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Sunday, August 7, 2022

Pre-Season '22: Lawyers, Guns & Money

With, without...
And who'll deny it's what's the fighting's all about?

Dateline:  Flint Lake IN

Hey there - I hope everyone's 2022 to-date has been happy and healthy, with just a dollop of "I didn't see that coming" to make life a little interesting.  

When I first began musing about the blog - five months ago - Ukraine was front and center.  And it took me back 30 years to an experience where the Helene Curtis CEO offered me his seat on a trade junket to the Baltics (Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia), at a time when those countries were still a part of the Soviet Union.

For a week, I got to meet genuine freedom fighters.  Guys who met in secret with other like-minded 'rebels' while maintaining a public persona in government or the local Chamber of Commerce.  

Pretty heady stuff - quite enlightening, if otherwise a completely unproductive trip.  

So war is pretty nasty stuff, we can all agree on that, right? Not that we have to worry about it in the good ole US of A.  

Well, maybe a civil war.   

But I still think a lot about the Baltic people.  

If one can be both passionate (about maintaining their independence) and pragmatic (Putin is exactly who they've always known him to be), I think that's the type of 'patriot' you're watching engage with Mother Russia.  

Rock on, Ukraine.

Regardless, for the first part of this year football felt awfully trivial.  (EXCUSE #1 FOR NOT WRITING SOONER.)

.The sultans of swing- they play creole.. 
Then came early May and the New Orleans Jazz Fest (EXCUSE #2), a "we can't possibly turn this down" opportunity - once again the Corrigans as beneficiaries of near limitless Rasmus largesse.

And four days, it must stated, that required both significant prepping time and as you'll see later, recovery. NOLA with the Behrens as one's tour guide is decidedly not for the timid or the constitutionally weak.  

Knowing he would've been the Pillar of Moderation had he come (which he was sadly unable), I blame Raz for the subsequent DT's and gastro-intestinal anxiety.

I can't wait to go back.

June brought Vail, CO and spending "quality time" with yet more Dillonites and South Quad'ers.

"Lisa, why does doing something this wrong feel sooo right?"

It also meant experiencing, which is to say being party to, the annual episode of The Odd Couple: Feifar & Thompson hang out together, waiting for the conversation to turn to politics.  

Whereby hi-jinx ensue.

"Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria..."

Until it didn't.  Quite the contrary - and quite the fabulous time.  Mountain golf.  Copious G&T's. Brekkie every day by Chef Tom.  Thank you again, Mr. Brittan.

Perhaps it was the thin mountain air.  Or the pervasive feeling of bonhomie displayed by the two aforementioned political frenemies. More likely it was the Gunpowder gin (well done, Ireland).  But football still felt so far away. (EXCUSE #3).

If you're James Carville, Jim, that would suggest I'm...

EXCUSE #4:  The Kelly Belknap wedding in northern MI mere days after the Rocky Mountain High experience. Eek! I'm 65, this is a lot for me to physically withstand in such a short amount of time.  And yet another instance where a key participant claims illness and couldn't attend.  (Wait a minute.  All these 'hosts' bailing on us.  Coincidence or not?)   

WHO CARES!  Had a FABULOUS time!  Spectacular weather, incredible venue, hanging with lifelong pals, couldn't have been a more perfect event.

Jerry?  Jerry who?

Finally, however, it's August.  Show time for Jerrence. 

Quote of the Week

"All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure."

Mark Twain

Apropos of nothing.  Or maybe, everything.  And to think he said that almost 150 years ago.                                    

Word of the Week

Used in a sentence paragraph
:  Young Jerrence looked out over Little Traverse Bay as the wedding reception began to wind down, his trophy wife by his side, when his mind drifted back to two thoughts he'd found difficult to shake:

1) These gin and tonics are really good! 

2)  Jim, the bride's father's toast - embracing serendipity - was both surprising and impressive.

