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Saturday, August 3, 2013

August: A Question of Balance*

So I'm on the South Shore train a few weeks ago, riding back to Valpo from the city when I spy a fellow in front of me rockin' a sweet "Migratory Bird Week 2011" t-shirt... resplendent with a high quality watercolor of the whimsical Western Tanager on his chest - a bird noted both for its childlike, playful nature as well as a sly, seductive mating call.  A more than worthy choice for being 2011's poster child. 

The shirt was a subtle red (a shade my wife is fond of reminding me "you can't actually see") and the gentleman looked like someone you'd think would wear a "Migratory Bird Week 2011" shirt:  bespeckled, disheveled, cargo shorts, black socks... with a glazed, "I'm on this earth but not of it" demeanor. Two immediate thoughts flew through my mind:

  1. This is me by next summer.
  2. Lindon could totally pull that look off.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Football pratice starts Monday and the first game is a mere four weeks away.  There are plans to be made, bets to be wagered.  And questions to be answered.  

Song of the Week

But first, let's reggae!  It's summer!  It was really, really hot in Chicago for, like, a week and Governor Quinn just signed the medical marijuana bill for Illinois. Woo hoo! Time to try Jah love!  

"Tommy! Tommy! Tommy! Tommy!"
Third World's 1865 ("96º In The Shade") is supposedly about a great Jamaican leader of the people who died tragically... heroically... fighting for something or other. What's that got to do with Notre Dame football? Absolutely nothing whatsoever. Unless Tommy scores the winning TD against a loathesome, yet-to-be-determined SEC opponent in next year's BCS Championship as time expires and immediately spontaneously combusts... that would likely merit an awesome song. 

But if I play this loud enough off my front porch, the horses start bobbing their heads. Ya mon.  Which is kinda interesting.
Fighting to be free

Now you show me a noose

On the cotton tree

Entertainment for you
Martyrdom for me

Questions That Make Me Go 'Hmmm'...

But back to this season's pressing questions.  With so much on the line, it's worth remembering that often the most critical questions are those that don't present themselves in the most obvious of ways.  For example, lets take a couple of this summer's biggest releases:

World War Z.  A zombie metaphor about the clear dangers of rampant, mindless liberalism.  But what the film really asks is, "Would you give a limb if Brad Pitt dressed the wound?"  

Lisa is gnawing off her arm at the elbow as I write this. 

Man of Steel.  The new Superman interpretation is a thinly veiled cautionary tale on the consequences of having a poorly thought out immigration policy.  But the more serious question posed to the viewer is "Would you move to Kansas if you got to call Diane Lane mommy?"   

Hello, Topeka.
So with ND's season before us, ponder these:
  1. Tommy as 12 game starter?  Really?
    • Might he a better reliever than starter?
  2. What do Philadelphia fans bring to throw at away games?
  3. If Floyd or Eifert show up for a game, will Tommy only see them?
  4. How good are the freshman RB's?  And (when) will Kelly play them?
    • Can Carlisle can stay healthy to Sept. 1st? Or the  2nd half of Temple?
  5. Zach Martin's supposed to be 1st round draft caliber but is the O-line is really that good? 
    • Have we run out of Golics yet?
  6. What's up with Egypt? Coup or a revolution?
  7. How will we score inside the 20 with the slow footed Rees?
    • can he yet beat anyone on the SBPD?
  8. The Defense MUST be great.  Agree or disagree?
  9. Who cannot get hurt on the defense?  
    • Louis?  
    • Tuitt?  
    • Bennett? 
    • All of the above
  10. How many Long Island Ice Tea's will I need to survive Ann Arbor?
  11. Are we ever gonna see a punt return?
  12. Can anyone punt more than 30 yds?
    • And if not, why not just go for it on 4th downs?
  13. Who will do beer shooters with strangers first - Mary F. or Mark U?
  14. How shaky is all of our special teams?
  15. Will our class of '79 Boston friends actually show up this season?
  16. What's the opponent we're overlooking?  (Let me nominate ASU.)
  17. How conservative will Kelly (and Diaco) be?
  18. Has Mike Brey signed his lifetime extension yet?
Feel free to add your own.

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
So what think ye after a summer to ponder?  Are you more bold Epicurus, predictable Kierkegaard, mildly pathetic Wittgenstein or more worrisome Schopenhauer?  Don't even be thinking about going all Diogenes on us...



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…)



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.


 Raz, Matt


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. 



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:

Dialogue des sourds (n.)
1.  A conversation between two people who aren't listening to or understanding what the other is saying.
(As if the French have any other kind.)

Used in a sentence:  "After repeatedly making note in his blog that the Linipalooza IV date had changed, young Terry wondered if he had been unwittingly engaging in a dialogue des sourds when so many people later expressed surprise by Lini's email..."

