the most difficult moment during your time with Border Patrol?

Vincent Vargas: The most difficult moment in my career was attempting to rescue someone from drowning and just being seconds too late while they were pulled under. I have rescued a few handfuls of people, I don't remember their faces. I do remember this young man's face.

St. Martin's Press: What would you say is the most common misconception people have about what the Border Patrol does?

Vincent Vargas: The most common misconception people have of the Border Patrol is that it's a bunch of racist individuals not wanting to allow anyone into the country. That wouldn't be further from the truth. The Border Patrol has more agents that are of Latin or Hispanic descent than any other race. It's an organization that has a profound belief in protecting this country and the legal immigration process.

St. Martin's Press: Do you think the politicians in Washington DC don't truly understand what life is like on the border for the Border Patrol agents, or is all their posturing to their constituents?

Vincent Vargas: This is a hard one to answer. Immigration and the Border Patrol has been highly politicized in recent years; this is why I chose to write a book on this topic. I don't think there are many politicians who know the challenges we face on the border on a daily basis and/or have boots-on-the-ground experience. This could be why when anyone implements immigration change it's just a surface level answer while the deep-rooted issues are still present.

St. Martin's Press: How has your family history weighed on some of the toughest decisions you had to make in regard to immigrants desperately crossing into the U.S. for a better life?

Vincent Vargas: The Border Patrol Line Unit has the most challenging job in the career field. Day in and day out they have to witness the hardships of families fighting to get across and sometimes losing their lives. I only had a short time on the line and it was never easy to deny a family access to the greatest nation and the land of opportunity. I have always seen a little bit of my grandmother in everyone. I have empathy, but I also had to do my job.

St. Martin's Press: Is our border truly "indefensible" in regard to being completely secure?

Vincent Vargas: The border is a vast area, and we don't have enough agents to cover it with confidence. I don't know if we can ever call the border secure even with more technology and support. The fascinating thing with human beings is that when they're driven for something, they will always find a way to achieve their goal.

St. Martin's Press: What differentiates the pressures of your Army Ranger career in Afghanistan and Iraq with the work you did in BORTAC (Border Patrol Tactical Unit) and BORSTAR (Border Patrol Search, Trauma, and Rescue)? 

Vincent Vargas: My time as an Army ranger had prepared me for my time as a BORSTAR agent and becoming a medic attached to BORTAC. The missions were different by definition but the overall goal of protecting our nation was the same.

St. Martin's Press: The influx of desperate people, in large numbers and small, that come from impoverished and violent nations is one thing as far as the border being under siege, but how fragile is it to terrorists, criminal gangs and deadly narcotics haulers? Have their numbers skyrocketed in recent years?

Vincent Vargas: When looking at the border situation we have to see two issues that we simultaneously have to address: immigration and Homeland Security. When talking about immigration, we have to understand that we as a country will always be the land of opportunity. This will always leave us open to potential threats. As for Homeland Security, we have to have a posture that can somehow identify these threats as they try to manipulate the system. This makes the Border Patrol career field the most challenging and the most important. I wouldn't say the numbers have skyrocketed; rather, they're more publicized.

St. Martin's Press: How has your family history, as well as your time in the Border Patrol, helped shape how you approach your work in front of the camera?

Vincent Vargas: I feel because of my background and experience I have been able to see things from many perspectives and have been able to convey the Border Patrol mission in a way that isn't divisive or argumentative.

St. Martin's Press: What does the U.S. have to do better (or should have done in the past) in order to show the people of Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean that the legal way to enter the U.S. is actually not complicated and they don't have to put themselves in a precarious situation?

Vincent Vargas: I believe the U.S. has developed a campaign creating a massive flow of information and education on how individuals can become citizens legally. It is our job to educate and facilitate safe and legal entry.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

St. John's Takes Down North Texas To Open Charleston Classic


Daniss Jenkins fires a pass on Thursday afternoon. @StJohnsBball.

St. John's won the opener of the Charleston Classic in a fight to the finish over North Texas, 53-52, on Thursday afternoon. They will face Dayton in the Semifinals on Friday afternoon at 2 p.m., and the winner of that moves on to the championship game on Sunday night.

After St. John's 89-73 loss to Michigan Monday, their head coach Rick Pitino said, "They'll be loaded for bear against North Texas because they'll be very upset with themselves, we won't even have to raise our voices."

Pitino was quite prescient, as they raced out to a 30-20 lead at halftime.

North Texas opened the second half on a 16-7 run, and they were within a point, at 37-36, with 10:51 to go. St. John's responded with a 12-2 run capped by a pair of Daniss Jenkins free throws at the 6:02 mark to put the Red Storm up 49-38.