Class of '79, marrying beyond our worth for 40+ years.
He was, after all, an Accounting major and the proper use of multi-syllabic words seemed at best unexpected. 

Nonetheless, as Jerrence continued to ponder (and drink), he began to grasp the profundity of his friend's words.

Viewed through that lens, Jerrence's life began to feel like the result of one grand serendipitous happenstance:  going to ND, meeting (and becoming friends with) like-minded knuckleheads men and women from all across the country.  

Heck, even the jobs one took, the people one subsequently met there, the women one ultimately married began to take on the look of some kind of beneficent divine intervention.

And you may ask yourself, 
Well, how did I get here?

Even Pete and his wife, the strangers whom the ND gang were sharing housing with that weekend - the fellow who had the courage to admit he was a friend of both Rasmus and Castellini (who does that?) - was a great guy.  His inclusion in the group that weekend was the very definition of serendipity.

Well done, Jim.

Preseason Thoughts

New car, caviar, four star, daydream
Think I'll buy me a football team... 

1) NIL.   There's a certain grim irony to the realization that ND's finally gotten the recruiting-obsessed head coach that we've all been pining for, only to have the SEC Bag Man codified as a seeming legitimate tool. So douches like Jimbo Fisher can claim, "We're just a bunch of top notch recruiters - the ($30M) money has nuthin' to do with it."  Yeah, right. 

An easier irony to get comfortable with is that Lane Kiffin has now actually become a fairly likable guy - and one willing to call all of this exactly what it is - basically mini-NFL free agency without a salary cap.

So it's a hard not to get a little depressed about the misuse going on here.  Will there be some greater guardrails ever put on it?  You'd like to think so but given how impotent the NCAA is, I wouldn't hold my breath.  The only thing that'll modify this is market forces, i.e., when schools don't see the ROI they're requiring from the players.

2) Conference consolidation.   So everyone wants to know - what's ND gonna do?  Give up independence - "say it ain't so, Joe!"  On a recent Shamrock podcast, The Athletic writer Matt Fortuna put it in a way that this blogger finds most relatable:  stop thinking in terms of ND joining a conference.  ND will be joining a league.  Actually, The Only League That Matters.   When one is talking about 20 teams in both the Big 10 / SEC,  it's essentially the equivalent of the NFC / AFC. 

Fact #1:  The landscape of the college football world is definitely changing and no one is asking ND's permission.
Fact #2:  The potential TV money involved is material.  Big boy money.  Personally, I don't know how Fr. Jenkins doesn't look at that as a revenue source for the school's general fund and not think, "I could put that to really good use." 
Fact #3:  There are no punitive financial handcuffs re ND football's commitment to the ACC.   And breaking the Olympic sports contract is probably rounding error relative to the TV money on the table. Net, ND could pull the trigger on joining the B10 at any time. 
Fact #4:  NBC will do what's best for NBC.  Will they pony up to keep ND football?  Maybe but it'll have zero to do with caring about anyone's independence. 

Too bad there isn't a square for Zantac or Pepcid AC. That would be X'd too.

I'm sorry, Tim, there's just no openings on the staff.
3)  Recruiting.  See pt. #1 - factually speaking, Freeman & Co. are recruiting their asses off.  Almost without question the best haul since maybe the Holtz-Cerrato days.  

  • Still ranked #1 in the country as of this writing.
  • 19-20 (I'm guessing) out of 22 being legit 4-stars or better.  
  • Recruiting a lot of speed.
  • And orchestrating these-can't-a-be-coincidence announcements for maximum momentum:  
    • two 4-day rolls with a commitment-each-day, incl. this past Thursday-through-Sunday roll.
  • Favorite recruit?, let's just say I shall be referring to our esteemed Dr. Brooks as Micah until Signing Day.
And yet...  their two 5-stars continue to visit other schools.  And not just any school - the one's w serious pedigree ('Bama) and deep pockets (A&M).  

