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Saturday, May 25, 2019

Pre-Reunion: What's The Frequency, Jerrence?

Dear mom and dad,

I'm so sorry I haven't written sooner but my first few weeks at USC have been super busy. Were you aware that classes are scheduled as often as three times a week?  YOU DID NOT TELL ME THAT. And they expect you to show up, like, practically all the time...   

As if.  Mumsie, you know how much time I require for building my holistic Lululemon-Meets-Pokemon lifestyle brand.  Being a social media influencer is not an easy task.  Just the other day, Tiffany was saying that she noticed bags under my eyes from all the blogging I was doing.  I'm pretty sure it was due to all the two (and sometimes even three) syllable words I had to use.  Pure stress. 

And this morning, Portia said my Google analytics metrics were flagging.

"Flagging."  She actually used that word.  I don't even think she knows what the word means.  Actually, I don't know what it means either but the way she said it - pure snark - I know she didn't mean anything good by it.  What a bitch.  Talk to me when you get your millionth Insta-follower, Portia.

The point is, this whole college experience thing is not at all what I thought I was signing up for.  Thank God the quarter break is coming up next week.  The sorority is headed to St. Barts and I, for one, need to chill.



PS    BTW, what's a blue book?  All the kids are talking about them.  I'm concerned - you know with my sensitive Nordic skin tone, that color will not work for me. Honestly, this school is shockingly rife with fashion philistines.  (Note to self: include that in next blog.) Hopefully, I can find something in a sage, worst case salmon palette. 

But the power of persuasion is no match for anticipation...

It's 40th Reunion Week! Fire up! 

Oh, hello.  I'm back.  And like my golf game this time of year, reader expectations should be set on 'minimal' - anticipating the occasional 'that's a beauty' bit of cleverness mixed with the inevitable 'I'm just gonna hit another one, okay?' literary misstep.

At any rate, I hope the past five months have found everyone well.  

Winter => Spring.  (Or what the Midwest tries to pawn off as Spring.  Actually just Winter Lite.) Regardless a time of great introspection, sprinkled, in my case, with a dollop of Lenten self-discipline.   


I am Jon Snow.  I know that now. I've watched the full eight seasons of Game of Thrones - and it's very clear:
Is that you, Buddy?  You seem... different. 

*  Short of stature.

*  Known in the family as 'the little bastard.'

*  Experienced the Love That Dare Not Speaks Its Name with a wolf-like pet.

*  No one's king. In fact ruled by a woman he loves - who frequently terrifies him and periodically considers offing him.

* Ultimately sent away to an obscure, harsh land surrounded by a populace of questionable evolutionary advancement. And yet, they're his peeps! 

* Despite a lot of crazy sh** happening over the past years, he still knows nothing.  (You'd think he would. But he doesn't.)

Who does that sound like?  I thought so.


Lorenzo and Cosimo
Hello, it's called Lent!  Six weeks of denial - and this year being a near 100% perfect behavioral record.  

The operative word being 'near.'

The only commitment slippage involving an evening with the Castellini-Gruley brain trust.  Using that latter term very, very loosely.

Shocker, huh? Dinner with two pillars of moderation, who'd a thought...  

In hindsight, a loss of willpower one could categorize as a clear self-inflicted wound.


In my defense, there was a) wine involved - Napa and Super Tuscan (if I recall) and b) a passing reference made to one of the parties being connected to local clergy with a plenary Lenten dispensation being 'on the table' and I'd be wise to accept it.  

(What is this, dinner with the fucking Medici's?)

But in Chicago, one misreads those types of offers at your own peril.   So, thank you, Jerome, I'll graciously accept.

And he's not even drooling - what a good boy!
On the other hand, my wife - inarguably the better, more other-directed, more noble... half of the marriage... 

... spent her offseason doing charity work with the handicapped - those poor dregs of the earth who've been dealt a bad hand from the bottom of God's deck.

The fact that I often tend to be the source of the miscreants she's forced to encounter seems to concern her not.  She's doing the Lord's work.  

Or maybe she just wanted to see what working in a circus would be like.

Cocktail of the Month

First off, all hail Dr. Tím Tím - bona fide world class film scholar, now professor emeritus whose newly unencumbered retiree schedule looks pretty much exactly like his prior "I really am working hard" academic calendar.

