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Thursday, September 27, 2018

Week 4: Remembering Wally Pipp

"You are so hot!  So hot.  I wish you would jump off a bridge..."

Wait, what?

Is the hat too much?   I'm going for a retro-Avenger look...
So I'm on my usually crowded morning subway this week -  having the inevitable violent fantasy about me as a masked, garden shears-wielding vigilante who is snip snip snipping every. freaking. millennial's. fully loaded backpack that they refuse to take off, blissfully unaware that their hump, containing god knows what essentials but probably organic and planet saving, is taking up an additional full body space... 


When I hear the dulcet tones of the urban RTL, the Rapid Transit Loon, a sub-species of loopy humanity with which, historically speaking, I am not wholly unfamiliar...

And she is NOT happy.  In fact, she's in full Dylan Thomas mode, raging against the dying of the light. In this particular instance the train car's neon, while off-putting, isn't, in point of fact, dying.  She is clearly undeterred by this inconsistency.

"You're the type of people that they make movies about these days!  Unfeeling!

You want to hit me?  Good.  Do it.  Show some emotion..."

The rest of the train car is visibly uncomfortable - they're actually trying to make sense of what she's saying - but not me.  I'm loving it.  

Hidden Dragon, Crouching Jerrence
And it's not like she's wrong; her vitriol is my garden shears.  You go, girl!  Eviscerate them all...  

Okay, calm down, Jerrence.  

At this time, it's important to point out, if only to my immediate family, there is NO WAY that her outrage is directed at me. I am NOT her accelerant.  

Because I'm crouched down behind several other morning commuters.  Hiding, as it were. 

But I am similarly reminded that such impassioned motivation... nay, inspiration... comes to people in many, often unexpected, forms that can occasionally lead to fortuitous outcomes.  

Like changing QB's against a team you should beat regardless, when you're undefeated.  Where / how did Brian Kelly receive his epiphany?  Best not to ask.

The better question is, is it sustainable?

Word of the Week

Used in a sentence:  As young Jerrence watched Ian Book increasingly make his presence felt in Saturday's game... after patiently waiting for at least one more game than was necessary...  he couldn't help but feel that Book was making a stentorian statement to ND Nation as to who was the rightful starting QB for the 2018 team. 

Quote of the Week 

"An author is a fool who, not content with having bored those who have lived with him, insists on boring future generations..."
Charles de Montesquieu
Man of letters, political philosopher

Not just to bore, Montesquieu!  We in the 21st Century aim to confuse and depress those generations!  To have them say, 'those are minutes I'll never ever get back...'

Enjoy the rest of the blog.

Game Day Review

Here I am, on the road again.
Here I am, up on the stage... 

I told myself I wasn't going to down the path of bad book-related puns... like "it's a new chapter in ND football..." or "maybe the team has finally turned the page..."  

But I'm weak.  

And super lazy.  

Oh, and astonishingly shallow. 

Weak. Lazy. Shallow.  The Corrigan trifecta.  

But so what.  Because here's the thing about last week's game:  it wasn't especially complicated.    


It was ALL ABOUT Ian Book.  

EVERYONE played better because he did his job. He spread the ball.  He moved the chains.  He kept the defense off a field that was supposed to be clocking in at 100+ degrees.

Some other pithy observations

1.   I wonder if one needs to get Alize Mack involved early (and boy was he ever involved). He seemed to play awfully well. 

2.    Props to the O-line; for a group that generally plays down to its opponent they did what they were supposed to do against an over-matched team.

3.   Okay it's not totally about Ian; let's also give it up for coach Lea - nice game plan that took Wake's one legitimate stud out of the game.  And by the time the Deacons did score a few points, the game was already over.

4.  Saturday's heat was made to exploit the new 4-game red shirt rule.  And it sure seems like ND took advantage of it.  Nicely done.

5.  Does anyone (else) get the sense that Chase Claypool isn't ever going to quite shake his knuckleheaded, my-head-isn't-quite-in-the-game tendency?  Which is a shame because he looks like he could be a total star.

6.  Now that Dexter "I've atoned, honest I have" Williams will be back, it'll be interesting to see how that plays out.  Tony / Jafar / Audry seem to be getting better, more comfortable every week.

Update (evaluation modified): we're probably, realistically, a solid top 15 team.  Ask me after Saturday night. 

Buddy's Buddy

If one is going to be even remotely consistent (and when have I ever held myself to that standard?  "That would be the empty set, Bob."), there can really be only one choice:  Ian Book.  

