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Thursday, June 1, 2023

Spring Time For Marcus And Notre Dame

C'mon dim the lights
It's party time!
Switch on the strobe... 

Why Naples? 'Cause that's where the babes are. Duh!

Dateline:  Naples, FL

Jerrence realized, now, that he'd never truly be accepted at his local Naples fitness center until he got himself a man bun...

...and other initial insights from his first few months of retirement.

Like many of you who've gone before me into the Retirement Zone, I've been repeatedly asked, "so what are you gonna do?"

But unlike many of you, I've never really understood the question - though I've faked it like I did, furrowing my brow like Derek Zoolander, as if I was in deep philosophical thought over the profundity of the question.

When in point of fact, truth be told, I found the query, kinda stupid and irredeemably pointless.  

After all I've been "doing" for 40+ years.  Wasn't it time to start...  not doing?  

Slamming one's inner motor into, minimally, neutral?  Taking my ambition into the metaphorical garage for a service check up and re-tooling?  

Maybe it stays in the shop, maybe it doesn't.

We'll find out.

But ever the slave to convention and peer group pressure, with my evening swim and cocktail hour still a constant, I have began to spitball some new objectives:

Okay, you can be the cult's high priestess.  Satisfied?
 1.  Read Infinite Jest.
2.  Watch Mad Men.   I hear I'd find it interesting.

3.  Write a manifesto

4.  Start a cult.  I've watched the Waco series.  Doesn't look that difficult.

5.  Drive Route 66 with Raz.  
Challenge accepted, Jack Kerouac

6.  SEC roadtrip with Raz.  See pt. 5.

7.  Get golf index to 15.  A girl can dream.
8.  Return to Ryman Auditorium for October Isbell residency with Rayhead. 

9.  Attend Sundance Film Festival, dress in black.

Get back on skis

10.  Open Flint Lake's first floating Tiki bar and bookstore.

11.  Create 'The Jerrence' cocktail

It's like it can see inside my mind...
12.  Defeat Chat GPT (I'll show you what artificial intelligence really looks like.) 

13.  Get a dog (won't Defarge be surprised!)

14.  Reinvent the blog (podcast, anyone?).

15.  Reimagine time travel.  Save Senior Bar.

The Rasmus Center For Exceptional Deviance

Quote of the Week - I

"I've said it before and I'll say it again: If you put concentration camps in people's countries, you had better be flawless on the ice..."

Hitler on Ice
"History of the World: Part II

At 96, you've still got it, Mel Brooks.

Quote of the Week - II

"Inspiration is for amateurs.  The rest of us just show up and get to work..."

Chuck Close

Frankly, I have no idea who Mr. Close is but I heard this quote during Final Four weekend and looking at the ND team performance, it seemed apropos.  (Duke got snubbed last year too so it's not like inspiration is a singular, limited commodity.) 

At some point, it's about showing up and dare we say, doing the dirty work.  

Bravi a tutti, LAX'ers! 


Word of the Week

Used in a sentence paragraph
:  As Jerrence reflected Notre Dame's lacrosse championship with newfound appreciation and abject amazement ("Mike, those guys really slash the shit out of each other out there!  If they weren't on a lacrosse field, those would be several felony assault charges..."), he couldn't divorce himself from the historical mountain that the team had just climbed.

UVA had already beaten them twice this year - and neither game was especially close.  And while the Irish had defeated Duke during the regular season, the Blue Devils had owned us during the NCAA tournament.

And yet, the team's ability to approach the tournament essentially as a tabula rasa clearly freed them up to play loose and without fear - something that became all too apparent when things in both games got dicey. 

Spring Practice Thoughts

I can't pretend there's any meaning hidden
In the things I'm saying....
But I'm in tune.

Bowl Game.   We won, right?  (It's been a while.). And our QB looked really promising!  

Oh, wait.

2.  QB Competition.    I hope this doesn't drag out like Kelly used to do it.

Oh, wait. 

3.  Transfer portal.   Honestly, WTF?  Allow me to go full Clint Eastwood Gran Torino 'get off my lawn' for a moment...

Does anyone actually relish competition any more?  

