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Sunday, May 28, 2017

May '17: It Might Get Loud

"Don't we all want the same thing?
...but who said anything about love?"

Dear Diary,

Welcome to the club.
It's been awhile since I've written and suffice to say, a lot has occurred in the world.  A LOT. Molto. Much of what I don't understand.  Which is ironic because since I've turned 60 and now imbued with heightened skills of observation, superior abilities to prioritize and an inner confidence that I'm nearly always right while the poor unwashed masses are, at minimum, either sadly deluded or tragically misguided.  

This epiphany came to me while during my usual weekend steamer when the predictable hallucination fugue state kicked in. 

In this particular instance, I was ideating on my lastest creative concept - screenplay, novella, NPR Serial installment, who knows - involving a billionaire South African wine entrepreneur named Kay Syrah-Syrah who's leveraged particle acceleration technology to create an inexpensive proton-infused wine that even pretentious northern California aficionados will happily drink.  Syrah-Syrah has turned the wine into a white hot lifestyle brand (slogan "Whatever Will Be,Will Be") that has captured the imagination - and market share - of the world.  

But unbeknownst to the masses, the financial success of the business is secretly funding a powerful secret society whose support reaches to the highest levels of government, military and the private sector.  The 'Star Chamber'-like group operates a thuggish paramilitary outfit, nicknamed The Peppermint Patties by the press, due to their propensity to leave the York brand's wrappers at the scene of their mayhem - and to dress like the Charles Schultz character. (Girl Power!)

Led by Syrah-Syrah's adopted mulatto son, Chianti -  a dull-witted, brutish miscreant prone to misinterpretation of even the simplest of directives, the group's objective is nothing less than fear inspired, anarchy-driven world domination.
Which one of you is Jerrence...
I'm not sure yet how the story is going to resolve itself, except that the hero will be a former English major, unwillingly recruited but who quickly realizes his unique skill set of pop culture, digital marketing principles and Russian novelists makes him the only one to save the world.  Almost.  He'll, of course, have to partner with a drop dead gorgeous female academician. She'll wear big Warby Parker glasses so you'll know she's smart, AND with kick ass style.  The two protagonists will be personality opposites until they aren't. 

And when the movie is cast, she will be played by Diane Lane.

In other news, The Wife thinks I spend too much time in the steamer.

But I digress.  The point of all this, other than what my agent suggests ('dystopia is hot these days, baby')... is a recognition that the world seems to have gotten increasingly binary in it's operating principles.   No middle ground. I'm right / You're wrong.  I love it! / You hate it.  Truth. / Lies. Real. / Fake.   

And it's spilled over from the real world into the very unreal world of athletics. And ND Football in particular.  Is nothing sacred?

Life Imitating Art Sport. Or vice versa?

Accordingly, it would seem the season is set up for a similarly black and white referendum:

Trumpian Rating

Greatest Achievement,
In The History of The World.



Losers and Nut Jobs,
All Of ‘Em.







3 or less

Start doing your due diligence.

Game Day Observations

I started my prep by watching the Blue Gold game.  Well, some of it.  The fruits of my viewing, in no particular order:

  • Jumbotron Cometh!
  • We have a terrific 2nd string QB!
  • The walk-on, back up kicker is absolute money from within 45 yds!
Feeling good yet?
  • Kevin Stephersen (sp?) could be Will Fuller-like, if he can stay out of trouble.
    • Vegas lays the odds at the latter occurrence at 50-50, best case.
  • Daelin Hayes could be Jaylon Smith-like if he stays healthy - so far, so good.
  • Wimbush will likely end up being really good and an under-rated, strong leader
    • But don't expect executional perfection early - the Georgia game could be ugly
  • The WR's / TE's are yuuuge.  So you can surely expect more red zone jump ball / fades.
  • The new Rover position on 'D' looks pretty effective - and a perfect fit for Tranquill
  • I think the story of the D this year is going to be all about the DL - if they can be even semi-effective, especially vs. the run...
  • It may be just the case with Spring games but didn't see a big commitment to the running game
  • That said, the RB's look really good, very deep.
Congrats, Monty!  Some day, I assume.
  • Every year we hear how strong the OL is - two sure 1st round 2018 draft choices! - I'll believe it when I see it.
  • Is Montgomery Van Gorder in, what, his 7th year by now?

