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Thursday, August 5, 2021

August: Viva Las Vegas

Dateline:  Flint Lake, IN

I've been loved and put aside
I've been crushed by the tumbling tide
And my soul has been psychedelicized
Time has come today...

Every year during the summer, for the past few years at least, there's been a competition between Class of '79 representatives of the recently fumigated renovated Dillon Hall and  the dorm formerly known As Grace Hall, now elevated to Administration building status. 

Decorum prohibits me from wading into the detritus of 'who won, who gagged'... suffice it say, the day is, inevitably, always signified by a dizzying, nearly non-stop conversation between intellectual giants - which, as mere bystander, I'd like to think goes a long way in explaining the triple bogeys I took on Conway Farm's 3rd and 4th holes. Consider me collateral damage.   Sorry, Jerry.

Nonetheless, the fact is, after a year of conversing mostly with my daughter's dog Jack (no intellectual pygmy himself), being in the company of such an erudite group - mere days after a night with the Gruley / Ungashick / Castellini triumvirate - sent the mind in areas one isn't always prepared for.  

And because Jerrence follows a "moderation in everything, including moderation" life principle, he had to follow that exposure by joining a Brittan-Buckley-Peak-Feifar-Thompson conclave a week after that.  

The multiple exposure of eclectic thought representing the intellectual equivalent of The Shining's "Wendy, I think you my head real bad" moment.

"Bang bang shoot 'em up destiny
Bang bang shoot 'em up to the moon..."

That said, when any of those encounters weren't spent discussing torn rotator cuffs, the best liquor to buy at Costco, the increasingly necessary utility of close captions when watching TV or the diminished moral acuity of anyone in government, the topics invariably got around to 'gee this last year kinda sucked - did you watch anything interesting...'  

And so, assuming by this time one doesn't require a Queen's Gambit, Succession or Ted Lasso recommendation, here is, humbly, the Jerrence 2021 short-list:

1)  Dr. Death (Peacock).   Pray you didn't know anyone in the Dallas area w a serious back / spinal problem during the 2011-13 period.  

Not a good look for the Texas hospital system back then (or more likely even now.  Anywhere.)

2)  Godless (Netflix).  Jeff Daniels as one mean mo-fo in the 1880's West, as an outlaw leader tracking down an ex-protege who dared to betray the brotherhood.

3)  Beartown (HBO).  Fun fact: The wife loves stories involving mono-chromatic gloomy Arctic-like settings.  To be honest, it's a little unnerving.  She also likes shows with high body counts.  A lot unnerving.  

This particular series involves a hockey-mad, small 'everyone knows everybody' town in Norway that has to confront doing the right thing when it's star gets into trouble.  If you wondered, "Was Gruley involved with that" I wouldn't blame you. (He wasn't.)  But its power lies in recognizing the story could be about anywhere and any sport.

4)  The Serpent (Netflix). Real-life story of Charles Sobhraj, murder/scam artist who preyed on tourists in Thailand during the '70s.  

Were it not for a scrappy, mid-level Dutch diplomat... 

5)  Outlander (Starz).   Think soft-porn Brigadoon.  I imagine the studio elevator pitch went something like this:  Randy 18th century highlander meets slutty 20th century, time-traveling Englishwoman.  Hijinx ensue.   "Love it! We'll commit to three seasons."

One more: Madame Defarge and I undertook watching the Apple TV+ series, For All Mankind, which reimagines history if the USSR had beat the US to the moon in '69.  And the space race ripple effect that occurs thereafter.

It made this blogger think about some of the woulda - coulda - shoulda's that have occurred in ND Football's history...

  • If Nick Eddy doesn't trip coming off the train to East Lansing...
  • The phantom clip on Rocket's game winning punt return vs. Colorado...
  • Barry Alvarez doesn't go to Wisconsin, instead gets made head coach-in-waiting...
  • Pete Bercich's hands...  Ugh. 
  • Justin Tuck doesn't leave early for the NFL (okay, I stole that one from a Sampson / The Athletic article)...

