Smile Politely

Drink away your sniffles, Illini fans

The best thing to take from the final Illini deBacleball game of the year: Trent Meacham’s shining moment. Awesome performance, Townie.

Western Kentucky’s offense flowed like a hillside river. Frankly, I enjoyed watching them. If Bill Carmody ever gets the Princeton working that well, his team might get to the NCAA one of these years.

Our own coach continues to receive accolades for his offense. Perhaps it’s justifed. Having spent a season observing practices and games, I now know what “Bruce Weber’s motion offense” entails.

Basically, it’s speed chess. With each movement (of ten people and one ball) on the floor, every player finds himself in a slightly altered position. Motion offense expects the player to recognize and exploit each change in the pattern.

We’ve seen it executed by six teams now. The best team was overly reliant on the three. Even its ballyhooed 15 pass possession ended in a three. The Shaun Pruitt teams had a big man who could maneuver inside, occasionally even making baskets. This year’s team brought back the lost art of the mid-range jumper.

As executed by most of these teams, the “motion offense” is a stagnant clusterfuck. It’s a lot of useless passes around the arc. It’s a shot-clock violator. It’s boring to watch, and it leads to record setting seasons about one out of six times.

And now, as we try to forget the painful dying moments, humiliation and disappointing conclusion to a season which “exceeded expectations,” let’s remember that the really important things in life will always be there for us.

Beer is your best friend, and an excellent companion to your depression. It requires a fairly significant amount of space in your abdomen. Luckily, most of you are very, very fat.

Richard Semrau is not fat, but he has a solid build for a guy who stands 6’9″. And yet he spent the last four months on the bench because Bruce Weber, genius notwithstanding, decided that some players could learn more by watching than through experience.

Semrau’s rebounds would have been nice. His timing might have improved if applied to real game situations. His natural shooting ability may have acclimated to game conditions. But I guess we’ll nver know.


Bourbon is great for drowning sorrows. Look what it did for Bogart! By the end of the movie, he’d drunk his way into heroic self-sacrifice, and seemed cheery about it.

Much of the best whisky is made in Scotland. They call it “whisky,” because to their way of thinking, there aren’t other varieties. The most publicized stuff is pure malt whisky, which comes from barley.  But  you can distill Scotch from all kinds of grains. The thing that makes it Scotch, the thing that gives it the distinctive Scottish whisky flavor, is curing with Scottish mud. They call it “peat,” which sounds better.

By the way, did you see how many backdoor cuts led to easy dunks for Western Kentucky?


For pre-op transsexuals, and other people who have penises, but are nevertheless girls, there’s Canadian whiskey. This is like real whisky, but without any of that icky whisky flavor. It’s almost always watered to 80 proof. So you won’t have to  worry about the effects of evil alcohol, either.

Irish whiskey, on the other hand, will transform even the most taciturn dullard into a poet. Sometimes, the poetry is good. The stories about the poets, and their drunken escapades, are better.

The whiskey of Ireland can have much the same aspect as Scotch. But most of them have a fruitier flavor, recalling apples and pears.

The Irish refer to their whiskey as “whiskey,” also pretending that other varieties are aberrations. In this case, they fool no one.


Limpwrists like me enjoy wine, occasionally fine. The next big thing in red will be South African Pinotage. It doesn’t have as much of the poisoning tannins common to the big reds. But it has the same amount of flavor.  Yes, this was the argument for Miller Lite, but this time it’s true.

It’s a great time to drown you sorrows in booze.  And on the other hand, Opening Day is April 6!

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