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Thursday, December 3, 2015

Week 12: Out of The Picture

Don't ask me to apologize -  
I won't ask you to forgive me.
If I'm gonna go down, you gonna come with me...

Digression #1:  There was a point very late in Saturday night's game, when Oklahoma was clobbering Oklahoma State and one knew that ND's winning wasn't at all likely to garner them a playoff spot, when I thought 'gee, if one wasn't so emotionally invested in this game, it'd be hugely entertaining' followed by 'hey, that's a pretty mature thought for one going through the middle of a rum detox program'.  

Digression #2:  One of the most significant contributions, I believe, that Millenials in The Digital Age have provided society - and me, personally - is this:  what was once known as plagiarism - such a harsh word with all sorts of uncomfortable legal implications - is now called repurposing! Or curating!   

If this blog has demonstrated anything, I believe it's that I am a Master Curator.  In what museum I know not.  The Guggenheim For Intellectual Twinkies, perhaps.  

"Original Thoughts Need Not Apply Here!  But if you've said it or I've read it, come on in..."

So to that point, in the spirit of the Butterfly Effect, that notion that infinitesimally trivial occurrences can ultimately sometime lead to profound, even seismic, events, try to follow this sequence:   Terry discovers Son Volt.  First heard them on a CD from Mr. Splendore - a year or so ago? - which led to seeing their front man, Jay Farrar, at City Winery last year with Mr. Volk where we both drank too much Johnny Walker Plutonium - a line extension our very cute waitress had on offer - and we ended up at Kingston Mines.  Why I do not know.   But that's another story entirely.

Splendore, Volk, Gruley, Rasmus, Castellini...
Back on point...   Jay Farrar happens to be At The Old Town School of Folk Music later this month - an iconic venue I'd never been to until Mr. Gruley took me there for an Alejandro Escovedo show - hey Mssrs. Splendore Volk Gruley they could be characters out of Reservoir Dogs synapses firing must corral the voices in my head - that the Fair Lisa & I will attend, leading me to pull out the Trace CD to be featured on that evening - and leading to this week's theme song, one that is too too perfect not to use despite Jay / Son Volt already being posted here several times boy I hate being repetitive and wow this is one heckuva run-on sentence the English Dept. at ND and Assumption HS would be appalled hey there goes a squirrel... 

Follow all that?

"You may be quite sure you know where you're going
But sooner or later, you're out of the picture.
Too many lost names, too many rules to the game.
Better find a focus or you're out of the picture.

Somewhere along the way the clock runs out..."

The clock did indeed run out... 30 freaking seconds to prevent 40 yards of progress. Is that too much to ask?  Apparently, yes.  

A less kind person might say the  same of Brian Van Gorder...
But this is not a blame game blog! Okay, maybe it is.  I'm Irish.  Bitterness is genetic. 

Quote of the Week

"Just to clarify, according to Brian Kelly, Kevin and I were only two plays away from winning your football pool..."  

Brian P. Mullins
(aka Mr. 12-0)

Just as the 8-Win Club was equally two plays away from winning the pool. 

End of Year Musings
Did you know that rum spelled backward is 'mur'.... muuuuuuurrrrrrr, muuuuuuurrrrrrrr.... 

Of course you did, you've all seen The Shining.  (I often wonder if rum sales took a serious hit after that unfortunate reference. )  

Muuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrr...  muuuuuuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrr...

Muuuuuurrrrrr... hey you're right, Ter
And if you do it with a cocktail, you can make bubbles! Fun for the whole family!

Try it sometime.  

It's very calming actually, like a Gregorian chant. 

And calm is what I needed by the end of Saturday night's game... 

* We weren't a Final Four team.  The offense probably was.  And one could argue the special teams were the best we've seen this century.  But that D... as the philosopher Alvin J. Brunett, Esq. used to say to me on the golf course, "Ter, we're... not good."

*  How is it that Corey Robinson seemed to be involved in seemingly every late game key play this whole year - good and bad - but invisible the other 58 minutes of the game?

*  We missed Keivarae Russell.  First time I can recall all year thinking that about an injured starter during a game.  Butterfly Effect:  His replacement misses a tackle at the end of the 1st half and Stanford WR scores.  Maybe they still do - in fact, probably - but they have to burn at least another play or two.  Changing the amount of time we have for a final drive that half; maybe we play it safer for the FG which, of course, Yoooooooooooon would've nailed.  (Welcome to Terry World.)

* Cris Collingsworth had this to say on Sunday Night Football (not in relation to ND):  young, inexperienced QB's struggle in the red zone more than any other aspect of the game.  Food for thought. 

* Laughing through the tears... funniest comment I read after the game:

   Q.  Why was Joe Schmidt in the game on that final big pass completion of Stanford's?
   A.  To make sure our defense was aligned properly. 

