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Friday, August 14, 2020

August: Positively No Dancing!

"In this world I lock out 
all my worries and my fears
In my room..."

Month 5 of the Great Quarantine:  Is it safe yet to come out?


Dateline:  Chicago, December 29, 2011.

The Feifars and Corrigans are being feted at the Dearborn Street Villa Lini - in recognition of both Tom and Terry's recent birthdays and the occasion of the ND-FSU bowl game.  One doesn't need to tell this audience that the largesse of the Castellini's know few bounds.  And this evening it was being manifested through the seemingly endless bottles of Italian varietals that kept appearing before our persons. Name a region - Tuscany?  Piemonte? Veneto? - and bam! let's crack that bad boy open...

"Top that off for you, Tom?"  

"You have to ask..." 



Through the course of the evening and with the desultory performance of the Irish coming to a close, the evening's conversation turned to other topics, some more surprising than others.

Jerry: "Who's up for seeing REO Speedwagon in concert with me next week?"

Awkward silence.

Judy (and I'm paraphrasing): "Not if it were the last f***ing thing on this earth..."

It was at that point - the hour was pushing midnight and the Corrigans plan to see a midday matinee was feeling more like a late afternoon affair - when our host, after extolling the many under-rated virtues of REO, indicated that he had a CNBC talking head gig the next morning - and that he'd be making three REO references, in proper market context, within his segment.

Terry (processing): "Excuse me.  You're on CNBC in, like, 8 hrs... and you have to make full sentences 'n stuff?"

Tom:  "Is there any more of that Brunello left?"



"I made FOUR," read the text the following morning.

For those of you who are doubters - I know you're out there - I went to the CNBC website and pulled up the clip.  Sure enough.  Although the 4th reference smacked of just showing off.


At any rate, it was with REO showing up on the Netflix series, Ozark, that I found myself thinking recently of that evening - and with current world events being what they are, the clearly underrated abilities of the band's powers of prophecy: 

  • Riding The Storm Out
    • April"Auntie Em! Auntie Em!  It's a biological twister!  Everyone to the cellar..."
  • Roll With The Changes
    • May.    Okay, maybe this pandemic thing-y is more than just a passing viral squall.  But Twin Anchors is still open for take out, right?
  • Keep Pushing
    • June.  "I used to be lonely 'till I learned about living alone.  I found other things to keep my mind on..."
  • Time For Me To Fly
    • November. "I make you laugh and you make me cry..." Whomever wins the election a significant portion of this blog's readership are going to be contemplating flight.  (Daryl, you might want to consider holding a lottery for any spare space in the house.)
  • Keep On Loving You
    • Prophecy foretold of a young Econ major / future Chief Investment Officer... and The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name for SCOTUS' baddest ass, Notorious RBG.
REO.  Were they oracles?  Future Fed economists? Or wannabe political campaign managers?  No wonder they're his favorite band.

The time has come for you my friend

To all this ugliness we must put an end...

Word of the Week

Used in a sentence paragraph


 As young Jerrence contemplated his new lakefront life, he began to ideate on the potential for a late stage career path change... one that would dovetail with his newfound commitment to never again having to actually wear pants.

Q1. What was his favorite job, ever? Bartender.  

Q2. What doesn't my lake have? 

A bar.  

Bingo!  Scotchlandia Meets Waterworld in the form of an Old World shebeen.  Brilliant! 

Boats and liquor - what could possibly go wrong?  Especially when the max speed for any vehicle on Flint Lake is 10 mph.  Now if one had suggested a liquor + fireworks emporium concept (this is Indiana, after all), now that would be reckless.   Not to mention super illegal.

On the other hand, there does seem to be a market...

Quote of The Day

"Your life or mine?" 
Whitey Herzog
...when offered a lifetime contract by 80 yr. old Cardinals owner, Gussie Busch

A sadly relevant question these days. 

"It's necessary to be slightly underemployed 
if you are to do something significant." 
James Watson
(co-discover of DNA)

If that's the case, we are sitting on the mother lode of innovation in 2021...

Off-Season Observations, COVID edition

"I got tired of being good
Start missing that feeling free
Stopped acting like I thought I should 
And went back to being me.

Funny how falling feels like flying for a little while..."

