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Saturday, November 26, 2022

Week 11: Chilly Scenes of Winter

Guess who just got back today...

Dateline:  Notre Dame IN

A short story about resilience and adaptability: 

Jerrence finds himself in Iowa for Thanksgiving with the family matriarch, Kay - now rounding the bend toward 98 yrs.

This year will be a little different.  Due to a case of COVID in her Independent Living facility, even though she has tested negative, the annual Norman Rockwell dinner on a cousin's farm has been cancelled. An infant w RSV - taking no chances.

Moreover, quick investigation revealed that every restaurant in town of any quality will be closed for the day. 

The few, the proud, the increasingly numb... 
Jerrence:  Well, mom, it looks like it's gonna be a day of just watching football and drinking. 

Kay:  Okay. 

Jerrence:  Okay?  To be honest, mom, I expected a little more resistance to that proposal. 

Kay:  Why?

Why indeed.  She's almost 98 and clearly comfortable at this point in her life with playing the proverbial hand that's dealt her... simply moving on and making the best of the situation.  Plus she's got a stash of Zinfandel for just such an occasion.

I wish more of ND Nation was like her.  I'd like to think the 'Stayer Lot Few' did just that last weekend. 

Quote of the Week

"It ain't the way I wanted it. I can handle things!  I'm smart. Not like everybody says... like dumb... I'm smart and I want respect!"

Fredo Corleone 

Respect?  Maybe next year, Fredo.  (But I doubt it.)

Word of the Week

Used in a sentence paragraph:  Jerrence looked down at his 1842 Club chili - there was snow flakes in it.  That's not right, he thought.  How could that be? 

Because after a brilliantly sunny 1st half, it was in fact, snowing in Notre Dame Stadium.  And not just flurries.  Hard.  

Mid-November and feeling like being inside a snow globe. 

I say, Peter, are those hints of cinnamon I'm noticing? 
The radical change in the weather, while perhaps unsettling to many (especially the BC team), Jerrence found extraordinarily demulcent.  

And why not?  

The team was up 37-0 (making the Navy game appear to be increasingly an annual aberration), he was hanging with close friends one last time for the season, and Boston College was committed to running the ball - and more importantly, running the clock. 

Plus, Jerrence knew there was a nice, celebratory scotch in his future. 


Game 11:  Thoughts

Let the stories be told 
Let them say what they want...

Well who doesn't like a circus-like roller coaster ride?  At least on the way up.  And maybe not for three months.  Take heart, it's almost over. Some near-final observations...

How would Freeman have them prepared? If this season is - and always was going to be -  a referendum on the Brian Kelly replacement hire, right now you'd have to feel pretty good about it.  

Maybe not feeling entirely great - but can we recognize ND's a unique place where anyone new was going to have a learning curve - so bringing the team back from the prior week's horror show to a performance of complete domination has to count for something.

Bob, that's not my hand you're squeezing...

Morrison is a legit star. 

If two INT's in a game is good, three is better right?  

And five for the season, sweet

And here's a fun fact (at least by my less-than-rigorous investigation), every single one of the lad's picks have led to TD's. 

Another fun fact:  he didn't enroll until the summer.

Please let him get #6 this weekend. 

Peter, are you flirting with the photographer?
No change re the Pyne evaluation. 

I'm sorry but he's still the same MAC conference-level QB that we've seen all year.  

He made a couple really good throws (and at least one aided by a very good catch).  

But it's fair to ask one's QB to make more than 3-4 quality passes in a game. 

And since we are asking, it better be this week.

We cut to further action in the 4th quarter... 


Someone tell Judy this is actually fun...
19 Game win streak.  Remember when one would cringe as ND fell apart at the end of  every season - and with it, away went the quality recruits, thinking "Nah, I'm good.  Think I'm gonna stay closer to home."

For a variety of reasons, those days seem to be over (NIL bribery notwithstanding).  

And a big contributor to that is the team going four - now possible five? - years without a loss in the last month of the season (with these last games now being the final data points for recruits before the early signing period).

That's worked out nicely. 

Please make it 20 in a row. 

Buddy's Buddy

This week's designation proves equally challenging as the last for exactly the opposite reasons:  too many candidates.

