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Thursday, September 12, 2019

Week 1: Madman Across The Water

I went Euromad out on the road last fall...
Were it not for Mr. Gordon and his fine distillery
I might've never got this far...

Dateline: Nice, France:  As Young Jerrence lounged along the Promenade des Anglias, sucking down Kir like they were energy drinks - good and good for you - his mind ran the full gamut of human contemplation.  There was the sheer beauty of France's south coast. And the food - he'd had the best sea bass in his life the night before... and of course, all the beautiful people including the 2,000 impossibly fit women in town for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships - each and every one them who could kick his ass, including - maybe especially - the 76 year old.  She appeared to be particularly badass.

"Garçon, keep those Kir coming sil vous plait..."

But mostly, he thought about the injustice of not being born into extraordinary wealth, preferably something royal - Jerrence thought Viscount had a nice ring to it - where he could live the life he was truly destined for... to be the very best version of himself, The Viscount Jerrence, Lovable Louche. 
You sure, uncle Tim, that "lots of wine" is a credible jet lag remedy?

Sure he loved his family.  Outside of the frisky calf / Rodeo Roundup trauma of his youth, Jerrence experienced a loving, reasonably well adjusted upbringing.  

But that, by itself, wasn't really going to pay for his hefty, aperitif-ladened bar bill on a consistent basis, now was it?

As Jerrence contemplated the cosmic joke that been played upon him, more IRONMAN (IRONWOMEN?) ran past him.  

The competitive spirit was clearly in the air.  

4600 miles away in Louisville, KY a similar vibe was also kicking in.  Apparently, tis the season. 

Are you ready for some football? 

Word of the Week
Used in a sentence paragraph:  

As Jerrence watched the replay of the game, and the uneven performance of Notre Dame's Ian Book, he recognized the symptoms in the QB's play almost immediately.

The hesitation.  The deer-in-the-headlights confusion.  Borderline panic. 

Early onset abulia.  

How did Jerrence know?

Because, only days earlier, he had witnessed the very same dysfunction in... himself.  That seaside Nice bar with the waiter peppering him with questions.

Kir?  But of course, monsieur

Vin Blanc or Royale?

Cremę de Cassis or Cremę Fraise?

Or Cremę Framboise?

"Too much!  Too many variables! I can't deal!" Young Jerrence thought. Until he had the epiphany that would save his sanity and become the primary operating principle for the rest of his trip: why not all of them?

"I say my good man, let's start with the Vin Blanc with Cremę de Cassis and see what happens after that.  The day is still young, oui?"

Quote of The Day

"If it bends, it's funny. If it breaks, it's not funny."
Alan Alda
"Crimes And Misdemeanors"

Alda's character was talking about the secret to Comedy.  

The same could be said about ND's defense.

Game Observations

With the massive caveat that I was pretty jet lagged when I watched the replay of the game, here's a few things that jumped out at me:

If Ian doesn't look stellar this week... 
1.  Ian better get it together. Fast.  If he doesn't look Other Worldly against New Mexico... 

2.  It bears re-stating early:  ND is going to get everyone's best game.  

And for Louisville, new coach + at home +zero expectations = ripe conditions for them to come out strong.

3.  Looks like the LB's clearly miss Te'von and Drue, not surprisingly.   

That said, Drew White looked pretty tough.  But is he just Joe Schmidt 2.0?   (Which isn't necessarily a bad thing depending on which year of Joe Schmidt one recalls.)

4.  Kyle Hamilton. S-T-U-D.  And the poster child for the very definition of irony (i.e., when the newbies play better than the veterans).

5.  Not a bitch as much as a genuine mystery to me:  how can our O-line open, frequently, gaping holes but not be able to convert a single 3rd and short?  


6.  My immediate favorite player:  #6 Owusu-hyphen-Something.   

Now if he can only learn to tackle consistently, look out.  

The kid just flies around. 

7. It was the first game, everyone with the 'sky is falling' hot takes, relax.

Reputations changeable
Situations tolerable

Question of the Week

Maintaining my practice of, um, curating from The Athletic  pay site, while at the same time pandering to my biggest audience (the 10 win horde), herewith this week's key question:

Buddy's Buddy

To be candid, I didn't see a whole lot last Monday night to elevate anyone to Buddy status.

* Kyle Hamilton?  Do it for more than a few plays.