One man's COVID / quarantine thoughts - hopefully you're not expecting anything football related.   If not, may I suggest...


1 Ozark.  I can't recall which episode it was where Lisa turned to me and said, "I want to live like that!  Except without the internecine heroin and Mexican cartel war complications."

I looked her in the eyes, soulfully, and replied, "I will be your Jason Bateman. Just please don't be my Laura Linney - she terrifies the living shit out of me."

And now we live on a lake.

2 What We Do In The Shadows.  Funniest show on TV and I will brook no disagreement. 



Jackie Daytona, regular human bartender.


1 Seven Psychopaths. Not, in fact, a Dillon Hall documentary ('The Rasmus Years') but an underrated 2012 dark comedy that merits revisiting - with a remarkable cast incl. Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson.

2 Muscle Shoals. This one is a documentary, paying tribute to a small recording studio in Alabama where an amazing (and surprising) number of iconic songs were cut - and the unlikely musicians who made it happen.  A few different insights, not the least of which involves race relations.  

Worth watching just to see Mick Jagger, in full Carnaby Street garb, come out of his local Motel 6 - yeah, Mick, you blend.



Muscle Shoals got The Swampers
They've been known to pick a song or two
Lord they get off  so much
They pick me up when I'm feeling blue...


Say Nothing. If one is a world history buff (Ungie) or simply keen to better understand this particularly bloody chapter in their Irish lineage (Lini), check this out - a re-telling of The Troubles in Norhtern Ireland as told by the actual participants.  

Lucky strike extra:  you'll gain another reason to dislike Boston College.

Last Days of Night.  If one is fan of historical fiction, ala the Erik Larson /  Devil In The White City genre, consider the story of the 1890 'current wars'... Edison v. Westinghouse, with Tesla as key chess piece.  Nice read.


Okay, a little football talk... on the heels of learning today of the 2020 ND stadium protocol:  only students, faculty, player parents and, 400 visiting team fans in the Stadium this Fall. 
No exceptions.

And by 'no exceptions,' they mean 'no club class, no 1842 Club.'  

Um... WTF?!   Take my US Postal system but not 1842...


ND partnership with GuinnessYes, please.   

Can my purchases qualify as charitable contributions? 



Recruiting.  This seems to be a particularly high risk time to be making any sweeping proclamations about ND recruiting during a period of such social volatility.  

There was my Springtime "God must hate ND" period - why else would He undermine the potentially greatest recruiting weekend in 30 years by throwing down a biblical plague?  (Really?  You couldn't wait two freakin' weeks?)

Now ND seems to be on a roll and there's even a school of thought that says kids are gonna bail on those programs whose conferences have cancelled their autumn season (the logic of which escapes me but kids, whaddya gonna do, right?)...

 It's worth celebrating something positive right? 

The verbal commitment of 4-star OG Rocco Spindler capped a productive couple of weeks. During an 11-day span from 7/29 - 8/8, ND received verbal commitments from 3-star RB Logan Diggs, 3-star TE Mitchell Evans, 4-star LB Prince Kollie and Spindler, which lifted the Irish to #12 in the 247Sports composite team rankings.

Of ND’s 17 verbal commitments in the Class of ‘21, 9 are listed as composite 4-stars and eight are 3-stars. 

Of the eight 3-stars, five have 4-star upside:  CB-Ryan Barnes, S-Justin Walters, RB-Logan Diggs, OT-Joe Alt and DB-Chance Tucker

Buddy's Buddy


When is the last time Buddy - God rest his soul - actually saw a fellow canine as a nominee to be his pal?  I believe the Flaherty dogs were last to see such recognition - and that took them having to fly to South Bend to be vetted.  (Hey, no one said this honor was lay up.)

Well, today is that day - again.  While Terry awaits to receive his end of the "Lisa gets a lakehouse, Terry gets a dog" agreement (can you say 'bait 'n switch') the Corrigan girls have been hard at work adding to the brood.  Meet:

  • Denali, Granite and Jade (the latter two rotties local Valpo rescues)
  • Jack (chow rescue via Houston)
Welcome to the family. 

Still waiting, Lisa.  Tick tock... 