Or is it just a question of what's the easiest path to 1st string / stardom / a lucrative NIL deal?  

We're all old enough to remember that Joe freaking Montana was 7th on the QB depth chart at one point (thank you, coach Devine, for that blinding glimpse of insight).  

That said, does anyone think he'd be hanging around if he were playing these days?  Almost zero chance. 

Kids these days.


4.  Jack.    To say that our esteemed AD has had an uneven off-season would be an understatement.  The basketball coach hire, if not a home run (time will tell), looks to be at least an extra base hit.   

The Offensive Coordinator replacement process?  Not so much.  Note to self:  when determining what compensation you need to negotiate against, make sure you have the latest contract.

I, for one, CANNOT WAIT for the next Cincotta - Swarbrick conversation.  (We know what stadium parking lot intersection to hang out at, Jer. )

5.  Micah.   Normally, hiring someone named Micah would suggest ND's coaching shortlist involved focusing laser-like on the Lancaster county Amish leagues.  And to read ND message boards at the time, that wouldn't have surprised anyone.

But more and more, it's looking like an extremely strong hire.  Put aside the fact that there'll be virtually no one on the roster from the existing team (or recruiting class), next year's group - if current projections hold - look more talented and certainly more in sync with the new coach's philosophy (whatever that is).

Could going to a men's basketball game actually become a thing again?  Maybe not next year but hey... 

Coming from Penn St., he surely had to know basketball is never gonna be top dog at ND.  We're a fencing and lacrosse school, bub.

6.  MTS.  Not to be confused with MTG, we're talking Middle Tennessee State.  The Blue Raiders.  As in Notre Dame's 2023 home opener.   Well, that's... something.  

Well, good thing we rectify that by crushing the rest of the home schedule, starting that very next week.

Wait, what?  Central where?

7.   Good Housekeeping.   Like me, have you experienced the angst of cutting a lime into several wedges and finding out your supposed "friend" isn't interesting in drinking as many G&T's as it takes to use them all?  Disappointing, isn't it.

Well, fear not.  Madame Defarge has an easy hack to save those little suckers from drying out (and spare you the PTSD from recalling the 'starving children in China' messaging you were inundated as a wee lad).  It's this:

Find a container - perhaps even just a shot glass - and fill it with your favorite white spirit and stick those limey leftovers in it.  

They stay hydrated and ready for consumption the next time you need 'em!

8.  Tommy.   One would be remiss if we didn't recognize coach Rees' departure.  It'd be a massive understatement to say that Tommy's relationship with ND Nation, basically ever since he enrolled, has been a complicated one.

Was he ever the offensive child savant that industry 'experts' seem to suggest?  Tough to say - he did have his moments amidst a few egregious 'no shows.'  And who can tell how funky the chemistry was between him / Kelly / Hiestand?  And it probably didn't help his Freeman relationship that he got hired before Marcus.

Net:  when one considers the factors, including 1) he's only 30 years old and 2) who says 'no' to Nick Saban / Alabama, it's a smart career move. 

Good luck, coach Rees.  And perhaps we'll see you again a few (several?) years down the road.

I'm free.
 I'm free!
And I'm waiting for you to follow me....

Buddy's Buddy

Who has been the apple of Jerrence's eye during this non-football season?   

Well, I'd be less than honest if I didn't tell you I wasn't disappointed in my inability to find this headline:

"Corrigan Wins National Championship!"

Similarly, it'd be great to singularly call out our goalie, heir to the lucrative breakfast baked goods fortune (note to self:  fact check whether that's actually true) but as spectacular as he was over the Final Four weekend, ND is not bringing home the trophy without a complete team effort.  So the whole damn Men's lacrosse team are Buddy's pals this week.

Look, I don't know jack shit about the sport but I'm sentient enough to be able to discern watching an entire team do their respective jobs to a max proficiency... 

...especially as their alpha male / apex predator star goes down with an injury most of us wouldn't get out of bed with. 

Get that weak sauce out of here...
  • Win nearly every critical face off?  Check.
  • Negate opposing team's attacker?  Check.
  • Substitute liberally and strategically?  Check.
  • Optimize your time outs like a mo-fo?  Check.

