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Thursday, November 17, 2022

Week 10: Who Are You?

Blame it on Cain
Don't blame it on me
It's nobody's fault
But we need somebody to burn... 

Dateline:  Flint Lake, IN

Grandpa, this is why your brothers watch the game on tape delay, isn't it?
So there I was watching the game Saturday afternoon, start of the 4th quarter and The Granddaughter is looking at me with an irritated "You call this rubbish I'm seeing 'quality bonding time?'" 

...when what should appear on the TV but the new John Wick: Chapter 4 trailer.

Thank God - a diversion.

I, of course, launch into a thorough yet digestible summary of the franchise's brilliance for consistently delivering a sharp metaphor for a rapacious global consumer society that feeds off of planned obsolescence, essentially eating its own and in doing so destroying the myth of The Loner archetype, that iconoclast who in fact could be Society's savior.

Feeling awfully self-satisfied, it turns out Sloane found grandpa's take... lacking.  Her words - paraphrasing here -  "OK, Boomer, that analysis is both simplistic and derivative, and more than a little lazy… relying on worn out, hackneyed tropes and suggesting “you've been talking to Jerry Perez again, haven't you - BTW, whose latest screenplay was totally deserving of the recognition it received in the Austin competition - but honestly grandpa, at least TRY to have an original thought once in awhile."


She continued.  "No, gramps, let me tell you what the John Wick oeuvre is really about:  a rallying cry against an increasingly intrusive Techno-Military-Industrial complex whose libertarian hero represents a  brave, silent majority, a segment often considered 'outsiders' and ostracized by a knuckle-dragging patriarchy who categorize those they don't understand with stereotypical-if-uncomfortably accurate labels like "psychotic" and "disturbed" or "armed and dangerous."  Decent people who otherwise just want to be left alone with their emotional support dog..."

Excuse me?  You're 19 months old.   And frankly, I'm not sure I like your condescending attitude. 

OK, agree to disagree. That both of us should end up in a highly confused and fatigued state - naps were taken by both parties immediately thereafter - only proves one can still find common ground on even the most complex and volatile of subjects...  John Wick, Notre Dame football. 

Quote of the Week

"Wise men say 'Forgiveness is divine, but never pay full price for late pizza.'"

Ninja Turtle 

Saturday took me a while to process. As in "what the hell WAS THAT?!"

Not good.  Like, biblically not good.  And yet, I think you file it under 'the 2022 roller coaster ride ain't over yet' and ask yourself, what were your realistic expectations for this year?

If it was BCS Playoff berth, I've got nothing for you and respectfully suggest you consider counseling.

If it was more like, "We're playing the long game here, with a high potential - but admittedly neophyte - new head coach and there's likely to be some 2-steps-forward-1-step-backward moments"... 

Then maybe Saturday's epic 2nd half no-show will ultimately register as another in a series of learning opportunities for coach Freeman that we wish we didn't have to be subjected to. 

But we are. 

I, for one, will be extremely interested in seeing what the off season brings.

Word of the Week

Used in a sentence paragraph
:  Jerrence looked at his granddaughter and knew precisely what she was thinking. 

True, he felt compelled to tell her, this wasn't the team's finest performance.  If you'd only stayed up last week and saw how the Irish dominated Clemson...

Still, he understood the infant's incredulity.  The recrudescence  of Notre Dame's inept form in the 2nd half - hello, Marshall!  hello, Stanford! - had Jerrence similarly baffled.  Where was the team that put up 35 pts without a hint of ever having to punt?

How can this same O-line not be able to run AT ALL against this defense?  And how does this same defense get shredded by a 3rd string QB that runs an option-oriented offense?  

Honestly, the team's inexplicable disappeance drove one to drink.  And while his younger companion was pounding diluted cranberry juice pretty hard, Jerrence treated himself to something... more medicinal. 

Game 10:  Thoughts

Nothin' to do, nowhere to go home
I wanna be sedated...

Truth be told, there have been times in the past where I’ve thought “why not just re-post an old blog?” - there’s more than 230 of these now, I can’t even remember what I wrote last week.  Given that these posts have all of the intellectual nutrition of a Twinkie, I'm sure my loyal readership doesn’t retain the content either… plus, I was far more clever back in the day.  

So when the same sh*t on the field keeps happening, why not?

The Navy game - and our inability to put them away - represents one of Life’s great mysteries, (up there with 'why aren’t hot dogs sold in the same multiples as the buns', 'how the hell do you fold a fitted sheet' or 'how did Gallagher (RIP) ever make a viable career out of just destroying a watermelon?'

Some things are simply beyond the ken of this blogger's simple mind.  So with that, let's review the 'Occam's Razor' hypotheses - where the simplest answer is (probably) the correct one:

* Let down. After the Clemson win, totally understandable.  Just doesn’t quite explain a very good 1st half and then have the team pull a complete no show in the 2nd. 

