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Thursday, November 18, 2021

UVA: Taking Care of Business


Are you dreaming out loud?
Scared of the crowds?
I'm headed home to go it alone again...

Dateline:  Flint Lake IN

So Madame D spent the weekend in the city, ostensibly taking The Daughter / Son-in-Law / The Granddaughter  to the airport, visiting her sister etc.  

And getting away from me.

Does familiarity, as the expression goes, occasionally breed contempt?  I doubt she's gonna say no.

But the truth is, I really shouldn't be left alone.  Probably not ever. And yet, the woman deserves the occasional break, yes?

That's what we call an ethical dilemma.

At any rate, with Jerrence left to his own devices and with Aaron Rodgers so much in the news,  the blogger's thoughts turned to proactive self-medication.  

"Embrace your personal, customized homeopathy," Jerrence's internal monologue whispered.   And while he didn't have a talk show host to guide his healthcare choices like the current NFL MVP - nor did the family live on a farm anymore so the horse wormer route was now a non-starter - he did have Dr. Jay, who has taught him The Ways of the Infrared Sauna - not the least of which was his breakthrough protocol involving an hour in the therapeutic heat followed by a refreshing tequila-based cocktail, The Paloma.

Counter-intuitive?  Perhaps.  Revelatory?  Most definitely. 

Next week:  Nutter Butters & Red Breast
Increasingly I have come to the opinion that Dr. Jay, within the healthcare space, just might be the Ignaz Semmelweis of our generation: deeply misunderstood, unfairly accused of quackery, possibly destined for a stint in an institution... but ultimately recognized for the cutting edge, forward thinker that he is.

And so it came to be that last Saturday night, having done my time in the infrared think tank, as its come to be known (catching the final episode of Season 1, The Witcher) my inner Ignaz - pushing boundaries, defying orthodoxies, blazing new therapeutic trails - was prescribing a pre-game meal of chocolate chip cookies and whiskey.  

Make a song out of that, Toby Keith.

In hindsight, the sugar rush from the cookies was nicely offset, one might say 'paired,' with the sharper, sedative effects of the pinot-casked whiskey - creating an internal equilibrium, physical and psychological in nature, that screamed both "I feel great, regardless of whether the UVA QB plays" and "Better get a blanket as it's looking like I'm not making it off the couch tonight." 

In any event, it worked.  Calmest game of the year.

Thank you, sensei.  And hurry home, Lisa.


Quote of the Week

"I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself than be crowded on a velvet cushion."                H.D. Thoreau


There's a lot going on in this quote, perhaps raising more questions than answers, like:
  • Is this about Thoreau's desire for personal space or, in fact, The Love (for a gourd) That Dare Not Speak Its Name?
  • Is the pumpkin in question, stemmed or unstemmed?
  • What exactly goes on at the Thoreau household on Thanksgiving?
  • Can one gracefully decline the invite and still expect to get invited at a later date, for a safer holiday meal - one that may involve a less provocative side dish? 

Here's hoping, if I don't see / speak w you before then, you all have a Happy (and safe) Thanksgiving. 

Word of the Week

Used in a sentence paragraph
:  As Young Jerrence settled in to watch the game, he was instantly distracted by the ABC-TV's visual of Virginia QB warming up.

Distracted and surprised.  For all the publicity the young man had received, rightfully so - he was averaging close to 400 yds. per game passing-  no one had commented on his haircut.  It was truly imaginative, a brilliantly red party on the top, rigidly militaristic everywhere else.  

It looked to Jerrence like something a General Program major would've requested while in the barber's chair, "Give me a haircut that reveals Epicureus' struggle to come to terms with Man's inability to control his Fate in a universe that's infinite and without purpose.  Oh, and I'd like a shampoo."

I said, "Epicurean cut, not Socratic." 
Again, a hairdo that's both imaginative and nihilistic. 

Less impressive to Jerrence was the QB's passing ability -  demonstrably more 'toss' than 'pass' as it appeared the young man's throwing range wouldn't be surpassing 10 yards anytime soon. 

For Jerrence, then, the evening's prospects for winning had become extremely pellucid:  unless the back up was the 2nd coming of Trevor Lawrence, this was going to be a comfortable night for ND.

Now, where did those cookies go?

Game 10 Thoughts

There's always something tearing apart
And it hits you so much harder than you thought.
But you don't worry, you don't worry.
'Cause you got soul.