"Take a bunch of Penn undergrads to the Cannes Film festival?"  

Sure! Wait - is that a trick question?

"You're inviting me on a school-sponsored Celtic cruise and all I have to do is... talk?  Do I have to make sense?"  No?  No problem!

At any rate, bravo, Timo.  Here's a classic film (and high octane cocktail), equal to the incredible-and-at-times-baffling career you've produced.  

Citizen Grain
Citizen Kane (1941)
Directed by Orson Welles

A newspaper magnate's mysterious final utterance inspires a life told in flashbacks in what many critics hail as the best film of all time. (Take that, Casablanca, Vertigo and Showgirls.)

The titular Charles Foster Kane was so closely modeled on real-life news tycoon William Randolph Hearst that Hearst reportedly refused to see the film - or give it even an inch of ink in his own papers.

A much-studied classic by any measure, Kane is doubly remarkable for being the first feature film from none other than Orson "War of The Worlds" Welles, who was only 25 at the time. (Doesn't that alone make you want to drink.)

Toast to beginner's luck with a fizzy "rosebud" cocktail that'll let you have the last word.

  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1/2 oz. grain alcohol (like Everclear)
  • 3/4 oz. Lillet Blanc
  • 3/4 oz. simple syrup
  • 3 drops rose water
  • sparkling water, to fill
  • 3 blackberries, for garnish
Combine all the ingredients (except the sparkling water) with ice in a shaker and shake well. Note:  don't overdo the grain alcohol, as it's extremely potent.  Strain over fresh ice in a high-ball glass and top with the sparkling water.  Drop in a few blackberries for garnish. You'll be black and white and drunk all over. 

Word of the Week

Used in a sentence paragraph:

As was his experience for the past 35 years, Young Jerrence was anticipating the latest Class Reunion with a mixture of excitement and trepidation.  

Sure, he knew there would be enjoyable golf, the unexpected mythical, Australian expat classmate showing up and a lot of excellent wine. Stories both humorous and embarrassing to be shared.  

But he was also cognizant of the inevitable intersection with those fringe classmates:  the social awkward, the preternaturally weird or the professional narcissist with the tendency to bloviate about topics - mostly themselves - that one had zero interest in listening to for more than a minute.  

Wow, you trekked K2 with a blind sherpa who was, in fact, a eunuch, a former Vienna choir boy and a semi-finalist on American Idol?!  

That's really... something

And he introduced you to an amazing delicacy involving yak intestines prepared in a mixture of the animal's bile and melted Pakistani snow - Chinese snow simply wouldn't do, it had to be Pakistani...  

You don't say.  

But the real secret to the prep was wrapping the recipe in used - not fresh! - used dental floss.  Preferably waxed. 

Take me now, God. 

Sully, was that woman we talked to last night in Engineering?
Jerrence knew he would need, yet again, another safe word to share with his 'special ops' mates - a word or phrase, when uttered, meant immediate extrication.  

Five years ago, it was a simple reference to 'Obamacare' and the Conversational Rescue Team (CRT) was quickly on the scene.

This year, he's thinking something along the lines of "hey, that Bob Mueller, what a guy, huh?"

It was only then Jerrence realized that with that phrase he may not even need the CRT.  


Quote of the Week 

The same might said of class reunions.  Depending on who one is talking to at any given time. 

The Football Wager - 2018

It occurred to me that I never bothered to publicly post the results of the 2018 pool.  The tidy sum of $1,175 went to Brian Mullins. 

Congrats, Moon! A worthy winner - let's hope we see you next autumn for a proper toast!

As a refresher, here was tie breaker:  1 pt. for each correct answer, including the literary / historical questions:  

Line                                                                            (Over / Under)         ACTUAL
1.     Cotton – Notre Dame (+13.5) v. Clemson            (55.0)            ____________.
2.    Peach – Florida (+7.0) v. Michigan                      (50.5)             ____________.
3.    Orange – Oklahoma (+14.0) v. Alabama             (80.5            ____________.
4.    Outback – Iowa (+7.0) v. Miss. St.                        (47.0)             ____________.
5.    Fiesta – UCF (+7.5) v. LSU                                    (55.5)              ____________.
6.    Sugar – Texas (+12.5) v. Georgia                           (58.0)             ____________.
7.     Citrus – Kentucky (+6.5) v. Penn St.                    (51.5)              ____________.
8.    Rose – Washington (+6.5) v. Ohio St.                  (58.0)             ____________.