II.  The 2016 Schedule 

2      Temple                  Labor Day weekend
9     Georgia                  Linipalooza XXIII
16    @Boston College 
23    @Michigan State
30    Miami (OH)        Alumni Hall / Union Pier Reunion Weekend        

7      @UNC         
21    USC                
28   NC State                    

4      Wake Forest                   
11     @Miami                     
18     Navy              
25    @Stanford

Wager - 2017  

Back in the day, when one would periodically get asked "Beatles or Stones" I would always answer The Who.  That out-of-the-box thinking would serve me well later in life (while, albeit, being my undoing on the GMAT's, B-schools not yet foreseeing the Innovation Trend) and one which I intend to apply this year as it relates to The Wager...  

He's gonna walk on the water,
Put the money down...

Consistently unsuccessful with my predictions, time to change it up and go full Haitian voodoo.  

In the past month, a few of you have heard The Wife has diversified outside of horse boarding into chickens... earn-your-keep, egg laying little critters that will double as Oracles of Scotchlandia.
"You wanna piece of me, Sparky?!"

Anyone who remembers the Mickey Rourke tour de force, "Angel Heart" - which I'm pretty sure was historically accurate and factually based - knows what I'm talking about. 

Chicken voodoo.  Except used for Good (Terry), not Evil (Satan).

Although one can't be sure about the little dark one in the right foreground, looking straight at the camera. She might actually be satanic.  

She's got this Joe Pesci-like attitude that is going to bear monitoring. I could totally see her messing with my forecast just because she can.   Stay tuned. 

Quote of The Week

"Maturity turns out to be a question you can never answer with confidence, despite advanced age and wage..."
Brian Doyle
(1956 - 2017)

Anecdote #1:  20+ years ago, while working on Glade air fresheners - a $1B global brand, to dispel the notion that we were wading in the inconsequential 'kiddie pool' end of the consumer package goods amusement park - we were sitting around debating advertising insights for their range of candles. 

The topic was holiday season support - the biggest volume period of the year and in one especially charged strategy meeting, the discussion with the SC Johnson marketers turned to the optimal higher order emotional / psychological benefits that we should attach to the brand's Christmas portfolio .  

Seriously.  That's really what we ad guys do.  And are reasonably well compensated for it. Imagine that.  This particular conversation was getting less and less reality-based, which in the Advertising World is really quite saying something.  Finally, the Agency's head of the global account - stood up and said, "Please.  It's just a f***ing candle."  

Well, when you put it like that... 

His point, bluntly proffered, was that perhaps the group was over-estimating where a $2.99 candle fit in Maslov's Hierarchy of Needs. 

A mole, living in a hole, you make me feel like I could fly... 
Anecdote #2:  Back in the early 00's, U2 released one of their last great CDs, "All That You Can't Leave Behind."  That was also during the time we lived in Europe. We had more than a few treks in the car, especially for annual family ski vacations and that CD got played a lot. Songs like "Elevation" elicited much indiscriminate hoo-hoo'ing as the family sang along.   

It seemed to be an especially happy time for everyone - and one that when I hear those songs now, it takes me right back to ski trips, autostrade panini and family car singing...

Fast forward to this past week:  Chris Cornell, Brian Doyle and Julie Zander all died within a span of 7 days.  Each in that far too young 50-60 yr. old range.  Cornell was a Seattle rocker many of you have surely heard.  Doyle, ND (and Alumni Hall) Class of '78, was the best writer any of us knew. (In my case, only vicariously.)  And Julie Zander was a Wilmette, IL mother and wife of a longtime work colleague.  Not a lot of overlap between the three, except that all of 'em left sons and daughters with whom they won't ever get to sing Soundgarden, U2 or any other songs, in a car or elsewhere.