However, North Texas wasn't done, and they responded with a 14-2 run to go on top 52-51, and that was capped by a pair of Robert Allen free throws at the 2:00 mark.

St. John's forward Joel Soriano got to the line with 1:11 left and he buried a pair of free throws to make it 53-52, and that would be the only points scored in the final two minutes, and would be the final.

Jenkins led St. John's with 17 points on 6-for-18 shooting, including 2-for-8 from behind the arc, with five rebounds and three assists. Soriano had 11 points (3-5 FG, 1-1 threes) and 12 rebounds to give him a double-double, along with an assist. Glenn Taylor Jr. had seven points (3-9 FG, 1-4 threes), two assists, and a rebound. 

Pitino Postgame: St. John's Head Coach Rick Pitino gave his thoughts after the win, and he had this opening statement: "[North Texas] is the best defensive team in the nation over the last couple years. I told our guys this isn't Michigan were we have to outscore them. If you are not better than them defensively, we have no shot of winning this game. I said this is going to be played in the 50s or low 60s, and you have to be the better defensive team. Our guys were brilliant, defensively. Offensively, we made some mistakes, but [North Texas] played awesome defense. That's what I wanted out of our guys. I told them, 'Look, you guys are all from different schools and there are three things you have in common from the schools you came from. They are all well-coached, you were all leaders on the team and none of you play any defense at all. We have to come together and learn a lot from the Michigan game.' College basketball is different from the pros. It's not about who has the most draft picks. It's about who plays the best defense together, and we did tonight, and that's what won the game for us."

On Joel Soriano: "Joel knows this because I tell him all the time. The more I get on you, the more I love you. The more I ignore you the more I think you can't play. There are two things we are trying to accomplish with him; we are trying to build a winning culture and I am trying to make him a pro. Body fat is now 8% down from 14%. He moves his feet and can guard people on switches. He can shoot the three and make the three. He is evolving into something really special and I am proud of him, but I'm not going to get off of him. I'm going to stay on him and I want him to become a pro and reach his potential because I truly love him and think he is loyal and a great captain and I want him to be great."

On the importance of defense in today's game: "If we are going to reach our potential, it's going to be on defense, and our guys did it tonight. It wasn't a pretty game, but when you play North Texas, it's never going to be a pretty game. You have to win with defense and rebounding."

On Joel Soriano serving as the last line of defense: "If you are going to take away the three, you are going to get beat off the bounce. We wouldn't play like that if we didn't have him. He is the last line of defense, because we don't mind pressuring and taking away the three. In the second half, North Texas shot the three well, but in the first half they shot 18 percent from three. The best thing about Joel is he walls up and doesn't foul. He isn't just a terrific player, but he is highly, highly intelligent."

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Yankees Ace Cole Wins First Cy Young Award


Gerrit Cole in action on April 16 against Minnesota. Photo by Jason Schott.

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole won the American League Cy Young Award on Wednesday night in a unanimous vote, the first time he has won it in possibly the best season in his illustrious 11-year career.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

New Mets Manager Mendoza: "I am ready for this challenge. I see this as a great opportunity"


Carlos Mendoza's arrival proclaimed on the big video board at Citi Field. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Mets officially introduced Carlos Mendoza as their new manager in the Piazza 31 Club at Citi Field.

Mendoza, who spent the past four years as the Yankees bench coach, was announced officially as Buck Showalter's replacement on Monday, a week after it was reported he was in line to take over in Queens.

Mets President of Baseball Operations David Stearns was on hand with Mendoza, the first significant hire in his six weeks at the helm.

David Stearns and Carlos Mendoza approach the dais to open the press conference. Photo by Jason Schott.

"Throughout this process, we prioritized finding a manager who can not only impact and lead our team in the dugout, but who can help us shape an environment throughout our entire organization, as well, and I firmly believe that Carlos has the ability to do that," Stearns said to open the press conference. "Carlos' upbeat, positive personality, his genuine care for people, his baseball knowledge, his experience in this city, his sincerity, all shone through throughout our process, throughout our process getting to know each other, and make him the right person for this job. We've talked about before; I've talked about before how big these jobs are. We ask our manager to communicate with a wide swath of people, from the clubhouse to the front office, to all of you (media), to ownership. Carlos has those communication skills, he has the leadership ability, and I'm thrilled that I get to partner with him here now with the Mets. We're excited to have you on board, and with that, it's my privilege to announce Carlos Mendoza as the next manager of the New York Mets."