* Tommy Tremble?  Nice start.  Do it for more than a couple receptions.

* Chase Claypool?  He will win this recognition. Just not this week.

* The O-line.  Do we need to re-visit the short yardage topic?

* Jay Bramblett?  A punter?  Child please.

* Jon Doerer?  Just checking to see if you were paying attention.

So what to do then?  Simplify - and identify two winners:

I.  Catherine & Honeybear.

For excellence in tag-team partying - great grandma Mary Hesburgh's 85th birthday - while living the "moderation in everything, including moderation" mantra. 

Demonstrating textbook 'west coast chill' they combine laid back style with an edgy "just understand what you're getting yourself in for, if you're gonna hang with us" attitude.

I wanna party with you two.

II.  Blue Man Group 

For excellence in, well, who really knows.

A motley group, to be sure. But they look like they're having a ton 'o fun - more than ND's football team - even if some of them don't look like they even know where they are.

But they do know where I live. And that counts for something in the judging.  Not that many of them could actually ever find it.  

Okay, maybe the engineers.  But the napkin-wearing village idiot, not a chance in hell.

(Congrats again, Randy & Jean!)

Wager 2019 - Taking the Leap

I'm sitting on the dock on the bay
Watching the tide roll away... 

Truth be told, I was in that aforementioned Nice bistro when this song actually did come on the speaker system.  But it got me to thinking about a few days prior.  We had a layover in Stockholm and with some time to kill, I took my bride to one of my favorite museums, the Vasa Museet, which houses one of the more ironic stories in history.  To wit:

It's 1624 and Sweden is at war with... Poland (legend has it a misunderstanding over a proprietary pierogi receipe started it all which years later, everyone had a good laugh over) .  Nonetheless, a very fired up King Gustav Olaf Something or Other commissions The Mother of All Battleships to be built to show the Poles he takes his dumplings deadly seriously. 

Two years later and voila, the Vasa is ready to go. So with much fanfare, it sets sail on its ceremonial maiden voyage.

Well, I'm not the one telling the king...
20 minutes, or 1000 meters, later - depending on your preferred metric, a strong wind rolls across the Stockholm harbor and BLOWS THE SHIP OVER.  Boom.  

Son of beetch!   Sheet.

Interesting side note:  The king was actually out of town for the inaugural and heads did not roll over the disaster as he understood his role in pushing for an overly aggressive delivery timetable.  Which is probably only the first and most obvious difference between him and the typical Notre Dame supporter.

At any rate, the ship remained there, perfectly preserved in the briny saline of the bay's waters until 1956 when it was dredged to shore via some ingenious cables that were positioned underneath it.   At which point, I imagine the conversation went something like this:

"Now what do we do now - this mo-fo is freakin' huge..."

"Beats the shit outta me.  I say we just build a house around it and get the hell outta Dodge..."

"I'm good with that."

Moral of the Story:  

1)  Think twice before letting the Dutch design anything, much less your battleships.

2)  Too narrow + too tall + too top heavy is never a winning combination, except possibly for Scandinavian super-models.  

3)  There's really no such thing as a sure thing. 

One game down, 11 to go.  And everyone's still alive in the pool.

TC’s Keanu Analogy
ND Connection

The Matrix
 Okay, so I didn't entirely get this film's concept - just like I probably won't understand if / how we get to 11+ wins.  

But in our 'ends justify the means' world, who cares?  We won't.  The film's financial backers certainly didn't... 

Brian M
John  P
Pat B

Spit the       Elder
Jim S
Daryl M
Dave M
Peter B
Paul B


 If one viewed this film in greater esteem, I wouldn't disagree.  I mean, Keanu + Sandy Bullock + Dennis Hopper + Jeff Daniels?  Hello...

The point is, like this film, 10 wins would be considered very satisfying to if not all, a lot of folks,  including me.

Dave G.
Bryan G
Tim C
Kevin C
Joe S
Bob J
Spit the  Younger
Jim B
Ward H
Jerry W
Tom F
Tim S
Mike G
Brian W
Dennis R
Ryan C


John Wick
 All you need to know is they killed his dog. Even for the professional hit man, that's harsh. 

All bets are off after that. 

Like this movie, a 9 win season will leave you conflicted - it could've been so much better.

But damn there's some fun bits mixed in.