* "It's f*cking Navy."  Their offense is weird, they've got a “no quit” attitude which, while laudable in the context of defending our country against enemies foreign AND domestic, is super annoying football-wise and their 'assignment sure' focus compensates for their lack of actual athleticism and skill while throwing into sharp relief ND's ability to be similarly disciplined.  

So why does no other team in the country seem to struggle with them like we do?

* “It’s the QB, stupid.” Look, it gives me no pleasure to dump on Pyne. And after the 1st half, he looked like a 1st ballot Buddy Award winner (spoiler: he's not). 

But it’s painful watching him process, at glacial speed, what the defense is doing, or going to do. Or subsequently, what his options will be. 

* Coordinators.  This game, particularly, deserves to point the finger at both guys.  I believe I read that Golden has never had a good track record against option teams - did Freeman not challenge his plan last week?  And Rees (who I actually like and wonder whether he often thinks, 'WHAT IF I HAD AN ACTUAL D-1 QB?')… he had to see immediately that Navy was going to sell out the entire 2nd half.  And yet, no seeming adjustments.  Hmmm.

Other thoughts

- Can we talk about DJ Brown? 4 PI’s or Holding in the last two games, half of which kept opponent TD drives alive.  Not good.

- Inexperienced LB’s.  My guess is that Golden’s options were fairly limited but playing freshman LB’s against an offense they’ve never seen - ever - where even experienced defenders struggle - in hindsight seems a tad questionable.

Giving new meaning to the concept of the 'reach around.'

- Braden Lenzy.  One might have noticed on his Catch of the Year, that he had the Navy DB smoked by a comfortable 5 yards. 

And Pyne couldn't get it there.   

The kid has taken a lot of grief for being a disappointment for much of his time at ND but has never complained.  

Would love to see him get his due as his career ends.  

But I wouldn't hold my breath.

Buddy's Buddy

If last week's award choice represented quite a challenge, what does that say about this week?

Do you give it to the QB who has a career game in one half but then completely falls apart (and not alone) in the 2nd?

One sure doesn't have to worry about putting forward a O-line nomination.

And how many weeks, Jerrence, are we going to overlook the special teams - who've gotten to the point where one is disappointed when they don't block a punt? 

Still, in a game where consistency by anyone wasn't a hallmark, The Committee wishes to respectfully call out the WR group:  much maligned (and probably deservedly so), they might be the one area that ND consistently dominated - even if the opportunities never came to fruition as often as they should've.

*  Who had Jayden Thomas as #1 WR on their scorecards?  Not me.

*  Let's talk (again) about Braden Lenzy.  If one went back and watched the season's tape that the coaching staff gets (i.e., not the TV telecasts), how often would we have found him open deep?  Quite a lot, one suspects.    

*  Even Lorenzo Styles caught a few passes. (I, for one, haven't given up on him but someone please take him to a sports psychologist - or a Haitian voodoo priest - ASAP.)

Will this group matter in the last 3 games?  I hope so.  They sure seem to be showing up at the right time.

As you walk on by
Will you call my name?

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

Time for another peak outside the echo chamber of the Notre Dame beat reporter.

Which is another way of saying that I don't think Pete Sampson is submitting a mailbag this week.

But The Athletic's Stewart Mandel is and, of course (because there always is), there's a Notre Dame question being posed.

And not an irrelevant one: how ya feeling about Freeman's first year?

Obviously, the Marshall and Stanford home losses are what most of America will remember about Notre Dame this season, but objectively, how should Irish fans feel if they win out (including another top-10 win over USC) to finish 9-3 in the first year of the Marcus Freeman era? — Lauren, Atlanta

I think you answered your own question. If you told a Notre Dame fan in the hours after the Marshall or Stanford losses that this team would wind up beating USC and perhaps even finish 10-3 with a win in a decent bowl (Gator, Cheez-It or Holiday), they’d have been overjoyed, right? It’s still a step back from where they were during Brian Kelly’s last five seasons, but it would be a Top 25 season with an extremely encouraging back half — and a potentially season-ruining win over your archrival.

Notre Dame is a good defensive team, but Caleb WilliamsJordan Addison, et al., are going to get theirs. You have to outscore USC to beat USC, and that’s not how Notre Dame is built. The Trojans’ defense is fairly awful — I expect them to give up 45-plus points to UCLA this week, win or lose. But you’ve got to have a quarterback who can take advantage. Utah’s Cam Rising and Cal’s Jack Plummer both threw for 400-plus yards on the Trojans; Arizona’s Jayden de Laura went for 380. Drew Pyne’s season-high to this point is 289 against UNC.