Good. And good for you.
...which led to my thinking of different paths that time takes when different decisions are made.

... which led to watching Marvel's Loki - whose basis in a multitude of simultaneous timelines made me mildly lightheaded.

...which led me opening the new Irish gin given to us by by a new, and very Irish, neighbor (ND Class of '94).  

...which led to my wife covering me up w a blanket later that evening, remarking (I'd imagine) that she'd deal with me tomorrow.

So.  My very own version of the Butterfly Effect.  Cool, huh?

Word of the Week

Used in a sentence paragraph
:  As Young Jerrence contemplated the implications of the new Name Image Likeness (NIL) rules, he had difficulty envisioning anything other than massive, egregious abuse, at least in the short-term. 

The SEC bagman system was already at a level of sophistication that the NCAA demonstrated to neither control or (apparently) even care about.  Now, buckshee gratuities stretching down to HS recruits seems inevitable, commonplace and almost surely, increasingly lucrative.

How will - or should - ND confront that? The myriad possibilities were all too overwhelming for Young Jerrence's limited intellectual bandwidth.  

"Lisa, fetch the Gunpowder & Fever Tree - I feel a case of the vapors drawing nigh!"

Quote of the Week
"We were miscreants who had no other choice. 
We were one of the few, the chosen.  It’s either this or jail, death or janitor."
Paul Westerberg

Jail.  Death.  Janitor.   Or a college degree and an actual life after your likely non-descript football career ends.  Take your pick.   In Jerrence's fantasy world, Westerberg would be the perfect Recruiting Coordinator, taking down a peg a whole universe of 17-18 year olds who've been told since adolescence they've hung the moon.  

Then again, as front man for The Replacements, he aggressively avoided commercial success as much as possible, so maybe not Notre Dame's recruiting coordinator.

"'re a world class fad."

Seasonal What If's.

Dream on.
Dream until your dream comes true...

As you ponder this year's ND forecast...

What If...

1.  ... Jack Coan is actually better than Ian Book?

2.  ... Kevin Austin lives up to the hype (and stays healthy)? 

3.  ... Marcus Freeman can coach as well as he recruits?

4.   ... our offense-side coaching staff could recruit like our defense?

* Tobias Merriweather!  The first step in realizing Jerrence's dream of a Dickensian football team.

5.   ... our freshman OL studs are the genuine article - 'plug 'n play' starters for the next three years?
6.  ... our ginger-haired Eraserhead lookin' kicker, Jonathan Doerer, returns to his 2019 form?

7.  ... any of the freshmen contribute like Michael Mayer or Kyle Hamilton have?

8.  ...ND's "4-for-40" recruiting promise has an actual, definitive expiration date?   Which means I'm two years past my 'sell by' date.   (Do NOT tell my wife.)

Buddy's Buddy

In The Age of COVID, there have been many heroes, the vast majority of whom fly well below the public radar. Even closer to home, there's equally numerous examples of life affirming positivity...

1) Ward Hamm.  Not only saddled w the burden of a highly erratic (if entertaining) golf partner but having to then look across tee box for 4+ hours at his opponents, 'Dumb & Dumber.'  Handling it all w maturity and more than a little bite-your-tongue-why-am-I-even-here willpower.  You da man, Wardy.  Thank you for slumming w us. 

2)  Jerry Wills.  Still fighting the good fight against a brutal, unrelenting viral enemy.  But of course he is, he's a Jersey guy. 

Know that we're all in your corner, JW, and the Zoom machine is all prepped and ready to catch up when you're up for it.

3)  Ted Carnevale.   He too, of late, has had a few health issues of his own and just responds with a "is that all you got?" attitude.  He too, is also pure northern Jersey .   Sorry we missed you last weekend, Theo - can't wait to see you this autumn. (And thanks again for the Tom Coyne referral.)

4)  Sloane Elizabeth Beauchamp.  The newest member of Jerrence's family tree.  She's a sleeping, drinking, dog lovin' machine.  

A true Corrigan. And already prepping for ND tailgate season.