1) Op Ed.   Like many of us, I hope, I woke up Sunday morning in my happy place, feeling like Saturday's football game was largely devoid of the usual stress.  (Sure, it helped that UVA's star QB didn't play but hey, not my problem.)

This rare oasis of contentment was broken quite quickly by my Notre Dame football website's message board - by even the guy who runs the site - disabusing me of the notion that last night had been anything but yet another disappointing performance - driven entirely by the team's mediocre head coach.

I gotta say, WTF.  Now I've long recognized the species of troll that lives under the bridges of social media, never having to reveal themselves or be held accountable for their ill conceived opinions.  

I've also realize that in our current society, everyone's opinion is driven by an agenda.

But what suddenly occurred to me about the present state of Brian Kelly's experience as head football coach at the University of Notre Dame: outside of his own school, he is NEVER given the benefit of the doubt.


Despite pulling a program out of the toilet, or winning more games than anyone in history, or making the program relevant and no longer the punch line of jokes that now seem earmarked for Texas, Nebraska, FSU, USC...  

Oh, and what part of 'rebuilding year' didn't you grasp?

And yet, Kelly maintains.  Better, he flourishes. 

I'm pretty jaded about sports any more.  I think most athletes are entitled, self-absorbed products of arrested development.  And most coaches are such simple creatures they make amoebas appear complex, critical thinkers.

Can't tell you how many times I read an article about something going on in the world and my first reaction is, "what the f*ck is wrong with people?" -  so its not like I should be viewing unreasonable fans probably as terribly aberrant.

Still, this kind of shocks me.  I expected more of our fanbase.

Here's the kicker:  I now don't think Kelly's experience is all that rare. One would imagine if you read Clemson's message board this year, or even Alabama's (post-Texas A&M loss) you'd get Cretin Nation opining about 'time for a change!'  

What's the expression, the most popular guy on the team is the back up QB.

Has it always been this way?   I'd like to think not.

I guess those guys are used to it.  Know it comes with the territory. 

Regardless, consider me Kelly's #1 fan.  

2) Youth Is Served.  There's an adage in the advertising world:  dear client, you can have (whatever) cheaper, faster, better.  Choose two.   Y
ou can't have 'em all.

One is reminded of that challenge when one sees ND both playing for success this year while developing the future stars of tomorrow at the same time.

And this year, there's a lot of 'em. 

Impressive and super encouraging.

 O-line.  Honestly, I'm tired of talking about this group. This is the last time, I swear  

But here's the deal:  they've still got a lot of room for improvement.  Pretty solid, pass blocking.  But 3rd-and-2, or 4th-and-1... unless you've got Buchner in, I'm not feeling terribly confident.

4)  Logan's A Leaping.   I say this without equivocation:  I have not seen a leap by a Notre Dame man as impressive as Logan Diggs' since Ungie's gazelle-like exit at The Torch, post Senior Men's Night 1979.

5)  Style points.     One of the many whinges uttered, post-game, was the lack of 'style points' the team produced, ostensibly for the purposes of a BCS Playoff berth.    

It's easy to see we left 10-14 pts. on the table, between the 1st drive (a Coan sneak, really?) and the last Buchner drive (I'm guessing he and Diggs don't get a lot of practice time together).

So, to those Committee guys, be they BCS or other bowl invitation empowered, does a 38-3 or 42-3 victory make a better impression?

Maybe.  Maybe not. Two points to consider:

A.  Without Armstrong playing, many critics were going to be immediately discounting the win, no matter the point spread.

B.  As the sidebar suggests, it's very likely the logjam ahead of ND is going to take care of itself. And UVA w/o their stud QB was never going to be a defining, signature win for ND this year.

One man's opinion. 


With a ticket burning in his hand
And the tip still ringing in his ear
Big Pete bet his whole life savings
As the race was drawing near... 

6)  Vegas.  With as wacky of a season as its been, one must think the oddsmakers have done pretty well - a lot of money going south on 'sure things.'  Still, they couldn't have been happy with the clack of clarity on Brennan Armstrong's availability.  Unlike the NFL, where there's a far more definitive imperative to reveal injury status, in college football not so much.  

How quintessentially NCAA-like to abdicate on that - they're pretty skilled at turning a blind eye to, well, almost everything.  

Still, tough to believe the QB would've represented a 3-4 TD difference.   In any event, who knows, maybe bettors just stayed away.


Buddy's Buddy

What was it about this week's award winner...

Was it my finally recognizing his tireless, often unappreciated special teams work?

