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Thursday, November 1, 2018

Week 8: Shackleton Would Be Proud

I know a pretty little place in Southern California, down San Diego way... 

Welcome back!  Eight down and four to go.  What did you do during your week off?  Read? Cinema? Travel? Goat yoga? 

When I wasn't otherwise on-line, ordering Bryan Gruley's new book (reasonably priced and available Nov. 1 for Amazon Prime members), I was watching a lot of baseball. 

October baseball - finally when the games actually matter. And low scoring contests are the most exciting. Situated in Southern California last weekend, with several other high profile contests, it made that area the Sports Epicenter of the World, if only for a few fateful days:
  • Red Sox v. Dodgers
  • Irish v. Midshipmen
  • Lakers (LeBron!) v. Nuggets
  • Pack vs. Rams

And in doing so, allowed laid back SoCal a brief attitudinal glimpse into how New Yorkers feel about themselves every day: 

There is nothing meaningful in the entire world outside where WE exist.  Deal with it, Midwest farm boys, they say.

Enjoy having the top pick(s) in the NFL Draft, we say.

If I'm Buehler, I'm framing this picture...
But I'm getting off track.  

Watching all of the World Series baseball, I learned much, mostly about stamina, endurance.  

"They're making another pitching change, Lisa."

"Gee, that's nice, dear."

BTW, congrats to the Red Sox.  Fantastic year.

Endurance is also how I view the Navy game each year, three and a half hours to merely survive.  

Let's review the ND-Navy Rules of Engagement:

  • We're going to play them every year (and write them a pretty reasonable check) because they saved our school's asses during WWII.  
    • Which, basically, makes us the academic equivalent of the French.
  • We cannot hate them with the same vitriol of, say, Michigan or Miami, because they walk off the field and return to their day jobs, defending us from the godless hordes that seek to take away our way of life, including but not limited to, watching as many Keanu Reeves movies as I damn well please.
  • We're a lot bigger than them - no one likes a bully.
  • They're going to commit to the ethically dubious chop block in order to compete - taking someone's NFL aspirations and throwing them in the dumpster with the inevitable ACL tear.
Hence my personal conflict of conscience.  

Word of the Week

Used in a sentence:  While watching Notre Dame’s surprising backslide in defensive competence during the 3rd quarter of its contest with the Naval Academy, it dawned upon young Jerrence that perhaps his expectations - at least relative to defending an option offense - were perhaps overly optimistic.  

Given Clark Lea's status as a Defensive Coordinator in his first year - and first time strategizing against an offense he sees but once a year - Jerrence thought that the on-the-field product should probably be more accurately described as inchoate.

Not that anyone else in the ND Nation universe was going to cut coach Lea any slack for that reality.

Quote of the Week 

Dizzy Dean, after taking a batted ball to the head.
"The doctors X-rayed my head and found nothing."


Remaining in a baseball state-of-mind...  I, along like many, wondered... what was Dave Roberts thinking when he took Rich Hill out...

Weekend Review

Dateline:  Scotchlandia, USA

Truth be told, I have precious little insight to offer about this game, certainly none that you didn't see for yourself.  When last I was in this very same position for the Va. Tech game... which is to say, on my couch. Alone. Unaccompanied.  Alone.  
Acting out?

Well, not entirely the same, insofar as this week I was proactively exiled to the bedroom where my "acting out" during the game would be 'less disturbing' to the cats.

Says who?

How's the bullpen look tonight, coach?
At any rate, as I contemplated my personal game plan, I was cognizant of how MLB managers now go to their bullpens 'early and often' in the playoffs... 

Eek.  Given that my closer for this night is a 12 yr. old scotch, that strategy left me wondering if I'd even be awake to see the 4th Quarter.  

"Put me in coach, I'm ready to play."

Actually, I'd prefer not. I've got a liver to think about.

That said, here goes:

1st Quarter

After the first play, I'm re-thinking my bullpen options.

Get Macallan up and throwing.  Fast.  If not Mac, find Glen.  Glenmorangie. 

Then, of course, Alohi says, "hold my beer."

Bullet dodged.  Order is restored in the universe.

Then Drue drops.  Ankle.   Motherf********

Drew White, come on down!  (BTW, not hearing your name called will qualify as a phenomenally successful evening, son.) 

2nd Quarter

I think it's safe to say that Dexter can now be viewed as that 'bell cow' RB.

Where would we be without him?

And nice to see Jafar back.  They make an awfully attractive couple, yes?

Speaking of twosomes, the future looked pretty bright based on the glimpses we saw of Kevin Austin and Cole Kmet, oui?

3rd Quarter

Even after losing Tranquill, I can't recall a more dominant defensive performance against a Navy team than what we saw in the 1st Half.

Too bad they didn't seem to bring that performance out with them in the 2nd.  Or at least the 3rd Quarter.

Maddeningly, it's not scheme - it's basic tackling. Effort.  Troy Pride is NOT gonna want to see this film.

Luckily, the 'O' answered every time, our back up kicker settled down and the quarter ends with it looking like we lost focus but never control.  