Carlos Mendoza putting on his new Mets jersey, as David Stearns is ready to hand him his hat. Photo by Jason Schott.

"For me, it's an honor and privilege to be wearing this uniform, and I would like to thank Steve and Alex (Cohen) for giving me this great opportunity, for believing in my abilities to lead this ballclub," Mendoza said, referring to the Mets owners, who were conspicuously absent. "I would like to thank David and the baseball operations people; you guys put me to work. It wasn't easy, but I'm excited partnering with you and the organization and looking forward to great things here to come.

"I would like to thank my parents, my Mom, Happy Birthday! Today's my Mom's birthday, and this is incredible. I remember like it was yesterday, but almost 30 years ago when we sat down at home and we were trying to make a decision I was going to be baseball player and I was going to pursue my dream to become a big league player or become an engineer like my Dad, and I was pretty firm in, you know, I remember when I 'I want to be a big league player,' well I didn't become a big league player, but today I'm the manager of the New York Mets, so for that, thank you so much...

"To my wife Francis, thank you for not only being my best friend, you've always been there for me through the good, the not so good times, supporting us, raising our kids. You gave up everything in life, you gave up - I remember having this conversation with you, 'are you sure you want to do this?' You gave up your career as a dentist back in Venezuela. Your mom, your sister, and all the people that you've left, and you say 'I'm ready to do this with you,' and here we are, Francis. I love you so much, and I can't wait for this new chapter in our life.

"To my boys, Adrian and Andres, thank you for being there, for understanding that Daddy's away from home for a long time, and one thing I'm going to tell you is now you're coming home, you're coming to New York. The other question you asked when David called me and gave me the news was, 'Dad, are we going to be able to come to the field and practice with you now that you are the manager?' - the answer to that is, yes, you're coming with me and we'll get to spend some time and practice as well, so thank you so much.

"I would like to thank the San Francisco Giants organization for giving me the first opportunity to become a baseball player in 1996. I would like to thank the New York Yankees for giving me the opportunity to become a coach, and to develop as a coach, and eventually as a big league coach here in New York. There's a lot of people that I want to acknowledge here, but we could be here for a long, long time, you know, but there's one guy I remember when I was finishing my playing career, and he approached me and asked me if I wanted to become a coach, and you know, I thought about it and we decided with my family to pursue that career, and when I got done managing my first year, he called me in the office and said, 'Carlos, you're going to be a manager in the big leagues,' and here I am, I know you're proud, Mark Newman, thank you so much." (Newman was a longtime member of the Yankees front office who was their senior vice president of baseball operations starting in 2000, and he retired in 2014 before passing away in 2020.) Mendoza was in tears after reading this part.

Mendoza then spoke of being interviewed by Stearns, "When I first started that process and David first called me, and the more we got deep into conversation with his baseball people and we started to get to know each other really well, you know, the way they were asking me questions, I was asking them a lot of questions. They were not only interviewing me; I was interviewing them because I wanted to know what they were all about, and when they started talking about culture, people, relationships, preparation, I felt a connection right away because that's who I am. I care a lot about people, relationship, respect, and the ability to put a product that's going to be able to compete for championships.

Stearns and Mendoza. Photo by Jason Schott.

"I understand people are saying this is a big challenge, you know, especially for a guy who's never managed at the big league level. I understand the City of New York, I've been here for the past six years, and I know how passionate this fan base is, and the expectations that they've got here. Just know that I understand and I am ready for this challenge. I see this as a great opportunity. This is a great opportunity for not only Carlos Mendoza, but the New York Mets.

"The one thing that I'm coming in here, I'm not just creating a new culture. People need to understand that this is a team that won 100 games not too long ago. They started to create something special, and I'm coming in to continue add to that culture, to add to those positive things that they were already building a couple years ago. When we started talking about culture, I do believe that culture is not just your tradition; culture is driven by the people that you come into contact with every day, and that starts with ownership, from David as President of Baseball Operations and his people, myself as the Manager, that eventually it's going to go and trickle down through the coaching staff, players, and everybody in the organization through player development all the way to the Dominican Republic.

"Culture is driven by us, by the way we connect, by the way we think, by the way we value our culture, by the way we communicate each and every day, and that's my goal. That's my goal, to continue to drive that culture. 