Run, don't walk, to read this
* Speaking of our defense - and isn't everyone these days - watching them reminded me of a BRILLIANT BOOK I finished over the vacation - a gift from Mr. Gruley - a novel by a friend of his (Brian Doyle, Class of '78) called The Plover.  In it, the protagonist, Declan O'Donnell, sets off on a presumed solitary voyage across the Pacific Ocean and while doing so, has a lot of time to think deep thoughts (as one does) - one of which being the very nature of the ocean:
  • who designed this thing?
  • where do I file my complaints?
  • who's in charge here?
  • there's no pattern to it, no organizational principle
  • whatever you're sure of... is sure to be not at all what you were sure of
EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THOSE EXACT THOUGHTS OCCURRED TO ME DURING THE FINAL :25 OF THE GAME.  Perhaps coach Van Gorder is writing under the Brian Doyle nom de plume.

*  Lest this all be bitch bitch bitch, let us recognize how effective ND was in limiting McCaffrey.  He didn't seem so Heisman-esque to me.

Game of Throne - The BCS Poll
Onward to Naples and Castle Lini, Eddard!
Son of a bitch. 

More like Son of Anarchy, the awesome biker club show whose hunky central character, Jax,  has inspired all the Corrigan women to ask for Harleys for Christmas with northern California biker club applications as stocking stuffers.  

But I digress.  What's germane here is the series'  clear roots in Shakespeare (let us remember that Macbeth didn't end well either) and an undeniable Jesus-died-for-us final scene.

And why is this relevant?

Add Jax to the injured list...
Before the game, I was certain that ND was set up for a martyr scenario - they'd win, still get shafted but The World would take notice and much like gun control significant BCS Playoff reform would take place, leading to an 8-team tournament ~ 2-3 years from now, allowing every conference to have their champion and still make room for ND and other deserving teams with strong seasons.  

8 teams, 3 games, relatively little controversy over a genuine contender being left out. I have a dream...

Okay, we lost. But the metaphor still stands - someone deserving is gonna be left out.  With chaos still in the offing this weekend - what if UNC wins?  Or Florida? - change will come!

What to make of where the dust has settled:
  1. As every NY Giant / Packer fan knows, it's all about getting hot at the end of the year.  Oklahoma, it would appear your table is ready.  
  2. One more comment re Stanford... for as disappointing as our D was, it's worth pointing out that they scored over 30 points in every game this year after the odd opening Northwestern game.  And over 40 pts. five times.  Their O wasn't exactly chopped liver.  And let's hope it shows up against USC.
  3. Many people are having a difficult time reconciling Iowa being good, myself included, and while I'd LOVE to play them in a bowl, I can't help but root for them this weekend against Sparty... Go Hawks!

4.  For as many people who maintain that The Committee is biased against ND due to their lack of conference affiliation, consider this: our year was very good, it wasn't off-the-charts spectacular.  We had no real defining wins, lost (albeit closely) to two Top 10 teams but also won two games on basically final plays and demonstrated a pretty consistent inability to put average teams away.  

A ton of good reasons for that - hello, nine starters lost - but the fact that we still stayed in the BCS playoff conversation to the very end, I think, is cause for much optimism. 

BCS Ranking
Future (losable) Games
1.  Clemson 
2.  Alabama 
3.  Oklahoma 

4   Iowa
Michigan State
5.  Michigan St.
6. Ohio State 

7.  Stanford
8.   ND  

9.   Florida St.

10.  UNC

Tony, set the machine for Tempe 2016
5.  So where are we headed?  Or more to the point, against whom are we headed?  Conventional wisdom suggests it'll be one of these four:  Iowa, Ohio State, Florida St. or Houston.

Let me be the first to say this:  

really don't want to play Houston, give me Iowa or FSU. Or Michigan St.  And we will crush them like insects.

Word of the Week.

Hyperhedonia (n.)

An excessive pleasure caused by activities, particularly boring tasks.

Used in a sentence:    With now a month gap until ND's final game (and final Season '15 blog), Young Terry began to revel in the prospect of experiencing intense hyperhedonia... Christmas shopping, working the People magazine crossword puzzle (what's a five letter word for irritating Kardashian) doing laundry...   

He wondered, would this be what it's like to be a tenured professor during sabbatical?

Buddy's Buddy

While one could make this a process of elimination (Joe Schmidt?  Nooo.  Matthias Farley?  Don't think so!  Amir Carlisle? Not a chance.), this week is a pretty clear cut choice - and mere days after the family serendipitously watched the feel good movie of the holidays,  "The Usual Suspects" - which, if one hasn't seen it (what, do you live under a rock?), is NOT The Brian Van Gorder Story. 

Keyser Soze!  Keyser Soze!

Actually, DeShone Kizer. Honestly, was there anyone more valuable in that game than he?  (I got your Christian McCaffrey right here, hub.)  

Coming after his worst outing all year, in the biggest game of the year, he was money.  You da man.  

Bummer for you, Malik.

The Schedule

Sometimes we forget they're kids.  And they're trying their hardest. 
5       Texas                  W    
12     @ Virginia         W
19     Georgia Tech    W
26     UMass               W 

3      @ Clemson        L
10     Navy                 W
17     USC                  W
31     @ Temple         W

7      @ Pitt                W
14     Wake Forest     W
21     @ BC (Fenway Park)    W
28     @ Stanford       L

Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner

I'm a winner! I'm a winner!  

