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The Diary of a Boozer (Off the Booze)

| March 14th, 2017

Guinness Reflection by Jeff Hughes, Sarah Scully & Robert Varcoe (2016)

GENERAL NOTES ON THE DIARY.

I don’t write much about my life on here. But this was a personal journey and since I have this platform, this is where I’m choosing to share it.

Each diary entry will be written on the date specified. It will be edited for grammar at the end of this eight-week dry run but the thoughts will not be altered in any way. How I feel at the moment of writing is how I feel.

 To spare yourself reading this entire piece on the internet, you can download the PDF format here: Diary of a Boozer Off The Booze.


January 23, 2017

I drink.

But what I’ve done over the last decade plus is more than just drinking. I’ve made bars a central preoccupation of my life.

Hard day’s work? Edge offers at 5 o’clock.

Traveling to Spiddal, Ireland…Dinan, France…Groveland, California? Pints in the oldest bar a must and texts to my uncle will follow. (Can’t go wrong with Tigh Hughes, Saint-Saveur and Iron Door respectively.)

Theatre tickets? Drinks before. If it’s good or really bad, way more drinks after.

Bears game on? Josie Woods for endless Coors Lights.

Most of the great stories of my life have occurred with a drink in my hand.

Since 2003 there have probably been three weeks where I didn’t have a single drink. Two of which involved devil viruses that left me sweating through tee-shirts on a dirty couch, coming to-and-fro consciousness during random episodes of the Twilight Zone.

The other just wrapped. It is the first of eight intended weeks without a drop of alcohol. Why? Because I’m hitting the reset button on my drinking life.

I never wanted booze to become routine. I never wanted to lose the enjoyment of that first sip of Guinness. And I have. I stopped deriving pleasure from the experience. It just became a thing I did. I took a shit before I let the house in the morning. I drank beers at night. Bar, couch, it didn’t matter.

This eight weeks is a pilgrimage and my Canterbury Cathedral is remembering why I love drinking in the first place.

And as confident as I was in this endeavor, I’m starting the diary on Day Eight because who the fuck knew if I’d make it this far?

Coming off a wild weekend in New Orleans, I had theatre tickets Thursday night with the lady and the NFL conference championship games Sunday. Vegas had me 4-1 to make it to Monday morning.

What did I learn over the first seven days?

  1. I’m not an actual alcoholic. You might think this is a small thing but it was refreshing to not crave alcohol at any point over this initial week. I didn’t get the shakes or panic attacks. I didn’t even have night sweats, which fucking shocked me.
  2. Twice I was able to sit in my local for multiple hours, drinking club soda with a splash of orange juice, and exist. What’s bizarre is how your mindset changes. First, it’s cheap as shit. Second, I didn’t have to walk into the door of the Copper Kettle and write off the remainder of the day. I could walk out later and watch a movie, cook dinner, write. The lady didn’t have to expect me to return to the apartment and fall onto the couch like a bag of shit and start snoring before the end of 60 Minutes.
  3. The lady and I saw the brilliant Oh Hello! on Broadway Thursday night. We had dinner at a Mexican bar/restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen first. Club soda. I wanted the Negra Modelo on tap – because Negra Modelo on tap is like drinking beer directly from sweet keg of the Lord Almighty – but…club soda. Splash of orange juice. We left after some great tacos and popped into an Italian restaurant for coffee and dessert. Coffee and dessert. Who knew? (All the non-drinkers, that’s who.) Then I walked into a Broadway house to see a show without a drink in me for the first time in at least a decade. Was the night different? Very. Was the night great? It sure was. It didn’t make me wanna stop drinking altogether, by any means, but it showed me there were laughs and good times to be had without it.

I tried this last year as something of a challenge to myself. This year it’s different. It’s a quest. And this diary, who knows, maybe it’ll become something I share with people who are actually struggling with booze. Or maybe it’ll be something I never show another person.

Either way…cheers.

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Ryan Pace Signs Glennon, But Quarterback Picture Remains Unclear

| March 9th, 2017

(Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

18.5 million.

That’s the number that matters.

It’s the amount guaranteed to Mike Glennon over the course of his three-year contract with the Chicago Bears. It gives him a nice one-year deal for an NFL starting QB and, hopefully, a well-paid second year on the bench. But it’s not the only number that matters. When it comes to the future at quarterback for the Bears, two other numbers carry immense significance.

3.

36.

Those are the first two selections for the Bears in the 2017 NFL Draft. And if the team hopes to come out of the spring with their quarterback of the future, history tells us they will need to find that man with one of those two selections. Because history also tells us Glennon ain’t the guy.

Yes, Jay Cutler is gone. And barring unforeseen circumstances Glennon is going to be the quarterback in 2017. Those sixteen games provide the 6’6″ signal caller (say that five times fast) with every opportunity to keep whomever the Bears select in Philadelphia well behind him on the depth chart.

Glennon is getting the chance every quarterback in the NFL wants – the chance to make a team his own. Last year Brian Hoyer got it and refused to throw touchdowns before shattering into a million pieces. Matt Barkley also had it until his carriage turned back into a pumpkin.

