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Thursday, November 22, 2018

Week 11: How Ya Like Me Now?

When you're back's against the wall
...just have a little faith in me.

Back in the late '80s, when I would occasionally demonstrate impressive (if uncharacteristic) fits of lucidity, my pal Alvin would look at me and say, "Where is my friend Terry and what have you done with him?" - suggesting the occurrence of some paranormal malfeasance along the lines of an alien abduction... 

At the time, me being in my 20's and at the height of my Powers of Idiocy, it was not inappropriate conjecture.

But while watching Saturday's game, one couldn't help but recall a similar line of inquiry - where is my (disappointing) Notre Dame football team and what have you done with them?  


"Orangemen, come out to plaaaay-yaaaay..."
And what better of an iconic venue - Yankee Stadium, The Big Apple - for the Irish to announce to the college football world, we belong.

Speaking of iconic, did you know this was the 25th anniversary of Nirvana's MTV Unplugged performance, made even more notable by Kurt Cobain's offing himself six months later... 

The linked Ringer article (above) is long but worth it to hear those involved talk about how it all came to be. 

One could make the argument that both the ND and Nirvana performances were the culmination of impressive behind-the-scenes preparation that the world never sees.

How, indeed, do you like Team Kelly now?

Word of the Week

Used in a sentence paragraph:  
Young Jerrence wasn't sure what he enjoyed more from Saturday, the comfortable way Notre Dame made relatively fast, if uneven, work of the Syracuse Orangemen - or the sinecure that the dominating win afforded them.

If the BCS Committee needed style points, the convincing win over a top 20 team would provide it, especially in light of Michigan's less than convincing win over Indiana and Clemson's similar (early) struggle with Duke.

P.S.   With Ohio State looking less and less impressive with every week - hello, that was Maryland football you were playing, not their basketball team - how is a Michigan win in next week's rivalry game even considered that great of an achievement?

Quote of the Week 

"We'll never survive."

"Nonsense. You're only saying that because no one ever has..."
                       The Princess Bride
As ND stands on the precipice of making the BCS Playoff - something any number of pundits thought (or wished) would never happen, why be pessimistic now?  

Let's win the whole freakin' thing.

And RIP, William Goldman.  Screenwriter of 'Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid', 'All The President's Men', 'Marathon Man', 'Misery' and of course both the book and screenplay of 'The Princess Bride' - a man of words.

Weekend Review

Dateline: Monterey, CA

John Steinbeck, eat your heart out.  

And if I was living here full-time ("some more fresh crab, oh yes please - and if you wouldn't mind topping off my glass with some of that cab you've been dispensing..."), I wouldn't be writing about no Oklahoma Depression Era dysfunction.

But I digress. 

I watched the game from, quite literally, 30,000' - Chicago => San Jose , with the wonders of modern technology at my fingertips - and no doubt seeing the same things y'all saw.

Basically, a team that looks like its peaking at exactly the right time. 

And very, very focused upon the task at hand.

But other than that, forgive the minimal insight below - I don't like to repeat myself (I do that enough in daily life) and there's not a whole lot that we're now seeing that's outside the norm of every week. Which, this year, is a good thing.

"Comes down to reality.
That's fine with me
'Cause I've let it slide..."

1st Quarter

So let's get the uniform discussion out of the way quickly.  What best describes your attitude toward last week's uniforms: 

A)  I've seen worse Shamrock Series uni's.

B)  I don't know why they had to trade off on the Yankees brand equities, we're ND dammit!

C)  Do whatever you want with the jerseys and pants - just never mess w the gold helmets.

D)  They were okay, it just seemed like I was was rooting for a completely different team.

E) Get off my lawn asshole.

(Personally, I'm somewhere in between C and D: never mess with the helmet and would prefer that a Senior Day green jersey be our stylistic walk on the wild side.)

2nd Quarter

I'm baaaaaccckkkk...
In praise of Chip Long...

This might be the third game, maybe in a row (as I said, the Research Dept. here is MIA), where there's been a play so perfectly called, so perfectly timed... at a 'we really need this' moment - that one must call out the OC for the brilliance of it.

And Jafar Armstrong's 9 yd. fake sweep / counter TD run was it this week. A play that took a game from being a 13-0 'hey it's still just two scores' to 20-0 and 'we got this.'

Moreover, one gets the sense that this time of year, they've got plays they're holding back for just. the. right. time.  And it's awesome.

3rd Quarter

It wasn't going to matter what QB was under center...  
The O-line baffles me.  They probably weren't as good as they looked vs. FSU... and I understand that Syracuse's D-line was supposed to be their strength... 

But I just would've thought we'd see less 'stack the box' since Book has proven to break that.  

And the false starts. What is up with that?!

4th Quarter

Nice to see them get some plays for Wimbush, a NJ kid with no doubt a lot of family / friends in the crowd.  And probably smart - give future DC's something to think about.   

