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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Week 5-6: R-E-L-A-X

"And the rain came down.
It'll wash you away and it ain't never enough..."

Dateline:  Lake Louise, Canada.  Truth in advertising:  I didn't see the Clemson game.  At least nothing before the 4th Quarter (and from the internet reaction, it sounds like I didn't miss much).  

Too busy celebrating wedding anniversary #30.   Woo hoo!

But that doesn't stop me from having an opinion, the first of which is this:  sports are like politics these days - everyone has a strong opinion and the potential for moving anyone off their particular point of view seems remote.  

So depending on where you entered that Saturday night's game, attitudinally, your conclusion was probably one of the following:
One man's curse is another's biblical judgment.
  • It's all Kelly's fault, what he lacks in critical play calling he makes up for in piss poor Big Game motivation.
  • It's God's fault, if He doesn't bring the monsoon, we win handily.  How long must our diaspora throughout the metaphorical BCS desert last?  Haven't we suffered enough?
  • It's the players' fault.  Clemson didn't seem to have any problem catching (or hanging on to) the ball. 
  • It's the Administration's fault.  If they'd only allow us to recruit better athletes who excel anywhere, any time and in any ecosystem without the irritating limitations of, you know, academia.
  • It's no one's fault and pretty impressive if ultimately disappointing to come back when they could've totally folded (see USC, 11/14).   There's cause for optimism.
And I'm not sure the Navy effort changed anyone's minds; certainly not by halftime. 

Candidly, I don't care which Church of Notre Dame Football Philosophy anyone attends.  Truth be told, I stopped listening to many of you a while back - being more focused on, well, almost anything else.

But this is the halfway point in the season, with arguably the 'make or break' game of the year in front of us, and time for reflection.  I say: 

1.  Embrace simplicity in Life.  For example,a single malt is better than multiple malts! And in what your teams should aspire for:  block, tackle, catch, hold onto the ball. 

2.  Have options.  Like something other than ND football. May I suggest knitting or cross stitch?  It seems to work for my wife, every Saturday she is 'calm like mountain lake...' though that may be the port talkin'.

3.  Alcohol isn't the answer, especially while driving or coaching.  But in a pinch, it's a viable - and defendable - wing man.

4.  Understand that People Are Insane.  I believe this is self-explanatory.

5.  Practice this Italian expression, "brutto ma buono"  - ugly but good.  Use it during many of ND's November games.

Quote of the Week

Werner Herzog
And so is ND Nation's psyche.

October  Football Observations 

In absolutely no particular order:

1.  What is going on with Corey Robinson this year?  

2.  Same question about Joe Schmidt.  Can we please have the 2014 version back?

3.  Ditto Max Redfield.  Can't blame everything on the broken hand, can one?

4. There are stretches when we surely are the worst tackling team in America. (Saturday night this will kill us.)

5.  Curious pass-heavy play calling in the Navy game.   Sending a message to SC, perhaps, about crowding the box?

6.  That said, the times I've seen SC play, their run defense looked god-awful.

7.  I listen hard this past week to Doug Flutie and while never to be confused with a top notch analyst, I still don't get ND Nation's ire.

8.  Navy's coach, Ken N-whatever, seems cut from the same grouchy cloth as David Shaw and Mark Dantonio... but it sure seems like he and Kelly have a ton of respect for each other.

9.  Speaking of the R-word, as my brother Mike pointed out, if you were engaged in a drinking game involving how many times that was spoken by the announcers Saturday, you were hammered by half-time.  And suffering from alcohol poisoning by the singing of the alma mater.

But here's to you, Navy.  Increasingly, I hate playing you guys but sure do appreciate what you're all about...

10.  Coaching matters. See Maddon, Joe /  Harbaugh, Jim / Popovich, Greg.  And from the opposite side of the argument, USC (ever since Carroll, Pete left).  One can complain about ND's slow starts but not without also recognizing their 2nd half adjustments / substitutions. 

Word of the Week 


The simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related  but have no discernible causal connection.

No sentence but rather an anecdote:  Last week while traveling across the Canadian Rockies, taking in the beauty of the Great White North, we heard the story on one of the region's most indigenous creatures, the plucky beaver.  Why, I have no idea.  A rodent, often mocked by it's fellow woodland co-habitants for it's unfortunate dental appearance (one would've thought God would've cut the species a break and set them up in the UK where indifference to proper oral hygiene would've been a better cultural fit).  

But they persisted.

You thought I was making this up...
Fast forward to the end of our journey, Vancouver.  While biking around Stanley Park, what should we come upon but the site of the sinking of the SS Beaver.  Not exactly the Titanic but worthy of a not insignificant plaque and tons of pictures taken by the scores of Asians touring the city.  And it got me to thinking... another beaver tale. Hmmm. 

Then, later that same day, while cruising the bohemian tourist trap known as Granville Island, we find ourselves in a culinary store selling Beaver Rub, an apparent seasoning so popular in Canada it's akin to a national treasure.   Sadly, I was not allowed to buy any.