Winners every one of them.

And honorable mention - using the term 'honorable' very loosely:

Throw out your hands, stick out your tush
Hands on your hips, give 'em a push...


...doing The French Mistake.

RE-PETE (a shameless, illegal lift of Pete Sampson's weekly mailbag).

Continuing with the 'what if' theme of a new football season with a great many unknowns (or at least, very few sure things outside of Kyle Hamilton, Michael Mayer and, probably, the RB's and DL), we dove into the latest Sampson mail bag, refrained from pulling the Brian Kelly - Ted Lasso hypothetical...

Will this help you guide your 2021 win prediction?  

I certainly hope not.  Why give y'all an advantage?  I would, some day, like to win my own pool and stop Madame Defarge with her incessant "if Albert and Ungie can win the pool, how hard can it be?" inquiries. 

Which three players having a positive camp performance would make you re-evaluate your forecast for this Irish squad?

Joe B.

There were a few versions of this question about under-the-radar players who could emerge or players who might be worth watching in detail, even if they’re not starting. But I like the way Joe B. phrases this because it weighs the impact of those players on this season without looking too far ahead. For example, I think Rylie Mills has a chance to be NFL Draft pick good in a couple years. I just don’t think that impact will show itself much this season, even if I’ll be watching the reps he does get closely.

Three players who could change my opinion of the season before it kicked off are Zeke Correll, Braden Lenzy and Houston Griffith.  Let’s take Kevin Austin out of this discussion, as his presence is baked into the offense. Correll, Lenzy and Griffith are all former four-star prospects who have clicked in moments, but just in moments. A strong camp from Correll settles the offensive line and bumps Jarrett Patterson to guard, which would be the highest of compliments for Correll, considering center is Patterson’s best position. A strong camp from Lenzy means Notre Dame will have versatility in the pass game and a speed threat to the wide side of the field. It also means some vexing personnel choices with motion and creativity for Tommy Rees, considering the potential of Lenzy, Chris Tyree and Kyren Williams all working in the backfield at the same time. Suddenly, Michael Mayer isn’t double-covered on every pass play. A strong camp for Griffith settles the back of the defense and lets Marcus Freeman get more creative with Kyle Hamilton instead of asking him to play centerfield.

You can probably pick up a theme here. It’s not just about these players having strong camps in a vacuum. It’s about how their strong camps would amplify Notre Dame’s best players. Eliminating one weakness can turn a completely different strength into something lethal.

Assuming Austin is healthy and these three players have strong camps as seen by objective eyes — the media will likely see two full practices and a handful of half-practices — Notre Dame would look more like a Playoff contender than a New Year’s Six team.

Cocktail of the Week

So, in the latter part of August, the Corrigans will be throwing the family matriarch, whom many of you know as Kay (like Prince or Madonna, she only needs one name), a birthday party. 

Mom turned 96 this past May.

She's gotten a little wobbly, a little shaky memory-wise and has bitched repeatedly over the past year about being in a prison-like military state in her independent living apartment.

So, time to party.  One out-of-town invitee responded 'we won't be able to come but would like to get your mother something - what do you think she would like?"  

Well, she is partial to vodka, cousin Marty.

Absolut! Absolut!
Absalom! Absalom! (1936)
By William Faulkner

Why tell a simple story if you can make it complicated? 
(Okay, turns out I did get something out of that Faulkner class.)
No worries - haters gonna hate (and Faulkner's gonna Faulkner).  A truly exasperating explotration of life in the author's beloved fictional Yoknapatawpha County, MS - at least this story includes a "map" of the area.

If out of order flashbacks and a Civil War backstory don't sound like your idea of a good time, keep in mind that Faulkner won no less than the Nobel, in part for his efforts here.

This Southern sip is guaranteed to make you ramble incoherently (as if I need any help).


