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Friday, November 17, 2017

Week 10: Cupcakes vs. Convicts

So it begins... fantastic delusion.
Time and again, time and again...

Well that sucked.  But at least it was a relatively quick outcome that allowed the viewing audience to hit the ejector seat button, the west coast fanbase, in particular, having a full evening free.  The poor in-stadium ND fans not being so lucky.  (I still have nightmares from the BCS Championship game, trapped in that stadium... the outcome determined in the first 5 minutes and having to hear "Roll Tide" repeatedly for the next three hours.)  Which leads me to...

Next stop, South Beach. 
Ever hear of The Vale of Shadows?  

It's a Dungeons & Dragons thing - and aren't you just more than a little bit nervous that I would even know this? - described as "a dimension that is a dark reflection, or echo, of our world.  It is a place of decay or death, a plane out of phase, a place with monsters.  It is right next to you and you don't even see it."

Oh I saw it alright.  

At least they got a nice transatlantic ride first...
It's called Hard Rock Stadium.  Not a lot of humanity witnessed there.  And for those counting, the last two times ND has played there, they've been on the business end of a combined 83-22 beat down.  I would humbly submit to Mr. Swarbrick that he lobby hard for a different venue (Cuba perhaps?) next time the chance to play in south Florida comes up.

At any rate, I know about The Vale because after the 3rd Miami INT - the pick 6 - and before the ceremonial bequeathing of that insipid turnover chain - I turned off the game and switched to re-watching the first season of the Netflix series, "Stranger Things."   

Familiar with the show?  Set in the dystopian Gerry Faust Era of early 1980's Indiana - so you know it's both scary and ridiculous - the series is a very conscious (and rather wonderful) homage to the horror / kid bonding movies of that era.  Everything from Stephen King to John Carpenter to David Cronenberg and Spielberg, you can find a reference. 

No!  Don't send me to Coral Gables! 
But the thing to remember is this:  while the conceit is your basic sci-fi mystery with much adversity and challenges for the protagonists throughout, the series season does end happily.  Well, more or less - except for Barb, the cute girl's stereotypic awkward, big-boned best friend who - SPOILER ALERT - remains trapped, problematically, in the aforementioned netherworld.  Admittedly, the show's conclusion is something of a buzzkill for her.

Stay on point, Jerrence. 

I submit that it's mindful for us all to remember that as horrific as last weekend was, the team remains 8-2, with every victory a 20+ margin... and having the very reasonable chance to still go 10-2 and a New Year's Day bowl.  Who wouldn't have signed up for that in August?  

Other than, obviously, the 12-0 and 11-1 loons.

Word of the Week

Used in a sentence:  Accompanied by the first of what he anticipated would be more than a few drams on his solitary single malt tour of Scotland, young Jerrence watched Notre Dame's first drive of the game with great optimism.   

So close to a TD pass.  

We'll get 'em next time!

Then, poof.

Now, in painful hindsight, he recognized he had been witnessing merely the vestigial signs of a Notre Dame offense, previously nearly unstoppable - a group that, for reasons that escaped him (lack of speed, poor strategy, the opponent's intimidation perhaps), caved like a house of cards.  

And with an immediacy that was both bewildering and embarrassing.   Gee, that's not easy to do, he thought to himself.

Cocktail of the Week

Gee, how does one categorize a movie that 15 minutes into it, you know you are watching something horrific?   Not 'good' horrific, like Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead.  Or Mystery Science Theater's so bad-it's-brilliant The Brain That Wouldn't Die horrific.

No, we're talking genuinely bad "how can I extricate myself from this in the most expedient way possible" horrific.    Embarrassing horrific.   

Go to confession horrific.   Leave a bad taste in your mouth horrific, literally and figuratively.

That's this week's theme cocktail.

Little Schnapps of Horrors
Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
Directed by Frank Oz

Directed by the prolific puppeteer behind Miss Piggy and Yoda, this humorous Horrors show was adapted from an off-Broadway hit that itself was based on a 1960 B-movie version featurung a young Jack Nicholson.  

Set on an all-American skid row (but filmed on a British soundstage), the musical starred Rick Moranis as sad-sack Seymour, whose discovery of a rare plant helps turn a struggling neighborhood flower shop around - until said plant begins eating the neighbors, that is.

You'll give two green thumbs up to this all-plant-based cocktail with a verdant Red Vine finish.
  • 1 1/2 oz. tequila
  • 3/4 oz. elderflower liqueur
  • 1/2 oz. Green Chartreuse liqueur
  • 1/4 oz. Galliano liqueur
  • 1/4 oz. melon schnapps
  • Red Vine candy straw, for garnish
Pour all the ingredients (except for the Red Vine) into a mixing glass, add ice, and stir well.  Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a Red Vine candy "straw."  (No humans were harmed in the making of this drink).  