Or - the immediate impact he made, from literally the very first snap of the game, when we didn't know quite what to expect from UVA's offense?

Perhaps it was just the long, flowing, desperately-needs-a-comb-and-maybe-some-conditioner-through-it mane... a clear homage to vintage, late 1960's, Robert Plant.  

Yes, yes and yes.

Bo Bauer.  

Here's his game line:  9 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1 pass break up.  
Trampled under foot, indeed.

And while Kelly opted to give the game ball to Rylie Mills - a very defendable choice - but this week 'tie goes the player with the name closest to a post-Civil War Reconstruction survivor.' 

This scene was Charlottesville, after all.
One scribe wrote, "the senior LB played a physical, downhill game that helped limit the Cavaliers run game.  He was consistent with his assignments and displayed impressive range."

The fact that he didn't know he would be making his first Notre Dame start - ever - until the day of the game (w. Drew White taking ill) only adds to the performance.

And now's the time, the time is now.
To sing my song... 

RE-PETE (A shameless, illegal lift of Pete Sampson's weekly mail-bag)

Consider me among the many fans that is quite conflicted about ND making the BCS Playoffs - leaning heavily toward the 'no thank you' side of the argument.

On one hand, do we even look like one of the four best (or most deserving) teams in the country?  Not for the entirety of any game.

On the other hand, if no one else wants it... and outside of Georgia (and their defense), does anyone else put the fear of God (or national humiliation) in you?  Not this year.

Regardless, the possibility is inescapable and becoming increasingly frontal lobe as topic of conversation - so why not let Mr. Sampson opine on the matter: 

Are we rooting for Cincinnati to win out to make our only loss look as good as possible, or do we want them to lose a game and potentially open another spot in the Top 4? In other words, what is really the best-case scenario for the Irish?

Ben B.

I’ve gone back and forth on this, but if Cincinnati lost to Houston in the AAC championship game, it could put Notre Dame above Cincinnati but keep the Bearcats in the top 10 or close to it. In that reality, Cincinnati would still have a quality win over the Irish, but it wouldn’t shock me at all if Notre Dame jumped a team that won in South Bend, as the Bearcats have been listing and wouldn’t be a conference champion.

But, here’s my best-case scenario.

Wisconsin wins the Big Ten championship game, which means that conference is likely eliminated from consideration. Oregon wins out, taking the Pac-12 with two wins over Utah and one over Oregon State. Cincinnati loses to Houston in the AAC championship game, which drops them out of College Football Playoff contention. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State split Bedlam and the Big 12 championship game, meaning Notre Dame stays above both. Georgia soundly beats Alabama in the SEC championship game.

In this world, it’s: 1. Georgia, 2. Oregon, 3. Notre Dame 4. TBD

At least, that’s how it looks today. And yeah, it’s a lot of ask if you want Notre Dame to make the College Football Playoff and not be the No. 4 seed, meaning it would have a chance to win a postseason game. If the winner of Notre Dame-Oregon met the winner of Georgia-Ohio State/Oklahoma State/Alabama, that’s a scenario you’d take if you’re Brian Kelly. Still, all roads lead to Georgia.

Greg B. asked for a reevaluation of Notre Dame making the College Football Playoff. I used to think the chance was slim to none, then I thought it was remote, but as the season as evolved — notably with Notre Dame winning without Kyle Hamilton and this offensive line improving — those chances are now realistic and worth discussing.

Source:  The Athletic
November 18, 2021

Cocktail of the Week

Another week, another struggle to find some connective tissue between game - book / movie - cocktail.

UVA - Charlottesville... old south... Confederacy... gee, already used 'Gone With The Gin'... maybe something more current?

What might the state of Virginia be in the news about these days?  Well, they did have a gubernatorial election this month.  And the guy that won, the fellow who supported banning of objectionable books. How very Fahrenheit 451 of him.  Damn, how can there not be a cocktail based on that?!  

Oh wait...

The Grappa of Wrath
The Grapes of Wrath (1939)
By John Steinbeck

Though it won the Pulitzer for fiction in 1940, these Grapes left half their readers sour, with calls to ban the book over Steinbeck's allegedly communist leanings.  

Of course, when it wasn't being burned, banned, or booed, the book's unsentimental portrayal of America during the Great Depression inspired no less than Eleanor Roosevelt to call for a closer examination of migrant camps.  

