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Saturday, August 24, 2013

August And Everything After

As many of you know, driving west to Iowa often results in some of my greatest, most insightful epiphanies.  Perhaps it was the music that Shea loaded me up with (Jason Isbell, Dawes, Deer Tick) or  the rush of good clean air in God's country.  Maybe it's the inspiration from driving past Ronald Reagan's boyhood home, Dixon IL.  More than likely it was simply synapses misfiring after staring into the sun for three hours.  Nonetheless, things always become much clearer, like... 

1.  Telepathy would be a terrible superpower to have. Invisibility, however, would be really interesting. 
2.  The rock star fantasy crushes the sports star one.
3.  Everything in Life can be explained with a Venn diagram.
4.  The human race never loses its capacity to surprise.

This last point was driven home last weekend when I went back for an informal golf-based high school reunion.  Golf, beers, golf and beers, food, more beers, sleep.  Rinse and repeat.  Iowans are mocked for their simplicity and yet this operating model was tough to criticize.  And here's what I learned:
Goodbye, competition...

-  Our QB, who I re-hashed Monty Python's show "Now For Something Completely Different" every Monday morning in the school cafeteria, is now a mortician. Did NOT see that coming.

-  The guy who sold everyone weed is now bald-headed, wealthy and the Dry Cleaner King of the Quad Cities.  Hmmm.  Can you say, "Walter White"?

-  Another stoner, who I thought would never live to see 30, is a successful contractor and a 5-day / week scratch golfer.

She was a lot more feminine looking in 1974...
-  Apparently, I once dated a lesbian. (Explaining A LOT.)

-  Our star RB is now a successful bookie in California. 
That actually isn't a surprise.  Even in HS, the kid would bet on grass growing. 

Surprise #2: earlier this week I had the pleasure of accompanying Rasmus & Son to the Allman Bros. show at the Chicago Theatre.  They were terrific even if Gregg now plays mainly the role of figurehead. But imagine who I should spy across the aisle from me but a guy looking just like Migratory Bird Week Guy from my last blog! Out of his habitat.  Could it be?  (Honestly, who knows. But for the purpose of this story, absolutely.)
"I can see Middle Earth from here, Gregg!"

Rockin' a hawaiian floral print shirt, khaki shorts and flip-flops,  MBWG was not looking his original NW Indiana, professorial self. Rather, he had the appearance of a man not unfamiliar with the "better living through creative chemistry" operating principle. 

Not that those lifestyles are mutually exclusive.

Alternating between howling, barking and shouting in an ancient Elvish tongue, for the better part of three hours he was One With The Music.  And a living example of growing up oxygen-deprived in the South.  

But I digress.  The point is, many people change.  And their life's arc doesn't necessarily end up like you think it's going to.  Leading me, once again, to the topic of Tommy Rees and Season 2013...

Song of the Week
The skeptic would say I'm getting my props in early - before the bad stuff happens - but this song goes out to you, Tommy Rees.  Could there be a more perfect anthem for him, going into this season, than The Counting Crows "Have You Seen Me Lately"?  I think not.

I think he's gonna surprise.  And in a very good way.

Get away from me, this isn't gonna be easy
But I don't need you, believe me.
You got a piece of me but it's just a little piece of me
And I don't need anyone
And these days I feel like I'm fading away
Like sometimes when I hear myself on the radio...
Have you seen me lately?

The Schedule
August / September
31    TEMPLE           
  7    @Michigan                       
14   @Purdue                          
21   MICHIGAN STATE            
  5   ARIZONA STATE (Dallas)         

19   USC                                       
26   @Air Force                            
 2     NAVY                     
 9    @Pitt                      

23    BYU   
30    @Stanford               

*NOTE: Linipalooza - NEW DATE!

2013's Betting Construct
The predictions are ever trickling in ever so slowly... and rightfully so - there's Big Money on the line despite the fact we've held to an inflation-free $25 fee.  

So... to make things MORE INTERESTING, we're (and by 'we' I mean I'm) adding a prop bet that each contestant MUST ANSWER, to act as a tie breaker in the inevitable event that everyone's bets collect around the same number of wins...

Q.  Which of the following will occur first this season:
          Choose one                                                           Contestant's prediction 
Amir gets hurt.
Bryan, Ray
Tommy throws 2 TD’s in a game.
Raz, Tim C, Ted, Mike G, Mike C, Daryl, Tim S, Brian, Alvin, Lini, Ryan C
Tommy throws 2 INT’s in a game.
Matt, Kevin M
Stephon has 2 sacks in a game.
Peter, Jim S, Jerry W, Dave M, 
Jerry P
Bennett has 2 INT’s in a game.

Anyone* returns a punt 20+ yds.
Terry, Jim T, Garrett, Jerry C, Tom, John, Blair, Jim, Shea, Mark
Louis III carries the ball in a game.

Kelly signs a new contract.**
Jay, Kevin C
Lisa & Judy enter ND stadium.***
Bob S
      NONE OF THE ABOVE       JP

*Notre Dame players only.
**Any contract. 
***Cumulatively (not necessarily together).



School of Thought / Representative Quote




The Self-Indulgent & Excessive

“You don’t develop courage by being happy in your relationships every day.  You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity..”

Man up! We’re still BCS bound even w/o Everett and Eddie! Go Irish!  (And stop bogarting the wine skin, bro…)

Kevin C, Ray, Dave M


The Logical

“Face the facts of being what you are, for that changes what you are…”
Epicuris is an incorrigible drunk but he’s right about this still being a very good team.  That said, losing Golson has to cost us a game or two.