Bill B.
Jim T.
Jerry P
Mike C.
Joel G.
Blair R.
Kevin M
Alex S
Gary H


Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Will you be happy with a 'regression to the mean' type season?

Of course not.

Just like I had such high hopes for this film - utterly ridiculous in every way possible, where one walks out thinking "WTF was that?" -- similar to a 7-8 win season.

John L
Ray V



Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure
No one would ever call this great cinema but it was a bit of launching point for Keanu - and that's what one would hope 5 wins would be for ND... something to build on.


4 or less
The Replacements
Not, in fact, a bio-pic of the influential Minneapolis band (which, Keanu as Paul Westerberg would be BRILLIANT) - but rather a really bad football flick, even Keanu couldn't save this disaster.  

Honestly, there's no defense for this movie - just like a 4 win season.

Schedule - 2019

2      @ Louisville                W                    
14     New Mexico                            
21    @ Georgia                       
28    Virginia       Linipalooza XV!                             

5      Bowling Green                               
12    USC                                         
19     OPEN                                   
26   @ Michigan                                    

2      Va. Tech                                     
9      @ Duke                                      
16     Navy
23    Boston College                                          
30    @ Stanford                          

Schadenfreude of The Week

It's been said from near time immemorial - okay maybe since the start of the BCS Playoff format - that September is not a month for much quality football viewing.  Any team with elite aspirations lines their schedule with a series of FBS patsies, making this month the collegiate equivalent of the meaningless NFL preseason.

What's a schadenfruede aficionado to do?  Dig deep, that's what.  There's always a pearl among the dirty oysters.

It's Kedon, not Kevin...
1.  Stanford.   Candidly,  position#1 was always going to be held by the loser of the USC -Stanford game.  And while the heart always tells me to cheer for a Trojan humiliation, the brain says it's more in ND's best interests to see Stanford's program decline, if only for recruiting purposes.  And so, huzzah!

2.  Texas.   Like ND, one of those iconic, legacy football franchises desperate to reclaim past glory.  But I don't care how much money your boosters have, no jumping the queue - we Irish are first in line to get back to elite status.   Wait your turn. We'll call you when you're table is ready. 

Like in 2030.

From The Sunday Ann Arbor News... 
3.  Tennessee.  There's no rational reason for why I should take any satisfaction in UT losing - what did they ever do to me, I kind alike Rocky Top okay there is the garish orange that represents a fashion crime in any society. 

And yet, here we are.  The Tao of Jerrence, Mr. Schadenfreude.

4.  Michigan.  Of course they didn't actually lose but isn't being taken to double OT by Army (were Glenn Davis and Doc Blanchard playing?) tantamount to a loss?

Terry's Trolls

The predictive nature of troll hunting is never easy.

On the one hand, we see the garden variety tool every day - like the masses of self absorbed backpackers I see on the El every day.  Your grim day of reckoning is coming. (Note to self:  put garden shears, with backpack strap-sliceable blades, on early Christmas List.)

But I digress.

Perhaps I just wasn't paying attention but this week wasn't especially fertile.  Herewith: 

1. Lynn Swann .    Lynn, We Hardly Knew Ye.   We also wondered why it took so long for the school to show ye the door.

2. Antonio Brown.   If you're only tangentially interested (or even aware) of the NFL, you know the league's poster child for narcissism has dominated the news for the past month.  Giving yourself frostbite by cryogenically freezing your feet was cute, the tantrum over the helmet was stupid and now we have the allegation of sexual assault.  Ick. 

Talk about hitting the tool trifecta.  

And Brown v. Belichick -  the world waits to see how long it takes one to test the other.

3. Boris Johnson.   Not a good week for the UK's poor man Gary Busey.  

When one's party defects on you, the prime minister, that's not a particularly good look.  But when also you're own brother bails, you know you've hit rock bottom.

But chin up. The philosopher Annie says, "Tomorrow! Tomorrow! The sun'll come out tomorrow!"

In the meantime, would it kill you to stick a comb in your hair once in a while?

Final Thought

Congrats again, Ryan Corrigan, on conquering Europe, showing the French who's the boss and telling the IRONMAN 70.3 gods, "not today!"  when you're  biking up the Col de Vence. 

Then there's being responsible for our final restaurant choice (Le Plongeoir, if anyone is interested) - best branzino I've ever had in my life.    

Thank you.

Until next time... 

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