Glennon has a chance to be the guy. And it would make the lives of those working at Halas Hall much easier, and ascend them to borderline hero status, were he to turn out to be the starter for the next seven years. But Ryan Pace has to hedge this bet. He has to look to the draft to secure the future of the quarterback position. And he has to look early.

It’s an odds play. Glennon may turn out to be a good starter but Glennon AND Trubisky or Watson or Kizer or Mahomes or Peterman gives the Bears far better odds of solidifying the position. Just signing Glennon to this short-term contract is only a solid move for the organization if the correlating move happens before Friday night wraps up on draft weekend.

If the Bears get to the Round 3 and haven’t yet taken a quarterback, the Glennon signing will and should raise every eyebrow in Chicagoland.

Pace has begun to paint the future of the quarterback position in Chicago. But until late April, we won’t see the completed canvass.

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Questions For the Potential Glennon Signing

| March 8th, 2017

Spent a day being a prick about this on Twitter. Here are some questions:

(1) Do the Bears believe Mike Glennon to be the future at QB beyond 2017?

(1a) If yes, it will greatly impact their draft strategy. That might be the craziest thing going. If the Bears think one of the quarterbacks in this draft has the potential to be a franchise player there were only two “acquirable” guys that should alter their approach: Jimmy Garoppolo and Tyrod Taylor. Glennon? No.

(1b) If no, it’s fair to say Glennon is at least a more entertaining option that Brian Hoyer. We know exactly where Hoyer’s sky is located. Glennon’s sky is TBD. This is an attempt to be positive.

(2) If the numbers are real, how could a $14 million salary for Glennon in 2017 NOT preclude the Bears from taking a QB in round one? The best case scenario if the Bears take QB in round one is the round one QB starting in September. That would mean the best case scenario is a $14 million backup quarterback.

(3) Is Ryan Pace really willing to risk his job on this guy? Mike Glennon? Really? It just feels so outrageously stupid. I’m not arguing Glennon will stink but the chances of his being a multiyear success story as Bears QB are not very good. Pace has to know that.

(4) So the Bears just really wanted to say goodbye to Jay Cutler, huh?

(5) Does a move like this excite a single fan? Even though the story line was overrated, the team did play to an empty building at the end of the 2016 season. Do the folks at Halas Hall think this signing brings a single person without the last name “Glennon” into the building? It doesn’t.

(6) If he wins, will everybody love him? Yes.

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Sunday Column: Why This Mike Glennon Talk Upsets Me So Much

| March 5th, 2017

Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

If the Bears signed Mike Glennon to be their starting quarterback at the dawn of free agency, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Glennon can play the position at a serviceable level. He can complete passes. Move around a bit. Decent arm strength. Smart.

But sometimes sports is easy to understand. Sometimes you don’t need Gil Brandt’s scouting history or Matt Bowen’s Xs and Os acumen or Mike Mayock’s ability to dissect quarterbacking mechanics for hours on end, using phrases no other human being in any walk of life would ever use, just to fill the countless air time NFL Network has dedicated to the absurd spectacle known as the Scouting Combine.

Sometimes…Mike Glennon is…Mike Glennon. And signing Mike Glennon to play quarterback means you get Mike Glennon playing quarterback.

Do I think these rumors are true? No. I think Glennon is going to be the starting quarterback of the New York Jets in 2017. But the idea these rumors exist, and that anyone is okay with the Bears replacing Jay Cutler with Glennon, is highly upsetting. Could Glennon be better in 2017 than Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley? Sure. It’s possible. By no means a sure thing but it’s possible.

Could Glennon better in 2017 than the crop of rookie quarterbacks available in the draft? It’s likely, at least for a season. But by no means should any organization with the means choose to see the upside of Glennon in three years over the upside of Watson, Trubisky or Kizer. Even if all three end up being terrible the journey will be far more interesting and the upside far more uppier.

The Bears have a guy that can win more games than he loses. If they’re looking for to upgrade the position, they should be looking for someone to hold down the position for ten years. Glennon ain’t that guy. Not even close.

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Three Thoughts on the Bears Not Tagging Alshon Jeffery

| February 28th, 2017

A day has now been spent digesting the RapSheet report that the Bears will not be dropping the franchise tag on Alshon Jeffery for the second straight year. My thoughts:

  • Bold. The easy move for Pace would have been to overspend on a homegrown talent the fans love. The easy move would be to say, “We’ve got the cap space so why not?” But Pace doesn’t seem to be doing that. If he lets Jeffery walk, this will be the first truly bold move of of the Pace tenure because unlike letting Forte (age), Marshall (locker room) and Bennett (nuts) walk, the Bears can’t make an argument they’re better without Jeffery.
  • This is not an economic decision. This is an evaluative one. I’ve argued in this space – since the moment Kevin White was drafted – the Bears do not view Jeffery as a true number one receiver for a myriad of reasons. Work ethic. Passion. Preparation. It would be easy to slap Jeffery with the tag to ensure he’s in the fold for 2017. Why don’t the Bears want him in that fold?
  • Tweeted this yesterday and believe it strongly. If the Bears draft their future QB in April and don’t bring back Jeffery, 2017 will be a more difficult season to sit through than 2016.

Is the Jeffery era over? Sure seems that way.

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