So next season, when we're weeping 'n wailing 'n gnashing our teeth at some inexplicable Kelly play call -  and we will - know that shortly thereafter I'll catch The Wife shaking her head, baffled at how seriously anyone can take something so trivial.  And I'll think, you're right - it's just a f***'ing candle. 

"I was staying at The Westin, I was playing to a draw
When in walked Charlton Heston with the Tablets of the Law.
He said, it's still The Greatest Story.
I said, Man, I'd like to stay but I'm bound for glory...
I'm on my way - my ride's here... 

Cocktail of the Season

Continuing with the blog's initial wine theme, albeit seemingly not the most seasonally apropos of drink suggestion  - but keep in mind it's been 50F degrees in Chicago up to about a week ago.  

Also maybe file this under "you gotta break a few eggs to make an omelet..." given the movie's back stories - perhaps an optimistic portent for a year of ND success when no one expects anything overwhelmingly noteworthy...

The Wizard of Shiraz
The Wizard of Oz  (1939)
Directed by Victor Fleming

This wonderful Wizard actually stumbled down a rocky brick road on its path to family film infamy: 
  • Margaret Hamilton endured 3rd degree burns shooting the scene in which the Wicked Witch disappears in a cloud of (actual) smoke
  • The original Tin Man had to quit when the aluminum makeup began suffocating him through his skin ("if I only had a dermatologist...")
  • "Over The Rainbow" was nearly scrapped by MGM, who was nervous the ballad would go over the little heads of its audience. (Good thing the Oscar winning tuned stayed.)

These days we're staying in to stream our movies so heat up some mulled wine to help make any house smell like a home.
  • 5 oz. Shiraz
  • 1 oz. cognac
  • 1 tspn. allspice
  • 1 tbls. honey
  • 1 tspn. cardamon
  • 1 tspn. orange zest
Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the stove, click your heals three times and strain into a mug.  

Buddy's Buddy

This past week, in light of the increasingly clear blackballing of Colin Kapernick by the NFL owners, Sports Illustrated had a pretty interesting article on the history of the Star Spangled Banner and it's path to becoming our national anthem... for example, did you know that the music itself actually comes from a drinking song?   Almost apropos.

But given this is the off-season and the Golden State Warriors haven't yet beaten back the LeBron-led Visigoths, the people who contributed to the song being what it is today seems like reasonable candidates for recognition:
"Suck on that, Redcoats..." 
  • Francis Scott Key.  Author of the song; forced by the British to watch them bomb the bejesus out of Fort McHenry - and still see an American flag fly the next day.
  • John Phillip Souza. Popularized the song 70 years later;  a music prodigy who traveled the world and saw that the U.S. was the only country that didn't have a national song - so he started playing it everywhere we went.
  • Harry Frazee.  Made it a pre-game staple; Boston Red Sox owner who started playing it, first in the 1918 World Series and then for all their Fenway Park games thereafter.
  • Herbert Hoover.  Codified the song in 1931; stonewalled for years because of the music's drinking-related association, the president said 'screw it' and officially made it our national anthem.

Terry's Trolls

I'm pretty sure we're entering a Golden Age for bad behavior.

Were that it would remain only within the realm of athletics.

As if.

"Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain..."
Friedrich Schiller
Poet, Philosopher & Playwright

1. United Airlines.    

I'm sure you were well intentioned... 
2.  National Anthem interpreters.   Not everyone who's gone 'off script' has been bad (see Hendrix, Jimi) but it's an extremely high risk proposition (see Roseanne Barr, Marvin Gaye, Jose Feliciano).   Singer Beware. Stick to the Plan.

3.  President Trump.  Alphabetically or categorically? Let's limit it to one event:  commencement speeches.  Graduation Day is for the students, not you Mr. President. Not that impulse control is part of your skill set but maybe next time, you can limit whinging about how badly you've been mistreated by the media to your post-midnight tweet storms.

Schadenfreude of the Montb 
"Celebrating The Misfortune of Other Teams Since 1956"


Final Thought