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Saturday, March 21, 2015

February - March: Up The Hill Backwards (It'll Be Alright)

"All the young dudes carry the news.
Boogaloo dudes, carry the news…"

Did you know that whenever I hear Ziggy Stardust, I think of Spittler & Perez? One would have to agree that, at minimum, that's counter intuitive.   Unless one considers the reference to "screwed up eyes and screwed down hairdo, like some cat from Japan…". Then it doesn't seem so absurd.   

But I digress.  Is there a better anthem for a semi Recruiting-themed post?  I think not.  Plus it allows me to plug a strong candidate for best live album ever (yeah yeah, Raz, Europe '72 is is the standard that all others must be measured.  Like you can even remember the '70s).  At any rate, a Bowie-A-Day keeps… something… away.  Albert, maybe. 

Rebel, Rebel

Absquatulate (v.)

To decamp; to leave quickly; to flee, bolt or vamoose.

Used in a sentence:  When Tony Alford chose to absquatulate for Columbus, ND Nation cried.  Until Brian Kelly shrewdly hired future ND head coach Doogie Houser Mike Sanford.

And there was much rejoicing. 

Ch…Ch… Changes...

Here's what I've gleaned from the message boards, populated by 'experts' far more knowledgeable than me from all the activity of the offseason:

1.  Recruiting this year, while mildly surprising for it's lack of surprises, could be described as good, maybe very good, but probably not legendary.

2.  Perception #1: the 2014 coaching staff, and Kelly in particular, get outworked a lot in their recruiting efforts by opposition. At the top of that list is The Dark Prince Urban.

3.  Perception #2:  Our university isn't terribly competitive when it comes to assistant coach's compensation.  (Looking less true by the day.)

4.  Losing Tony Alford is perhaps not as big of a loss as the initial perception.

5.  Ditto Kerry Cooks, even given the inroads he had made in Texas.

I think Autry gets it.

5.  All the ND expert fanboys, with online names like 'pangborn81' who watch hours of Youtube film, follow every recruit on Twitter while living at home with their mother (who still does their laundry), are concerned about ND's inability to (fill in the blank)

6.  Most seem to hate Kelly but cannot identify a viable alternative.  Of course they can't - Ya think Mike Brey-like hires grow on trees?

7.  Especially when Kelly upgrades the coaching staff as much as it looks he has.  

Quote of the  Season
"Nice campus, nice day, coach.  We'll get back to ya."

"And these children that you spit on as they try and change their world... 
they're immune to your consultations - they're quite aware of what they're going through..."
David Bowie

Circa 1971, Mr. Glam Rock foretells the New Age of Recruiting where the shift in the Balance of Power between college and athlete moves dramatically to the 18 yr. old. Especially when they're freakishly talented.    

Space Oddity

What am I gonna write next week...
One of my favorite spaces in Scotchlandia is our steamer shower, of which I spend an inordinate amount of 'me time' during the winter, mostly hiding from barn chores.  


Abandon hope, all ye who enter. 
I find those quiet moments of reflection both therapeutic and productive:  after several minutes, dehydration-driven delirium inevitably kicks in and before you know it, I think I'm in a Nazi concentration camp cooler, just like Steve McQueen in The Great Escape!  

Or my 3rd Grade class at The Rev. George A. Brown Memorial School.  

Looking back, it still remains difficult to distinguish between the two. 

But out of dystopia, flowers can indeed bloom.  For example, this idea I had from last weekend's time in the sauna:  not sure yet whether this is a Gruley-esque potboiler or a straight-to-Netflix serial…  but fame will be mine.  Oh yes, it will be mine.

I didn't know this was an Open House...
I call this effort "Life On Mars?" and here's the synopsis:  

Unsuspecting Midwesterners buy property in a well-to-do Florida coastal community, only to be preyed upon by two ruthless local grifters, Fellatia del Toro and her androgynous half-brother, Wasabi.   Gaining both the trust and access to the newcomers' home through a seemingly innocuous excuse ("we're here for the Open House…"), Fellatia & Wasabi set about stealing the couple blind, including but not limited to, their entire collection of wine glasses -and the wonderful varietals that should've occupied them.

Anyone seen my wine glass?
But the grifters don't know who they've messed with and our victims - we'll call them Gerard and Janice - go all Billy Jack on them ("Say hello to my little friend, Mr. Belly Putter!") as they mete out their unique brand of frontier-style justice.  

Let's just say Wasabi won't be pouring nearly whole bottles of wine into his soon-to-be-pinched wine glass anymore.   

Wine glass? Hell, where'd all the wine go?

I see this as a modern day allegory - a cautionary tale about a live fast, enjoy-the-fruits-of-labor-without-actually-working-for-them society. 

Starring Liam Neeson and Jennifer Garner with Melissa McCarthy as Fellatia and Alan Cummings as Wasabi. 

Hey, they say 'write what you know'.