So I guess we'll see.  Yet another year where a 10+ win season appears necessary to lock the high-end kids down. And whatever you do, coach, please don't embarrassed in Columbus. 

4) August. To quote the philosopher Allen Iverson, "Practice?!  We talking about practice.  Not a game."

Well, ya gotta start somewhere, Al.  And this team has some questions to answer.  But maybe not as many as people think.  You guys probably read (mostly) the same stuff I do so I'll try to spare you the minutiae... but a couple of thoughts for future discussion, nonetheless:

5)  Buchner's gonna be the starting QB.  And he's gonna be fine.  There may be a point in the 1st quarter in Columbus, however, where Freeman will have wished he gave him some playing time against Oklahoma St.   Patience, grasshoppers.

6) ND Nation seems to still love belittling Tommy Rees, all while the coaching profession - both college and pro - seem to remain quite high on the man.  Welp, this looks like this is the year Rees is going to have to really show the creativity - thin RB room, thin (and young) WR corps, stud TE, seemingly solid O-line.   Let's see what you got, coach. For the record, I'm a believer. 

7)  The strength of the D would appear to be its front seven.  But w Cam Hart and Brandon Joseph, you'd think you've got half of a potentially strong secondary.  Will Houston Griffin -r or anyone else - ever show up?  Now is the time.

8)  Near and dear to my heart: the kicking game. Carrot Top wasn't exactly the model of consistency last year (although seemingly very clutch when it ultimately mattered) but he may be looking like the Second Coming of Adam Vinatieri compared to what we see this year.

9)  Will there be a freshman Michael Mayer breakout candidate this year?  Before going down with a season ending ACL, I would've nominated RB Jadarian Price.  

Son of beeetch - sheeet.  

Even if he hadn't, WR Tobias Merriweather would've probably been the odds on favorite, given how threadbare that position is.  

Two darkhorse candidates:  Eli Raridon (TE) and Jaden Mickey (CB). 

10) Like anything to do w pre-season practice, pray for no injuries.

Defarge and I were recently bingeing an Apple TV+ show, Black Bird, a true story BTW, about a guy who is coerced by the FBI to enter a prison in order to gain a confession from a suspected Indiana serial killer.   The protagonist was (is) an actor whom we couldn't quite place.

Jerrence:  Isn't that the kid from The Kingsmen?
Defarge:   I don't know about that but he's definitely played Elton John in Rocket Man... 

Making us both correct - but her probably more so, if one was keeping score.  But more to the point, it got me to thinking about Elton John.  And Bernie Taupin.  I've always been mystified by the alchemy involved in the mixing of lyrics and music to form any great song.  The John-Taupin process - if to be taken at face value - seemed particularly idiosyncratic.  It seems accepted as fact that Taupin writes alone, quite separately from John... and when finished, he sticks the words in the post and lets Elton do his thing.  Well, alrighty then.

But surely, there must be some instances where EJ's had some kind of reaction to what he's gotten over the years - of the "help me out here, Bernie, what the hell is going on with this song?" ilk.  I've imagined it to be something like this:

Which begs another segue - and I think this is true (it involves drinking a lot of wine with Mr. Castellini, as one is want to do, so I could be mis-remembering) - where I believe he mentioned he was a big fan of songs that had great intro's. And during the aforementioned revisiting of Elton's catalogue, I came upon this gem.  This one's for you, Jerome.

Great song whose lyrics didn't age particularly well.  The entirety of the Class of '79 have pretty much blown by their 65th birthdays - Mr. Cincotta, of whom I'm aware, being perhaps the only exception (whose upcoming b-day also dispels the myth that the youngest in the class must surely be MENSA-level savants) - with most everyone in reasonably good health.  Long may that last! 

Buddy's Buddy

An off-season Buddy award winner is not an easy thing to derive.

What criteria does one place when there are no real games to be played? 

Training / Practice reports?
Spring Game?

