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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Week 5 (2012): Warriors, Come Out To Plaa-aay!

"There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It's an area which we call the 'A' Lot... " 

There once were two schools from Mitchagin

Who find themselves in a Ditchagin
Irish D took over Lansing
Gave Denard a de-pantsing
Now both school's are ND's Bitchagin

And how was your BYE week?!

With the Miami Hurricanes in town - and all the attendant 'Catholic vs. Convict' memories they conjure up - synapses were firing fast and furious from about Thursday evening on...

But none more than making the trek into, and out of, downtown Chicago for the weekend festivities. Garishly dressed Miami miscreants were everywhere from Friday afternoon onward, making normal journeys incrementally more dramatic, creepy even. One could not help but be reminded of a similar daunting trek across NYC in Walter Hill's dramatic 1979 tour de force, "The Warriors."

Hailed as The Most Important Film of Its Generation by absolutely no one, it achieved near instant cult classic status. The movie recounts the compelling tale of  the Warriors gang - falsely accused of a murder they didn't commit, isolated behind enemy gang lines (most of which look like they could've been recruited by The U) and facing desperate odds to get back on safe, familiar ground.

 They ultimately prevail and the parallels are clear:  naive Chicago suburbanites / out-of-towners descend on the city for harmless amusement... only to find themselves traversing weird neighborhoods with foreboding names like 'Millenium Park', 'The Loop' and 'The Viagra Triangle'...

There's a pivotal moment in the movie, its denouement actually, when the beleaguered Warriors finally confront the villain Luther who has framed them. When asked why, he replies "No reason. I just like doing things like that..."

Huh?  Really?  WTF!  Yet another example of the inexplicable decision making of youth.  And when you saw the way Miami played, you surely had the same reaction about them as the viewer has about Luther - possibly dangerous, incredibly irritating, really stupid.

Song of the Week
This week's musical inspiration has to be credited directly to the group's resident fiction writer, Bryan, who so generously invited me along a couple weeks past to see Richard Thompson play a small, new venue in Chicago's gentrified West Loop area.  At 62 years old, just him and his guitar and an awesome voice, which, given the lifestyle he's surely led, makes me question my own health care choices.

But I digress.  Saturday's night victory requires a joyous song, one that screams of not just redemption but payback.  "I'm back and I'm a force to be reckoned with - whaddya gonna do about it?"  Thompson played this song as part of his encore - it rocked then just as we rocked 'da U' in Soldier Field.  Enjoy.

I feel so good I'm going to break somebody's heart tonight
I feel so good I'm going to take someone apart tonight
They put me in jail for my deviant ways
Two years, seven months and sixteen days
Now I'm back on the street in a purple haze

And I feel so good.
I feel so good!
I feel so good I'm going to break somebody's heart tonight...

Word of the Week

PICARESQUE      adjective \ˌpi-kə-ˈresk, ˌpē-\

1.  pertaining to, characteristic of, or characterized by a form of prose fiction, originally developed in Spain, in which the adventures of an engagingly roguish hero are described in a series of usually humorous or satiric episodes that often depict, in realistic detail, the everyday life of the common people: picaresque novel; picaresque hero.
2.  of, pertaining to, or resembling rogues.


Synonyms:   prankish, rascally, devilish, raffish.

Used in a sentence...  The gathering at Villa Lini led to the inevitable re-telling of the attendees' picaresque exploits during college.  

Random Observations Of The Game

Friday night (aka "What happens at Linipalooza, stays at Linipalooza...")
"Evil screen door vanquished. Our job is done here..."

In college, we had a phenomenon called 'Reverse World'... not so much a parallel universe as a lifestyle choice, periodically inhabited by the original anti-hero Coat-Man (who, like Batman, was irreparably damaged psychologically and often with morally suspect intentions).  Yet Coat-Man had a big heart and for the casual onlooker, his appearance at a party was the ultimate thrill ride, inevitably packed with "did I just see that?!" moments.  

"Anybody see Lisa..."

