Happy summer, loyal reader. Here in the Crescent City, the twenty-first day of June is not celebrated, or even noticed much. We don’t pay the passing of spring into summer too much mind, to be honest. Instead, we mark the other seasons: crab, shrimp, oyster, crawfish, Mardi Gras, and hurricane. We’re in hurricane season now. The crabs are running, there’s plenty of shrimp, and the oysters are just fine, thanks, but while sucking them down, we’re watching for whatever invest or low or trough they might name as it whirls counter-clockwise off the wings of a butterfly in Guinea. Mrs. Bayou Irish jokes that hurricane season isn’t so bad, usually, because right after it starts, the Real Housewives of New Jersey start, and when they’re done, it’s football season. You’re smiling, right? Good.
Despite the absence of most of the student body, campus is not devoid of life, especially not when you consider the happenings with the football program. Check out this piece by Tyler James (@TJamesNDI) in the South Bend Tribune and think about the future — a four star prospect wide-receiver out of Florida, Corey Holmes, is visiting campus right now (his FOURTH visit) to get to know some potential future teammates. For what it’s worth, this is four star kid out of Florida, going to check in on two other Florida-natives, Greg Bryant and Michael Deeb, at Notre Dame, the school at “the top” of his list. If you needed more evidence that Notre Dame has no problem attracting top talent, even, dare I say (dare! dare!) “SEC TALENT,” read Tyler’s article.
With the arrival of June comes the release by the NCAA of its latest academic metrics: APR and GSR. I’ve covered those in previous posts, but I’d like to make the point again: Notre Dame is a winning program, both inside and outside the lines. What Notre Dame football accomplishes year in and year out in the classroom is simply incredible, when you consider the rigors of the modern, Division I college football player. Add in an undefeated run against the toughest schedule in the nation and… well, you see where I am going. But, to be fair, while Notre Dame is “closing the gap” in football with the SEC, some SEC schools (I’m looking at you, ‘bama) are starting to pretend that they’re closing the gap with Notre Dame in the classroom. In that context, the tempest in a teapot that is now Arden Key and his verbal commitment to South Carolina begins to make sense. Explore this fine retrospective analysis of a young man’s quote and how sports “reporters” rip it and spin it to fit their particular agenda.
Three Navy football players were charged with rape. Against the backdrop of our military’s larger struggle with the issue of sexual assault, this may seem like one horror among many, but I bring it up as an example of how hard it is to be Irish. Before you castigate me for using rape as a device to illustrate how unfairly Notre Dame is treated by the media, turn on ESPN right now. Are they covering the Article 32 investigation of the three Navy football players? Not really. As of right now, it’s the sixth headline on ESPN.com’s College Football page, two spots under “Clemson releases video in rock vandalism.” Rock vandalism.
Lost in a lost topic and a diplomatic tiff over flags and office space is perhaps the fact that an American is being held by the Taliban and he’s now a pawn in another game of empire playing out in and around Afghanistan’s plains. United States Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl has been a captive of the Taliban since 2009. Think about that. To learn more, and to donate, visit: supportbowe.org.
James Gandolfini died on Wednesday of an apparent heart attack at age fifty-one. Simply put, his Tony Soprano was the greatest character in the history of television, miles ahead of his only competition: A.L.F. James was almost exactly ten years older than me. I better get to work.
I am not a fan of musical theatre not penned by Messers. Gilbert and Sullivan. That being said, certain ditties have made their way into my subconscious over the years, and the John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John duet is at the front of that pack. In the same vein, last year, I embedded the remarkable and rambunctious Miss Kate Upton into certain of my posts. As we head into the 2013 season, these are my front runners to see us through more undefeatedness: the twerkin’, musical abomination that is Miss Miley Cyrus and the pure, Portugese exuberance of Michel Telo. Weigh in in the comments below, loyal readers.
I’m going to end this by recommending a new cocktail, loyal readers. It’s called a “Paul Clifford.” Wikkipedia “Paul Clifford” and you’ll see that we’ve come full-circle. This one is poured at Peche, the new Chef Donald Link joint. If you’re in the Big Easy, check it out. And let me know you’re in town. Maybe I’ll check you out.
To check out a Paul Clifford on your own, try a splash of soda, your favorite spiced rum, your favorite ginger beer (because every drink nowadays has to have ginger beer in it), lime juice, fresh ginger, a fresh lemon slice, and a fresh lime slice. Serve on the rocks. It’s quite a refreshing treat.