His stats were Aaron Rodgers-like:  25-34, 325 yds., 2 TD, 0 INT.   

-  Scored three himself.
-  Ten different guys caught passes.  Which suggests, he might have actually gone through his progressions.

And he was decisive, often throwing before the receivers were out of their breaks. 

Yikes!  If he's gonna do that, that calls into question the very foundation of my Faith - Notre Dame QB's never do that...

And maybe most importantly, he wasn't a total dick while waiting his turn to play meaningful minutes in a meaningful game.  You certainly didn't think that game was a slam dunk, did you? More than a few pundits had ND on 'upset alert - but after the first couple series, he was The Man.  Thank you, Ian, for making last Saturday the first stress-free Saturday of the football season.

See me, feel me
Touch me, heal me... 

See if you can follow this train of thought:

                                               Ian Book!

Which makes me think of Famous Ian's or Famous books...

1.  Ian's? There can be only one:  Ian Dury & the Blockheads! Sex and Drugs and Rock 'n Roll...
Where's Starvation Lake?

2.  You say Blockhead? I say Blockchain! Which haunts my dreams...

3.  Dream?  Dream Weaver - I believe it can get me through the night!

4.  Weaver?  Like Dennis Weaver?McCloud! I loved that coat of his...

5.  Hey, wasn't he also in Duel, Spielberg's 1st movie?

Does that truck have Michigan plates...

6.  Ah, Spielberg.  Super successful filmmaker who arguably brought back Hollywood...

7.  Ah, Brian Kelly, super successful, um....

For you see, all roads ultimately lead back to The Chosen One, coach Kelly. (Okay, maybe not your chosen one... more like Swarbrick's chosen one... but that's water under the bridge at this point.)  

But hey, BK had the stones to make a QB change when the team was actually still undefeated. 

So for at least one week, who's your daddy now?

Wager Time!
4-0.  And things look a lot different this week, don't they?

Welcome to the Notre Dame roller coaster ride, "Kelly's Bi-Polar Adventure!


TC’s Russian Equivalent
ND Connection


Fyodor Dostoevsky

Who doesn’t love a Russian novel?  

What they lack in brevity they make up in ‘set your hair on fire’ pessimism.  

And Fyodor was The Man.  (Anyone who can write "The Idiot" 150 years ago gets my vote for prescient genius.)

11+ wins would be Dostoevsky-like excellence.

Dave M., John P., Brian M, Joe S.


LiniDaryl M.Raz the ElderJayBryanTed



First of all, dogs rule. 

Dogs in Space even more so.  Especially the first, and when they end up giving their lives in such heroic fashion, well... 

Like a 10-2 season, you probably wouldn't have cheered for Laika at the time but in hindsight, you’re more impressed with the outcome than you expected.

JPJerry CiJim T., Dennis, Tim S.,  Jerry P.Graham, Brian W., Kevin C.Peter, Coat-Man, BucksGutschJohn L.Spit the Elder,, Spit the Younger, Ryan


Sergei Federov

Is he the greatest of Russian hockey players?   
400 goals, 554 assists. MVP, Selke winners. 

He’s gotta be in the conversation.  

But, as my (then 10 yr. old) nephew once said, he was “that stinkin’ Federov” for many - so you have to be a little conflicted about him and his impressive career. 

Probably like 9 wins will leave you.

Jerrence, Bose, LindonianFeif, Jim S., Jim B.GerardMike C.,  Tim C., Bob J., Pat C., SheaBill B.


Vasily Zaytsev

Battle of Stalingrad.  

Germany v. Russia. 
Two snipers.  

The original Larry Corrigan ‘root for a tie w lots of injuries’ scenario.

(And boy did they deliver on that.)

So, not unlike a 7-8 win season, while you maybe appreciate Vasily's effort - - you really want no part of  the experience. 

Ray, Alex S.,  The Brothers RasmusMike G.Paul B.



Nesting dolls

As a wee lad, I received one of these as a gift from a family friend.  

I can still recall my little WTF confusion... as well as a visceral "you gotta be kidding me" disappointment. 

Not unlike what 5-6 wins would feel like.


4 or less


Any way you look it (him) this is bad. 

Really, really bad.

As would 4 wins.

