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Friday, September 23, 2022

Week 3: Baby Steps

Out on the road
You're Willy Loman, you're Tom Jode.
Vladimir and Estragon
Kerouac, Ghengis Khan...

Dateline:  Flint Lake, IN

I could do the math but I don't want to - how many years of Linipalooza and the associated hi-jinx has there been?  

A dozen or so, I'm pretty sure.  

And without fail, the hosts - Jerry and (let's be honest) superstar Judy, do a remarkable job each and every year.  This year being no different.  

What one finds especially impressive - and amusing - is that, as the midnight hour inevitably tolls... and there's a handful of folks still loitering in the kitchen -  a moment which I think my wife, Defarge, believes to be 'her time' - Jerry has gotten increasingly overt in his inquiry of where, exactly, everyone has accommodations that night - while clarifying that it's not gonna be IN HIS KITCHEN.  Cute and futile - it's not like it inspires anyone to leave any quicker.

Aside, what's also impressive is the host's ability to consistently schedule something early morning the next day:  whether it be a CNBC talking head appearance or a meeting down at ND.   I'd like to say I admire that but, really, I think it's seriously flawed planning.

But that's not the point here.  My focus this year has to do with those that attend Linipalooza and the great distances many of them travel.  Every year they come in large numbers - I think its testimony to many things but mostly, the high character of the guests.  The continued connection to the relationships matter to them. 

The Corrigans were graced with two such long distance travelers, Albert and Jerome.  Closer to being mythical creatures than mere mortals, the two of them came to Chicago independently, yet not.  Such is the intertwined history of the two.    

Pick your interesting, unlikely pairings in history that they invoke - Butch & Sundance?  Maybe Thelma & Louise.  Okay probably more like Hekyll & Jekyll.

I say, how about Rosencrantz & Guilderstern?

Who?  (Look it up, JP.

Al & Jerry meet Tim & Gary
Two minor characters in Shakespeare's Hamlet, they're the focus of a now, highly lauded existential tragi-comedy (circa 1966) by noted playwright Tom Stoppard.  

The play follows the two bit players who often seem as halves of a single person... such is their banter - earmarked by both confusion and absurdist observation.  

Sound like anyone you know?   

At one point, one observes, "Look on any exit as being an entrance somewhere else."  

Positively Brunett-ian.

Or, "There must have been a moment at the beginning where we could have said 'no' - but somehow we missed it."   I think I've heard Cincotta say that exact thing.

And so it was this weekend.  Both surreal and insightful. 

As Sir Isaac Newton once opined, "If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."  

Thanks, Albert and Jerome, for the awesome time hanging w Lisa, Ryan, Sloane and me. You guys are giants.

Quote of the Week

"The misery ended. 
The drama did not."        
Matt Fortuna 

The Athletic writer, friend of Gruley (don't judge) and periodic guest at the quarterly, invitation-only Class of '79 Arts & Letters dinners - summarizing Saturday's game and the lack of clear conclusions to draw from the outcome coming out of it.    He's not wrong.

Buckle up. 

Word of the Week

Used in a sentence paragraph
:  Young Jerrence exhaled.  What a day - a weekend - it had been.  Talk about a 'long day's journey into night.'  

Good friends. Great parties. Mediocre golf. Baffling football.  The previous four days had it all.

Regarding the latter, Jerrence thought it reductive to say that the team simply wasn't very good.  There had to be more to their lack of proficiency - lack of success - than that. 

Didn't there?                                                                              

Linipalooza XII

Game 3:  Thoughts

If I didn't love you
I'd hate you... ..

There was (is) a principle one learned early in one's client-side marketing career - at the time I believe it was called "The Proctor & Gamble Way" where, when evaluating a proposal, for example a new advertising campaign... one always leads with a positive remark in order to establish a positive atmosphere for the inevitable constructive criticism.