It's No Game

I also thought up a game while I was in the cooler - who doesn't like games? I played a particularly interesting one w friends in naples a few weeks ago but that's an entirely different story.  This one is a Snakes & Ladders derivative that one could base the upcoming season off.  Grab a cocktail, a dice and go!

Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)

"Prince would never pull this…"
I was listening to Beck's "Morning Phase" album recently -  the one that Hall of Fame narcissist Kanye West chose to write off as pedestrian fare to Beyonce's plutonium selling effort… the one where Beck wrote / produced / played, like, everything while Beyonce just… sang other people's songs.  And it got me starting to think about refining my classifications of low life's between The Stupid, The Mean and the not-so-new-growth-industry, The Dishonest. 

And so I present to you the Off-Season honor roll:

1.  Brian Williams. Full disclosure, I'm a fan.  The guy is (was) incredibly witty on the chat shows. So this recent development is disappointing, to say the least.  That said, the resultant humor has been terrific.

2.  Jackie Robinson West.  No one in Chicago understands what's the big deal. 

3.  Pete Carroll.  Loser.  One can only hope The Super Bowl was just the beginning of a series of Grand Karmic Paybacks…

4.  Jim Boeheim.  One of those guys who's always been a douche, always acts like the rules don't apply to his program (see Calhoun, Jim and Tarkanian, Jerry) but wins a lot of games and therefore gets awarded a lifetime 'get out of jail free' card.  And an apparent three year severance package. Which is nice.

5.  Dick Vitale.  Full disclosure: Dickie V falls into the small group of celebrity (and I use the term loosely) whom the world apparently loves and I do not*.  Never have, in fact. Despite his unquestioned love for ole ND.  I think it has something to do with the frighteningly over-caffeinated volume he presents everything. I will go deaf almost assuredly but it's gonna be by listening to 70's British Invasion rock and not him waxing romantic about that pillar of Old School Coaching Excellence, The General Robert Montgomery Knight.  And I now hate the word 'baby' because of him. Which is just unconscionable.

But back on point: his ridiculous - and indefensible - support of Boeheim ("he's the victim!")… I mean, really?  When I say 'put a sock in it, Dickie...', I'm being literal. 

*Other opinions that might surprise you:  I like Jay Bilas.  And I don't hate Geno Auriemma.  Go figure...

6.  Police Blotter.  I've never entirely understood the drug paraphernalia possession charge.  Are we talking a bong or a working meth lab?   

And 'criminal mischief'. always a charge that's ripe for wide interpretation… I mean, after all, that label pretty much describes "Ungie: The Teenage Years", doesn't it?

Heroes (If Just For One Day)

Regardless of what happens in the rest of the tournament, bravo

Or in some very rare instances... for far more than one day. 
Fr. Ted was one of those who actually walked the talk 24/7… and with March Madness here and in recognition of his passing, a Hesburgh-esque edict:

Anyone with violent thoughts / actions against Mike Brey will be provided 15 minutes of thoughtful reflection before you're suspended from this blog / email stream.  

Ground Control's looking at you, Major Tom.

If an additional 5 minutes of carefully considered introspection doesn't provide further behavior modification, kicked out for good.

Cocktail of the Season

The Sound And The Slurry
The Sound And The Fury (1929)
by William Faulkner

A southern family's tragic downfall told from three distinct voices - with a final, omniscient chapter - The Sound And The Fury became popular only after one of Faulkner's later novels took off.  

With unreliable narrators who zigzag between suicidal impulses, mental handicaps and an eye-crossing usage of italics - HEY I RESEMBLE THOSE REMARKS - this one may have helped earned its author a Nobel - WELL, MAYBE NOT SO MUCH - but it's no beach read.

Set in a fictional Mississippi town dealing with factual post-Civil War growing pains, The Sound inspires a cocktail that hangs on furiously to a traditional southern recipe - because some things are best left unexamined. 

  • 2 oz. gin
  • ½ oz. creme de cassis
  • ½ oz. lemon juice
Shake the ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.  Alternatively, serve on the rocks - just like a typical ND offseason.

Final Thought -I

I've discovered where I want my final career stop to be…

Final Thought - II

The January to March April period, for those who live outside the 34108 zip code, is typically a gloom-laden time with football in it's rearview mirror and basketball / hockey programs that first tease then inevitably, disappoint.  Sure there's Spring training but outside of Ungie, Jay and Kay Corrigan, who really cares about that

In sum, it's a season one aspires merely to survive… 

But, in the most random of occurrences, a few weeks ago a work colleague brought up The National Lampoon Radio Hour, a Sunday night staple from my high school years, and in turn, this 'laugh from the past'.  Decidedly NSFW with all it's f-bombs, it's also Tony Hendra at his best:  

"I was the walrus, Paul wasn't the walrus.  I was just saying that to be nice…"


Final Thought III

RIP, Chuck.  Safe to say they don't make 'em like you anymore. 

Ziggy played… guitar. 

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