How about Player Development?

One of the neatest things I saw occur at ND this offseason, outside of the Jerome Bettis Goes Back to School story was the creation / execution of the Notre Dame Football Legacy Weekend, around the Blue-Gold game. 

The brainchild of head coach Freeman, the school brought back over 290 former players for a multi-day event - involving good old fashion reunions, networking with both former and current players - as well as perhaps some not-so-sly recruiting of the many stud high school recruits invited for the Spring game. 

As laudable of an achievement that Big Idea was, somebody still had to make it happen.  

This blogger knows a little something about trying to organize a few hundred Domers around a series of events - getting them to right place and time, hoping the police don't have to be called in at any point (looking at you, Ungie)... it's not an especially easy remit.  

Hunter Biden Bivin
, ND's Director of Player Development, coordinated the whole weekend, starting with a broad-based invitation to over 500 of the former players, the following up - almost certainly relentlessly - on arrivals, departures, confirmations and/or cancellations...  ultimately, on the real-time campus event management throughout the three days.  Not a lot of laughs. 

The result?  

A huge hit by every metric - to the extent they're expecting over 500 attendees next year.  

Very, very cool

And very, very smart.

Famine, War, Pestilence
A personal post-script:  A few of us were the beneficiaries  that weekend of putting the Rasmus seats through their Spring workout.  

Making it even more thrilling was the early buzz that perhaps we'd be joined in the box by bona fide football legends, former All-Americans Jerome Bettis and Tom Carter.

Alas, they were no shows.  

One man's working hypothesis:  they did come up to the 1842 Club.  

But then they looked down from inside the club, saw what they perceived as the social pariah equivalent of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, looked at each other and said, "You know, it's such a nice day. And our passes do get us on the sidelines, let's enjoy the unseasonably nice northern Indiana weather, shall we?"

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

No Mailbag quite yet. 

Rather, sharing a recent piece written by Matt Fortuna - friend of Gruley's (don't hold that against him) and occasional dinner guest for a few other of us.

As you'll see, he touches that most sensitive and topical of subjects - the status of ND's independence and the options that appear to be confronting Swarbrick and, of course, Fr. Jenkins.

"In Savvy Jack We Trust."  At least, I do.

Tick, tock Notre Dame

The post-Big Ten realignment wave seems to be in the same situation as the post-SEC realignment wave was at this time last summer. That is, nothing big is likely to happen until Notre Dame provides some clarity.

And no, alliances don’t count as “big.”

But this situation is different from last year’s situation was for Notre Dame, enough so that many around the industry are genuinely curious to see what the Irish decide to do. Kevin Warren’s comments at Big Ten media days last week did nothing to stop the speculation.

“We will not expand just to expand,” the Big Ten commissioner said. “It will be strategic, it will add additional value to our conference, and it will provide a platform to even have our student-athletes be put on a larger platform so they can build their careers but also that they have an opportunity to grow and learn from an education and from an athletic standpoint.”

Power brokers with the Irish have provided mixed reactions to last month’s CBS Sports report that the school wants $75 million per year from NBC in its new TV deal to stay independent, although no one in South Bend is batting an eye at the idea of the peacock needing shoulder programming from another conference in order to strengthen. (That could come via the Big Ten when the conference finalizes its new TV deal in the next few weeks, although Notre Dame’s NBC contract runs through 2025-26.)

The fact several around the industry view that $75 million figure as a bargain — especially when the Irish’s current NBC deal pays a fraction of that — likely shows that Notre Dame can, and needs to, aim higher.

Of course, the Irish would get more — a lot more — from the Big Ten. And if the Irish were to bring rival Stanford aboard as a partner, the possibility of AAU admittance could be on the horizon as well, no small feat for a school with an undergraduate enrollment of fewer than 10,000 students.