So even if you felt that the creative idea was complete shite, you could say something to effect of "Thanks for some very provocative thoughts. Let me start by saying your grammar was spot on.  The spelling? Flawless.  And your use of primary colors - exceptional. Now about the idea itself, did you even read the strategic brief?" 

Thus commences the evisceration.  With that in mind...

1) The Day. - and the tailgate - was spectacular.  One could not have drawn up a more perfect September afternoon in the Midwest.  Bravi a tutti to both the weather gods and, of course, the tailgate hosts.  

2) "We Need To Talk About Drew."   Pop quiz!

Q1.   How far was the average Pyne pass beyond the line of scrimmage? 

A.   0.65 yards.

Q2.  How many completed passes traveled more than 10 yards in the air?

                  A.   One.  (Mayer's TD was not.)

2) Officiating     Okay, I'll grant you the Cal offsides on the missed FG was a complete phantom call - and maybe a make up for...  not once reviewing a few of those highly suspect Cal receptions in the 1st half?!

3) Prop bets.  And not good ones, at that.  It's true testimony to the incompetence of the game when one loses a prop bet - taking the over - on whether EITHER TEAM will get a first down before the 5 minute mark left in the 1st quarter.

4). Foskey.  It'd about damn time. 

5) Turnovers (or lack thereof)
How many have they forced this year.  That would be the empty set.  

But if there's any consolation, we're among impressive peer group also throwing a shut out:  Auburn, Temple and Fresno St.

6)  Brandon Joseph.   In the future, dude, regarding Hail Mary passes... JUST KNOCK IT DOWN!

Marcel and Jerrence react to the failed Hail Mary.

7)  Manti.  We knew it beforehand but easily the best part of the day was having him back on campus. 

Buddy's Buddy

Was it the halftime decision to head to the Morris Inn Bar (one couldn't continue to watch that game without some kind of adult beverage in one's hand) that drove the team - shamed them, really - to a decidedly more inspired 2nd half? 

In which case, credit the Al's - Brunett and Marcel - for facilitating such a decision.

Or was it coach Rees, no doubt feeling a little of the pressure himself, dropping F-bombs on his QB in a 'tough love' kinda management style?  Well, Pyne did go something like 13-14 passing after Tommy went full Tom 'do your f*cking job' Thibodeau on him.  As they say, it's not weird if it works.

Personally I'm going to turn to the running game.  While the O-line certainly showed up, back-to-back set your hair on fire false starts notwithstanding, I'm looking at the RB's and one guy in particular,  Audric Estime.  

Boy does he run hard.  

And boy, did the team need it. 

Honorable mention:  Savvy Jack.   In a surreal 'Letters to Penthouse' type fashion...

Dear ____________,

I'm a graduate of a small midwestern private university and I never thought this would happen to me.  After our school's football team won its first game of the year, my friend - we'll call him Jerry - and I found ourselves back at the site of the afternoon's tailgater, having a beer, noshing on fried chicken and chocolate chip cookies - and talking with a couple alumni from the visiting team, one of which was an actual Top Gun pilot.  But that's not even remotely the most interesting part of the end-of-day sequence.

After a while, Jerry and I began our way back to our car in the Stadium parking lot, loaded up with a styrofoam cooler of chicken (because why not) - having a walk that was maybe a couple hundred yards.

As we walked through the first intersection, friend Jerry yells, "Hey, how about a ride?"  --  whereby I turn to see him soliciting a well dressed man in a golf cart.  

It is the very familiar face of the university's Athletic Director.  I know this because he is on TV a lot and is a Big Fucking Deal. 

"Where you going?"
"Just over there."
"Sure, get in - you've got that cooler to carry, after all."

Okay, then: Jack Swarbrick be giving us a lift.  Cool. We hop in with Jerry riding shotgun and me in the back seat with an excellent view of the AD's head. His hair is short and immaculately groomed.  I wonder if he goes to Armando's and does he know Abe?  Probably.  My musings are interrupted as Jerry starts to tell the AD, "you gotta do something about the QB - Pyne is just not the answer.  And he's never gonna be the answer..."