Nonetheless, all these beaver references across hundreds of miles and unrelated contexts - The Universe Was Surely Sending Me A Message - but what did it all mean?  

I believe now it goes back to that original reference - that resourceful rodent so associated with building dams and critical, if under-rated, guardian of the wetland ecosystem... 

Dams!  Water!  That's it - Canada was foretelling The Coming of Matt Lindon, Mr. Dam Safety, to the USC game.  Hallelujah! 

And if he's coming, why aren't the rest of you?  

But like I said, synchronicity.

Buddy's Buddy.

Truth be told, neither of the last two weeks have manifested anyone especially inspirational, outside of Prosise who seems to get better and better as an actual running back. 

But I did read about someone who, in his passing, I did find quite inspirational.  Funny thing about obituaries.

Yogi Berra.

The man most widely known for bizarre (but weirdly logical) malaprops like 

  • "when you come to a fork in the road, take it..."
  • "no one goes there nowadays, it's too crowded"
  • "if you don't know where you're going, you might wind up someplace else..."
  • "it ain't over til it's over..."
  • "it's like deja vu all over again..." 

But he's also the guy that in a seven year span, won 3 MVP's, finished 2nd twice and 4th once.

Someone wrote upon his death, if you took Buster Posey's career and tripled it, you'd have Yogi.

But that's not even the most compelling part of his history*, which is this:  at age 19 he was on one of the first boats hitting Omaha beach at Normandy.   Yowzer. 

Already in the Yankee farm system, I wonder about all the professionals who (seemingly) joined the war effort immediately.  A different time to be sure - and maybe the war seemed more threatening than what we react to today, but one wonders, would any of our highest potential athletes volunteer at 19?  Bryce Harper?  Patrick Kane?  LeBron?

*maybe the 2nd most interesting thing: the 1st being while growing up in his St. Louis neighborhood, The Hill (where all good Italians lived), he would play catch with Josie Minnella, Lisa's aunt. 

The Schedule 

5       Texas                  W    
12     @ Virginia         W
19     Georgia Tech    W
26     UMass               W 
Have fun storming Philly... Boston...

3      @ Clemson        L
10     Navy                  W
17     USC                    Our Game of The Year!
31     @ Temple         Corrigan Reunion 

7      @ Pitt
14     Wake Forest
21     @ BC (Fenway Park)  'A' Lot goes to Beantown*
28     @ Stanford

*  3-7pm pre-game get together at Dillon's on Boylston.  Downstairs - private space. 

Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner
Sorry, Kevin and Brian.  I can understand your angst.

The list dwindles down to...
  • B Ward, Ungie, R Raymond  
Checks may be sent to:

TP Corrigan
Former Greenskeeper, Scotchlandia
663 Old Suman Road
Valparaiso, IN  46383

 Which Dan Are You?
ND Implication
Daniel Day Lewis

Greatest actor of our generation.  And he’s Irish.  Does it get any better than that?

I think not. 

12: Kevin C, Brian M

11:  Bryan GBob R, JP McG, Jay FJerry WKevin MPeter BDave M, Rob W
Danny Noonan

In the sequel that never got made, he went on to become a wealthy hedge fund manager, avoids jail,  buys Bushwood, and maintains Lacy Underalls as his mistress.  

 Nice recovery from a fairly shaky start.

10: Terry C, Jerry P, John LJerry Ci, Matt L, Ted C, Tim SLiniJim BRyan C, Tim C, Graham C

 9:  Daryl MJim SGarrett R*Dave G, Mark U, Tom F, Mike C, Jim R, Mike G
Lt. Dan

Heroic, absolutely.
Sympathetic, without any doubt. 
Successful small business owner, impressive.
Still a paraplegic. 

Who wants to trade 

places with him?

8:  Blair R*, Ray VJim T, Brian W, Randy R

 7:  Al B
Danny Torrance

Redrum!  Redrum!

Sure he survived but still sees Scatman Crothers in his dreams, even after graduating from Mother Theresa’s School For The Irretrievably Unbalanced.  

Not exactly a success story.

Dante Alighieri

He didn’t write 'Paradiso', he wrote Inferno.  

As in Hell. 

Which is where ND football would be if this occurs. 

"Repent and be saved, boys!" - the odds of winning this pool is getting... well, you know.

Schadenfreude Candidate of The Week

Slim pickings this week... 

Some things never change... 
1.  USC.   When it rains, it pours.  How ironic of an expression for a party of the country that hasn't seen precipitation since the Bush administration.   But as human decency won't allow me to place Sark in the next section - honestly far too sad for me - I will revel in them losing yet another age they were double digit favorites.  

(And note to the ND defense:  hit Kessler early and often. And watch him fold.)

2.  Northwestern.   A nominee just for the sheer novelty.  How often can one cheer against them?  Virtually never and certainly not while playing Michigan.  That said, they needed to be taken down a peg.  And coach Fitz is one of those card carrying "I hate ND" kinda guys.  So I'm succumbing to temptation. 