So the better question might be: How should Notre Dame fans view the season if the Irish go 9-4, without beating USC, but with impressive wins over ACC title game participants Clemson and North Carolina and against two teams, BYU and Syracuse, that were ranked at the time? It’d be disappointing, given the Irish started the season ranked in the top 10. But I’d say their improvement is still encouraging. Marcus Freeman wound up having more first-year head coach growing pains than anticipated, but the season did not deteriorate into a disaster as initially feared.

Source:  The Athletic
November 16, 2022

Cocktail of the Week

You'd think I'd be a big fan of William Faulkner - he's apparently the record holder for the longest grammatically correct sentence in literary history - something north of 1200 words. (Eat your heart out, James Joyce.)

And I even took a class at ND entirely devoted to the author.  I believe I came out of the semester even more confused than when I went in.   

In that respect, Faulkner is the perfect proxy for a book / cocktail for a Navy game recap:  I didn't understand what I witnessed there either.

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

Why tell a simple story if you can make it complicated? No worries - haters gonna hate (and Faulkner's gonna Faulkner).  A truly exasperating exploration 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. 

* 1/2 oz. Absolut vodka

* 1/2 oz. Absolute 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 the garnishes, in a shaker with ice and shake for 5 seconds. Strain into a Collins glass over feesh ice and top with club soda.  Garnish with a lemon wheel and a cherry, and just try to form a complete sentence.

Source:  Are You There, God?  It's Me, Margarita.
More 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                     W

 8                    @BYU (Las Vegas)     W
15                    Stanford                    L     
22                   UNLV                        W             
29                   @Syracuse                W

5                     Clemson                    W
12                  @Navy                        W              
19                  Boston College  
26                  @USC 


I believe the expression is, "They don't ask how, they ask how many."

For the still viable Wager players, it's 'survive and advance' time - even if we may not have the same assured swagger that we carried out of ND Stadium ~ 2 weeks ago.

On to BC, the last in a series of underwhelming home opponents that have proven to be ND's kryptonite this year.  (As if the Superman analogy even applies this year.)

Worse, the latest spread has ND giving 21 pts.  And we know how well ND performs as double digit favorites at home so far this year.

So perhaps we won't have a Wager winner...

It takes a leap of faith 
You gotta show some guts...





"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, SloaneDave 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

On almost any metric, last week was something of le grande dumpster fire, oui?

Nowhere was that more evident than in college football where no less than #6, #11, #12, #16, #17, #18, #21 and #24 lost.

Which would seem to explain how ND could look so dubious and still improve in the polls.  

But as the philosopher The Grinch once said, "One man's toxic sludge is another man's pot pourri..."  And that, my friends, is the true schadenfreude spirit.

1) Texas A&M and Oklahoma.   Let's call Notre Dame this week's winner of the Peyton Bowen Bowl, considering these two teams seem to be the options our 5-star safety commit is flirting with the most. 

Now with a combined record of 8-12, if the kid bails on ND, it isn't gonna be because of the quality of the play on the field. 

3)  Oregon / UCLA Take your pick. Or both. In any event, not a great weekend for the PAC 12.  Ever being the optimist, both these teams have USC as season making (or redeeming) games in the next three weeks.

4)  Kentucky.  I don't really have anything against you - this was just a convenient forum for congratulating Clark Lea on his first SEC victory.

5)  Mike Corrigan.  Someone bet their Philadephia brother on the Padres - Phillies series last month.  The wager?   I believe it was three martinis. 

Terry's Tools

If one judges by the interesting array of tools this week, one might think that this was Halloween week, such is the eclectic-bordering-on-the-bizarre nature of the representatives.

None of which are even remotely Dillon Hall caliber.

So I'd consider this a down week.

1) Pat Narduzzi.   Call this the equivalent of a recruiting Crystal Ball that I'm proactively placing on coach Narduzzi spontaneously combusting should 3/4 star QB Kenny Minchey commit to ND after having been a Pitt commit since August.  

A long time hater of ND for a variety of perceived reasons including a 'why won't they join the ACC' gripe, the potential to send him over the edge is strong.

Film at 11, as they say.

2) Elizabeth Holmes.  News flash:  This is sentencing week and Ms. Holmes doesn't think she should go to prison - but she's willing to accept, maybe, house arrest.  But it's gonna have to be a nice house, like, a really nice house.  

Naturally, with a chef, an acupuncturist, a personal trainer and her astrologist, Chardonnay.  

Basically, can you please just be nice to me, Mr. judge?

3)  Elon.  Given that Twitter is so commonly described as a dystopian hellscape, one supposes that giving Jesus the verified 'blue check' - and for a mere $8 / month - represents true value-added.   Well done, Mr. Musk.

Final Thought

Every November.  Final home game.   The Few, The Proud... 

We'll miss you this week, Tim. 

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