Answer the following:

1.  Which of the following novels was not written by Dostoevsky:

a) Metamorphosis
b) Crime & Punishment
c) The Idiot
d) The Brothers Karamazov

2.  During the Battle of Stalingrad, the Russian sniper, Vasily Zaytsev, was credited with killing how many Germans:

a) 37
b) 225
c) 1011
d)  3.14159265

3.  In Bryan Gruley’s latest novel, “Bleak Harbor”, which of these is true about the character of Corrigan:

a) Defrocked pedophile priest
b) Prison inmate serving time for a crypto-currency Ponzi scheme.
c) Pure-blooded Irishman who secretly identifies as an Italian.
d) Deserving of his own spin off novel.

Buddy's Buddy

Okay we didn't win the National Championship, beaten largely through a defense with tons of 1st round NFL talent and a transcendent QB performance by Jeff Spicoli's doppelgänger.  And if one didn't see the game, one might believe it was a similarly embarrassing blowout along the lines of the Bama game in 2012. 

Personally, I believe one could more than objectively argue that point - the game being a relatively close 14-3 until Julian Love's mysterious injury that took him out for about half the game and well, you know the rest.

So we ended up being very disappointed.  

But talk to Bama about that emotion - they got smoked worse than we did.  And they think natties are their birth rite.

At least we have kids that, by and large*, one can be really proud of - this time of year: graduation week.

My particular favorite from the Class of '19, not the least of which is that he's now a Green Bay Packer, is Dexter Williams.   

Here's a guy who entering college, charitably, wasn't a cultural fit with ND. (Few from FL seem to be.) He made mistakes.  Hung with the wrong guys.  Got in legal trouble.  And could've totally bailed on the football program and taken an easier path - like almost all of his other RB peers.

But he didn't.  And perhaps because he's watched his (clearly awesome) mother fight off a couple different terminal illnesses, he seems to not only have righted the ship.  But flourished.  Long may it last, Dex.

PLEASE watch this short video and I defy you to not smile at the kid's sheer joy in getting that diploma - an exultation I don't believe witnessed since '79 with Ungie and his champagne bottle...

Ungie, I don't wish to sound indelicate but... is that diploma real?

We were little boys. 

Did we miss anything...

*shall we not discuss Cierre Wood right now, okay?


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., DennisTim 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 - 2019

While not an especially inspiring home schedule, at least one thing to call out:

Sept. 26th (Thursday)     Linipalooza Returns!  

Reunion 2019

We could drive out to the dunes tonight

The summer's almost here.

I've been up all night - 

I might sleep all day...

Of all the things I enjoy and appreciate about the Reunions, at the top of the list is our Class President's almost pathological proclivity to lock horns with University leadership and tell 'em "um, thanks for the thoughts on catering - I'm sure you mean well and some well intentioned mid-level operative probably put in some serious hours working this - but well, you see, we're gonna go in a different direction...  and, um, I mean this in the nicest most respectful way but, um, can you please now BACK THE F*** OFF?!"

"...gonna try with a little help from my friends."
I'm speculating a bit there.  Probably not verbatim.

But here's the real point:  as many of you know that sort of 'line in the sand' strategy only works when one is willing to put one's money - quite literally in this case - where your mouth is. 

Which Lini has done for decades - so we haven't had to drink the swill the school would've otherwise put in front of us.

So now is our own turn to pony up and help the cause.   

ND has established a Class of '79 Operating Fund where ALL CONTRIBUTIONS GO TOWARD REPAYING JERRY, not the school.  And the donation will be tax deductible and count toward one's annual gift.  Can you say win-win?

Please give this serious consideration - here's the LINK.  USE IT!

Final Thought

Some fantasies, like a Gruley novel, are dark and frankly more than a little disturbing.   But in Scotchlandia, Reality is considered merely a poorly thought through choice... 

So... on to blog season #11 with my imagination, if not a firm grasp of grammar, fully fueled.  

Sincere thanks to all of you who've put up with this for another year - especially those of you who so aggressively replenished Scotchlandia's Macallan inventory.

Looking forward to seeing everyone next week....

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