Question of the Week

It appears, based on admittedly scant anecdotal (and self-serving) evidence... that many of you are now subscribers to The Athletic - an accomplishment that I take no credit for, or sadly, receive no financial participation.  Be that as it may, I feel less guilty of outright journalistic theft if I choose to believe many of you have already read this.  So, from Pete Sampson's Aug. 13th 'what have we learned so far' article about ND's preseason camp in a COVID world - a couple snippets re players who may of high interest:    

Can Bennett Skowronek be the exception?

When Notre Dame took Northwestern grad transfer Bennett Skowronek last winter it felt like the Irish had added receiver depth but not a player who would automatically slot into the rotation. That perception changed quickly during offseason conditioning, and circumstances changed when Kevin Austin underwent foot surgery, opening a spot at the W receiver position, where Chase Claypool played last year and Miles Boykin played a season earlier. Skowronek, who had 110 catches for 1,417 yards and eight touchdowns as a Wildcat, continues to challenge those assumptions into the start of training camp to the point that he might have run with the first team Wednesday.

How Skowronek established himself so quickly at Notre Dame began with quarterback Ian Book, who helped host the receiver on his visit last December. The two quickly connected, and Skowronek flew to California during the summer to throw with Book around his home base in El Dorado Hills.

“I think he’s gonna be faster than people expect,” Book said. “Long. Rangy. Soft hands. Tall.

“Is he Chase Claypool? No. But that long receiver, he brings that back. And he wants to be a coach. There’s nothing better than a player that wants to be a coach. He knows the playbook in and out. He’s done nothing but make flashcards and study harder than anybody. As a QB, that’s the best you could ask for.”

Notre Dame’s track record at receiver with grad transfers has been disappointing, with Freddy Canteen and Cam Smith playing only bit parts on the 2017 team, even though both started against Georgia. They combined for nine catches, 67 yards and one touchdown that season. For Skowronek, that might be his stat line in the opening week against Duke.

Will Chris Tyree be as advertised?

As a rule, freshmen don’t feature much in opening practices against frontline players. Still, if they have the athleticism to hack it at the college level, that shows somewhere during these early days, even if they’re dusting other freshmen. There’s a good chance running back Chris Tyree would have flashed that way, even though he may be behind Jafar Armstrong, Jahmir Smith, C’Bo Flemister and Kyren Williams on the depth chart for reps. Tyree won’t have to compete against Stanford grad transfer Trevor Speights for reps, though, after the running back announced his medical retirement without completing a practice in South Bend.

Tyree will wear No. 25 and is listed at 5-foot-9 1/2 and 179 pounds, dimensions that raised some concern about his durability at the college level following a senior season cut short by a severe ankle sprain. Around the Notre Dame program, however, Tyree has answered those questions during summer conditioning and might already be bigger than his listed weight. For a position that’s short on speed, a state champion sprinter could make a big difference in unique spots.

“The thing that we were not certain of was what was his physicality going to be?” Kelly told The Athletic over the summer. “Was he going to be a guy that was gonna get knocked off his feet? (Strength) coach (Matt) Balis is really pleased with where he is from a physical standpoint and what his workload capacity is just in these first three weeks. Did we have a guy we were gonna have to send out in the slot and reverse sweep him, pitch it to him, kind of finesse with him? It doesn’t appear that way. It appears that this is a guy that we can play as a single back and play him as a normal running back. Can he get 30 carries? No, he can’t. But he’s a guy that’s showed a physical ability that’s rating pretty high for us.”

Cocktail of the Week


Summer in Scotchlandia.  In these days of ever increasing tinder box-like racial tension, what better time than now to draw upon an author (and a set of characters) that did so much to shine a light on the topic in the '60s (and possibly confuse those same readers sixty years later).

While comfortably bringing scotch into the equation!  
(Counter-intuitive, yes - this is clearly still gin swilling season.)

 Still, a win-win!

Go Get A Scotch, Man
Go Set A Watchman (2015)
By Harper Lee

A possibly too-good-to-be-true novel: Go Set A Watchman was published as Harper lee's "follow up" novel to To Kill A Mockingbird.   The real life story goes that a lawyer uncovered the unpublished manuscript in a safe deposit box, thrilled to discover the same characters (Scout! Atticus!) all grown up (and in the later's case, now spouting some arguably racist views).

