Having not been blessed with the alpha gene, in most of the bands I've liked, I've always found myself gravitating, not to the showy lead guitarists or the strutting vocalists, but to the drummers. The guys who lead from behind.
In The Stones, that must've been an especially nuanced trick, what with the preening 'look at me' charisma of Mick and the insouciant, irrepressible bad boy (and headline grabbing) schtick of Keith. And yet, to those in the band, Charlie Watts was that guy. And a fellow who, apparently, was able to maintain both a strong sense of self while likely keeping the band from imploding for 60+ years.
RIP. Another cultural touchstone bites the dust.
For those who've ever seen Jason Isbell in concert, you'll know his encores always include at least one kick ass cover - this week, as a Watts tribute, he's been doing Stones songs, including Gimme Shelter - check it out here if you're interested. Nice.
Word of the Week
Used in a sentence paragraph: As Young Jerrence transitioned from blog author to editor, he marveled at the plethora of corrigenda he had to address.
He began to consider the thought that he spends significantly more time on corrections than the actual writing of his weekly missives.
Was it possible to fire oneself?
Quote of the Week
"Life is not always a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes, playing a poor hand well."
Notre Dame Rorschach test time: how are y'all viewing the hand that ND is playing this year?
All seven and we'll watch them fall
And we will smoke them all
With an intellect and savoir faire...
1. Pre-season polls:
Point: #7 in the Coaches, #9 in the AP
Counter-point: four ND opponents ranked in the top 15
Wisconsin, Cincinnati, USC, UNC
2. Three guys make 1st team pre-season All-America
Kyle Hamilton, S - no surprise
Cain Madden, OL - mild surprise
Kyren Williams, All-Purpose - pretty big surprise
3. Speaking of All-Americans, we truly live in a Golden Age of athlete's names.
4. Apropos of nothing to do with ND football, only a very recent shared nostalgia with my brothers about missing our father, I thought the Field of Dreams game was so freaking cool.
5. Did you know: ND's schedule this year has opponents with SEVEN open dates before they play us.
Hmmm. Of course, last year I think they had five and that didn't seem to bother them. Until December, at least.
I will be re-thinking my grandpa gifting strategy
6. If anyone can explain - or predict - the future of Power Conference alignment... or if I should even care at this point, please do.
7. Normally this might be a Sign of the Apocalypse... instead, kudos to LSU for requiring proof of vaccine or a negative test to attend home games.
one writer opined that if Nick Saban did that, the state of Alabama would be at 70% compliance by the weekend.
As alluded in the prior blog, this past weekend we had a little birthday celebration for Kay, the family matriarch.
We've been throwing these shindigs for her on the high profile decade occasions, #80 and #90... and while not recognizing the strength of her family's gene pool (where, if you don't make it to your mid-90's you're something oof an under achiever), we didn't want to tempt Fate and wait for her to make it to 100. Plus we like the parties as much as she does.
So much wine, so little time...
So, celebrating #95 was the original call. Then came COVID last year and that became a non-starter. So while #96 isn't exactly a landmark year - who am I kidding, anything over 90 is a landmark achievement - KayFest was on this year with lots of people to recognize, starting with the immediate family* (sons, wives, grandchildren and great grandchild) who all came a very long way for a relatively short period and yet, absolutely made her day.
* Special shout out to our brother Kevin, who depleted some serious stock from his Napa vineyard memberships to supply the family dinner.
Yet at the center of it was that tequila drinkin', crazy knittin' wife of mine, Madame Defarge, who ran point on virtually all of the party logistics, from invitations to party platters and ultimately, clean up.
Her naval son-in-law would've been proud of her commitment to military chain-of-command operating procedures.
Which was to say, she was The Command and the rest of us, mere 'do as you're ordered' foot soldiers: follow instructions, do NOT deviate, and like it.
Nonetheless, on behalf of mom and her sons, thank you Lisa, for making the weekend so very memorable for her (and all of us).
Birthday gal... make a wish.
Keep on truckin', mom.
RE-PETE (a shameless, illegal lift of Pete Sampson's weekly mailbag).
Because I am JUST THAT KIND OF GUY... other-directed to a fault... the following represents my contribution to y'all making an educated prognostication for this year's wager.
No need to thank me. I rest easy knowing that, whether it be due to your Hammes Bookstore-issued rose-colored glasses or the voices in your head that inform so many of your poor decisions, the overwhelming majority of you will get it wrong, some sensationally so.