Quote of the Week

"He has Van Gogh's ear for music..."

Billy Wilder

Pretty much summing up ND's competence Saturday night. 

Observations of the Game


Not a lot to say, especially since, again, I watched only 1/2 of the game - though I'm pretty sure the 2nd half didn't represent much of a sea-change:

1.  One of those teams really, really wanted that game.  And it wasn't us.

2.  Woulda Coulda Shoulda dept.:  ND'd very first series, it's probably 7-0 if Claypool doesn't drop a very catchable pass and / or Wimbush doesn't overthrow a very open ESB.  Does that change the ultimate outcome?  Probably not but... 

3.    Not-So-Fun Facts:  Miami's scoring drives were as follows:

  • 58 yds.  (TD)
  • 44 yds.  (TD)
  • 48 yds.  (FG)
  • -4 yds.  (FG)
  • 0 yds.  (TD)
  • 90 yds. (TD)
  • 30 yds.  (TD)

So, two drives that went beyond midfield.  Thank you, offense.

4.  Apparently it takes our defense four times - and 20 points - to recognize we might want to spy the QB draw play. 

5.  I'm not inclined to throw Kelly completely under the bus for this debacle - he didn't throw those passes and drop those balls - but one have to would think someone needs to be accountable for our QB's lack of development, yes?  Brandon's been in the program for three years.

6.   I know nothing about coaching but... I'm beginning to wonder whether Kelly's ceiling is always going to be 10 wins.  Does that make him the Mike Brey (circa 2001-14) of football -  win 75% of your games, occasionally sniff the BCS, graduate your players?  

That sound you hear is Tom Feifar having an epileptic episode.

7.  Of all the loathsome fanbases out there - and there are more than a few truly terrifying ones - Miami has to be at the top.  The stories you hear/read of the abuse of visiting fans is truly sickening.  

Buddy's Buddy

Following on from the emotional roller coaster that was my Saturday night - huuuge build up (I even watched some of Game Day and senile Lee Corso - get that man a drool bucket!), the immediate disappointment of a failed 1st drive, the precipitous, wheels-come-off-in-spectactular-fashion 1st half, my subsequent truncated tour of Scotland because who wants to tour that country  in less than a happy frame of mind (hello? Macbeth!) finally, finding redemption in a multi-Netflix episode binge, there can only be one candidate.

And it sure as hell isn't anyone connected to the Notre Dame football program. 

Oh to have had an ND player with telekinetic power Sat. night...
"Stranger Things" Dustin.  to elaborate a tad on my prior synopsis, in small town Indiana, a secret government experiment goes awry, a young boy goes missing, his pre-teen friends partner with a telekinetic test subject to rescue him, involving on-going hi-jinx, a smattering of teenage angst and some important life lessons learned.  Like, if the local Power & Electric company show up at your door (a group that doesn't show even when they're asked) - and you didn't request a service call, RUN.

Oh yeah, and a chain-smokin', barely holding it together Winona Ryder features prominently.   

In Scotchlandia, we call that Thursday.   And the chubby, toothless, wise-beyond-his-years Dustin is The Man.  He'd be the mayor of Scotchlandia.  And at the risk of piling on, it would not be a great leap to believe he would've had ND better prepared if he'd been in charge.


2      Temple                      W        
9     Georgia                       L - inipalooza VII
16    @Boston College     W 
23    @Michigan State    W
30    Miami (OH)            W   

7      @UNC                       W
21    USC                            W        
28   NC State                   W            

4      Wake Forest             W             
11     @Miami                    L            
18     Navy              
25    @Stanford

The Wager

I still keep arriving at 11 wins...
Team '11 Wins' (the few, the proud, the deeply delusional)... don't be sad!  Be happy you made it this far!  Truth be told, we all saw you as a delicious mix between John Nash and Ted Kaczynski... except without the manifesto-inspired cabin in the woods and the imaginary gov't agents chasing you. 

For the remaining intrepid 26 contestants... The Arty, as our new trophy will heretofore be known, remains in your grasp! Buck up!

And put away that long face - there's still much to play for!  (And pat yourself on the back - after all, you shrewdly surmised the team would be in this territory.)

Trumpian Rating

Greatest Achievement,
In The History of The World.