“I believe Father John (Jenkins) and I believe Jack (Swarbrick), I really do,” ACC commissioner Jim Phillips said at media days when asked about his concern level of Notre Dame potentially looking around. “I know both of them well. I have great respect and admiration for them. I worked there, I think I know the place. I have two kids there, one’s a student-athlete. And I take them at their word. They really have enjoyed the relationship, and their Olympic sports have benefited being part of the ACC, and their football team plays five games a year in the ACC.

“At the end of the day, they very much value independence. And I respect that. I do. In some ways, you really admire it. And I think their intention remains — as Jack has stated publicly — that they want to hold on to independence. And they’re getting close to redoing their television deal. So that’s kind of next for them relative to the football piece of a television deal.”

Asked whether the Irish’s new TV deal could affect the ACC’s arrangement with them, Phillips said: “We stay close. Jack’s on our calls, same as Father John, so there’s lots of interaction. I guess we’ll know more as they move down the path. But it has been a mutually beneficial relationship. And those are the best kinds of partnerships that you can have, is when they benefit both entities.”

Remember, the ACC owns the grant of rights for only Notre Dame’s Olympic sports, meaning Irish football would be a money-maker wherever it ends up, although there would be an exit fee if the Irish were to join a conference other than the ACC.

“I rely on Jack Swarbrick, who’s so intelligent and is always at the front end of all these decisions,” football head coach Marcus Freeman said last week. “I know we won’t ever be in a bad situation. I think being independent is something that makes us unique, and it’s kind of what Notre Dame was built on, is being able to play a schedule that’s truly coast to coast and not confined to one certain geographical area. And as long as we’re not in a position to fail, right, in terms of as a football program, we’ll continue to be independent.

“If Jack Swarbrick thinks we’re at a disadvantage of being independent, I’m sure he’ll make a decision for us to join a conference. But again, I got two bosses: one being my wife, and Jack Swarbrick’s the other, so obviously I trust his decisions.”

Source:  The Athletic
August 4, 2021

Cocktail of the Week

One of the highlights of 2022 has been having Sloane, aka "The Granddaughter," visit for the month of June.  

At the time, she was an impressive 15 months old and on the verge of ultimate mobility, which is to say, walking. Immediately, Grandmama Defarge and I reacquainted ourselves, after a 30 year hiatus, with several immutable truths that come with the presence of infants in a home:

1)  The entire house represents potential grave danger.

2)  The attending adult in the household gets, literally, zero accomplished while that child is awake.

3)  The grand-toddler is undeniably more fun, and more addicting, than one can possibly imagine. 

Sloane, you and I are going to get along just fine...
I believe the experienced grandparents reading this know of which I speak.  

And yes, one of our 'special occasion' wine glasses - purchased in Prague 20 years ago - bit the dust (an acceptable loss and one to be entirely blamed on the dull-witted grandfather who didn't have the common sense God gave him to move the glass rack the first time she crawled over there).

"Hey there, gramps!  These big wine glasses sure look pret-ty interesting. I mean, I could practically fit my head in one of them - like a space helmet!  And if  they weren't meant to be played with, why would anyone leave them out and within my reach - that would just be kinda stupid, right? Certainly irresponsible.  

So whaddya say we give THEM a go?" 

Therefore in recognition of that summer's celebrity visitor, let us celebrate the bonding that the two of us achieved over shared snacks and cocktails:

Pat-A-Cake, Pat-A-Cake,
Maker's Mark
(Pat-A-Cake, Pat-A-Cake, Baker's Man)

Just because you're wearing dad-jeans now doesn't mean you have to drink Bud Light out of a can.  This gentleman's tonic recalls swankier days and smoother sips.

4 1/2 oz.  Maker's Mark                                               
1 oz.  Sweet vermouth 
1/2 oz.  Amaro bittersweet liqueur 


Pour all the ingredients into a mixing glass and stir for :05. Empty into a rocks glass and drink neat and fast - it's your turn to change the diapers.