3.  Oklahoma.  Some of you like to point out my affection, historically, for Mark Richt, a swell guy who, in Big Games, now makes Brian Kelly look like Vince Lombardi.  But may I point out that Bob Stoops, at one point the apple of ND Nation's eye, hasn't exactly been setting the world on fire either?

4.  TCU.  Okay, they haven't lost but in 2 of the last 3 weeks, they've given up 52 and 45 points... and a collective margin of victory of exactly 10 points.  BCS Playoff team, my ass. 

Terry's Trolls

No more ND-bashing, there's enough losers out there to slake my thirst for Idiots Who Walk The Earth...

1.  Brett Bielema.  As many of you now, I'm a fan of Wisconsin.  Home of the Packers. And The Violent Femmes.  And cheese.  Lots and lots of cheese.

So I am always delighted when anything is done to purify that state's gene pool - like Brett Bielema going all 'natural selection' and finding his rightful place in moral backwoods of Arkansas.  

This week's proof that he's where he belongs:  his instigation of a penalty by blatantly flopping,  FIFA-like, on an Alabama O-lineman.  Of course, the SEC ultimately did nothing about it, stating (and I'm paraphrasing), "he made a poor decision and said he was really, really sorry."  Oh and his team still got spanked.  Have a look:

2.  Michael Bennett.   I believe God has a special place in His heart for the truly stupid, especially if when they seem be ultimately harmless.  So when Bennett says he hated Matthew Stafford because "he's from Dallas and they killed the president...", I know that God loves him and that it's just the oxygen-deprivation-at-birth talkin'... 

After all, and I believe I can speak for many Lions fans, there are likely many other on-field reasons to dislike Mr. Stafford.  But being from Dallas isn't one of 'em. 

3.  James Harden.   This week's "Just Shut Up" award to the guy who still feels compelled to say he should've been the NBA's MVP last year.  A)  No one cares about last year.  B)  Scoring doesn't equal value (did you even pay attention during the playoffs?).  C)  You just signed a $200M contract with Adidas, how petty do you need to be?

4.  Thomas Johnson.  Who? A former Texas A&M WR arrested for murder.  Yikes.  But it gets better, if by 'better' one means frighteningly gruesome.  He hacked a random jogger to death with a machete.  I guess everything really is bigger in Texas. And in The Understatement of The Year, the arresting deputy chief offered this, "He just attacked him... it's very unusual..."  Ya think?  

And it makes one pine for the days of good ole academic fraud. 

Sleazy, moi?
5.  Rick Pitino.  The increasingly cadaver-looking head coach of Louisville basketball is shocked - shocked! - about the allegations that one of his staffers hired strippers exotic dancers to have sex with his recruits, despite there being confirmation from several of the lads themselves.  This from the man who gave a woman $300k to have an abortion after having an affair with her. The expression, "pot meet kettle" springs to mind.

An English Major Walks Into A Bar…

Gulp-iver's Travels

(Gulliver's Travels, 1726)
by Jonathan Swift

Your grandparents knew Gulliver's Travels as a morality tale wrapped in droll travelogue: an Englishman lost at sea stumbles upon a handful of bizarre lands in which is by turns the biggest and the smallest creature for miles, leading him to question everything from patriotism to religion to his very definition of home.

Which sounds almost exactly like an extremely surreal Halloween night episode I had sophomore year, after a Wapatula party in Farley Hall. 

That aside, you know Gulliver's Travels as the critically panned, audience-ignored film that featured Jack Black putting out a fire by peeing on it (hope you took off the 3-D glasses for that!). 

In our beachy keen nod to the hero washed ashore, choose your own adventure with a Lillaputian shooter or Brobdingnagian* cocktail.  

*In ND parlance, Brunett-ian (read gigante) sized.
  •      1/2 oz.  vodka
  •      1/2 oz. peach schnapps  
  •      1/2 oz.  grapefruit juice 
  •      1/2 oz. cranberry juice 
Shake the ingredients with ice and strain into an empty rocks glass; this goes down in a single swig.  For the bigger, Brobdingnanian variation on the above, double all the ingredients, shake with ice, and strain into a cocktail glass.  A little seasick?  Eyes on the horizon, sailor.

Final Thought - I

30 years with the woman whose sense of humor (she married me, after all) is only matched by her sense of tolerance (she likes all of you), this one's for you, Lisa Ann:

What did I do to deserve you, indeed...

Incidentally, for the music-o-philes, I reiterate:  run, don't walk, to watch the 8-part Sonic Highways series.  Even if you're not a Foo Fighter fan, the documentary is a really fascinating profile of the music history in important US cities:  Chicago - Washington, D.C. - Nashville - Austin - New Orleans - Los Angeles - Seattle - New York.  Very, very interesting. 

Final Thought - II

Oh Canada. 

Beautiful.  (And they get US sports on TV.)

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