* There's the record setting TE.
* There's the record setting DE.
* There's the (seemingly) soon-to-be record setting freshman CB.
* There's the QB who puts together just enough good plays to be considered.

Let's talk about Logan Diggs.   Starts the game with a 51 yard run.  And follows it up with a great catch on a 28 yard wheel route (do you notice how many players need to make terrific catches on Pyne's passes).  End the game with a 150 total yards and has emerged as the bell cow of the RB's.  

Remember when there was talk of him transferring last off-season?  Whew.

One more thought:  When one thinks of Dillon Hall, typically, it's within the context of non-prosecutable deviance.  The kind wildly embraced in other cultures - Thailand comes to mind - but largely frowned upon in western societies.

But sadly, last weekend and through this Thanksgiving holiday, another theme sadly connected to Dillon has been front and center for this blogger:  mortality.  

First we had the annual anniversary of Dave Huffman's tragic car accident - 24 yrs. ago, I think?  Maybe one of the first instances for me of meeting a guy - a legitimate sports star - who was a genuinely decent, grounded, nice guy.

Last weekend was just as bad, maybe worse, if not quite as shocking - the passing of Mike Brooks' wife, Leslie, from cancer.  

If there's one thing that connects the class of '79 men - besides our shared schooling - it's been the consistent ability to marry ridiculously above our station.  

And while I never had the pleasure of knowing Leslie, I know this to be true.  Because while the idea of anyone marrying Mike is not entirely out of the realm of possibility - there is a perverse charm to him after all - but to do so, knowing you're also signing on to the rest of the Dillon reprobates? 

That's clearly a special person.

RIP, Leslie.  And our sincere condolences, Mike.  Whatever we can do for you, let us know.

And sometimes is seen a strange spot in the sky
A human being that was given to fly

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

On the whole, I hope we'd all agree that we've got a lot to be thankful for - even as some of us may be going through some legitimately very tough challenges.

But the fact is, the uneven performance of the 2022 Notre Dame football team ought to be on the bottom rung of anyone's list. 

The team remains something to be proud of, and as an excuse to hang with, well, most of you :) , it's been another terrific year.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, and from your eyes inside the program, what should Notre Dame fans be thankful for as Marcus Freeman wraps up year one? Maybe some things casual fans won’t see? 

For me, the obvious ones are:

1. Winning a big game against a top-five team convincingly
2. Not losing the team after the Stanford loss
3. The recruiting operation

Curious what others may be lurking behind the scenes.

Terence M.

I’d include how Freeman has managed Notre Dame in the biggest-picture view. He has shown a real grace during this season’s tumult, navigating moments that could have frayed his coaching confidence. For a first-time head coach to lose at Ohio State, lose his starting quarterback and lose to Marshall back-to-back-back, it felt like watching a freshman quarterback throw four picks in Week 1. Does he ever recover?

For how much Freeman talks about confidence, those opening eight days really tested his. He has clearly come out the other side of that, without publicly blowing up or throwing players and/or coaches under the metaphorical bus (publicly or privately). That takes some real restraint. Brian Kelly has 30-plus years of coaching experience and would have struggled to hold this season together without making a spectacle of it all.

But the biggest point would build on your second point, Terence. The idea that everybody was on the same page exiting the Stanford game is a fantasy. Freeman had to pull the staff and roster back from the brink while also basically faking his own confidence in the moment. That was an incredible test that Freeman passed and probably will be one of this year’s defining accomplishments, right there with beating Clemson and potentially beating USC. It set the table for him to show the in-season improvement that’s so critical to wherever Notre Dame football goes in the future with Freeman at the helm.

Source:  The Athletic
November 24, 2022

Cocktail of the Week

Last week, Faulkner.  This week, Hemingway.  Talk about two ends of the spectrum.  Variety is the spice of life, they say.

Perhaps you've heard this anecdote which served to underscore his brilliant brevity. When challenged to write the saddest story ever in six words, he crafted:

For sale.  Baby shoes.  Never worn

Perhaps if he were around for this football season, I suspect we'd be seeing something equally tragic:  QB Drew Pyne.   Returning next year

In any event, succinct writer, minimalist cocktail.