Even at the time, the line of inquiry seemed, well, questionable. One gets limited, 1-to-1 time with a man who's literally shaping college athletics and you're spending it giving him grief about the mediocrity of this football team's QB?  After they just won their first game?  Not even a "hey, thanks for bringing Manti back."  

(Not the route I would've gone.  But then again, I had other matters on my mind, like could I inhale another piece of chicken in the limited time before we got to the car.)

Non-plussed, the AD informs Jerry, "You know, he did have an offer from Alabama..."

"Oh, really? I did not know that."  

I marvel at the witty repartee coming out of my friend.  One would never have known he'd been drinking for several hours.

We reach our destination, get out, thank our Good Samaritan and wave goodbye as he immediately accelerates with everything the little vehicle has to offer.  It is clear both that he cannot get away from us fast enough and that we have ruined it for any future post-gamers who Mr. Swarbrick might've considered assisting. 

The End

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

I don't know whether Pete just got tired of trying to address the same questions.

Or whether he thought to himself, "Shit. I have no clue what's going on with this team so far. Screw it."

But there didn't appear to be a Mailbag this week,

There did, however, happen to be a Notre Dame-related question to one of Pete's colleagues at The Athletic, Stewart Mandel.  So consider this week both a guest appearance and possibly, someone with perspective outside the ND bubble.

What is the biggest issue that you see with Notre Dame? Tommy Rees yelling in the first quarter wasn’t a good look. Is a change in OC the answer? — Moneer H.

I see two big issues. One, this was the first time since 2017 Notre Dame entered a season with no quarterback who had previous starting experience. Now it’s already lost the next guy up, Tyler Buchner, and Drew Pyne has a ways to go.

But even when past Irish QBs were struggling, they could still usually rely on a strong running game. That slid in the wrong direction last season, dropping from 29th to 72nd in yards per carry, and it’s gotten even worse this year, with Notre Dame currently 110th (3.3 YPC). An offensive line that was so dominant for so many years with guys like Quenton Nelson, Mike McGlinchey and Liam Eichenberg just isn’t there yet.

As for Rees — I get that he’s a former Irish QB and that he gave a jilted fan base something to feel good about when he opted not to follow Brian Kelly to LSU last year. But I’ve never understood the reverence for him as an offensive coordinator. His first two offenses ranked 34th and 41st nationally in yards per play. Not bad, but not exactly offensive savant material. Part of the reason he stayed was he’d have more autonomy under Marcus Freeman, a defensive coach, than he had under Kelly, an offensive coach. But the past few weeks make you wonder whether a 30-year-old OC working for a 36-year-old head coach may not have been the world’s greatest idea.

And yet, I would strongly encourage Irish fans not to go into full-blown panic mode yet. (I realize it may be too late.) No, it does not appear 2022 is going to be the kind of season you’ve been enjoying lately, but that’s not entirely unexpected when pivoting from the winningest head coach in school history to a young, first-time head coach who lost his starting quarterback in Week 2. This is still the same guy who is currently assembling the school’s highest-ranked recruiting class in recent history. He may need a little time, though, to gain experience and truly put his stamp on the program.

Which may or may not require making some staff changes after Year 1.

Source:  The Athletic
September 21, 20212

Well I just don't know what to do
And I hate this confusion.
I got all these questions 
And nowhere to lose them. 

Cocktail of the Week

You know what I noticed after two tailgaters?  The beverage of choice has shifted, like the subtle movement of the earth's tectonic plates... perhaps irrevocably... from Bloody Mary's to Paloma's.

Thank you, Jay.

And if any book / cocktail combination had parallels involving tequila and non-performance, it'd be the Hemingway-based cocktail below.

The Tequila Sun Also Rises
The Sun Also Rises  (1926)
By Ernest Hemingway

Picture yourself in post-World War I Paris, but don't get too comfy; why sit back in the city of lights when you could be running from the bulls in nearby Spain?

