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Thursday, November 9, 2023

Clemson: Back to The Future


Black hole sun, won't you come
And wash away the rain...

Dateline:  Cleveland, OH

You know it wasn't a particularly stellar weekend when a funeral service represents the high point.  

And when that same weekend ends with your wife dragging you to the Taylor Swift movie --  ~3 Hours of off-putting "I'm a billionaire and you're not and yet you still love me" affectations, impressive choreography, gratuitous shots of teenage girls LOSING THEIR MINDS and songs that don't seem especially differentiated -- just because she could play the "you owe me" card.   Unclear as to when my equity went into a negative balance with Defarge.  Best not to inquire, I suppose.

Regardless, the concert's extraordinary level of preparation for a 3 hr. show did suggest Ms. Swift could be an immediate Offensive Coordinator upgrade tomorrow.  Then again, one could probably say the same thing about Gruley. 

In any event, the flick was the perfect, most fitting, coda to an interesting four days.  Not that there weren't legitimate highlights from the Corrigans' urban plunge:

*  The mini-Grace Hall reunion.  Did Julie not know anyone from any other men's dorm?

Anybody seen Lini?

As an aside, if one ever had the occasion to find their way into the welcoming confines of 801 St. Louis back in the day...

How could you not look at this Far Side and immediately think, JP McGuire!

"I'm a little wastey
Short and stout.
Here is my water pipe..."

The Man, The Myth, The Legend.

The young man who sang Ave Maria.   Spectacular.

*  The service finishing with the Notre Dame, Our Mother Alma Mater.   Nice. 

*  The impressive homily given by the priest who looked like -- depending perhaps on where one was sitting in church -- either Laugh In's Arte Johnson or... Dame Judy Dench.   

Very interesting. 

*  The weekend's start and finish for the Corrigans (and the Grace Hall gang) hosted by Barb & Rick Werner and John Lohn.  

Hospitality both special, necessary and appreciated. 

As for the football game?  Meh

Quote of the Week

"This is the way the world ends - not with a bang but a whimper."
                                          T.S. Eliot
                           The Hollow Men

And by "world" I mean 2023 Notre Dame football season.

Word of the Week

Used in a sentence paragraph
:  As Jerrence put the car on I-80 West and accelerated toward home -- the halcyon environs of Flint Lake a mere four hours away -- he couldn't help but try to process the weekend's events.  

The past several hours, alone, had been a bit of a rollercoaster.

On one hand, he and Defarge had enjoyed the benefits of Judge John's largesse, including but not limited to, a halftime 'tailgate' replete with such comfort food as to provide a much needed salve for a very disappointing 1st half performance by the Irish.  And he'd think of the judge's cherubic countenance every time he sipped the 15 year old Glenlivet that his host gave him as a parting gift.   

On the other hand, the football game sucked.  And rather quickly at that. After all that time telling himself he'd matured - that sports was merely an innocuous, bourgeoise First World indulgence - Jerrence's lingering discomfiture over the outcome clearly indicated otherwise.

Game 10 Thoughts  

What did you bring me, my brother
To keep me from the gallows pole?

First, coach Parker, what we brought you was a 6th year senior QB with 110 TD passes.   And second, nothing is gonna save you from the gallows pole. 

Beyond that, I'll keep this relatively short:

  • Didn't anyone tell the staff you don't wear all white after Labor Day?  Hell, even Cincotta knows that.  Plus, those uni's make us look like Navy.  (And evidently play like them too.)  Could we please get back to at least looking like the Notre Dame uniform?  

  • Turnovers and (wretched) field position is why we lost.  How we lost - I'm still trying to figure out.

  • Gee, who had "Estime off tackle" on their Bingo cards for the 1st play of the game?  
    • Only EVERYBODY

  • When ND loses, what's impressive in an entirely perverse way, is the epic fail across every group involved:
    • Offense:  The word "inept" doesn't quite do justice to the level of incompetence. 

Allow me an analogy: Jerrence and his TV viewing, which is not insignificant and for which he has but one rule for any show's characters:  be interesting

The players can be heroic, villainous or both -- Game of Thrones, Billions, Succession spring to mind - and I can get behind almost any of them.  As long as there's something compelling about them.


Not a word would associate with ND football right now. Certainly not on offense.  Comatose being closer to the mark.  Or, painful. 

    • Defense:  Pretty good.  Until it really matters.  And the next time they stop a RB dead in his tracks - rather than getting carried for an extra 2-3 yards - will be their first.
      • Question:  What might've the  outcome been, had we stopped Clemson early in the 3rd quarter, after we cut the lead to 24-16?  
      • And, sorry, but the blitz package is simply not working, like, ever.
    • Special Teams:  Bummer for poor Spencer Shrader, the week where he is actually perfect, the rest of the ST decided to mail it in.
      • Chris Tyree - taking a punt off his face mask (good for 3 Clemson points)
      • Bryce McFerson - line driving a punt that gets returned, thanks also to 2 or 3 missed tackles, into ND territory (one play later Clemson TD).

