That alliterative title is as catchy as a bumper sticker in election time, but you'll be as sorry as we were to learn that it never gets a plot behind it. How to Get Balled doesn't even have much to do with bailing--it just sort of wafts around these two guys, Thorn Thornton and Aleric Alfieri, who hang out at Sproul Plaza by day, while waiting for Thorn's psychiatric disability check to come through, and crash on the pool table at the firehouse commune at night. Aleric's part of the story is about how he acquires this big dawg named Duke and loses him again. Likewise for Thorn with a far-out married chick. They're like the Easy Riders of yesterday--Thorn's the sensitive Fonda model, Aleric's the buffoon sidekick--and there's even a Nicholson-style drunken Southern gent whose monologues and free-floats provide the dullest reading in the book. A nostalgia trip with all the kick of dope cut with oregano--and the resolution (Thorn wigs out for keeps) is a real bummer. Steinhardt, author of Thunder La Boom, blew it.