Well, me and along with 11 other shrewd, insightful 10-win prognosticators.

At least temporarily.  If we hold to past protocol, we 12 merely progress to the bonus round where we have one final whittling down of the achievers - because let's face it - nobody wants to share anything 12 ways. 

Stay tuned. 

Suggestions welcomed but last time...  we created a series of 4-5 prop bets around ND's bowl game and whomever got the most correct wins the pool.  Or shares the pool.  And this year has a carryover from last year so big money.  Not enough to buy us a new DC but it might cover a Linebacker bar bill.

And to think we did it without a regression analysis.

 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 CBrian M

11:  Bryan GBob RJP McGJay 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 CJerry PJohn LJerry CiMatt LTed CTim SLiniJim BRyan CTim CGraham C

 9:  Daryl MJim SGarrett R*Dave GMark UTom FMike CJim RMike 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 TBrian W,

 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. 

Schadenfreude Candidate of The Week

1. Michigan.     "Two little Hitlers will fight it out until one little Hitler does the other one's will..."  Game 1 to Herr  Coach Meyer.

2.  Baylor / Oklahoma State.   I'm irritated that we had to waste so much time this year considering these teams as BCS playoff caliber.  Oklahoma may be, probably is, legitimate.  They've certainly mastered the Ohio State 'Get Hot At The Right Time' playbook. But the rest of the B12 teams?  Flash Over Substance.
You thought I was making this up...

3.  Florida.  It's always nice to see a pretender exposed, even if it's at the expense of FSU winning.

4.  UCLA.  Fun fact:  I grew up liking UCLA a lot; Gary Beban at QB, Zenon Andrusyshen - GREATEST KICKER NAME EVER - and those awesome powder blue jerseys with the odd numeric font.  

Now, under Jim Mora, not so much. 

Terry's Trolls

1.  Joe Alleva.  I'm not even a fan of Les Miles - though he strikes me more goofy than evil - but count me among the multitudes that think his AD totally hung him out to dry.  And weird that one win, against a middling A&M team, can reverse what appeared to be a foregone 'fire his ass' decision.

2.  Pat Fitzgerald. If one lives in / around the Chicago area, you've got friends who have Northwestern ties.  They're invariably nice people. And they no doubt love their former Wildcat LB coach.  I don't.  He's always been a tool when it comes to ND and this week's proclamation that his team ought to be ranked higher than Stanford - presumably because of an aberrant Week 1 win - simply proves the adage that it's a lot harder to get into Northwestern than graduate.

3.  Jahlil Okafor.  Boys will be boys.  And entitled teenage athletes with more money than sense will be, to be kind, knuckleheads.  Let's see, Jahlil, what you've amassed in your first month as a pro:  averaging 17 pts, 8 rebounds and 2 fights, 1 fake ID and an 108 MPH drive over the Ben Franklin Bridge (which, I'm told, is not easy to do).  Impressive. 

4.  ESPN.   Tell me this isn't lowdown.  For reasons that are completely inexplicable (or defendable), they dropped Navy's record setting QB, Keenan Reynolds from the first page of the on-line fan balloting despite him being the leading vote getter.  Huh?!


Every conference championship game is on basically at the same time Saturday night.  Isn't that just super-fan friendly. 

An English Major Walks Into A Bar…

You may recall last week's reference to Wes, maker of The Wonder-Mojito at Hemingway's on Turks & Caicos.  

His cocktails still visit me in my dreams. 

So, with a nod to a prior Stanford nickname, before they got uber-politically correct and became a Tree...

The Last of The Mojitos

(The Last of The Mohicans, 1826)
By James Fenimore Cooper
Long before the universally adored film came out, The Last of The Mohicans was landmark (if historically wobbly) literature.  Chronicling the tomahawk-assisted turf wars of Native Americans, Cooper stuffed his pages with wordy, witless plot-stoppers:  "Duncan wandered among the lodges, unquestioned and unnoticed, endeavoring to find some trace of her in whose behalf he incurred the risk he ran..."

Huh? Even by my low standards that makes zero sense.

But I'll help you through the slow parts.  Take a classic mojito and launch your own sneak attack, losing the sugar for agave nectar and adding a few authentically Native American fruits to the party.  The result could stop wars.
  •      5 fresh blueberries, washed
  •      3 small fresh strawberries, washed 
  •      8 sprigs fresh mint, washed
  •      1/2 oz. lemon juice
  •      1 oz. agave nectar
  •      1 1/2 oz. light rum
  •      1 (12 oz.) can club soda
Muddle the berries, mint, juice and nectar in a Collins glass. Add two handfuls of ice and the rum, give a good stir and top off with the club soda.  Expect a rain dance of happy tears.

Final Thought - I

I haven't seen "Frozen" so I don't know how to let it go.  This song's for you, BVG, as sung by Brian Kelly... 

"I shoulda quit you a long time ago
I wouldn't be here now people
I shoulda listened to my second line..."

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