Our farmer-worthy lemonade with a hint of Grappa is a toast to every high school teacher who ever assigned it - and every student who skipped the CliffNotes and actually read it.

2 oz.  grappa                                                 

2 oz.  lemon juice
2 oz.  simple syrup                                             

1 oz. grape juice 

5  frozen grapes

Club soda, to fill

Pour all the liquid ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake for 5 seconds;  strain into a Collins glass over the frozen grapes, top with the soda.  Prepare for a wrath of yummy.

Source:  Are You There God, It's Me Margarita
More Cocktails with a Literary  Twist
by Tim Federle


 5                     @Florida St.    W
11                    Toledo              W
18                    Purdue             W
24                    Linipalooza X   W
25                   @Wisconsin    W

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

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


11-1'ers, you're not ashore yet - but we can sure see it from here... and while you're at it, you might want to start brushing up on your early 19th Century Lake poets for the inevitable tie-breaker.

Sorry, Albert.  

Land ho!


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.


John P.

Bryan G.

Gary H.

Pat B.

Dave 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.

Bob J. 

Dave G.

Peter B.

Jim S.

Jim B.

Daryl M.

Dennis R.

Mike C.


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. 

Sloane B.
Phillip S.
Jerry P.
Kevin M.
Jim T.
Tim S.
The Dim One
Bob S. 
Blair R.
Alex S.
Ted C.
Tom F.
Randy R. 
Mike G. 


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.


Brian W.

Garrett R. 

Mike B.

John L.

Ward H. 


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.  



Albert B.


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.


Schadenfreude of the Week

Sadly, USC had a bye week.  

And that periodic dilemma of Penn St. vs. Michigan, can't I root for the meteor that takes both teams out?

So we soldier on, marching to the beat of the various bowl committees, be it BCS Playoff or something Jan. 1'ish - as alluded earlier, everything seems to still be on the table.  

The one thing you can depend on, unless you're the Detroit Lions it seems, is someone has to lose each week.  And for the duration of the season, someone's loss has to benefit ND.  This is gonna be fun.

Category 1)  I've never liked you.  I will never like you. Like Defcon 1, it's 'go time' and with every loss an angel earns its wings so I feel super justified in reveling in your failure.

Category 2)  Defcon 2 - there are other issues I'm having trouble dealing with, my therapist isn't taking my calls and that nuclear football is sitting right in front me.  Sorry all, I just want to see the world burn

Category 3)  It's not personal, just business.  Defcon 3 - there's not a white hot intensity of emotion tied to this.  I'm just being very pragmatic.  I need you to go away.

This week's candidates all rolled into one... and you definitely want to watch to the end.

And, if anyone is keeping track... Texas has not won a game since their special teams coach's girlfriend's monkey allegedly attacked a trespassing child.

Coincidence?  I think not. 

Terry's Tools

I don't find Tools quite as easy to categorize as I do schadenfreude candidates.  Though I may make that my off-season endeavor.

Like Diane Fosse, living amongst the gorillas to divine each type. 

And what kind of scale to create?  Is it continuum?  Seems a little simplistic - although if ever any group cried out to be aligned with 'simple' it'd be the Tool.

For the time being. I'll rely on the Potter Stewart, "I know it when I see it" definition. 

1)  Lincoln Riley.
 Is this an example of hypocrisy or  just really poor self-awareness?  

It does feel like the pot calling the kettle black.  

Brief background:  Baylor is beating Oklahoma 24-14 (in a game not as close as the score suggests) when Baylor, already inside OU's redzone, calls time out with :03 and kicks a FG.  

Coach Riley is aggrieved.  Poor sportsmanship! 

Really?  A FG puts you off?  Talk to me when some future Jimmy Johnson chooses to put 50 on you, passing in the 4th quarter when you're already up by 40...

BTW, Baylor's coach (possibly USC's next one) defends the action by pointing out that the Big 12 Championship tie-breaker has total points as a factor.  Seems reasonable but whatever.  It was just a FG, Lincoln. 

2)  Carlos Correa.  You dare blaspheme Derek Jeter's credibility (or lack thereof) for winning any of his five Golden Gloves?!  

Even if you're correct (and I suspect there is some measure of legitimacy to your statement), why do it?  Did you consciously want to piss off the Yankees?  One of the few teams that could give you the ridiculous free agent contract you're looking for?

Scott Boras (or whomever represents you) has got to be shaking his head... 

Final Thoughts

For you baseball fan's out there, looking specifically at Lini and Ungie here... I love this. 

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