Not to end on a downer but... 

Has anyone else noticed that the mediocrity of special teams continues?

* Mullet Man ain't hitting rockets like he used to.

*  Yoon isn't actually Mr. Automatic (though admittedly he really hasn't missed a 'must have' kick)

*  KO coverage still scares me

One last look...

Question of the Week

Again, consider The Athletic and the Pete Sampson-led, Notre Dame coverage within (link here).

Lovely Rita Meter Maid - ND trending...

Let's do it to it...

And by 'to it' I mean, USC.

11-0 and taking our talents to Los Angeles...  bring on the Trojans.  

I don't believe we'll be disappointed.

Buddy's Buddy

After Notre Dame’s 36-3 blowout of Syracuse, head coach Brian Kelly gave the game ball to safety Alohi Gilman, making it 11 different players picking up the honor after each of this season’s 11 wins. 

He follows Brandon Wimbush (Michigan), Jalen Elliott (Ball State), Tyler Newsome (Vanderbilt), Sam Mustipher (Wake Forest), Jerry Tillery (Stanford), Julian Love (Virginia Tech), Julian Okwara (Pittsburgh), Dexter Williams (Navy), Chase Claypool (Northwestern) and Alizé Mack (Florida State).

This would seem to speak to a team less reliant on 1-2 studs every week than a much wider, collective group of guys who, in any given week, make plays that changes games.  

That said, there can be little debate that Gilman is a guy who seems to always be on that shortlist of players you end up talking about after a game.  

I don't know what his stats were (and at this point in the season, my commitment to research has dropped to nil) but I do know the guy once again showed up early - his 2nd quarter INT being especially impressive -  to kill promising opponent's drives - leaving the game never in doubt thereafter.  

One shudders to think, now, what the D would be like without him.  

He does have another year of eligibility, doesn't he?)

Wager Time!

Here's a secret to my personal wagering algorithm.  I don't mean to brag but it's been a formula so successful that it's lead me to exactly zero wins in this pool over the half dozen or years we've been doing this. 

But no matter:  here's what I do - I determine an expected win number for the year. And then I SUBTRACT ONE, knowing that disappointment in Life comes in many forms but the most predictable of which is ND losing to someone they're favored by double digits over.  

Smart, huh?

I share this now with the quiet satisfaction of today knowing that had I two opportunities to bet this year, I would've lost both ways.  Impressive, oui? 

So with a mere 10 of you still preparing yourself for the Big Money lightning round / tie-breaker, here's a teaser of the type of questions you might see:

In Bryan Gruley's new, NYT best selling novel, the central character suffers from what developmental disease?


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.GrahamBrian W.Kevin C.Peter, CoatMan, 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.

JerrenceBoseLindonianFeifJim 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                          W

6      @Virginia Tech              W                  
13    Pittsburgh -                     W                      
27   Navy (San Diego)           W                           

3      @Northwestern            W                         
10     Florida State                 W                       
17     Syracuse                        W                              
24    @USC      

Schadenfreude of The Week

We in the Schadenfreude Analytics industry find ourselves in what we like to call the Bi-Modal period of the year, where losses we love to love fall into essentially two mutually exclusive camps.

I.  The losses that directly benefit ND's BCS Playoff chances.

II.  The losses that change nothing at all but make us feel good because we're super-petty people who can hold grudges for a really long time over grievances that may or not have ever been real. 

This week's roll call: 

Clay, We Hardly Knew Ye
1.   USC.   They find a way to blow yet another game, this time to cross town rival UCLA who isn't exactly the 2nd Coming of one of Chip Kelly's Oregon teams.   

The Bad News:  this doesn't help our strength of schedule and theoretically, should fire up the Trojans for a 'Remember the Alamo'-like stand against ND this week.  (I'm not holding my breath.)

The Good News:  Helton may not lose his job.  There's news floating that because USC is in the throes of a very ugly and expensive sexual harassment scandal that's already cost the job of the university president (among others), they may not have the money to pay Helton out. (In taking a page out of the Kevin White / Charlie Weis strategy, USC's AD extended Helton last year... oops.)

2.  West Virginia.  I feel bad for this, sorta, as I don't perceive the state has a lot going for it other than this school's athletics but... too bad.  We must eliminate the nearby contenders.  

And yours was an epic fail.

"Is the camera on me?  Good..."
3.  Ohio State.   Okay you didn't lose.  But beating Maryland by a point in OT after giving up 51 isn't exactly a win either, is it?  

Plus your coach, the Anti-Christ, has a super big headache which may or may not be a real thing but sure is looking like the perfect Ohio State exit strategy so he can either:

a) take a year off and return in End of Days, probably to USC (if they retain Helton) As Foretold By Prophecy. 