Source:  Hickory Daiquiri Dock
Cocktails with a Nursery Rhyme  Twist
by Tim Federle

2022 Schedule


 3                     @Ohio St. 
10                    Marshall 
15                    LINIPALOOZA XII
17                    Cal (Berkely)        
24                   @UNC

 1                     OPEN
 8                    @BYU (Las Vegas) 
15                    Stanford            
22                   UNLV            
29                   @Syracuse

5                     Clemson  
12                  @Navy                     
19                  Boston College  
26                  @USC 

I've got Ungie covered.  Who's next?

Not the most inspiring of home schedules, to be sure.  

Merely meaning that the Stayer tailgaters will have to be bringing their 'A' game each and every week.

Of which I have every confidence will occur. 



First off, it's been made clear to The Wager Committee by representatives of the Snowflake Caucus that there's a growing dissatisfaction with the contest's Darwinian Winner Take All payout scheme.  So as we review improvements to drive greater enrollment while creating a happier, more equitable incentive schedule, two adjustments have been made, effective immediately:

1)  Participation awards for everyone! 
  • To be sent to the parent / spouse / partner of your choosing.  I'm sure they'll be proud.

1st prototype

2) Those who actually make it to the playoffs (i.e., guess the correct number of regular season wins) will immediately win back their $25 entry fee.
  • This will, of course, reduce the financial payout to the ultimate winner(s) although for those fortunate souls, the diminished ROI will do nothing to the positive lifelong impact of being a winner of the prestigious Artie award.
3)  All winners heretofore will be required to have access to a 21st century electronic payment platform (e.g. Venmo, Zelle, PayPal) or consider yourself SOL. 


So let's talk Winston Churchill.  A few of you may know that, this summer, I read Erik Larson's "The Splendid and The Vile" - an extraordinarily well researched (as all his works are) book about Churchill's first year as Prime Minister with Neville Chamberlain getting a well deserved vote of 'no confidence' as World War II was cranking up and Hitler was beginning his siege to western Europe and bombing the sh*t out of England in particular.

An except:   

Churchill changed into his nightclothes and, carrying a helmet, came downstairs in what his personal secretary described as a "particularly magnificent golden dragon dressing gown."  He, too, entered the garden, where he paced back and forth for a time, a stubby round figure in flaming gold, until he at last moved down to the shelter to spend the night. 
I want to party with you, dude.

Have you ever played that game, 'what people... alive or dead... would you want to have dinner with'?   

Names like Jesus / Ghandi / Hitler are always popular, if unoriginal, choices. 

For my money, Winston would be a 1st ballot choice.  

You know that dinner ain't ending early. 

In any event, in honor of him - and may our new coach have Churchill's same resilient courage (pretty sure he's gonna need it), we're framing this year's bet within the context of one man's opinion of the best Churchill quotes.





"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few..."


Brian M., John P., JP, Blayney


"Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts..."

Lini, Theo, Sloane, Dave M., Peter


"Diplomacy is the art of telling people to go to hell in such a way that they ask for directions..."

Bob J., Gutsch
Jerry P., Bill, Bob S.,
Mike C., Pat B.,
Jim B., Tim S.,  Feif,
Mike G., Phillip S., George, Mike B.,  Shea


"Never, never give in..."

Jerrence, Raz, Mark,

Bryan, Matt, Daryl, Graham, John L.,  Jim T., Alex, Randy, Pat C., Gerard W.


"History is written by the victors..."




Albert, Garrett R., Brian W.


"When you get a thing the way you want it, leave it alone..."



"The best argument against democracy is a 5-minute conversation with the average voter..."



"If I were married to you, Mr. Churchill, I'd put poison in your coffee.

If we were married, I'd drink it..."




"He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire..."



"If you're going through hell, keep going..."


Schadenfreude of the Week

Offseason for the schadenfreudist.

It's like a fallow winter for the farmer.  One can only wait until Spring to begin planting again.