"I came up in an era, you know, back in 1996, when I was taught to play the game with fundamentals, to respect the game, to pay attention to details, that's how I came up as a player; but I also when I came up as a coach, all the information that became available I was able to learn that side of the game, and I'm planning on using that. There's a balance, and I planning on using both of them. At the end of the day, it's about connecting, it's about building relationships, and it's about winning championships, and I'm hoping that we get that opportunity here with David and the whole organization. I'm going to surround myself with people who are going to bring energy, they're going to earn the respect from players and everyone in the building, people that are going to be honest, that are going to hold people accountable and we're going to be able to hold each other accountable, but at the same time, we're going to have fun. This is a hard game, this is a hard game, and it's played by human beings, and at the end of the day, we've got to have fun, and I'm really looking forward to it." 

Photo by Jason Schott.

On what a Carlos Mendoza-managed team will look like, he said, "It starts with connection, relationships, so the players can trust me and know that I'm there for them and going to have their back, right. It comes down to preparation, attention to details each and every day, and competing, you know. I want the team to go out there and play hard every pitch, and at the end of the day, I want them to have fun. I'm a big believer, and I've learned through my experience the connections, the trust, the respect, the relationships in the locker room, the clubhouse, when you care about people, when you connect, it creates that culture that we're talking about, that will eventually show up on the baseball field."

Stearns was asked what set Mendoza apart from other managerial candidates, and he said, "As we went through this, there were a couple of different stages. The first stage was sort of that  standard due diligence stage, reference checks, calling around trying to get to know as much about our candidate pool as we possibly could, and when you get through that stage, you have a pretty good feel for who each candidate is, what their backgrounds are, what people have to say about them. The next stage was really ensuring that I felt a connection to the person who was going to be our next manager. We've talked about the partnership that these types of jobs require. We're going to be spending a lot of time together, we're going to be on the phone a lot together, we're going to be dealing with some real highs, and at times we're probably going to be dealing with some lows together, as well, and we're going to have to have the relationship, the bond, and the trust to collectively work through that, and I think the more time Carlos and I spent together, we both felt comfortable that we have the ability to do that together."

Mets Food Drive Tomorrow At Citi Field


The Mets will be hosting their annual Food Drive presented by Molina Healthcare, as part of their MetsGiving initiatives, this Wednesday, November 15, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Mets Team Store at K Korner at Citi Field.

New York Common Pantry will be the beneficiary of all donations. All types of canned and packaged goods are welcome, and the most needed food items are milk (powdered, evaporated, boxed), pasta, rice, corn, yams, sweet potatoes, green beans, canned pumpkin, turkey gravy, cranberry sauce, corn muffin mix, stuffing mix, barley, quinoa, canned vegetables, canned/dry beans, canned fruit, packaged mac and cheese, peanut butter, oatmeal, hot and cold cereal, boxed grits, canned tuna, salmon or chicken, and powdered mashed potatoes. 

They are requesting that you do NOT bring glass containers, perishable, or expired food items.

Fans donating at least 10 non-perishable items will receive a voucher redeemable for two tickets to a select Mets home game in 2024 (excluding Opening Day and the Subway Series). Fans will be limited to one ticket voucher.

Mr. and Mrs. Mets will be making a special appearance from 12 noon until 1:00 p.m. 

Please click here for more information.

Books: Eclectic Mix Of New Titles Out Today

There are many exciting books, on a variety of topics that are sure to pique your interests, that are being released today: Ghosts of Honolulu: A Japanese Spy, A Japanese American Spy Hunter, and the Untold Story of Pearl Harbor, by Mark Harmon and Leon Carroll, Jr.; Einstein In Time and Space: A Life in 99 Particles, by Samuel Graydon; Borderline: Defending The Home Front, by Vincent Vargas; The Fatal Alliance: A Century of War on Film, by David Thomson; The Risk It Takes To Bloom, By Raquel Willis; Killing The Image: A Champion's Journey of Faith, Fighting, and Forgiveness, by Andre Ward, with Nick Chiles; The Twist of a Knife, by Anthony Horowitz; and I Wouldn't Do That If I Were Me, by Jason Gay. 

Monday, November 13, 2023

Michigan Ruins Red Storm's Garden Party


Nimari Burnett connecting on a three-pointer at the 6:09 mark of the first half that put Michigan up 32-31. Photo by Jason Schott.

The St. John's Red Storm had their much-anticipated season debut as Madison Square Garden on Monday night, and Head Coach Rick Pitino's group was given, as he termed it, "a good lesson" by the Michigan Wolverines, who rolled to an 89-73 win.

"I am so proud of Madison Square Garden and the job they do for us," Pitino said afterwards. "It was awesome, unfortunately we didn't match their effort of putting it together. I'm so thankful for the fans that came out, they were great, the students were fabulous, we just couldn't match The Garden, we couldn't match the students and we couldn't match the fans, and more important, we couldn't match Michigan."