Cocktail of the Week
Another seasonal recommendation.  Unless you're like me, who enjoys the refreshing nature of these bad boys year round..

Tristam's Shandy
  • 6 oz. lager or pilsner (preferably not cheap American Lite beer swill)
  • 6 oz. lemon-lime soda
  • 1 oz. Grey Goose Citron vodka
  • Lemon or lime wedge to garnish (if you're a fancy boy)

Mix the beer and soda together in a tall glass. 
Fill a shot glass w. vodka and sink it to the bottom. 
Add the citrus wedge, depending on your level of self-delusion at the time. Rinse and repeat, 3x. 
Make your ND prediction immediately thereafter. 

And if you get the pun in the drink's name, revel in your English major-like literacy.  While making yourself another. Because even Arts & Letters majors know four is always better than three.

Buddy's buddy
As a lifelong Yankees fan, the number of times I've saluted Bosox Nation can certainly be counted on one hand.  (Unless one counts the one-finger kind.)  But Fenway's recent spontaneous standing 'O' for Mariano Rivera - in a real save situation - is one of the neatest gestures one is likely to witness. Bravo, Boston!  Now, of course, everyone's jumping on that band wagon but the Red Sox Faithful did it first and given the two team's history... very impressive. Buddy would've loved it.


1.  NY Yankees.  I'm sorry but the poetic justice of the whole A-Rod debacle is just too sweet not to revel in a little bit.  Good luck getting out of that contract.
2.  Tiger Woods.    A lot of Tiger haters out there... this is your time.  And his 4th round-of-Major collapses are becoming almost predictable. 

3.  Houston Rockets.  A preemptive celebration:  Enjoy the Dwight Howard Era.   

Crash's Cretins
A veritable cornucopia of idiocy in the mere two months since last posting...

1.  Urban Meyer.  What does Urban call his players that get arrested?  Team captain.   King Herod was to nurseries as Meyer is to character development.

2.  Aaron Hernandez.  You know you've hit a rough patch when shooting someone in the face is the least of your worries.
"I suppose you're gonna
keep this medal too..."

3.  Chad Johnson.  Slapping his attorney on the butt after being let off on violating his domestic violence probation... immediately inciting the judge to change her mind. 30 days in the hole-o, Ocho!  

4.  Vladimir Putin.   You want a Super Bowl ring?  Buy a team - like comrade Prokhorov - and go about it the capitalist way.

5.  Johnny Manziel.  Apparently you have anger management issues.  And hangover management issues. And 'I don't want to be in college' management issues.  Not that you are actually in college - certainly not on campus - with every one of your classes being on-line... 

6.  Silvio Berlusconi.  You gave us the 'Bunga Bunga party' and what did we do? They threw you in jail. (And in Italy, that takes some doing.) Sometimes Life is just so unfair for the ahead-of-his-time innovator.   .

7.  Ryan Braun.  Liar, liar pants on fire!  Which, usually, would be unremarkable as in most professional sports today, "if you ain't cheatin' you ain't tryin'..." 

But you made Aaron Rodgers look bad. And that is simply unacceptable. 
"The sheriff is near..."

8.  Riley Cooper.  Oh, dear.  In my lifetime, there's only been one white guy who's successfully gotten away with using the N-word.  And you're not Mel Brooks.

The other thing you're not, Riley, is a royal. And if you're gonna go all "did he just say that?!" politically incorrect, it sure helps be able to play that card...

Quote of the Week

"If it has four legs and isn't a chair, if it has got two wings and isn't a plane, and if it swims and isn't a submarine, the Cantonese will eat it..."                     
                                            Prince Philip, at a World Wildlife Fund meeting, 1986

Quote of the Week II
Proving that the genetic apple doesn't fall too far from the tree when it comes to being oblivious of life outside your castle walls...

"Have you been playing a long time?"
                        Queen Elizabeth II, 2005

"I can play the CAT or DOG position..."
The team is now up to 17 commitments - a nice haul before the season even starts.  But that's not even the best part: the name of one of our most recent commitments, a 4-star LB from Florida, is actually Richard III!  

Yes, just like the hunchback protagonist in the play of the same name! A play, I might add, which proved to have the signature theme ("Now is the winter of our discontent") for ND's off season...

So not only are we America's team, we're also Shakespeare's team! 

Final Thought -I
75 years ago, a Texas airman left New York for Los Angeles.  28 hours later, he landed in Dublin.  Ireland.

His name? Douglas Corrigan.  Forever immortalized as "Wrong Way."
(Thanks, Peter, for passing along.)

Final Thought - II

Bonus points if, other than Thompson, you recognized this week's blog title...

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