Can't blame them.  When you're up 27-0, beating up on the Midshipmen doesn't feel all that satisfying.

At any rate, the Macallan goes back into the cabinet.  We need him rested - he could be called upon quite a bit in November.

4th Quarter

After trading early scores, boredom starts to set in and the baseball game is getting more of my attention.

It's gotten to the point where I no longer detest Navy's coach, Ken N-something something.

One thing I do love about the rivalry: the post-game ritual of both teams witnessing the singing of the other's alma mater. 

But boy, do we have some guys with awful voices...

Lovely Rita Meter Maid - ND trending...

#4 in the first BCS Poll, which is reasonable for two reasons:

  1.  We probably don't deserve to be any higher.
  2.  Everyone on the planet knows you don't want to be in the 3rd position in that first poll.
And, it's all going to sort itself out over the next month anyway.  Win and we're in.  And probably more like 2 or 3. 

Which is nice.

Buddy's Buddy

As I alluded earlier, I've been watching a lot of baseball this past month.  Play-in games, Playoffs - World Series... after the 162 game foreplay, it's the sport at it's most exciting.

So as I struggled to identify this week's buddy, in a football game, truth be told, that had precious little real drama.  Who do you nominate, especially if one is trying to spread the wealth?

Drew White?  He didn't lose the game but that hardly qualifies for legitimacy - Buddy's Buddy isn't a charity, after all.

But it could be about charity.   And there was one story this past week that I found so... brilliant... that immediately sent it's protagonist to the top of the list, Mookie Betts

And may I say, philosophically, I think every team - well every one of my teams - should have a Mookie on it.   

Fun fact (which many of you probably already know):  Pearl Jam's original band name was Mookie Blaylock, after the former Oklahoma star / NBA guard.  Until it was pointed out to them, in the nicest possible way, that maybe that wasn't such an optimal idea from, you know, a legal standpoint .

Still, they named their breakthrough first album, "10" - which was Mookie's number.  

But I digress. 

Betts, soon-to-be American League MVP, leaves Fenway after Game 2 of the World Series, putting the BoSox up 2-0.  Party time, right?  You're headed to the west coast the next day, got some time to chill... 

No.  He heads to the Boston Public Library with his cousin, as one does, to serve meals to the homeless for a few hours.  In 30F degree temps.  Mookie, when I said 'chill' I meant...  

Full disclosure:  I grew up in northern NJ, a Yankee fan.  Hated the Red Sox.  

But not this team.  And not this player.  

Wager Time!


Albert, thanks for playing.  I know you don't mind losing in this context.

You get nothing! And you get nothing...
And if it's any consolation, every week from here on out, someone in the pool is gonna lose regardless of what ND does.  

Actually because of what ND does.

Perhaps I shouldn't be focusing on the downside.  But it is November, a month that hasn't been kind to Kelly and the team...

And did you know that Northwestern is actually 11-1 in their last 12 Big 10 games?  


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, 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.

JerrenceBoseLindonianFeif, 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                          W

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

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

Schadenfreude of The Week

We're getting to the point in the season where one doesn't even have to feel bad about reveling in other team's losses.

It's the American Way!

Because now, all sorts of things are on the line:  BCS playoffs, Jan. 1 bowls, even simple bowl eligibility.  And what's more fun than feigning sympathy for colleague's teams that you really never liked and they came sooo close but no cigar.


This week's roll call: 

Sure. One for each Power 5 win...
1.   Miami.   Did you know they were 5-6 in their last 11 games?   And only two of those wines were against Power 5 teams?

2.  Texas.  Here's a question for the group - and not an especially original one:  does anyone in the Big12 play defense?  It would appear not.   I suppose it's always good copy when a 20th century power returns to form (why can't it be us, God?) but Longhorn Nation, it's not you. Not yet. 

3.  Florida.   Everyone know that great quote from The Usual Suspects where Verbal Kint says, "the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."

(Hello! He's coaching in Columbus, OH.)   

The NCAA equivalent:  the greatest trick the SEC ever pulled was convincing the world that their whole conference is great.  And beating anyone in it is a BFD.   

Puhlease.  Florida, take a seat. 

Terry's Trolls

Friend to the blog (and many of us), Jim Thompson a few years back successfully sold into Temple U. the idea of making Market Research a potential Major (or Minor) within the Business school.  

At least I think that's what he did.  Or something close to that. It doesn't matter.  What does is this:  what if one combined the study of Tools with Sociology as a course of study?

Call it Abnormal Anthropology.  

I think I've provided plenty of cases to suggest this is a field of study, fecund with potential and frankly one that would be for The Betterment of Mankind.  And we all know who'd be the poster child for Chapter One:  

1. Urban Meyer.    Suffering a brain cyst?  Gee that sounds really serious, coach!  Except when one is The Spawn of Satan and pretty much impervious to human malady, physiological or, it would seem, ethical. 

But you say you're going to soldier on for Buckeye Nation.  