There are times  I feel like givin' in
There are time I begin to begin again.
You know I'm not in the clear... 

One more thing (and my oldest brother warned me about this):  never have I seen a sport where change of momentum - and scoring - can change so radically fast and almost predictably so.   

The last three minutes of the semi-final vs. UVA?  The most batshit crazy sequence I ever seen.  Until watching the 3rd quarter of the finals.

What a sport.  Congratulations, ND Men's lacrosse.  And of course, the coach - cousin Kevin*

* Don't bother fact-checking that.

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

It's the off-season.  No football in sight, the Spring Blue-Gold game notwithstanding, for four more months. 

You're bored, I get it.  You probably have questions.  

Me too.

Like, when you're retired, why do the days of the week even have names?  I mean, I get the concept of "yesterday / today / tomorrow" but beyond that... what's even the point?

Or, closer to the blog, how the hell did Brian Ward end up winning this year's football pool?   (Answer: In the words of the late, great Larry Corrigan, "Even a blind squirrel finds a nut occasionally.")  

But you probably have queries more ND football-related on your mind, yes?  So here's something fairly all encompassing from the most recent Pete Sampson / The Athletic mailbag as you begin your 'Wager 2023' thinking:

Let’s say there are six tiers of position groups in college football:

1. Championship level
2. College Football Playoff level
3. New Year’s Six level
4. Above-average Power 5
5. Average Power 5 
6. Below-average Power 5

Based on what you’ve seen and heard from spring practice, what tier would you place each of Notre Dame’s 2023 position groups in? — C.

For the sake of discussion, let’s cut those levels down to four: College Football Playoff, New Year’s Six, secondary bowl and “What are we even doing here?” (i.e. 7-5 or worse). Basically, we’re combining the first and second categories — same deal with the fifth and sixth categories.

Here’s what I’ve got:

College Football Playoff: Running back, offensive line, cornerback

It’s not that Notre Dame has the best groups in the country at these spots; it’s just hard to pick out better ones. These positions are populated by the five best players on the team: Joe AltBlake FisherBenjamin MorrisonAudric Estime and Logan Diggs. Running back almost has too much talent — at least when Diggs and Jadarian Price are healthy. Plus, Jeremiyah Love arrives this summer.

Offensive line should be outstanding with Alt/Fisher and fifth-year senior Zeke Correll at center.

Cornerback is more of a projection with Cam Hart healthy, Clarence Lewis working as a solid nickel and Jaden Mickey/Christian Gray as the fourth option. With USC and Ohio State on the schedule, the uptick in cornerback talent is well-timed.

New Year’s Six: Quarterback, linebacker

OK, hear me out on linebacker. Notre Dame will have three inside linebackers with roughly 3,100 combined career defensive snaps. Few diagnose formations better than JD Bertrand. The staff is now working Jack Kiser on the interior in sub packages, putting one of the roster’s more underrated athletes to better use. Marist Liufau led the defense in snaps last season, and while he didn’t make many impact plays, if he’s the third inside linebacker on the depth chart, the Irish have a strong trio. If Notre Dame can get something from Jaylen Sneed or Nolan Ziegler at rover (a sub player in modern defense), this will be a strong unit.

Quarterback hasn’t shown a ton during spring, although word from inside Saturday’s scrimmage was Sam Hartman was outstanding. Still, neither Tyler Buchner nor Hartman is winning the job this weekend. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see that competition go deep into August. Still, this feels like a New Year’s Six group, meaning 10-win talent at the position. Could that rise a tier? Sure. Let’s see it in August.

Secondary bowl: Receiver, tight end, defensive line

There’s room for movement, but these positions feel a bit Gator/Cheez-It heading into summer. Could receiver bubble up to a New Year’s Six level? That depends on the quarterback but also Tobias Merriweather and Deion Colzie making massive jumps.

Defensive line could get there too, but that could take Jordan Botelho repackaging his Gator Bowl and making it a regular thing. Rylie Mills could be a CFP-level tackle, and the defensive line’s interior should be better than expected.

