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Sunday, April 12, 2020

Easter: One Hundred (?) Days of Solitude

A little revenge and this too shall pass
This too shall pass, I'm gonna pray
Right now all I've got's this lonesome day..

It's  almost the start of Week 5 of Stay-at-Home... Easter Day...  a time for what?  Rebirth?  Salvation?  

Me thinks not quite yet. Though on this specific day, one wonders what Jesus thought when the stone got rolled back. 

I'm gonna kick some ass and take names later...   

Okay, probably not.  No longer man, now God, there's a certain decorum He surely had to hold Himself to. Like when your wife says to you, not rhetorically, "who's the adult here?"  She's not really asking a question, she's telling you 'grow the f*** up.'

Yes, we'll have one of everything... 
Still, it had to have crossed His mind.

But I digress.  Turn the clock back a month and you'd find Jerrence finally reconciling his profound sense of abandonment over Gruley telling us he was leaving Chicago for the burgeoning Florida hockey scene.

Geriatrics on skates.  There's a visual for ya.

He just packed up and moved, albeit with one final awesome dinner. We'll always have those foie gras eclairs and Lini regaling us w stories of stress testing Amazon's supply chain.

At the same time, it also occurred to me that I hadn't spent this amount of dedicated, virtually-never-out-of-my-sight time with my wife in, well, never.

Lisa as Madame Dufarge? Not funny

The possible range of outcomes from this epiphany remain vast, with murder-suicide not being entirely off the table.  

Or more likely, lobotomy-by-knitting needle. 


These days, I'm supposed to still be working which is easier some days than others.  Working in a service industry, one is somewhat beholden to your Marketing counterparts to keep the fee billing lights on - and to say there's increased level of... client distraction... would be an understatement.  Especially when one's biggest client is Chicago's top hospital system.  Advertising for services they're either unable or uninterested in performing has no longer become a priority.

So what is one to do?  Time for introspection and self-improvement.  So when one isn't otherwise cleaning the garage, doing yard work or taking an on-line cooking class, I offer these films as potential beacons of insight as one deals with prolonged loneliness...

* Contagion (2011).  Pandemic Art imitating Life imitating Art.  

Insight: A layman's how-to for what we're experiencing.

* The Shining (1980).  Dealing with isolation, English major-edition.  A cautionary tale.

Insight:  Maybe giving up drinking wasn't the right call. 

The Martian (2015).  Dealing with isolation, Aerospace Engineering major-edition.  

Insight: You think you've got abandonment issues? 
Suck it up, snowflake.

Castaway (2009).   Dealing with isolation, Management major-edition.  

Insight:  "Honey, where did I put the basketball?"

* The Road (2009).  Dealing with isolation, Civil Engineering major-edition.  Read the book for the powerful father-son relationship, watch the movie for Viggo.

Insight:  Lonely?  Care to share your world with cannibals? 

* The Vanishing (2018).  Dealing with isolation, Oceanography major-style.  Set on an island off Scotland and described as a tale of greed, paranoia and isolation.  

Insight:  BFD.  In the Corrigan household we call that Tuesday.

Word of the Week

Used in a sentence paragraph

As young Jerrence turned his thoughts forward, he wished to put some distance between where the country had been and the sophomoric sniping going on in Washington. 

If one side wasn't dwelling on the weeks lost in identifying the outbreak (of no practical value now whatsoever), it was the other side waxing romantic over the awesome job they considered themselves to be doing (premature at best, delusional more likely).

Enough already.

He therefore took great solace - and inspiration - from the impressive, wide ranging numbers of panegyrics for John Prine in the aftermath of his death.

To a man, whether they be critic or colleague, Prine was consistently described as a kind, ego-less, 'what you see is what you get' artist with a genius for capturing the every day in the most profoundly straightforward, and often absurd, ways.  

A guy who didn't see the next generation of musicians as competitors but rather the future of the industry to nurture.

Hmmm.  What a strange man.

Quote of The Day

Thanks, Jay, for reminding us of this.  

Ripple Effect
"Ripple in still water - 
When there is no pebble tossed
No wind to blow... 

One month into this, one begins to ponder the short and long-term, Freakonomics-like effects to this 'new normal', like... 

How will Castellini get his haircut?  (Does Dennis make house calls?)

Will he even need a haircut?' 