A Blood Moon : tOSU must've called a press conference...

b) immediately resurrect himself, in the pro's or USC.

 Same difference, right? 

Terry's Trolls

Admittedly, this was not a great week for the curation of wayward, poorly thought through, bad behavior.

Every week cannot be a Darwin Award honor roll - and this being Thanksgiving week, I suppose we should all be thankful for that, even if it deprives us from a couple minutes of quiet reflection on how impressively (and understatedly) highly evolved we all are.

That's not to say, however, that the cupboard is entirely bare.  So without further ado, this week's humble submission:

1. Jeff Thomas .    "You say potato, I say po-tah-to."  The headline read 'Miami Dismisses Star Wideout' a seemingly fairly straightforward, linear announcement.

But Mr. Thomas begs to differ.   He says he came to 'an agreement' that both parties would benefit from him from taking his talents elsewhere.  I imagine the conversation went something like this:

Coach RichtYou're an incredible miscreant, even by Miami standards, and you need to leave - preferably the state of Florida - before both of us end up in jail.

Jeff ThomasI agree.

So while you're pondering just how hard it must be get kicked out of Miami's program, also consider the knife edge of semantics that Jeff had to apply to arrive at his interpretation.

2. Beckyn Hager.  When one wonders why state schools, even ones like U. of Texas that have legitimately impressive faculty / academic programs, get a bad rap for the clowns that matriculate there... I'd cite Mr. Hager as Exhibit A.

The first recidivist multiple honoree here (Urban Meyer doesn't count, he's in his own, other-worldly category), here's the background:  UT beats Iowa State in a must have game in order to get to a Big12 championship game.  Hager plays a key role and is interviewed afterward, conducting his media session in pads, aviator sunglasses and a cowboy hat, going stream-of-conscious (i.e., full babble), capping it off with an "and Oklahoma still sucks."

Huh?  Try to focus, son.  And while you're at it, try to show a scintilla of class.  Future Dallas Cowboy right there, folks.

And yes, the Big12 did make him apologize. I'm quite sure he had no idea why.

3.  The Family Rodgers.  Family feud!  By anyone's measure, donating $1M to California Fire Relief support should be viewed as a really good thing, right?  And that's what Packers QB, Aaron Rodgers did this past week - a noble and seemingly appropriate thing for him to do, insofar as a) he recently signed a $150M contract extension and b) he is from nearby Chico, CA.   Nice. The Packers actually kicked in an additional $250k.

Except, not everyone saw it that way - most especially his brother, former Vandy QB / star of the Bachelorette (which I may or may not have seen due to extreme coercion by my wife).

Everything else just feels like an act.

Ouch.  You can choose your friends but ya can't choose your family.

Cocktail of the Month

When one thinks of New York City, one can't help but be reminded of that never-gets-old chestnut:

New York would be an awesome city if there weren't so many New Yorkers in it.

Which is to say, literally millions of profoundly screwed up people steadily making their way down the Travis Bickle evolutionary continuum towards psychopathy.

Taxi Screw-Driver
Taxi Driver (1976)
Directed by Martin Scorsese

Buckle up for a frightening film that won innumerable accolades (and that I must've seen a dozen times in Don Costello's 'Intro to Screenwriting' class) - though, curiously zero Oscars -  and permanently placed De Niro and Scorsese atop the list of Hollywood's toughest talents.  Tracing the downward spiral of Travis Bickle, whose career behind the wheel is a far cry from his days in Vietnam, Taxi Driver also brought a 13 year old Jodie Foster to prominence.

Not to be out-acted by his middle school co-star, De Niro was so "method, " he reportedly got his cab license in his spare time - when he wasn't improvising one of the most quoted pieces of dialogue ever - "you talkin' to me?" 

This rough ride inspires a blood(y) orange take on a classic cocktail.  
  • 1 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. gin
  • 3/4 oz. simple syrup
  • 6 oz. blood orange juice
  • Blood orange wedge, for garnish
Hide your car keys, pour the vodka and gin over ice in a highball glass, and top with the blood organge juice.  Give it a quick stir and garnish with the wedge of the blood orange.   

Final Thought

Happy Thanksgiving, all!  But most especially to the real stars of the 'A' Lot crew: 

Amy. Barbara Jean. Bonnie. Carol. Cathy. Diane. Jane. Jean. Jen. Joan. Joan. Julie. Judy. Kathy. Kathy. Laura. Linda. Lisa. Lise. Marge. Maribeth. Mariquita. Marlena. Mary. Mary. Maureen. Mindy. Mo. Pam. Pam. Pat. Peg. Shari. Sharon. Steph. Susan. Susanne. Teresa. Teri. Tracey. 

Love you all!  Often more than your husbands...

"It's a matter of opinion, but I think you're fine.
As a matter of fact, babe, they couldn't hold a candle to your kind..."

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