Why do I bring that up? Well, because Linipalooza has become just such a "what will we get this year?" event. We've had murder victims, folks from rehab (and some who should be en route there.) 2012 did not disappoint. Professional decorum (and inadequate legal representation) preclude me from providing details but I am happy to share a few out-of-context quotes:

  • "You don't see that every day..." (But, apparently, you could.) 
  • "I'm not talking to you until I have 8 or 9 drinks..."
  • "The Russian judge gives you a '4'..."
  • "We're going to be spending a lot of time together this weekend. You have to go home now."
Honestly, it's beyond me how anyone passes up this event. 

Saturday afternoon (aka "Everybody knows someone...")

  • Terry:  "Who invited all these people?"
  • Judy:  "Who's paying for all these people?"
  • Terry:  "Whomever it is, he's a very special guy."
  • Judy:  "Yeah, a real keeper..."

1st Quarter (aka "Whatever we're paying #4 is not enough...")
  • Phillip Dorset drops two clear TD passes.
  • Tommy almost intercepted twice - business as usual.
  • That was fast.  Play #4 and Everett's in.
  • Somewhere 'Boston Al' is smiling (I think):  Everett on a read option and a designed QB draw. And looking really quick.
  • Robbie Toma might be the best story of the year. For a guy that appeared to be a total Manti throw in, he's the glue of the WR's... 
  • Al Golden looks like he could be an insurance salesman. Or an actuary. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

    2nd Quarter (aka "Are we playing the Oakland Raiders?")
    • I almost facilitate a fight by asking a guy if he could sit down for the guys behind us. Evidently, I struck a nerve as his pal flips out and starts screaming at the fellow behind me that he's not gonna put up with such rubbish talk... Alrighty then.
    • ND defense looking more fortunate than dominant.  
    • Miami loves to talk and gesture for no apparent reason. Maybe the 'U' is actually derived from the word PUNK...
    • So far, Miami has 2 personal fouls that extended ND drives, a hold that negated a TD and two hold / clips after short ND kickoffs...
    • Golson looking really accurate.  And patient. 
    • Things you don't expect:  Turk pooch punts from his own end zone.
    • Even with the uncharacteristic FG miss, Golson goes 54 yds in 1 minute flat. Impressive.


    "I heard Season 3 of 'Downton Abbey is supposed to be amazing..."

    3rd Quarter (aka Imposing Their Will)
    • Overreacting Standing Guy makes up with the fellow behind us.  Sweet. Turns out he lived in Dillon. Is anyone in our section surprised?  I think not.
    • He then proceeds to stand the rest of the 2nd half, thus reinforcing the Special Ed reputation for the hall...
    • Albeit with a more sincere intent to advance the ball, our punt return is still inept.
    • Teo leaps like a gazelle!  Is there nothing he cannot do?! (That's a rhetorical question.)
    • Another Miami personal foul.  Man, they have that play down pat!
    • Stephen Morris has an impressive arm but seems to suffer from Crist disease when it comes to those 8-10 yd. throws.  Especially when he is running for his life.
    • And Miami's WR's, with their high white socks, look like they're sporting Mormon underwear.  That certainly makes them a little less intimidating.
    • GAIII.  Wow. Not-since-Rocket fast.
    4th Quarter (aka The Great Escape)

    • Tackling by our defense continues to be virtually flawless. (That's coaching, right?)
    • This game has gotten pretty boring.  How awesome is that?!
    • Cam The Man.  In any other year, we'd be screaming 'play this guy'!
    • The last pass our team attempted was with 12:00 left in the 3rd quarter - and when's the last time you saw anything like that, by anyone?
    • It pains me to point this out but... Tommy and the 'O' get a delay of game in mop up time.  How does that happen?  We'll blame the newbies...

    Post game
    "First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin. Then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. 
    Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. 
    Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. 
    Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou
    thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who, being naughty in my sight, shall snuff it."

    Over to Villa Lini for some post-game revelry where we learn that just two days before, Mrs. L has been bestowed by the school with their coveted Holy Hand Grenade. 

    Respect for (and fear of) Judy has just been ratcheted up significantly.  