It proved an instant best seller and sparked quite a controversy (these days, what doesn't) with some claiming the elderly Lee was being taken advantage of.  

Go get a scotch, man, and pull together some finely aged ingredients that are suspiciously delicious.

*  2 oz. scotch (choose your favorite, no prejudice here)
*  2 oz. Campari
*  2 oz. sweet Vermouth
*  3 dashes Angostura bitters

Pour all the ingredients into a Tupperware container.  Let the mixture age until you forget about it (i.e., 4 weeks or the first college football game, whatever comes first).  Strain into a rocks glass over ice.

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

Scratch Western Michigan. 10 games, until further notice...

Wager 2020 - Taking the Leap..

"'Don't want nobody who won't dive for dimes..."

To bet or not to bet?  That is the question.  

Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous forecast
(12-0? Really, Marcel?  They're only playing 10 games.)  

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
(Whaddya mean the Big 10 and the PAC-12 has bailed, jeopardizing the entire season for everyone?).  

And by opposing, end them
(Just watch when those B10 players and recruits bail because YOU'RE PUSSIES!)

To sleep perchance to dream.
(Based on the amount of Bombay Sapphire ingested over the last few hours, I don't know about dreaming - but sleep is definitely coming in 3-2-1...).


Schadenfreude of The Week


Here's the rub with embracing a 'live your best schadenfruede' lifestyle.  You actually need some schade to 'frueden Sie sich, bitte' as the Deutschers might say.

The accursed pandemic has even taken that away from me.

And honestly, how many confederate statutes removed can one celebrate before it all gets a bit... blasè? 

And without any games to meaningfully invest in - I'm sorry, I can't quite track w the NBA bubble and am not convinced one can take seriously a 60 game MLB season.  Even if they do make it through it, of which this writer remains skeptical.

So let us hope that changes soon...

Terry's Trolls

I know I've said this before but if idiots were an energy source, or the basis of an economy - wait, that is actually the basis of consumerism - we'd be in great shape...

Except, of course, for the inevitable fallout from all the dumbass sh** those economic engines unleash on the world.

As the popular expression goes, "ya can't fix stupid." 

Accordingly, this week's submissions...

1)  Jose Altuve   Hitting .187 so far this year.  Just sayin'... 

2)  Dr. Stella Immanuel.  Even if you weren't POTUS's new favorite medical consultant, I'd still be a huge fan.  While your determination to 'out' all of the reptillian aliens in government was a bit of a non-story (I mean, duh, have you ever seen Mark Meadows?)... your blowing the lid off the dangers of astral demon sex was boffo!  My state, Indiana, always at the forefront of healthcare, has taken that and run with its obvious application to COVID-19 testing protocols.  Who needs a vaccine when we've got your out-of-the-box thinking?
2 out of 3 is good, right?

3)  Kanye West.  Running for president?  Sure, why not.  Because we can never have enough wealthy, self-absorbed delusional sociopaths on the ballot.

Now there's a stable genius... 

4) Kemah Siverand.  Who?  Exactly.   Arguably in the conversation, this week, for dumbest human on the planet (and that's saying something these days), he (was) an undrafted Seattle Seahawks free agent who got cut by the team - for trying to sneak a woman into the team's hotel.  Quarantine schmorantine! 

Apparently he thought that if she wore a Seahawks jersey, she could pass for a football player.  

I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and suggest that it was a case of a phenomenally bad strategy - driven by extreme horniness - and not that she was actually of credible pro football physique. 

Regardless, the kid's career is now done. Hope she was worth it. 

5)  The Washington... Football Team?   The name just rolls off the tongue.  The Dan Snyder Ship of Fools sails on!  One can only hope they paid an obscene amount of money to a branding consultancy for that result. 

(It'd be an improvement from where they are now.)

6.  ESPN.  You punted the wrong Golic.

Final Thought

  • Appropos of absolutely nothing, tell me this isn't reminiscent of Dr. McGuire (or Cincotta) in the 801 front room, on basically any Friday night, with the trusty Virty Bird poised ready for take off.
So I opened up my eyes
And I took a look around.
Saw written across the sky
The revolution starts now.

Sing it, Steve.