Schedule - 2018

1      Michigan                          W
8     Ball State                          W        
15    Vanderbilt                       W
22    @Wake Forest               W
29    Stanford  

6      @Virginia Tech                     
13    Pittsburgh - Alumni Hall / Union Pier reunion                      
27   Navy (San Diego)                              

3      @Northwestern -- Razmatazz!                      
10     Florida State                               
17     Syracuse @ Yankee Stadium                              
24    @USC      

Schadenfreude of The Week

1.   Va. Tech.  I know I shouldn't revel in their epic fail against perennial powerhouse Old Dominion - it hurts our strength of schedule massively.   But I needed a reason to feel optimistic about going into Blacksburg, probably at night, coming out with a "W."

(Can I at least be happy about their QB breaking his leg and missing our game?)

Well, all of our alma mater's won last weekend...

2.   Boston College.  It occurs to me, now, that while I was attending the wedding of my nephew to the daughter of semi-BC football royalty, his alma mater was getting smoked by my daughter (and son-in-law's) school.  That's just awesome!  

Not that I begrudge him his modest celebrity, it's just that I think BC's fans are complete reprobates.  

And I'll never get over 1993. 

3.  Texas A&M.   I forgot to add that along with with weak, lazy and shallow, I'm also incredibly petty.  So, Mike Elko, this freude is for you.  Granted, getting 45 pts. hung on you by the professional-in-everything-but-NCAA-status Alabama is not the most embarrassing thing in the world.  No, wait, that would be having a boss named Jimbo. 

Terry's Trolls

Unlike most weeks when individuals jump out of the pack to let their freak flag fly, this week's recognitions have more to do with classes of tools - subspecies if you will.

Call it the herd mentality when a collective mindset of ill-formed logic leads to poor choices and the revealing of low character. 

 Some less surprising than others.  

1. QB transfers.    As the philosopher Castellini opined this week, the Law of Unintended Consequences is alive and well in the NCAA - perhaps fueled by the new rule that allows someone to play only 4 games and transfer while saving a year of eligibility.  But maybe not.  This week's poster child is Clemson's sophomore QB, Kelly Bryant, who after losing his starting spot to this year's freshman wunderkind, immediately determines he's leaving.  Never mind that the freshman might not pan out, that he might get hurt, that he could actually try to improve and re-win the job.  Nah.  Wussie.  But he's far from unique in the sport.  

Juxtapose that with Our Man Wimbush (and his mother's) attitude after being sat down.  Notre Dame Man, Accounting Major.  

2.  NFL refs.  I'm probably in the minority here - guys who pay attention to the pro game but as my family pointed out to me last week, when I was sat next to a Mara sibling at a wedding, I am, ahem, a Packer owner... but honestly, NFL, WTF with your roughing the passer interpretations?  You tell me which one is the egregious penalty? Because, one is, apparently.  And one isn't.

3.  ND Bandwagon'ers.  Each week I read my ND message boards and each week coach Kelly gets reamed for his many irredeemable flaws, starting w his Massachusetts roots - he's almost surely a liberal.

Until this week.  When suddenly he's the 2nd Coming of Nick Saban.  The Ian Book move?  Masterful!  Playing all the freshmen in the 2nd half to save the starters' legs?  Genius.  Puh-lease.   The hypocrisy is really too much.

Cocktail of the Month

The air in the Midwest is getting a bit nippier even if the temps at last week's game remain Sahara-esque. Perhaps it's time to put away the light liquors and move to something warmer.

We need a movie-inspired cocktail that screams change - even when driven by potentially dire circumstances.  And one that provides some level of relaxed, dare I say, enjoyment.   But what film could provide that?!  How about...

Some Spike It Hot
Some Like It Hot (1959)
Directed by Billy Wilder

Does this dress make me look fat?
Often cited as the greatest comedy of all time, Some Like It Hot put Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis into dresses - and sent audiences into stitches.  In a playful plot, two Chicagoland musicians go unconventionally undercover after accidentally witnessing the real-life St. Valentine's Day Massacre.

The film also stars Marilyn Monroe as history's most unlikely ukulele player.  Toast to this madcap masterpiece with a hot hootch that'll have you seeing, well, cross-eyed.

  • 1 tspn. brown sugar
  • 1 tblsp. unsalted butter
  • 6 oz. hot tap water
  • 2 oz. dark rum
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • Lemon zest, for garnish
Microwave the brown sugar and butter for :15 in a mug.  Swirl the butter inside the mug and then discard the liquid.  Add the water and rum, and garnish with the nutmeg and lemon zest on top.  And remember:  no wigs, no heels, no service.

Final Thought

I love this time of year - both the football and the baseball get really meaningful - and with any luck we'll have another BoSox - Yankees series, which leads me to this charming interaction:

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