At any rate, use the following insight as you see fit:
After your practice viewings, which position groups are you more bullish about than you were a few weeks ago? And which groups do you think are still question marks or are going to be the tested areas as the season starts?
I’m more bullish on the front seven because of what I’ve seen at linebacker and defensive tackle during the open practices. The Irish look like they have at least six linebackers who can play at a high level. The defensive tackle depth might be even better than what was expected at the start of the month, and it was already perceived to be a strength. Match those strengths with the safety positions of Kyle Hamilton and Houston Griffith, and that’s a nice spine of any defense, one defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman can put to work.
The biggest jump from summer perception to preseason reality, though, is at receiver. When camp opened, the hope was Kevin Austin could have a slow build to fitness, Braden Lenzy could deliver on the edge and Notre Dame’s other veteran receivers would produce in practice in a way they have not during their careers. Not only has all that happened, but Austin appears ahead of schedule in his return from an almost two-year layoff. He’s been Notre Dame’s most dangerous receiver in practices. Lenzy, Joe Wilkins and Lawrence Keys are doing more collective good than they have before. Avery Davis is exactly what Notre Dame needs him to be: a reliable slot option. On top of all that, Lorenzo Styles and Deion Colzie have both flashed enough to project successful careers at Notre Dame, regardless of what they do (or don’t do) this season.
Working in tandem with that new outlook at receiver is how Jack Coan has carried the quarterback spot. Is he any better or worse than what Notre Dame had hoped? Probably not. But actually seeing that in August means more than hoping you’ll see it in August. There was a question from a reader about Coan having a Joe Burrow-level senior season. There has not been any evidence of that, nor does Notre Dame have the skill position talent to make that happen. But Coan looks like a bona fide starting quarterback for a program that wants to contend.
The positions that feel less certain today than they did a month ago are defensive end and cornerback. Neither has made a ton of plays in the practices open to the media. Starting cornerbacks Cam Hart and Clarence Lewis are rarely mentioned by Brian Kelly, although he cited them after the open practice last week. Still, it’s hard to point to a moment in either open practice where they shined. Defensive end should ultimately be fine because there’s a decent talent pool. But we’re still waiting for Isaiah Foskey to flash at Vyper in camp at a higher level than he flashed last season. Jordan Botelho seems more of a jack-of-all-trades than a classic pass rush threat. Justin Ademilola might be the first end off the bench on both the left and right sides. Is there a great defensive end on the roster? Can Notre Dame thrive with a bunch of good ones?
Running back, offensive line, tight end and safety have all appeared to be roughly as advertised before camp, in a good way.
Cocktail of the Week
Here's a fun fact that m(any) of you may not know - the Valparaiso Corrigans all have a favorite liquor:
Terry: Gin (summer) and scotch (winter).*
Lisa: Kahlua, tequila, port.**
* I get two favorites (my blog, my rules).
** She gets three; interpret that how you will.
But with Summer well nigh over, one must get one's gin references in while they can...
Jane Eyre (1847)
By Charlotte Brontë
You know what's too tragic to be funny? A feminist survivor story published under a male pseudonym. With Charlotte Brontë writing as Currer Bell, Jane Eyre (think: Gloria Steinem in a bonnet) is the retrospective of an abused orphan-child turned bored school teacher-girl turned lovesick governess-lady.
Unfortunately her groom already has a wife - don't you hate it when that happens - and Jane sets off on a soul-quest (as one does), refusing subsequent marriage proposals and eventually landing the man, the baby, and the happy home.
Brontë herself actually wasn't that so lucky; she died while pregnant less than 10 years after Jane debuted to acclaim.
Raise a glass of English gin to a legendary lady, worthy of a sweeter finish than befell her.
* 8 sprigs fresh mint, washed * 2 oz. English gin
* 1 oz. lemon juice
* 1 1/2 tspn. granulated sugar
* 2 dashes orange bitters
* 5 oz. lemonade
Add the ingredients to a shaker with ice, bonus points if you tear the mint leaves first. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass. Don't be nursing that drink like a nanny.
Source: Tequila Mockingbird
Cocktails With A Literary Twist
by Tim Federle
5 @Florida St.