    Summary Thoughts
    1. Adjustments.  Back in the day, one of my and Alvin's favorite (and most frustrating topics).  ND didn't start out real well but man, did they finish.  It's about time the coaches -especially Diaco - get recognized for in-game 'course corrections'.
    2. Golson. It's about freakin' time! I jest. It's still just game #5 for the kid, people...  But as Sully pointed out, this game he was just so... decisive.  Threw with purpose and when he ran, he tucked and went!  Looked really confident on that 1 minute drive.  Presumably that's more how the spread gets run.
    3. GAIII.  We've got a lot of pretty good skill players but only one Home Run threat, him. Gotta figure out conscious ways to get him the ball in space.
    4. Pressure.  No sacks and no turnovers yet (especially the 2nd half) showed how beneficial pressure can be even when it doesn't necessarily result in a high profile statistic.  Long may it continue!
    5. Time of Possession.  What was the final ratio... 2:1?  3:1?  Whatever, you have to wonder whether we've just seen the ND formula going forward:  be patient, move the chains, less emphasis on big vertical plays -and keep the ball away from the other team, especially those with talented QB's.
    6. O-line.  Honestly, I'm still not entirely sold. Miami looked like they flat out quit in the 2nd half.  Talk to me after this week.

    If This Week's Game Were A Movie Poster, It'd Be... Seven Psychopaths

    "They Won't Take Any Shih Tzu"

    If there's one thing you can be guaranteed when playing Miami, it'll be the running of their mouths and a decided lack of on-the-field discipline. (You can take the boy outta South Beach...) Witness all the dumb ass penalties  and their LB, Eddie Johnson (#44 in your program and #1 in his mind), who was jumping up and down after laying a hit on Cam McDaniels, while being down 34-3.  The fact is, Miami's always been a dedicated practioner of intimidation - and sadly of late, ND's been susceptible to it.  But, if Saturday night is any example, not any more.

    Given the physical, borderline thuggish, nature of Stanford, this'll be an interesting week to see if this resilience is truly an embedded character trait of the '12 ND program...

    The men's basketball equivalent of Skyler Diggins... local guy.  Major, MAJOR talent.  Somebody even Feif might get excited about!  If we're gonna play in the ACC, we better get ACC-caliber players.  Great start.

    Buddy's buddy

    Let me just start by saying this week, I was getting some serious beyond-the-grave lobbying by the Budster for Ian Poulter... (Buddy always was an incorrigible Anglophile.)  As did Everett Golson. Talk about stepping up.  Cierre Wood, while not as flashy as GAIII, was arguably the critical factor while the game was still in the balance - ND simply does not have a RB that is as instinctive as he is, with his vision and cutting.

    That all said, this past weekend demands a special recognition... and after consulting with The Committee (not so much a management team as a dysfunctional cabal of random, stream of conscious babblers), we're bestowing the inaugural O.B.E. on Jerry Castellini.

    "Geez, how many relatives did Corrigan bring..."
    Not to be confused with the UK's Order of the British Empire that such posers as Bob Geldof and Bono have won, this is the Order of Buddy Emeritus - for recognition of life long service, and dedication to, an unparalleled level of social activity under the flimsy guise of almuni camaraderie.

    Congratulations, Jer, and on behalf of everyone who you care about, thank you.  This weekend you truly outdid yourself. And that's saying something.  

    Tool Time
    "We're not monsters. We're just ahead of the curve."
    In watching Stanford lose last week (see below), it got me thinking about the sustainability of their program, post-Harbaugh. I can't think of a guy who has so consistently imprinted his personality on the programs he's lead. They're invariably hyper-competitive to the point of losing sight of the concept of sportsmanship. When you're facing them, you hate 'em.  But when they're on your side, you love them.  A separate genus of homo sapien, they're half man - half tool:  a mool.

    "It's pronounced mool, like what a cow says, not mule..."

    To be sure, Harbaugh's not so unique in the athletic world. Mools abound everywhere:  in baseball, AJ Pierzinski is at the top of the mool chain and with the recent Ryder Cup debacle, it's worth remembering that Seve was total mool.  And closer to home, coach Holtz had mool-like characteristics... and certainly Urban would qualify.

    But I digress.

    Jimmy Johnson.  Once a tool, always a tool, apparently.  24 yrs removed from ND's most meaningful win, Jimmy cannot let it go.  Calling Lou 'scrawny' and suggesting that today's replay rule would've reversed Cleveland Gary's TD-negating fumble, he keeps in tact ND Nation's perception of a small minded, mean spirited Arkansas yokel who cannot show grace no matter how much time and distance exists.
    "What did you think I meant
    when I said 'roll, Tide, roll?"