Bryan G, Brian M, Joe S
Dave MRaz The Elder

Losers and Nut Jobs,
All Of ‘Em.
Terry, Jay, Lini, JP, John P, Phillip, Ted, Peter B, Daryl
Matt L, Graham C, Mark UShea CDennis RBob JJerry C
Dave G, Kevin C, Jim S, Jerry P, Tim S, Alex SJim B, Brian W,  Spittler the Elder, Blair
Bill B, Jim T, Tim C, Mike CMike G, Jerry W, Kevin M, Tom F,  Ryan CGarrett R
Ray V, Alvin B, John L, Randy Ri, Ward H
Jim R, Randy Ra,

3 or less

Schadenfreude of the Week 

Turns out, Misery doesn't actually love company.   At least it didn't Saturday night.  Just ask my wife.

But we must soldier on.  And if one can be even a tad objective, even for a nano-second, isn't this kinda why we like college football - college sports (see March Madness) - so much?  

Here's another fun fact I learned at a Gen Z  (the population cohort, roughly in the 4-20 age group) seminar this week:

"What's his name, K-K-Ken? I call him... lunch."

*  Gen Z'ers, i.e., your basic college athlete, have an attention span of 0:08
*  Goldfish have an attention span of 0:07
(My personal best is :06.)

So within the context of several supposedly very good teams getting smoked the last couple weeks, maybe we ought to tap the breaks just a bit on the "ND Is Now Awful" narrative.  

Instead, let's celebrate the positive - other teams being momentarily awful:

1.  Georgia.   At the time, Auburn's trouncing of Georgia was thrilling so thank you Auburn for a wonderful Saturday afternoon.   Even if it did set me up for the cruelest of disappointments later that evening. 

2. Michigan State.   Another game which actually was probably more 'schaden' than 'freude' but given the high esteem held for Mark Dantonio, one can still find some comfort in the MSU embarrassment.   Plus, ultimately, it took some of the attention away from ND's flame out. So there's that.

3.  Washington.  See point 2;  I love seeing Stanford get beat - it's a David Shaw thing - but at the time, even I could put personal animus aside and recognize that this loss was very good for ND.  The operative words being 'at the time.'  Now, not so much.

4.  Florida State.  For this year, Old Faithful.  That you have to re-schedule your September hurricane-cancelled game just to possibly qualify for 6-win bowl eligibility is truly inspiring.   Given that you're finishing w such powerhouses as Delaware St., Florida and Louisiana Monroe, it's fair to say you deserve whatever you get.

Terry's Trolls

"1 - 2 - 3 - 4, cretins want to hop some more!
  4 - 5 - 6 - 7, all good cretins go to heaven.

There's no stopping the cretins from hoppin'..."

1.  Jameis Winston.   Stop me if you've heard a variation on this theme before:  the NFL has opened an investigation into an incident involving Winston groping a... Uber driver.    

Oh boy.  First of all, who isn't increasingly depressed by the increasing prevalence of these cases - across every industry - coming to light?  

And please, spare me if you're jumping on the 'these are opportunistic, gold-digging women' bandwagon - almost every case has been met with swift non-denial.   More like, "um, I don't recall the incident but I'm very sorry if something did occur..."

Not that Jameis will ever exhibit even that level of accountability.  And by the way, Jameis... Uber, really?   

a) you're wealthy
b) your team will spring for driver service for you.  

2. Florida Gator fans.  Such are the heartfelt stream-of-conscious meanderings of a fanbase less than pleased with their freshman QB.  

Ever been in a Chinese prison?
3. LiAngelo Ball and his UCLA knucklehead teammates .  
The  bad news:  the Chinese government wasn't quite done adjudicating your little crime.  So you had to stay a little longer while the rest of the UCLA team went home to start their season.  

Relax, the thank you note is in the mail...

The good news:  you gave the attention deprived POTUS his signature Year I achievement that he so desperately needed.

4.  Jerry Jones / Roger Goodell.  Honestly, it's tough to tell who is the bigger tool in their little rich guy fight over power and money within the ridiculously lucrative NFL.  And while probably a toss up*, I'm going to go with Mr. Jones given a) his Ezekial Elliott support, b) his out-of-control ego (with Rooney's and Mara's still on the owner list, did you really call yourself the league's ranking owner?  You're not even the wealthiest) and c) the potential great shame he brings to the Jerry name.  DO YOU NOT GRASP THE RESPONSIBILITY THAT COMES THE NAME?! 

That last risk, one simply cannot abide.

*Roger, did you really ask for $50M / year and a private jet?  Let's be honest, a rhesus monkey could do most of your job.  

Final Thought

A wise man once said, it's not getting knocked down that defines us - it's in the getting back up. Now is a time for quiet reflection and serious introspection, like one might if one was driving down the NJ Turnpike late at night... let's see what ya got, ND.

Hey Mr. DJ, won't you hear my last prayer...

So sorry, Navy (and our new Navy pals Paul, Dave, Coulter, James), but this week, like Ivan Drago, we must break you. 

Then again, that story turns out all right for the U.S., doesn't it?

I guess we'll see...

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