11 Toledo - 1st Stayer Tailgate in 2 years!
24 Linipalooza X - FRIDAY NIGHT!
25 @Wisconsin (Soldier Field)
9 @Va. Tech
20 Ga. Tech
Miracle On Ice
To be clear, ND running the table wouldn't come remotely close to approximating the USA ice hockey victory over Russia in '80.
Nothing in my lifetime will beat this. Nor will anything exceed the guilt I still have for ruining this for Castellini.
Still ND going 12-0 seems similarly tough to envision with the little we know right now.
One final vault. Hit it, basically perfectly, and your country wins the gold medal.
No pressure. Oh and you just tore two ligaments in your ankle on your prior attempt - you can barely walk.
But apparently, you still have one more sprint in you. Boom! Done.
ND winning 11 games is not really analogous to this but right now, it's looking just as iffy.
Super Bowl III
In hindsight this probably wasn't nearly the shocker it was at the time - but it sure made the NFL sit up and take notice.
At this point in the Kelly regime, ND winning 10 games is no longer unexpected.
And yet, they have a similar imperative (as the AFL did) to do this in order
to get the football world to really buy in that ND is elite again.
Jerrence Bob R. Phillip S. Jerry P. Kevin M. Jim T. Tim S. Jerry Ci. Blair R. Tom F. Ted C.
NC St over Phi Slamma Jamma
The 'improbable' relevance to ND success gets shakier as the win total gets lower...
A great game but unless you had money on it (I didn't), it was a fleeting feel good.
Relevance to 9 wins? None. But on this continuum this is where this sits.
Villanova over Georgetown
In terms of improbability, you could probably flip this game w NC State's victory - they were both pretty awesome in a vicarious way.
These rankings all being relative vs. the others, it's feeling 8'ish even if it probably deserves better.
ND over Miami, 1988
Was this improbable at the time? Depends on who you ask - and if they're honest.
Miami owned ND in the '80s.
And yet, Holtz & Co. made everyone believe.
Impressive, definitely. But on a scale of 1-10 as unlikely, maybe a 7.
ND over Clemson, 2020
This victory - as necessary as it was for the program - gets somewhat devalued in terms of improbability:
1) ND was genuinely really good last year.
And playing at home.
2) Candidly, no Trevor Lawrence.
ND over Florida St., 1993
After the '88 Miami win, with Holtz still in charge... while never a 'lock', beating FSU was certainly no great surprise.
And ultimately tempered by spitting the bit the next week against BC.
If anyone wishes to play down here...
...be my guest.
CLOSED UNTIL SEPTEMBER 7TH.
I'm sure I've written this before but... what if idiocy could be converted into energy? Think of the possibilities.
Unfortunately, it probably wouldn't be very clean energy because it'd be sourced from, well, idiots.
But still, it'd be limitless.
These are the things I think about when reading the daily news.
1) Max Kellerman. At the risk of being asked to relinquish my liberal snowflake membership card, I've had it with the outrage of everyone being offended by everything, especially sports nicknames and starting with this now former ESPN co-host. Now people are suggesting - backed by a poll so it must be true - that the nickname Fighting Irish is offensive? To whom? Our indigenous leprechaun population?
2). Spencer Elden. Who? The infant, now grown up, featured - 30 YEARS AGO - on Nirvana's iconic Nevermind album who is now suing the band for sexual exploitation (i.e., child pornography), saying his guardians never signed a release.
Let me repeat - 30 years ago. And I could be wrong but the guy has been interviewed multiple times, with some pride, about the backstory and the picture. Someone please tell me this suit will get thrown out of court with the utmost expediency.
3) NIL 'Abuse of the Week.'BYU has brokered a deal w a sponsor for walk-ons being paid enough to cover their tuition for a year. Walk-on's. I'm gonna go out on the limb and assume the sponsor is a Mormon.
C'mon Catholic Church, this is an arms race - start ponying up!
Just as I started this blog, I'm ending it with a remembrance of an important musical touch point. Lisa introduced me, musically, to Nanci Griffin, sometime in the late 80's and she became a fave of the whole family.
We subsequently had the good fortune to see her in London at The Royal Albert Music Hall and it remains one of the best shows I've ever witnessed. It was always ironic to me that she was so much more well known / popular in Europe than the US. The power of her voice virtually unmatched by anyone I've seen before or since.
At any rate, she too passed this month, at the far too young age of 68.
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