*  1/2 oz. Absolut Vodka

*  1/2 oz. Absolut Citron
*  1/2 oz. Absolut Lime 
*  1/2 oz. Absolut Vanilla
*  1/2 oz. Absolut Peach
*  5 oz. lemonade
*  Club soda, to fill
*  Lemon wheel and maraschino cherry, for garnish 

Combine all the ingredients, except for the club soda and garnishes, in a shaker with ice.  Shake for 5 seconds.  Strain into a Collins glass over fresh ice and top with club soda.  Garnish with a lemon wheel and a cherry.  Attempt to form a complete sentence.

SourceAre You There God? It's Me, Margarita
More Cocktails With A Literary Twist
by Tim Federle

 5                     @Florida St.
11                    Toledo      
18                    Purdue
24                    Linipalooza X - FRIDAY NIGHT!
25                   @Wisconsin (Soldier Field)

 2                    Cincinnati     
 9                    @Va. Tech 
16                    BYE            
23                    USC
30                    UNC

6                    Navy          
13                  @UVA               
20                  Ga. Tech
27                  @Stanford

The Wager.

I'm ready...
I'm ready for the laughing gas.
I'm ready for what's next.

Most of you were born ready.  So I don't need to tell you, as you pour over all the off-season nuggets of information, this year might have more variance than most.  

It's also fair to say, unless you're Marcel or my brother Kevin, this year doesn't seem to come with the usual level of rational grounding for a "we can run the table" optimism.

Still, history has shown that sports is a fairly regular contributor to the "Did NOT see that coming" improbable.  Herewith, my nominations for the most improbable athletic successes in my life - and their directionally analogous relationship to ND wins in 2021.   


Archetype (Embodies)



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.


Brian M.



Kerry Strug

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.


Jay F.

Bill B.


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. 



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... 


3 my guest.


Apologies for no golf references.  Honorable mention goes to Jack's Masters win at 46 and Larry Mize stealing a green jacket from Greg Norman.


Summer is a time to think happy thoughts and not dwell in the misfortune / misery / disappointment of others.  

Plus, one kinda has to care about the sporting events to obtain true, high end schadenfreude.  

Baseball in June - July?  Just not far enough along for it to truly matter.

Basketball?  Perhaps a little bit (see below).

But mostly it's a season where I get to deceive myself into thinking I'm a better, more christian person than I really am.  Just wait until September 4th and the Clemson v. Georgia game.  Or the next week, USC v. Stanford.  Then you'll see Jerrence's schadenfreude freak flag fly. 

1)  LA Lakers/ Brooklyn Nets / Phoenix Suns.   This time of year, it's not easy to find something to actively revel in their misfortune.  But when your agency has a Milwaukee HQ... 

Good bye, Team LeBron!  (Jerrence's default position.)  
Too bad, Team Durant!  (Were your foot only a few inches shorter.)
See ya, Chris Paul!  (But love your State Farm ads.)

Terry's Tools.

Boy there's a lot of idiots in the world and sadly, not contained to the sports world where one could almost allow it.  One can certainly understand it - for many young men and women who manifest a freakish athletic skill set at an early age, entitlement starts and emotional development stops.

Unfortunately, a lot of the world doesn't have that excuse.  

Honorable mention this week goes to NBC Peacock (and, surely ND) for their beta test of exclusively streaming the Toledo game on their subscription service.  It's looking like there's gonna be no such thing as a free TV lunch anymore. 

1) Aaron Rodgers.     As a Green Bay Packer fan for 50+ years,  Jerrence loves the on-the-field star QB, thinks the off-the-field diva is a bit of a douchey smarty pants - even when he probably has a valid point.  So regarding the current difference of opinion between said person and team:
One could blame the NBA, with it's increasing star player-driven OS that caves to anything the elite player wants, including a new team.

Or one could just blame Tom Brady because a) he gets everything he ever asks for ("St. Tawm") and b) it bothers my pal Albert to do so.  

Just kidding, Al.  Maybe a little serious.  Actually I'm becoming a TB12 fan - the guy just scored a Subway Sandwich spokesperson contract after stating he's never eaten one in his life!  That's pretty impressive. 

But I digress.

