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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Week 2 (2013): Panic In Detroit

In retrospect, there were two PERFECT MOMENTS of TRUTH that occurred for me over the weekend.  I was quite aware of the first:  sitting on the veranda of Oakland Hills CC Friday evening, Hendricks & tonic in hand, after 18 mostly enjoyable holes of golf with Jim / Bob / Mark.  Mo & Lisa about to arrive... and the thought occurred that there was a reasonable chance this might be the highlight of my trip.  

And I was totally okay with that.

"Freshen your drink, sir?"   Yes, please.

Welcome to the Big House, have a nice night.
The other epiphany occurred during halftime in Saturday evening's game, while sitting in the Five Points section (aka the Irish Ghetto) that Michigan so graciously allocated to Notre Dame within their city-sized stadium.  

Down 14 points and having just watched, only moments earlier, Tommy Rees pull a... Tommy... I was feeling precisely the same as Eminem was at that very moment.
No, Brent, YOU are the legend...

Really uncomfortable.

But it occurred to me, the problem was with me - not the 100,000 hammered yahoos in yellow sitting around me:  I was manifesting the textbook definition of insane behavior - doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.  You'd think I'd have figured that out by that point.  It wasn't enjoyable two years ago and it sure wasn't now. 

But there were signs, pre-game.  Like when the jets flew over the stadium and their jet fumes appeared to form ominous words I could only kinda sorta make out.  Hmmm.

Or the crazed, minimally contained (and supervised) energy of the home supporters that took on a 1936 Berlin sense of blind idolatry, typified by the attractive Aryan-looking lad wearing the "Play Like Your Fake Girlfriend Died Today" t-shirt. Maybe he was an ESL exchange student.

Wow.  Neither clever nor topical.  And they wonder why state schools get mocked.

As I said, uncomfortable.  

But still... my experience was apparently better than most and as I'm now totally into lists, handle this coleslaw:

Things I Like About UM
905 Packard
  1. My daughter, Shea.
  2. Shea's friends, especially Zach and Kirby.
  3. David Brandon, arguably the best AD in the country.
  4. The Big House at night (say what you will, the venue is spectacular).
  5. Ann Arbor.

Things I Dislike About UM
  1. Their history of fascist football coaches.
  2. Calling the color yellow "maize".  That's an American Indian word isn't it, "Dances With Tools"?
  3. Having a mascot that's essentially a large rodent.
  4. The Big House at night - if you're an opponent.  
  5. The pervasive sense of arrogance that permeates the entire fandom, like they invented the sport.

Song of the Week
One of my favorite London memories - of which there are many - was when Squeeze was the house band at the Virgin Radio's Christmas party, circa 1995.  If you're surprised I can remember back that far, join the club. I've always been a fan and their song, "Another Nail In My Heart' just so aptly describes my history at The Big House.

“I've had a bad time, Now love is resigned.

I've been such a fool, I've loved and goodbye.

So here in the bar
, The piano man's found

Another nail for my heart…”

Word of the Week:
Syn·ech·thry noun \ˈsiˌnekthrē, sə̇ˈn-\ 
: The state of living together in mutual loathing

Used in a sentence:  Lisa suggested that it was better for us to leave Ann Arbor now rather than have me hang around with the local citizenry in absolute synechthry. 

The Game
In succinct rapid fire, stream-of-conscious fashion...
"Remove the Cox's from next season's guest list...
  • Gardner wearing #98. Forever.  Pretty cool. 
  • Who is cutting Mark Harmon's hair? Ricky Fowler's barber?
  • Heather Cox wearing white after Labor Day!  Fashion faux pas!  Fashion faux pas!
  • Worst exhibition of tackling in two years, 10-0 UM.
  • GAIII's drop of a pass into Jones's hands - possibly his most meaningful contribution of the night.
  • Unlike UM, if we don't have a positive gain on 1st down, our odds of success plummet.
  • So when someone drops a short pass that would've gained even 3-4 yds., it's big.
  • Tommy breaks the pocket.  Say no more.
  • Brent uses the word 'rascal'.  Drink!
  • Michigan's WR's either had career nights or they have really good hands.  They caught everything

Summary Observations
  • I actually don't think we played that badly.  A few egregious plays on defense. Michigan was better than I thought they'd be.
  • If we didn't get out coached, we definitely got out-prepared.
  • Tommy didn't lose that game but he is what he is. A game manager, not a game changer.
  • Talk about insanity:  empty backfield in the red zone?  Again?
  • The Age of The Mobile QB is upon us.
  • Gardner is pretty damn good. Don't know if he can sustain it but Saturday night he was the best player on the field.
  • And Jeremy Gallon was the 2nd best.
  • I honestly don't know what GAIII's position should be. 
  • In Big Games, players need to step up. Theirs did. Ours didn't. 
  • I like Amir a lot - but I'd certainly be trying to find time to play the freshmen RB's ASAP.
  • Maybe we could look for Troy Niklas before the 4th quarter.
The Schedule
August / September
31    TEMPLE                        W  
  7    @Michigan                L                   
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!
"We'll always have our Tommy 2 TD's prediction..."