Or one could move to the southern hemisphere, take up with the likes of Daryl Madden, discover Aussie football and find a few teams to passionately cheer against there.  A defendable option.

That said, I'm not sure any of the nominees this week fit into the classic criteria - thank goodness we're only a month away!


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 3 - 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. - where are those codes? Sorry all, I just want to see the world burn

Category 3)  It's not personal, just business.  Defcon 5 - there's not a white hot intensity of emotion tied to this.  I'm just being very pragmatic.  I need you to go away.


What just happened?!
1)  Tennessee.  Okay, this might actually fit a Category 1.  The UT men's baseball team came as close to being that sport's equivalent to the Miami Hurricanes, with both the players and their fans embracing being classless assholes.

So why it was disappointing to see the Irish immediately dispatched at the College World Series double elimination stage, ruining the #1 ranked team who thouhgt themselves seemingly predestined to walk to the NCAA championship... was still the best ND sporting achievement in 2022.  So far

2)  ACC.  Should one feel bad about the seeming imminent implosion of the league that gave ND a place to park its Olympic sports and provided a COVID year conference membership when many of their traditional opponents were bailing on a season?  Well, they were also the prime signatories to killing the proposed 12 team playoff that's mightily contributed to the mess the NCAA is presently in.

So no, one shouldn't.

Mondo bondage! 
I've been tied up so long
There's no escape...

But are the ACC teams really all that tied up?  As Kay Corrigan would say, where there's a will there's a way.  Like rats off a sinking ship, you know everyone's checking their options.  

Let the SEC bootlicking begin!

3)  Brooklyn Nets.  Very likely, nearly all of you care not a wit about the NBA - and good for you, I'm with you - until it comes playoff time when, out of solidarity to daughter Shea (a Golden State Warriors fan before they became a semi-dynasty), I start paying attention.

I understand the arguments for players being able to choose where they want to go but the Nets seemed like the latest group to attempt the LeBron 'lets get all of my stud friends to play together, game the system and we'll cruise to a championship' tactic.  

Only to get swept in the 1st round of the playoffs.   Nice.

Terry's Tools

Having not written anything for six months, one would think my basket 'o tools would be overflowing.

And it is.  Just not with many that I'd care to throw into this forum.  Some who, personally speaking, now hit uncomfortably close to home.

That said, this blog is a bit of a starter kit for the new season, so consider this a sampler platter...

1)  NFLPA / Deshaun Watson.
 Help me out here - and cards on the table, I think Watson is a bad guy, a predator who used his status to, at best, coerce women for sex.  I don't think it's credible to think 30+ women suddenly made up the same story or colluded for some great money grab.   

And I understand the role of unions and the need for them to quite often protect employees from potential management abuse.  But in this case, how does the NFLPA, in good conscience, defend him?  

A rhetorical question, I know.  They must, whether they really want to. It's all very... icky.

And what list in America do you NOT want to be on

The Cleveland Browns approved masseuse list for Mr. Watson.  

2) DeAndre Hopkins.   Breaking the rules, aside, I'm especially keen to understand why we ever need to tranquilize beavers.   

3) Massachusetts
.  Okay, state governing body, I understand taking a responsible amount of time to think through important judgments... but 329 years?!

As part of the state's latest $53B budget, signed by the governor on Thursday, The New York Times reported that Elizabeth Johnson Jr. was finally cleared - the final person to be so acquitted - of being a witch. 

She was 22, in 1693, when she was accused and was likely targeted for having a mental disability as well as being unwed and childless.

Boy, if inadequate mental acuity was a primary driver in the She's A Witch!-Burn 'em! determination, I think I can speak on behalf of many in the Class of '79 when I say, whew - dodged that bullet.

Guess the number of brain cells in the picture.

Final Thought

Jerrence to Madame Defarge before each football season...

Looking forward to see y'all, starting in September!