Daily Archives: March 13, 2019

Thoughts, many thoughts, on this Felicity Huffman/college bribery scandal. A Maryland basketball player proposes on Senior Night. And finally, an answer to the age-old toilet paper question: over the top or under?

OK, OK, I’ll admit, my first reaction to this bizarre, huge story that broke Tuesday about the arrests of 50 people involved in a bribery and cheating scandal to help kids of celebrities and wealthy businesspeople was this:

“No, not Aunt Becky! Not Jesse’s girlfriend from “Full House!” How could she?”

But yes, it was true, Lori Loughlin, the actress from that iconic (and truly awful, if we’re honest) show from the 1980s and 90s, was one of the many, many people arrested and charged in this investigation. (Famous “Desperate Housewives” actress Felicity Huffman was also arrested).

So many thoughts, so many thoughts on this weird and disturbing story. I’ll try to make a few quick points here:

— First of all, as someone who got into college without the benefit of wealthy parents or celebrity connections, it appalls me that so many famous and/or wealthy people tried to game the system by bribing university officials, having professional test-takers take exams for their spawn, and even have testing company employees change answers on SAT/ACT tests.
Kids of celebrities, or kids of business tycoons, ALREADY have so many life advantages, and in the case of celebrities, often have colleges who would love to admit them just for publicity sake of having a famous Mom and Dad on campus. The idea that they would go to these extremes to get their already-privileged kids into Yale and USC and wherever repulses me.

— Also? It really doesn’t matter nearly as much as it used to where you go to college. You can become a brilliant success story from anywhere, as the democratization of educational choices has drastically improved odds for most people. But that said, it’s even more infuriating that college, because of cost or inherent societal/class disadvantages, is still out of reach for so many.

— Best Tweet I saw on this matter was this one, from @kalebhorton, regarding William H. Macy, Felicity Huffman’s husband, being involved in the scandal:

“Pretty crazy that William H Macy has a good shot of getting arrested for something every single William H Macy character would get arrested for.”

— Another part of this story that’s not getting a lot of play is the bribery involving parents to college coaches, often using phony athletic accomplishments. A girl ranked No. 207 in California in tennis as a kid was billed as a “Top 50” USTA junior.

“According to this story, officials say that parents looking to get their sweeties into esteemed institutions paid bribes to Singer, who then paid coaches at the given universities. Those coaches allegedly then informed the schools that the students were on their list of recruits, thereby gaining them entrance to the school. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the schools were unaware of the ruse.”
Umm, college coaches, have you heard of this thing called the Internet? Anybody who’s so good at a certain sport as these “officials” allege would have some kind of trail of their goodness on the Web.

— I hope the book gets thrown at ringmaster Singer and everyone involved. Again, wealthy and celebrity kids already have SO many advantages. So disappointing that they were getting even more of a leg up.


**Next up today, I have no love for the sports teams at the University of Maryland (a rival of my beloved Duke), but I have to admit this was a super cool move pulled off by men’s basketball player Ivan Bender on Senior Night.

If you’re not familiar with Senior Night in college basketball, it’s awesome. Each senior player gets introduced before (or sometimes after) the final home game of the season. Their parents or girlfriends are with them, they get a big ovation from the crowd, and it’s a whole nice little thing.

Well, this year Bender decided to make Senior Night even more memorable than usual. As his longtime girlfriend, Andrea Knezevic, walked on the court with him, Bender got down on one knee and popped the eternal question men wonder: “Why does it take so long for ladies in the bathroom?”

No seriously, he asked her to marry him, and she said yes. My favorite part of this awesome clip is how excited the Terrapin Turtle mascot is in the background. Very very cool.

I hope they get married at midcourt during a game.

**And finally today, we have resolution on an issue that has roiled friendships, ruined romantic relationships, and torn families apart. No, I’m not talking about if a hot dog is a sandwich (It most certainly is NOT, and I will fight to the death anyone who says differently).

No,  I speak, of course, about the all-important issue of the correct placement of the toilet paper roll: Have the 2-ply tissue roll over the top, or curl underneath?

In my opinion the only correct answer here is over the top: It’s easier to unfurl and rip off that way, takes less effort, and just is nicer to look at.

But not everyone agrees with me, so the debate has gone on for ever. But finally, we may have an actual “right” answer. An Australian magazine named Choice has uncovered a remarkable patent for the original toilet paper roll invention, from 1891.
And the patent, from September 15, 1891, contains a detailed graph showing the paper going up and over the roll, not under.

So there you go. Debate solved. We now can go on to studying other important world issues, like why you drive on the parkway and park on the driveway.