Tight end hasn’t shown enough in spring practice to warrant a boost, with Holden Staes and Eli Raridon (ACL) short of experience behind Mitchell Evans, who’s solid but average by Notre Dame standards. Would going to 12 personnel be a strategic advantage for this roster? It’s not clear with this depth chart.

“What are we even doing here?”: Safety

For starters, Notre Dame is probably looking for a transfer safety after this weekend, which says a lot. Defensive coordinator Al Golden said the Irish “need help” when asked about a transfer/position switch. As good as Xavier Watts might be, it’s hard to get a read on the rest of the position, especially with Thomas Harper hurt. Like receiver last year, safety has a massive amount to prove.

Overall, let’s not turn this question into a math equation just yet. Because if you wanted to look at these projections, you’d come away thinking Notre Dame was a New Year’s Six contender more than a Playoff contender. And that might be the case for now. But it’s also mid-April.

Source:  The Athletic
April 19, 2022

Cocktail of the Week

One early epiphany from Retirement World: education is wasted on youth.  

But what a time for us, um, elders to re-embrace knowledge! Like this:  the Mob had the word 'mafia' stricken from the first 'The Godfather' film.  (It snuck into the 2nd one.)

Or, Old Fashions can be made with a variety of whiskeys / ryes / bourbons / brandy's.

And that grapefruit pares with other things than just tequila. 

I'm learning so much.

Rye And Prejudice
Pride And Prejudice  (1813)
By Jane Austen

Austen's frothy 19th Century masterpiece, which brought the author little acclaim during her short lifetime ("41 is the new dead," sadly), follows a family's efforts to marry off its five daughters, one of whom leads the narrative. 

Unfortunately, Elizabeth - famously played onscreen by Keira Knightley's cheekbones - has a judgy streak that practically overshadows the love she has for Mr. Darcy, a stuck up (but rich!) gentlemen.  Not to worry: there's a delectable double wedding in the end.

We match-make two strong personalities - spicy rye and zingy grapefruit - for an unexpected marriage that'll get folks drinking, dancing and dropping old judgments.

3 oz.   grapefruit juice
1.5 oz   rye whiskey

Pour the ingredients over ice in a rocks glass, stirring like a complicated heart.

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

2023 Schedule

26            Navy (Dublin, Ireland)

2                  Tennessee State
9                  @NC State
16                Central Michigan
23               Ohio State
30               @Duke

7                @Louisville
14                USC
28             @Pittsburgh Wake Forest

4            @Clemson
18            Wake Forest
25          @Stanford

Wager 2023

Schadenfreude of the Week

At the risk of sounding like a humble bag - or maybe just an outright boast - but I can really hold onto reveling in someone else's failure for an impressively long time.

You're pathetic, Jerrence.  

I say, "One man's profound character flaw is another man's superpower."

In any event, allow a poor blogger a brief walk down memory lane to recall how the football season ended in such spectacularly disappointing fashion.

1) USC.   

Style points for staying true to your brand by playing absolutely no defense against... Tulane?! 

How's those finger nails coming, Caleb?


2)  Michigan  

The good news:  losing to TCU was truly soul-crushing for all of Wolverine Nation whom seem to think a) a national title was their divine right and b) the team was actually better than they really are.

The bad news:  their schedule will continue to be made up of 11 awful-to-mediocre patsies + Ohio State so they're highly likely to continue sniffing around the BCS playoff going forward.

3)  tOSU.  

Missed it by... that much.
At this point, it really doesn't matter that this both an excellent game and arguably a loss to the ultimate national champs that one needn't feel embarrassed about.  

Except for the part about making someone named Stetson look like the Second Coming of Joe Montana.

Still, it's a loss.

Princeton? Really?
4).  March Madness.

Honorable mention to all of the top seeds in this year's college basketball tournament. 

It's always been the best damn fun gambling opportunity, while further reinforcing why one should be extremely careful ever relying on a handful of teenage boys.

 5.  Los Angeles LakersThank you, Nuggets.  What you did - dispatching LeBron so expeditiously - was the humane thing for them.  And definitely for the rest of the world. 