"Hello, St. Petersburg!"
Or 'How will Gruley survive without his Wednesday night hockey league?'  

How will Pam Gruley survive without his Wednesday night hockey league?

"Is the Ravinia music season now toast?"  (I really wanted to see Bryan Ferry, Ray.)  

Will golf pull-cart sales skyrocket - since no one's getting in a motorized cart anytime soon.   And caddies clearly aren't happening.

Other things of a potentially more, um, weighty matter... 

1.  "____ We Hardly Knew Ye" Meaningful 2020 sporting events are gone and probably aren't coming back this year:
  • March Madness
  • Boston Marathon
  • Summer Olympics
  • NHL, NBA and MLB season abbreviations
  • PGA Tour (November Masters, anyone?)
Basically anything that attracts a crowd.  Wait.  That means... no Linipalooza?!  

Say it ain't so.

So who knows if there'll be a football season - it's certainly looking unlikely for the typical late August / early September start...

And what, then, of this blog?  Well I think I've demonstrated an ability to write without the need of actual facts or, really, actual events.  

But I can't say that I'm not disappointed about the possibility of not being able to utilize some of the innovations I was planning on.  

The Wager, for starters, was going to be framed within in the construct of... Jungian archetypes.  

I know.  Tres magnifique, oui?  

Fear not. Should there be a limited schedule or even a full cancellation of the season?  No problem.  Kay Corrigan gave me a 7-CD set a few years ago of Classic ND football games. From memory (the set is sitting in the Chicago apt.), I think it includes:

  • ND - Michigan St (10-10 tie)
  • ND - Alabama, Orange Bowl (Clements-to-Weber)
  • ND - USC (Green jersey game)
  • ND - Texas Cotton Bowl (Terry turns 21 in Dallas and that day is all very blurry)
  • ND - Houston Cotton Bowl (Montana chicken soup)
  • ND - Miami ("leave Jimmy Johnson for me...")
  • ND - FSU (let's not think about the BC game the next week)
The point is, whether real / historical / imaginary, there'll be stuff for Jerrence to babble about.  

Better yet, there's always a happy ending!

Again, this all assumes he hasn't met with a tragic-yet-clearly predictable (and understandable) home accident, leaving the widow Minnella grief-stricken for, up to but no more than, six months thereafter. 

2.  "What about the children?"    If you're the NCAA - never known for being the sharpest tools in the shed - they've got a lot of thinking to do about eligibilities.  And the knock on effect of scholarship limits - what do you do when there's a new class of recruits coming on the heels of a season that may not even get played - or played only partially?

3.  "I've got your Title IX right here, bub..."  Then there's the not insignificant matter of college athletic dept. budgets being devastated by the revenue loss.  I'd imagine for many of the state schools, already fighting the tension of their coaches being the state's highest paid employees, this'll be an extremely polarizing subject.  And all those minimal revenue generating sports - you'd know them at Notre Dame as the ones that have actually been going to Final Four's and / or winning national championships - there's gotta be some casualties.

4.  "Easy come, Easy go..."  Most of you are probably aware that ND had the mother of all recruiting visits planned for the 3rd weekend of March.  An entire 5-star O-line was scheduled to visit, along w a (near) 5-star RB and other high priority targets.  

Those kids already committed were coming in to help w the push.  As was Quenton freaking Nelson (who's gonna say 'no' to him?!). It's not hyperbole to think they could've locked down the cornerstones of a legitimate Top 5 class.

Suddenly, pffft.   Now, we wait and see.  Kelly & Co. are targeting a mid-June "re-boot."  We'll see.

5.  You Can Still Find Sports If You Try Hard Enough.   Yes we've been largely wiped out of sports to watch, although there's been some fantastic historical events to re-visit.  But that's not to say you can't find some riveting competitions if you try hard enough. 

6. "Life Goes On." And so too, unfortunately, does Death.  The difference these days, whether the cause is a virus or not, is that final, intimate closure may not even be an option.   And as a few of us are discovering, it's affecting both the famous and the not so much.
The Bros. Mullins. Gone, never forgotten.
  • RIP, Harry Borgman - my 92 yr. father-in-law, Lisa's stepfather and a man she called 'dad' for 50+ years.  Basically incapacitated for the past few months in a hospice care facility w a variety of failings including bone cancer, she never got to see him for the last few weeks.  
  • RIP, Mark Mullins - brother to our very own Brian "Moon" Mullins, and a guy who fought a courageous 3 yr. battle w Alzheimer's.
  • RIP, John Prine - singer / songwriter extraordinaire and Chicago boy.  73 yr. old, two time cancer survivor with a clearly compromised immune system so once he caught COVID-19, probably never had much of a chance.