In situations like this, I find myself reminded of what my loving wife of nearly 36 years says to me from time to time - and I'm paraphrasing here - but I'd envision her sage advice would be something like this to Mr. Future 1st ballot Hall of Famer...

"Would you please stop being such a fucking snowflake and man the fuck up?! And while you're at it, could you - just once - take out the trash without being asked to?"

Yes, dear.

2)  Brooks v. Bryson.  Honestly, I don't really care much for either one.  Though the petty trolling by each is kinda fun to observe and maybe even makes the sport a little more interesting.  So long may it last!

3)  Tour De France woman.  It takes a special kind of idiot to screw up that major of a race for, what, two dozen racers in the very 1st Stage.  

In case you missed it, some woman had a sign - not unusual - and just had to make sure she got on TV (mission accomplished there, sweetheart). So she got into the road - it's all about positioning, you see - where she wasn't looking and CRASH!

Given that there's now a warrant out for her arrest, she's discovering the downside to fame.

"I'll give you an hour to remove that hand..." 
4)  Joe Girardi.  In the spirit of full disclosure, I don't follow MLB super closely. A little.  But not obsessively so.  I understand there seems to be a foreign substance problem. And I'm not talking about that foreigner, Shohei Otani (ba boom ting!)  

But Girardi's pantsing of future Hall of Famer Max Scherzer as part of an accusatory 'he's must be cheating" is just sooo Philadelphia.  

If it'd been later in the autumn, Scherzer probably would've gotten an ice ball thrown his way.   (You think they're going to treat you better than Santa Claus, Max?)

4) Social Media v. Simone Biles.   Even though my chosen industry has one of its primary pillars in the world of on-line social discourse, I think we can agree social media has increasingly become a cesspool of misinformation and gutless, agenda-driven rhetoric.  Which is probably why my working days in Advertising are numbered.  

At any rate, watching the widespread backlash toward Ms. Biles' pulling out of the Olympics was pretty incredible, especially in light of the past 16 months everyone's had in confronting some level of mental health challenge.  It's one thing to feel like you've lost focus (or whatever), it's quite another to risk paralysis under the guise of 'taking one for the team.'

You gotta give me a minute
'Cause I'm way down in it.

5) Chicago Cubs.   Anthony - Javy - Kris - Craig, we hardly knew ye.  Roughly five weeks ago, the team was tied for 1st place. Life comes at you fast. 

6)  Stephen A. Smith.  Can we all agree that Shohei Otani, right now, has been one of the great MLB stories of recent memory?   

Can we also agree that Mr. Smith is one the great self-aggrandizing douches of this century?  So when the latter said (about the former), 

"I don't think it helps that the #1 face (of MLB) is a dude who needs an interpreter..."

Wow. Self-aware much?  Just as there's a widespread (if inaccurate) perception that all east coasters believe the country's cultural wasteland begins immediately after passing the Delaware Water Gap, there's a similar widely held understanding that most New Yorkers are generally loudmouth A-holes.  

Thank you, Stephen A. for adding that database.

6) NCAA / NIL.  One didn't think college's ruling body could get any more inept.  And yet by not getting ahead of this inevitability - and letting the courts decide - you've completely lost any chance to set even modest parameters for the ensuing chaos.  

Honestly, what value do you provide at all? Why do you even exist anymore?

There are those that play for money
There are those that play for fame
There are still those who only play
For the love of the game...

30 years later... that sentiment certainly didn't age well.


YOU MUST WATCH THE video of Alfredo Rivera, the Frontier Airlines Duct Tape Man - it will surely be the most entertaining 1:30 you engage with today - check it out here

"We about to mummify your ass, boy..."

Gotta respect a flight crew that carries its own hardware store emergency materials - and knows how to use it.

Final Thought

40 years ago this week, MTV unveiled a new concept, the music video, with The Buggles. 
"We can't rewind, we've gone too far."  Indeed. 

Finally, congratulations, Notre Dame football Class of '21.   For all the talk about NIL money, this to me is what it's still all about.  (Most college athletes just don't know it yet.)

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