Terry, Peter, Ted, Mike G, Jay, JP Daryl, Jerry W, Dennis

Raz, Jim S, Jim T, Bob S, Tim C
Jerry C, Mike C, Tom, Randy
Tim S, Blair, Kevin M, Jim, Shea


The Realist

“I sit astride Life like a bad rider on a horse.  I only owe it to the horse’s good nature that I am not thrown off at this very moment…”

I don’t have a clue what’s gonna happen but the odds alone suggest we’ll win 7-8 and go bowling in Shreveport. 

Garrett, Bryan, John, Brian, Lini, Jerry P, Ryan C, Matt



The Skeptic

“The wise have always said the same things, and fools, who are the majority, have always done just the opposite…”

Epicurus is delusional. Everett is a significant loss. The entire ‘O’ was built around him. Bet high at your peril.



The Cynic

“What I like to drink most is wine that belongs to others…”
The high point of the year is gonna be the ‘A’ Lot experience.  AgainNot that that's a bad thing.



The Nihilist

“A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything…”
Honestly, why bother with any of this?  Life beyond ‘A’ Lot is a wretched, futile existence - devoid of meaning. May I have another Bloody?


Word of the Week:
Logorrhea (n.)
Used in a sentence:  With only a week to go until the start of the season, young Terry was practically giddy at the prospect of the acute logorrhea he would produce in pre-game, 'A' Lot banter. 
Cocktail of the Week
Another seasonal recommendation.  Unless you're like me, who enjoys the refreshing nature of these bad boys year round..
The Worker's Comp
  • 1 oz. vodka
  • 1 1/2 oz. Kahlua
  • 1 oz. Bailey's Irish Cream
Stir all the ingredients in a glass with ice.  This is actually a pretty good breakfast drink, so have two of them, because you forgot to eat your cereal this morning.  Stumble over to 'A' Lot.  You're so happy - IT'S FOOTBALL SEASON! - you don't even hear Butch, the lot attendant, yelling "Look out, bro!" The gate post hits you pretty hard on the head.  What the hell? you think. You weren't even aware that was even operative.

When you wake up, a university official is crouching over you, asking you to sign something.  You make out the words "waive" and "liablity" before passing out again.  

Buddy's buddy
He's a Hogan acolyte, almost surely gets his hair done at Super Cuts (w. Ricky Fowler), his face connotes an inscrutable "could you please repeat the question?" expression... and he's won one more major than Tiger has in the past six years.  

His name has already become a verb (though I'm not entirely sure what it means.) 
And your bride...  Babraham Lincoln.  

And the post-PGA Championship winning Butt Pat that every guy on the planet took note of.  And loved him for.

Jason Dufner, if Bud Lite were still doing their Real Men of Genius campaign, you'd be the poster boy.  You'll have to settle for being this week's Buddy's buddy.


1.  LA Angels.   How much was that Albert Pujols contract for?
2.  Tiger Mickelson.    In this past PGA championship, they were basically the same guy.  And completely irrelevant after their first nine holes.  Huzzah!

Crash's Cretins
It occurs to me that to this point, cretinism has been solely the bastion of men. But unlike the Augusta National troglodytes, I'm more than willing to let women into this club. and who better to be the first member than... 
1.  Maria Sharapova.    Legally changing her name to Sugarpova, ostensibly to capitalize on US Open exposure, to promote her candy company.  Sugar. Candy.  Get it?! Perhaps 'pova' means 'stupid' in Russian...

2.  Wow.   Don't know exactly how to label this... there's my typical brand of cretinism - blending stupidity and silliness.  
Then there's the real thing: 

"Two teenagers were charged Tuesday with first-degree murder in the shooting death of a college baseball player out for a jog in Oklahoma — a crime that one teen said they carried out simply because they were bored, according to police … “They saw Christopher go by, and one of them said: ‘There’s our target,’” the chief, Danny Ford, told the AP. “The boy who has talked to us said, ‘We were bored and didn’t have anything to do, so we decided to kill somebody...’”

3.  Johnny Football.  Apparently, you come from a relatively affluent family. Which means you don't really need the money. And yet you break the most clear cut rule in the NCAA book, jeopardizing your eligibility and your NFL prospects. Kay Corrigan might say, "that boy's got more money than brains."  True dat, mom


Quote of the Week

"I want them to play Britney Spears at my funeral.  That way I won't feel so bad about being dead, and everyone will know there's something worse than death."                     
                                  Gary Numan

Britney's response (of sorts):  
"The cool thing about being famous is traveling.  I've always wanted to travel across seas, like to Canada and stuff..."

What was 17 is now 16 with the de-commitment of the class's marquee player, 5-star RB Elijah Hood this week.  From his announcement, it would appear that the lad got some serious familial pressure to stay local (North Carolina).  While certainly a drag - the kid is supposed to be a total stud and I was really looking forward to making all sorts of prophet Elijah references... the good news is that (presuming this year's freshmen RB's are as good as advertised), this might be the right year to miss at that particular position.
"Geez, El, all we asked you
to do was build a fire..."

Plus prophet Elijah was a total diva - who calls themselves a 'wonder worker' (other than CEO's to their Boards)?    

I'd take the much lower maintenance John the Baptist any day, even without his head.

Final Thought -I
Memo to Bud Selig:  if you want to attack the PED problem, you might want to start with the Little League... one recent World Series qualifying game had starting pitchers that went 6'4" / 166 lbs. and 6'3"/ 219 lbs.  
Final Thought - II
Fan of Mumford & Sons?  Yes? No?  Regardless, check out this video of theirs, starring Ed Helms, Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Will Forte.  Nice song, really funny.  Always nice to see entertainers demonstrate a sense of humor...

Get in those predictions!