The latter two passed on the same day last week, perhaps prophetically.  One of my personal, earliest memories of Prine was moving to Chicago in 1981 and hearing his songs on WXRT, thinking "he's pretty interesting. "  Then, later meeting Lisa Minnella who was already a big fan of his. Kismet. And if you're at all familiar w his catalog, even a little bit, this anecdote will stun you:  

At 24 years old, the first time he sang publicly was at an "open mic" night and performed three songs:  "Sam Stone", "Paradise" and "Angel From Montgomery." 

Most songwriters would kill to have their entire legacy defined by those three songs.  Those were his open mic audition.    At any rate, everyone's got a favorite John Prine tune - this one, with Steve Goodman, is mine.

Memories they can't be boughten
They can't be won at carnivals for free
Well it took me years to get those souvenirs
And I don't know how they slipped away from me.


And I bet Moon can play the hell out of this song.

Buddy's Buddy

I trust it comes as little surprise to most of you how little regard I have for our president.  Were I to play a word association game involving him, 'loathsome' would be my immediate response.

But that is not the case with many of the country's leadership - federal, state and private sector - so let's give a few of them a shout out for what they're doing to make the pandemic as manageable, ultimately solvable, as possible: 

1) Dr. Anthony Fauci.  While we don't seem to see him quite as much anymore - I wonder why that is.

He wasn't the straight shootin' hero we wanted, just the straight shootin' hero we needed.  

Thank you, Dr. F.  

2) Governors.  I like leaders with courage and conviction, guys who take action even when it might not be necessarily in their best personal interests.  

Governors Cuomo, DeWine, Newsome - I'm sure there are others - you guys rock.

3) Jerome Powell.  I don't know dookie about economics, macro or otherwise, though I do enjoy watching Lini geek out over it.  But best I can tell, our Fed Chairman is making the best of an impossible situation.  Remaining as independent as is reasonable to expect - calling Truth to Power - while taking intelligent action in the country's best interests, short and longer term. 


4) Bill Gates.  It's easy to be cynical about a billionaire's chipping in 'big money' to help the COVID-19 cause.  They've got more than one can even conceptualize.  What's different about this, for me, is he's got a plan.   

In order to accelerate, maybe ensure, getting to a vaccine as quickly as possible, he's funding seven different factories for development of vaccine constructs, knowing that up to five of them will be the proverbial 'dry hole.'  

So smart, so impressive. 

5) Brian Kelly. While I'm sure there's a certain percentage of ND Nation that believes the COVID-19 outbreak can be traced directly back to Brian Kelly - no doubt consorting with the Chinese while interviewing for the Eagles job back in '12 - I ran across this passage on an ND website during the off-season: 

Kelly is tying his final contract extension signing to a school commitment to facility upgrades - which won't even be open for at least three years, meaning he is likely to see very little, if any, personal benefit to the upgrades.

And most of the ND fanbase will never even know it. So keep on bashing him, cretins. 

We can beat them - just for one day.
We can be heroes - just for one day... 

Question of the Week

Just because there isn't a football season - yet - doesn't mean ND Nation doesn't have questions!  From Pete Sampson's latest Athletic Mailbag, this one seemed especially topical:

Q.  Any insight into how coaches, particularly Matt Balis, are communicating workouts/drills to the players? I saw a Kansas coach breaking down a QB drill on Twitter and I’ve heard USC is using a private Instagram account to demonstrate workouts.

There’s an app players log into before workouts that measures progress during the workout as well. There’s two or three days of running in the program and three or four days of weights, although that likely varies by position. There’s an accommodation for players who don’t have access to weights, as not everybody has a home gym. For example, one player cleared out the type of storage shed where lawn equipment might be kept and moved some home gym equipment into it. He might be on the higher end of “facilities” in all this. Obviously, not ideal.