  • Hartman is, at present, objectively bad.  And I don't understand why. 
    • But I suspect his supporting cast has more culpability than we can see.
    • Is it Angeli Time?  Many would say yes.  While I doubt it, Sam's leash must surely be short for these last 2-3 games.

  • The Offense has zero identity. It's nearly impossible to understand what they're trying to achieve. 
Fun Fact:  Clemson, ZERO penalties called.  Hmmm

    Buddy's Buddy

    I think Buddy needs some 'alone time' this week. 

    Maybe drop some ayahuasca w his pal A-A-Ron.  

    Hit the sensory deprivation tank.  

    Contemplate a Utopian state without any painful football affiliations. 

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

    Insofar as ND Nation, if only for therapeutic purposes, has already begun to focus on 2024...  

    Herewith (below) is Mr. Sampson's initial opinion.

    Many are not going to like it.

    But it's probably pretty accurate

    What now?

    Change for the sake of change probably doesn’t help Notre Dame beat Wake Forest or Stanford. Freeman can’t afford a slip-up in either spot, meaning playing for next year is out of the question. Stick with the lineups that blew out USC and nearly upset Ohio State. And if Freeman has proven one thing in the past two years, it’s an ability to get Notre Dame to respond to adversity. 

    It’s dealing with prosperity that’s the issue. Figuring that out will be an offseason correction.

    For now, Notre Dame has to get out of the regular season with nine wins by any means necessary. The Irish will be heavy favorites in their final two games. Win both. Put a salve on the season. The heavy lifting comes in December and January.

     Source: The Athletic
    November 6, 2023

    Cocktail of the Week

    Figuring out a book / cocktail for this week was always going to be a challenge.

    Until one realized that we've now entered the "blame game" time of the year. Human nature dictates that someone needs to be held accountable for the team's repeatedly uneven (and disappointing) performances.

    Held accountable - and shamed. Copious amounts of public shame is very important in our social media-driven world.

    So rather than a big "C" on certain players' jerseys (or whatever, if any, designation might appear on the coaches' quarter zips), maybe we need something scarlet.

    The S(ide)carlet Letter
    The Scarlet Letter (1850)
    by Nathaniel Hawthorne

    Believe it or not, kiddos, there was a time when having a child out of wedlock wouldn't get
    you a reality show, but instead, a very public haranguing.  In Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter -- named after the "A for adultery" badge of dishonor the leading lady has to wear after birthing a bastard  -- Puritan New England serves as the case study of a world at odds with religion, hypocrisy and desire.

    Why, Hester, only 3 carries for Estime in the 2nd half?!
    We push a drink purist's envelope by popping a few cherries (hey, now) into a sweet and sour standby. 

    This sidecar's so tasty, you might end up parading through town afterward, just like the heroine herself.  

    Have no shame:  this baby's all yours.

    *  Sugar, for cocktail rim
    *  1 oz. cherry juice  
    *  0.5 oz.  brandy
    *  0.5 oz.  triple sec 

    Rim a chilled cocktail glass in sugar and place aside.  

    Shake the ingredients with ice and strain into the glass.  

    You'll give this one a Grade A.

    Source:  Tequila Mockingbird 
    Cocktails With a Literary Twists
    by Tim Federle

     Schedule 2023

    26            Navy (Dublin, Ireland)                W

    2                  Tennessee State                         W                                   THE CALM BEFORE...
    9                  @NC State                                  W
    16                Central Michigan                       W
    23               Ohio State        NIGHT              L
    30               @Duke             NIGHT            W

    October                                                                                                       THE STORM.
    7                @Louisville      NIGHT              L
    14                USC                 NIGHT              W
    28             Pittsburgh                                      W

    4             @Clemson                                        L                                          BEFORE       
    18           Wake Forest                                                                                 FINISHING...  
    25          @Stanford

    Wager 2023

    I could never see tomorrow
    I was never told about the sorrow...

    How long have I been organizing this little bet?  Gotta be pushing a decade.  And I can't even win... can't even qualify for the short-list to win... my own pool.   

    I'm a Democrat, I've lived and worked in Chicago for many years.  One would think I'd be better at, shall we say, achieving success.

    Oh, Team 9 Wins... your table is ready.  


    ND Lacrosse God



    Kevin Corrigan


    A Corrigan as national champ?



    Brian M.John P., John L.


    Matt Kavanagh


    The first of the Kavanagh clan, his career mirrors that of how an 11 win season might be construed - undeniably excellent, just not quite good enough.

    DarylDave M.PeterRay


    Pat Kavanagh


    Nobody embodies 'tough' more than this guy... suggesting a 10 win season, with all the unknowns on the team (e.g., WR's), may say more about the team's fortitude - and future - than two losses might.



    Brian W, Jay, BillRyanMattGarrettCincoBucks,  

    SullyRaz, Ted, Lini, Jim B.,  Spit the Elder,  Spit the YoungerMike B., Bryan


    Chris Kavanagh

    How would a 9-win season be viewed?  The guess here is "wow, that year was crazy, a little unhinged, certainly unpredictable!"

    Which seems to be the most perfect description of the youngest Kavanagh. 