    Brian Dowling.   No, not the one you're thinking of.  No, this would be an otherwise nondescript Alabama fan who was recorded while placing his genitalia on an unconscious LSU fan after last year's BCS championship game.  Set arise - for a minute - any Honey Badger or 'What Would Les Do' jokes...  there is such a thing as winning with class.  Just, apparently, not prevalent south of the Mason-Dixon line.

    Sons of Anarchy: Cleveland
    Coming to TV, January '13
    Samuel Mullet, Sr.  The ironically named head of a renegade Amish sect - "hello, Reality TV!" - was convicted last week of hate crimes in Cleveland, involving the sheep-like shearing of enemy members. (You'e Amish, wouldn't a wedgie have sufficed?!)  Yet another reason to look forward to seeing Judge Lohn and Director of Law Langhenry in a couple weeks...

    Schadenfreude Winner.

    Week 5 and a veritable cornucopia of schaden for my freude...
    1. Stanford.  With the bye week, I couldn't let this slide... The Cardinal choking against Washington after beating SC earlier in the month - how very Pete Carrollian of you.
    2. LSU.  Well, Les, I guess your team just haven't the chest to withstand the pressure of high expectations. Maybe you need to revise your recruiting strategy. 
    3. Florida State.  Up 16-0 in the 4th quarter and you lose? Well you've always got the coveted ACC title to play for.
    4. Texas.  I'm sorry but I have such little regard for Mack Brown as a coach that I can't help but get a little thrill out of it when they lose. Especially as they're in the same "will they return to glory" categorization as the Irish.
    5. Los Angeles Angels.  This one's for you, Mr. Pujols.

        2012 Schedule.
    1    @Navy (Dublin)            W
    8    PURDUE                       W
    15  @MSU                          W
    22  MICHIGAN                  W
    6    MIAMI (Soldier Field)*          W
    13  STANFORD
    20  BYU
    27 @Oklahoma
    3      PITT
    10    @BC
    17   WAKE FOREST
    24    @USC
    *Linipalooza III

    Wager 2012.

    Albert / Randy / Kevin C, you're on the clock.  (And I'm not far behind.)

    How many data points does one need before you can say something is a legitimate trend?  For me, it's one more.  Don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves but if we win on Saturday, August's pathetic dreamers at 9 and 10 wins are looking extremely prescient.


    ND-Scorsese connection 

    Contestant’s prediction



    Sweet, compelling mystery that shows the virtues of faith and resilience. Everyone walks away happy and pleasantly surprised.


    JPLini, Dave


    Awesome film about fulfilling one’s potential and realizing your dreams… even if it is becoming a gangster.  (Q.  Does ending in Witness Protection qualify as a happy ending?)
    BryanTed, RayTim S, Bob S

    Jay, JohnPeterRazKevin M, Tim C, Mark

    Jerry C, Matt, Jerry WJim BTom, Mike CJim T, Mike G
    Garrett R

    The Departed

    A terrific story about two Boston Irishmen’s different destinies set from childhood. So very close to a happy ending. And yet, so far.
    TerryJim SJerry P, Brian, Blair R

    Kevin C, Alvin, Randy



    Taxi Driver

    Mentally unstable Viet Nam vet w. wildly unrealistic delusions of heroism.  He’s a total loser, albeit an incredibly   dangerous one. Sadly everybody knows it (incl. Rick Reilly) but him.




    Final Thought #1

    Ryder Cup: Greatest Competition On The Planet.

    Even when we choke.

    Final Thought #2
    I am often asked, "Isn't your chosen profession one (small) step above that of a snake oil salesman?  Isn't it a soul-sucking vocation that seeks to create unnecessary demand, preying on the psychologically vulnerable -  where no decent, moral, practical need actually exists..."

    May I phone a friend before answering?

    Seriously, after asking, politely,"what's your point", I point out that every society has courageous leaders.  Often deeply misunderstood zealots who facilitate the commercialization of invaluable goods and services that are, candidly, ahead of their time.

    Like The Trunk Monkey.

    A final, special thanks to Mark and Jay for significant contributions of content, including many of the quotes. 

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