Yeah, we'll see.  What it really sounds like is a terrific way to begin bailing on yet another moral shit show of a college football program; one that you've built and leveraged to immense personal financial benefit. 

2.  Maryland Board of Regents.  Speaking of the morally reprehensible, how about those kooks in Maryland who, after much thoughtful debate - and by thoughtful debate I mean $5 drinks and all you can eat chicken wings at the Baltimore Airport Applebee's Happy Hour - decided to recommend that the Maryland Terps head coach, DJ Durkin, be retained.   

You're back. And I'm still dead.
He, leader of men, responsible for the completely preventable death of one of his football players, Jordan McNair, earlier this summer. If you're interested, check out this ESPN article about Maryland football's "toxic culture" - you'll find yourself baffled at how a ruling body could come to such a conclusion. 

I'm just spitballing here but I'm guessing Urban's reaction to this?  "Now there's a culture I could get used to..."

Update:  Durkin has now been fired.  Still doesn't let the BoR off the hook.  Shameful. 

3. Breckyn HagerMama, don't let your babies grow up to be... a dumber-than-a-box-of-rocks Longhorn.

Here's the scene:  UT is about to formally spit the bit on their 2018 Resurrection Tour by getting handled, decisively, by Oklahoma State.  

The OSU Cowboys are in the victory position, having the QB take a knee and burn the necessary final seconds.  Easy.

Except that this Clay Matthews-Wannabe Yahoo decides to come busting around the edge to a lay a lick on the QB.  Luckily, one of the OSU guys steps in and lays him out, prompting an unnecessary (and silly) confrontation between the head coaches.  Moron.

Manny, that sure doesn't seem like your usual stride...
4.  Manny Machado.  Does this even require explanation?  

Complete tool.  And soon-to-be generationally wealthy tool, perhaps even in the town this blog is written.  

Phillies, you can have him.  

Striking out to end the Series was karma at its best.

5.  Ty Montgomery.  If you asked any Packer fan before last week's game against arguably the NFL's best team, the LA Rams, would you take this scenario:  2 minutes left, down by only 2 pts., Aaron Rodgers with the ball needing to drive, oh, ~ 40 yds for a makable, winning FG...

100 out of 100 would say, sign me up!

But apparently not Mr. Montgomery (who, as I write this, is now a former Packer), who took the ensuing kickoff out of the end zone (MISTAKE #1), ran 20 yds. and fumbled, effectively ending the game.  


Cocktail of the Month

This week's cinematically inspired libation has it all - a swashbuckling hero, exotic locales, cool ancient artifacts, jokes, Nazi's, Nazi jokes... 

But mostly it has the feeling of "this should be super fun, super entertaining, what's with the sense of dread at the end? Whew, that was a close one. I guess I liked it..."

The same feeling I get watching us play Navy.   

Indiana Jones & The Shirley Temple of Doom
Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom (1984)
Directed by Stephen Spielberg

Prequel Temple of Doom traded out some of Raiders of the Lost Ark's intellect for twice it's twists, including a celebrated chase sequence that finds Indy on a loopy underground train track. 
If you like your action stars rescuing child slaves from cultish clutches, accompanied by wise-cracking child sidekicks, and getting the daffy dame at the end of the day, then Doom is the Indy for you.  
Um, that's not supposed to be part of the recipe... 

Of course, it's all set in a culturally questionable Hindu temple, so this one goes down best with a buzz.  

Start your night off the way this flick opened: with a splashy Shanghai Shirley Temple in honor of a quirky anything-goes kickoff.

  • 1 1/2 oz. tequila
  • 4 oz. ginger ale
  • 1 oz. lychee juice
  • 1 1/2 oz. pomegranate juice
  • 1 peeled lychee wedge, for garnish
  • Gummy snake (or worm), for garnish

Pour the tequila over ice in a highball glass. One at a time, add the ginger ale, lychee juice and pomegranate juice.  Garnish with the wedge of lychee - and drop in a gummy snake, if you dare.

Final Thought

This space doesn't often deal with anything serious - which is not to say that Notre Dame football isn't a serious subject, actually that's exactly what I'm saying - but occasionally the Real World intervenes. 

And not always in a good way.  Like Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, which near as I can tell isn't all that far from where many of our South Hills Catholic pals grew up.

Even closer to home:  On October 19th, Cathy Scott Mullins lost her fight with leukemia.
You probably didn't know her but likely you do her husband, Brian 'Moon' Mullins: former Senior Bar Manager and ongoing Keenan Hall degenerate is a 40 yr. friend for many of us.  And as a freshman year resident of that hall's 4th floor, I daresay there's few people that I've known longer.                                                                                                                                                He's also a card-carrying member of the "Out-Kicked My Coverage" marriage club.  Cathy was a wonderful woman and shit like this just shouldn't happen to people like her.  Certainly not at our age. 
The world needs more Cathy Mullins, not less.

On behalf of the whole blog / Stayer tailgate crew, Brian, our sincerest condolences to you and your family.  Stay strong. 

A good day doesn't have to be a Friday...

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