That's not all our tragic leading man Jake is running from, however.  In The Sun Also Rises, an unnamed war injury leaves our hero unable to perform in the bedroom, despite his having the hots for a volatile and newly single British babe. 

The allegorical novel put Hemingway on the map as a major voice of Americana. Our Spanish-themed twist on a tequila sunrise will have you going from hola to olé in two shakes.

1 1/2 oz. tequila

4 oz.  orange juice     
1/2 oz. grenadine

1 oz. Rioja wine

Pour the tequila, orange juice and grenadine into a Collins glass over ice.  

Slowly pour the Rioja on top to float, and saddle up for a no-bull beverage.

Source:  Tequila Mockingbird
Cocktails with a Literary  Twist
by Tim Federle

2022 Schedule


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

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

5                     Clemson  
12                  @Navy                     
19                  Boston College  
26                  @USC 


Well, Team 10, not exactly a ringing endorsement that you're going to see this season all the way through to Wager victory. 

Or frankly, even see it through to October.

But Hope springs eternal.





"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, Jerry C., Daryl, GrahamJohn,  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

October can't come fast enough - will someone please play a meaningful opponent?  

Thankfully, there's that 2nd tier of the top 20 to come to our rescue.

1)  Michigan State.  Ranked #11 going into the game and loses by 11 to Washington - and needing a big 4th quarter to make it appear even that close.  

2)  BYU.  Ranked #12 going into the game and gets crushed by Oregon.   Maybe the PAC12 isn't as bad as we thought.  


3)  Miami.  Ranked #13 - seeing a trend yet? - going into a classic 'root for a tie with lots of injuries' vs. Texas A&M, the Canes went down in an entire game seemingly as dull as ND's 1st half.  

And good thing you abandoned that insipid Turnover Chain gimmick, especially since you had none

4) Auburn.  Watch this (love the SEC Shorts guys) if only for the Gary Danielson diss. 

Terry's Tools

One of the fun and interesting aspects of this section is the wide variety of the sub-segments.

Mostly, we revel in the stupid ones, the Darwin Award finalists that make you wonder how they ever made it to their teens.

This week's recognition takes a darker turn, the Criminal Tool.  And a sad one for this Packer fan, given the very credible argument one can make that he virtually saved a football franchise.

But, there you go. 

1) Brett Favre. You know, speaking on behalf of Packer Nation, we were willing to look the other way (both literally and figuratively) over the dick pics controversy during your J-E-T-S time.  You are, after all, from Mississippi - perhaps that's a familiar form of courtship down there.

But embezzling big money - $6M allegedly - from the state's welfare system in arguably the poorest nation in the country... in order to build a freaking volleyball arena that your daughter might play in?!  That's a new low, like, rock bottom low. Which is saying something for you. 

2) Cleveland Browns fans.  The sad reality is that I doubt they're really not any different than any other fan base.   


They are the ones who happen to be saddled with Deshaun Watson as their $230M - fully guaranteed! - QB and this is just not a good look (defending his right to coerce sexual favors) to be presenting the world. 

3)  Boston Celtics.   Juxtapose Watson's status with the punishment they just gave to their coach, Ime Udoka:  a full year suspension for having an affair with a co-worker, a seemingly consensual relationship.

Seems a little excessive.  And difficult to reconcile against Watson's punishment (not even a full year).  

And make no mistake: talent matters, especially in sports.  This coach, in his first year, took the team to the NBA finals.  In other words, they would've fired his ass if he wasn't good.

4) Utah.  Giving Wisconsin a run for their money as the preeminent (and profoundly underrated) bastion to the dangerously weird.  

Sure, their scary fundamentalist Mormons and zealous militias get all the headlines (and book deals) but, apparently, we haven't given the state its due for their football-mad populace.   

Go Utes!

Final Thought

20+ years ago, Roger Federer got me to watch tennis, at least Major championship tennis.  

End of an era today. And in a fittingly cool way.

66 Majors  in this picture. Yowzer.

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