Balis is on FaceTime with players regularly, as are position coaches and coordinators. And the SWAT team leaders, guys like Ian Book, Robert Hainsey and Brock Wright, also stay on top of their groups to help with the accountability of it all. Basically, Notre Dame is going to err on the side of over-communicating what’s required rather than leaving anything to interpretation. 

There’s also regular academic check-ins to make sure the players are on top of that aspect of the semester. From what I can gather around the university, the school won’t be going to a pass-fail system this semester like some others, which isn’t to say accommodations won’t be made for the academic challenges inherent to all this.

"Greetings, earthlings recruits..." 
I’m less clear on install and positional meetings with coaches at this point of the spring semester. How much time Book and Tommy Rees spend in a Zoom conference call or what Jeff Quinn can do with the offensive line or how much new cornerbacks coach Mike Mickens can get to know his players from a distance, it feels like making the best of a bad situation regardless of what you’re doing. 
And when it comes to special teams and coverage units, I really have no clue how Brian Polian can make progress considering the volume of players running through those drills. The more physical your position, the worse off you’re going to be.

Cocktail of the Week

Quarantined in Scotchlandia.  What to do?  Oh sure one could read - but that's so 1960's.  

There's the interesting film or Netflix series - but who you going to discuss it with?  And frankly Tiger King is just as unsettling as anything virus-related.  

Let me just say, however, thanks again to all of you who favored me with bottles of The Macallan last season.  

It truly has become the gift that keeps on giving. But if some future gravitas is your thing, this might do the trick...

The Handmaid's Ale
The Handmaid's Tale (1985)
By Margaret Atwood

Marketed as a futuristic dystopian novel, Atwood's mid-80's Handmaid's Tale was eerily prescient for any modern, thinking person who sees how women's bodies are still being regulated by man.  

Looking suspiciously like a BC tailgater... 
Though it would take nearly 30 years for the book to be made into an Emmy-winning phenomenon, it never went out of print or off the shelves - perhaps because readers (and teachers) everywhere saw just how frustratingly resonant its themes remain. 

Take off your bonnet and drink up some justice.

*  4 oz. amber ale
*  1/2 oz. grain alcohol
*  2 oz. chamomile tea, cooled
*  1 oz. simple syrup

Pour all the ingredients into a Collins glass over ice and stir for :05.  Drink him under the table (if not "under his eye").  

Source:  Are You There God? It's Me, Margarita
by Tim Federle

Schedule - 2020

File this under a very tentative "Dare To Dream"... 

29         Navy (Dublin, 2pm ET)


12         Arkansas  (2:30pm ET)
19         Western Michigan  (2:30pm ET)
26         Wake Forest (Charlotte, N.C. TBA)

3          Wisconsin  (Lambeau, Field, 7pm ET)
10         Stanford   (7:30pm ET)
17         Pittsburgh (Heinz Field  TBA)
31         Duke  (3:30pm ET)


7           Clemson (7:30 pm ET)
14         Ga Tech (Atlanta, TBA)
21         Louisville (2:30pm ET)
28        USC (Coliseum, TBA)

Terry's Tools

Originally, I was going to omit this section.   This just didn't seem to be the time or the place to be pointing out bad behavior or assigning blame.  

Stick to the task at hand.  

Focus, people!  

Show good ole American resolve and we'll get through this!

Then I saw this last night.  From  

Reasonable minds apparently can differ on whether it’s OK for guys like Dak Prescott and Dez Bryant to go out (despite an order to stay home) and work out at a public gym (despite an order that it should be closed). It’s hard to imagine reasonable minds differing on this.

According to, Prescott hosted a birthday party for a friend on Friday night. At one point, 30 people attended. And one of the photos posted  shows in the background a cluster of bodies far closer than 6' apart. The photos also include a table set for a meal that would have entailed everyone sitting elbow to elbow.

Also present for the antisocially-distanced birthday party was Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott.

I thought we had let the 18-22 yr. old Spring Breakers own the stupid / selfish / self-absorbed territory.  (To be fair, it's always come w that demographic territory, pandemic or not.)

But I guess not.

Q.  Is this further support for the Texas secession movement?  I hope so.

Final Thought

What comes next? You've been freed.
Do you know how hard it is to lead?
You're on your own - awesome! Wow!
Do you have a clue what happens now...

Arguably, what comes next is entirely in each person's control. 

Be smart.  

Stay safe.

Stay home.

And once again, Happy Easter - love to all of you 'n yours!

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