6. Duke For as much as ND's lacrosse season was placed in the context of last year's NCAA tournament snub, the championship game was about exorcising some demons of past losses to this team.  

Five times in the tournament, Duke has bounced the Irish, twice in the championship game.  Top-seeded, with history on their side...

Terry's Tools

As one knows, even during the season when this blog's a weekly occurrence, there never seems to be a shortage of moronic behavior to celebrate.

Wait five months and one could spend the entire post calling out the rampant misbehavior.

I'll try to show some restraint.  After all, a few (many?) of you have better things to do, like... 

... jobs? 

I'd sooner chew my leg off
Than be trapped in this.
How easy to think of all of this
As bittersweet me.

1) Aaron Rodgers / Jets.   This divorce was never going to end well.  And I feel comfortable saying this as a near 60 year Packer fan:  I was done with A-A-Ron even before he went full Punxsutawney Phil - or was it more likely channeling his inner Jesus resurrection fantasy?  

Apparently he did see his shadow, portending 6 more weeks of being a Packer. 

And as for Jets Nation, with your Dickensian "you'll get thin gruel as compensation and like it" negotiation attitude - be careful what you wish for.   The first time things go wobbly... Rodgers has many talents, being accountable isn't one of them.

The New York media and the prickly 1st ballot Hall of Famer.  A match made in hell heaven.

"Bitch, pick a tea already>"

2) It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time' proposal guy.  Speaking as a fellow who, went he asked Defarge to marry him 38 years ago (in perhaps a more-clever-than-was-necessary fashion, I might add) didn't get an emphatic "yes!" but rather a tentative "when?" response...  I'm particularly empathetic to engagement scenarios that don't go entirely to plan.

Still, one would've thought that the execution of such a plan involving being on the field during the middle of a professional baseball game borders on both the narcissistic ("hey, look at me, aren't I outrageous!") and masochistic ("this is probably going to likely provoke an aggressive response from Security").  

Am I right?  Yes and yes.  

And undeniably stupid.

3) Brandyn Hillman.  This shout out is both unfair and, yet, telling.  Young Mr. Hillman was a late and fairly highly regarded ND recruit who (apparently and by his own admission) didn't fulfill all the academic requirements to ultimately gain acceptance into du Lac.  For both school and athlete, very disappointing and embarrassing. 

Give the lad full marks for owning his mistake. Yet there's something truly ironic about the recruit 'landing' at arch-rival / evil twin of ND... and the kid misspelling his five word declaration.

The very definition of a 'true Michigan Man.'

4)  Texas A&M.  Jimbo and Bobby P.  What possibly could go wrong?  

5)  Stetson Bennett.   Normally, when one thinks of a walk-on's success story, it involves a kid being awarded a scholarship, leading to his getting degree and spring boarding that scrappy 'can do' attitude into a successful career in the private sector.  

Obviously, Stetson is exceptional in this regard on several levels, including being the starting QB on two national championships as well as a sustained commitment to not graduating.    That's right, Mr. Bennett attended college for almost seven years without graduating.
So, if the pro career doesn't work, Senator Blutarsky surely has a place on his staff for him. 

6)   Josiah Garcia.   Where to start?  How about with believing was a real website.

Ya can't fix stupid.   Who knew Forrest Gump would be so prescient?

7)  I Don't Care How Cute You Are, No One Likes A Show Off.

Final Thought.

The Circle of Life

A special one was taken from us recently, far too soon, even as another rang in their 98th year - sharing a birthday with Fr. Ted, no less.  

The grim irony is that the latter would've happily volunteered to take the place of the former in God's pecking order.  Unfortunately, Life doesn't work like that.

Fare Thee Well, Linda Lohn
.  Beloved wife, mother, friend to so many of us.  You will be so missed.

Happy birthday, Kay Corrigan.  Mom, your memory is, at best, shaky while your hearing is, let's be honest, totally for shit (except, apparently, when you hear the word 'wine' - then its military-grade excellent).  

But, as you like to say, God doesn't have your room ready - and we're all appreciative He doesn't.  

The point to all of this, that really does not need making...  

Nothing is promised.  Continue to enjoy every sandwich, friends.


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