    Jim S., Bob J.,  

    GutschJim T.Jerry P., UngieCoat Man, Alex, Mike G., George


    Sergio Perkovic.

    The pride of Bloomfield Hills, arguably the Austin Carr of his era (check out sometime how he singlehandedly brought the team back in a NCAA semi-final vs. Denver).

    Yet no one remembers him in light of the team's recent success.  Just like no one will choose to remember an 8-win outcome.


    Albert, Jerry W.,  Feif, Blair


    Liam Entenmann

    7 wins, ugh.  No one would be happy with that - yet out of it may reveal a preternatural performance or two (ala our man Liam in Philadelphia), setting up an optimistic 2024 scenario.

    Dare to dream.



    Gerry Byrne


    Nothing optimistic about 6 wins or less.  Just looking for someone to blame.  In this case, why not point the finger at the former 2nd in command to Corrigan, architect for a top tier defense strategy who (got tired of waiting and) left for the top job at Harvard.

    Not fair but so what.



    This is lacrosse 'when it was a club sport' territory...



    How are the fencers looking this year?


    Schadenfreude of the Week.

    I was so hoping as one hits The Retirement Years (and presumably gains certain insights), a peek behind the curtain as it were, into wisdom about maturity heretofore one could only speculate about... 

    ...that I'd have moved past the petty "I'm fucking miserable, I want you to be equally, if not more destitute" stage in my college football fandom.

    Dare to dream.

    1) LSU
    .  I am a little bitter about this.  Sure, LSU lost and that's always good.  But it was to Alabama (so, conflicted!) and the fact that, even in a losing effort, the Tigers score more points than Notre Dame does in two games, could I have... loser envy? 

    As Defarge is so found of telling me, "you're focusing on the wrong thing."  

    You're right, dear.  Take the win.  Or in this case, loss.

    2) USC.
       Did you see Caleb crying at end of this week's loss to Washington?  It was almost as if he was starting his campaign to be the first HEGOT recipient - the individual who wins:
    • Heisman
    • Emmy
    • Grammy
    • Oscar
    • Tony

    Word of advice, Caleb:  Don't quit the day job. 

    I know I'm fakin' it.
    I'm not really makin' it... 

    Missed it by... that much.
    3) Oklahoma
    Where the wind comes right behind the rain...   

    And the loss would've been so great -- enhanced by losing to your bitter in-state rival -- while you were 9th ranked.  

    If only it now mattered. Which, of course, it doesn't.

    4) Colorado
    .   Perhaps my favorite sequence in a year where we've all seen multiple inexplicable (read dumbass) play calling:

    End of 2nd Quarter, Oregon State punts to ball to the CU's 4 yard line, :49 left in the half.

    The common man, even a half wit, would think, "60 yards from even a long FG attempt, lets just run out the clock and re-group."


    ""Mrs. Green you wore green so you could hide..." 
    Colorado ball
    Play 1:  Incomplete pass (:44 left).
    Play 2:  Incomplete pass (:39 left)
    Play 3:  Rush for 4 yards (:36 left) - OSU time out.
    Play 4:  Punt which OSU returns to CU's 20 yard line (:22 left)

    Oregon State ball
    Play 1:  20 yard TD pass (:16 left).

    14-3 lead for the Beavers. So, Prime, you demoted your OC for this type of play calling?

    Terry's Tools.

    We are also in, truly, "I just want to see the world burn" time.

    And Jerrence is unapologetic about it.  

    And while this concept is usually reserved for the Schadenfreude space, in times like this we can extend that attitude to actions outside of the playing field.

    Especially when it invariably involves that team in Ann Arbor...

    Who dat?  Connor Stalions or DB Cooper?
    1)  Central Michigan.   The Michigan -- can we call it a scandal or just a savvy "Sharing Is Caring" Operating Model? -- seems to be metastasizing across the state. (And actually much of the Big 10 conference.) Especially now that the scrappy little Stalions character is showing up everywhere like Where's Waldo - this time on CMU's sidelines during their game against Michigan State.  

    What makes this latest 'data point' so curious  (and yet, not) is that the CMU head coach, Jim McElwain, used to be on Harbaugh's staff at Michigan.  

    Coincidence?  I think not.

    2)  Tony Petitti.  Jerrence is calling his shot on this one:  the Big 10 Commissioner, roughly six months into his job, isn't going to do sh*t to Michigan on this signal stealing investigation.  

    Oh, he's going to try to make it look like he's doing something. (And I don't view a Harbaugh suspension as substantive.)

    But actually spanking them for something that looks increasingly systemic?  


    Final Thought.

    I don't profess to understand how the primary bowl games choose their opponents, outside of the four BCS playoff teams.  I believe much of it is conference-driven and contractually mandated.  

    Still, the latest The Athletic projection baffles me.  Looking at a 9-3 regular season record for ND, I'd have thought the Irish would be destined for a disappointing Pop Tarts or Pinstripe Bowl designation, not something with a Jan. 1st date.  Such is the Power of the ND Brand, I suppose.

    I guess we'll see.

    That said, that Gator Bowl game on Jerrence's birthday, possibly vs. LSU, would be pretty interesting...  

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