The Law of Unforeseen Consequences
You know that secondary bet proposed as a tie-breaker?  Yeah, well, about that.  What wasn't foreseen was that it would eliminate 2/3 of the pool in under five minutes of the season.  So as self-appointed czar, I'm declaring that little experiment, while fun and interesting, 'null and void'.   I'm taking suggestions for alternative tie breakers that'll allow for a season's worth of 'interest maintenance'.

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, JPDaryl, Jerry W, Dennis

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


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. 

GarrettBryan, 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?


Cocktail of the Week

The Mel Gibson
  • 1 1/2 oz. Stoli Hot jalapeno vodka
  • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth
  • 3 cocktail onions
Shake the gin and vermouth with ice, then pour into a chilled glass and add onions.  Have a few of these, forgetting Saturday night's wretched football game and turning your attention to the screenplay you've been working on.  

With a current running time of 4 hours and all the dialog in Crimean Gothic (a language that went extinct in the 19th Century), pat yourself on the back for the film's obtuse underpinnings.  Hello, Sundance!  Make a few edits while hitting 'delete' on the football game's DVR recording.  

Have a couple more cocktails.  These babies taste great!  Go outside and scream at the first person you even suspect might have ever lived in Michigan. Or is wearing yellow.

Buddy's buddy
Wow.  This is a tough one.  Only two possible candidates as far as I can see: Kyle and Troy.  

I'm going with the former because a) I'm kicker-empathetic and b) Troy'll surely win some other time.  Does anyone really think Kyle Brindza is going to challenge for this again?  

Seriously, the kid was incredibly rock solid, both punting and place kicking, and the only ND'er who pleasantly surprised.  If he wasn't a dead eye, I would've been able to leave by the start of the 4th quarter.  For the sake of the rest of the season, let's hope this is his typical form.

An easy week to find joy in other's misfortune.  

1.  USC   Well, Lane, it would seem the clock has finally struck midnight.  USC haters (WE ARE LEGION), enjoy this season while it lasts because they will get a great coach and turn it around fast.
2.  Texas. Truth be told I stopped paying attention to UT after Vince Young left but on principle, it's fun to watch a team with its recruiting advantages fall apart. 
3.  Ohio State.    They didn't lose but they did drop in the polls for the 2nd week in a row, on account of playing such a candy a** schedule.  Bitch about that to your coach friends, Urban. Oh, you have no friends?

Crash's Cretins

1.  Lane Kiffin.   How does anyone lose to Washington State?  With USC's talent? That takes a special talent.

2.  Jim Harbaugh.  Clay Matthews was completely at fault. And got called for it.  But he has zero history of being a dirty player so let it go, Mr. Tough Guy.

This after you spent the whole week going all Phil Jackson in the media - trying to lobby the officials because Matthews had the temerity to say he was gonna hit your QB if they ran the read option.  Which the league ultimately confirmed as precisely the correct interpretation of the rules.

You're a great coach.  I'd trade Mike McCarthy for you in a heartbeat.  But as a human, you're the consummate A-hole. And Michigan Man.

Quote of the Week

"He inherited some good instincts from his Quaker forebears, but by diligent hard work, he overcame them."              
James Reston, complimenting Richard Nixon

So, apparently, did George Atkinson III

Final Thought - I
American Songwriter magazine's On My Deathbed contest closes on 9/15 -  don't be a weanie and keep your deep abiding love for Styx to yourself. 

Again the link to participate is here


Final Thought - II
Early Linipalooza events planning:

Wednesday (9/25):  Join the Corrigans, Flaherty's and Belknaps for an evening of full slabs, zesty sauce, onion rings, creamed spinach, adult beverages and lively banter.

  Twin Anchors.

But positively no dancing.

Friday (9/27):  Tee times at 12:30 and 12:40pm, Harborside International.  Port course.   Let me know if you're interested in playing.  Think we've got three so far (Terry, Alvin, JP).

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