A Farewell To Amaretto
A Farewell to Arms  (1929)
By Ernest Hemingway

Widely lauded as Hemingway's most accomplished work, A Farewell to Arms firmly established his spare, just-the-facts prose.  Little wonder:  before doing time as an ambulance driver in World War I, Hemingway was a junior reporter in Kansas City.

Much of Farewell draws directly from Hemingway's own life abroad, from mortar shell injuries to angelic nurses.  Nobody said was was easy but just when you think the narrative is gonna land nice and quiet in Switzerland, Hemingway throws a friggin' dead baby into the mix.

We salute Hemingway's complicated time in the Italian campaign with that country's own amaretto.   Take this one like a soldier:  sour but fighting.

* 2 oz. Amaretto

* 1/2 oz. lemon juice

* 1 tspn. granulated sugar

Combine the amaretto, lemon juice, and sugar in a shaker with ice.  Shake well and strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass.  

Best enjoyed after returning home from a stint overseas, with bonus points awarded if you get your girlfriend - or boyfriend - into a nurse's uniform.

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                     W

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

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


Winner winner, chicken dinner! 

Well, not specifically, a winner.  But we know, now, there will be a winner!  Perhaps even more than one. 


Oh, and probably now is as good of a time to tell you we're not bestowing everyone participation awards.

Grow up.  





"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

A week of near misses... oh, how glorious it would've been to see TCU, Michigan, even USC, go down.

Hell, even Texas A&M and Oklahoma won. 

So.  Not the greatest of Schadenfreude weeks.

C'est la vie.  I take solace in knowing the funnel will likely be full next week.

1) Tennessee.   Just when one started to buy into the "Tennessee / Hendon Hooker are this year's LSU / Joe Burrow" they go ahead and get 62 hung on them by (checks notes)... South Carolina?!    Ouch.

And lose the aforementioned star QB to injury for the year?  Double ouch.

And play Vandy next, whose riding an actual 2-game win streak?  Eek. 

2)  Florida Like last week, this is more about celebrating another Clark Lea win than caring all that much about the Gators.  Although seeing any of the Big 3 Florida teams lose is always nice.

3)  Miami.  Speaking of which, if this team stays a doormat for the rest of the century, their ultimate resurgence will be too soon.  

Added bonus:  getting crushed by Clemson, making ND's win vs. the Tigers look all the more impressive. 

Terry's Tools

This week, Tools have gone global!

One has to decide for oneself whether that's a good thing.

1) Qatar.   Whaddya mean 'no alcohol at the World Cup games?!'    The ultimate bait and switch.   Ouch.  Let me tell you - the British football supporter is not going to take this well.

2) Ticketmaster.  To be honest with you, I don't really know the issue - something to do with really effing up Taylor Swift's ticket sales for her latest world tour that apparently everyone in the world wants to go to (and tried to buy tix at the same time).    And in doing so, incurring the wrath of the aforementioned pop deity.


Fun fact:  In a revelation that approaches the same level of incredulity as Ungie's "I've never seen an episode of Seinfeld" admission, I don't know a single Taylor Swift song.  I hear she's pretty popular.

3)  Phil Jurkovec.  I recognize that college is, generally, a safe space for making - and saying - some really, really stupid things.  And for those of us of a certain age, we thank God that social media wasn't around in the late 70's to memorialize our particular expressions of idiocy.

Unfortunately, young Phil doesn't have that benefit.  And if anyone should stop talking, it's him.  Hint:  Notre Dame stopped thinking about you two years ago.

4)  Kyrie Irving.  He's like the Freddie Krueger of social hot takes - he just. won't. fucking. go. away.   A couple weeks ago it was his seeming lack of grasp of why the world was a tad bothered by his support for a blatantly antisemitic film.

This week, it's his dare-to-dream proclamation for a social platform where he can express his views without fear of criticism or consequence.

Sure, Kyrie.  Excuse me but I'm due back on planet Earth now. 

5)  Speaking of stupid teenagers... 

Marcus, Mensa is also rescinding their nomination. 

Final Thought

One more time:  

Happy Thanksgiving to all in the Notre Dame fam-uh-lee, both immediate and extended... 

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