Tag Archives: Joe Paterno

The physical poetry of great movers. Joe Paterno, no longer even a little defensible. And the woman who will cuddle with you for a fee

One of the things that always has impressed me is excellence, no matter what kind.
I’m fascinated by people who simply do their jobs in an outstanding fashion, whether it’s street sweepers, clothing designers, or the dude who paints houses.
You don’t get to see excellence every day up close, so it’s important that you appreciate it while it’s happening. Least I think so.

In the midst of moving from one apartment in New York City to another last Thursday, I got to see some serious excellence: The moving company my fiance and I hired were beyond spectacular.
The three guys from Prestige Moving arrived early, mapped out a clear plan, and worked in perfect precision.

They had 3 stops to make: My place, my fiance’s place, and the storage unit we rented (Hey, you do the math: We were taking my 1-bedroom apartment and her 1-bedroom apt. and trying to cram all of our stuff into 1 one-bedroom apt. Wasn’t gonna happen. On the down side, we packed that 5×10 storage room to the absolute gills. On the plus side, now maybe we’ll be on Storage Wars one day!).
They also had to fight the midday NYC traffic. And yet … the whole move clocked in at four hours. I was amazed and astonished and whatever other word you want to use.  One guy always stayed in the truck unloading, while the other two moved back and forth.

It doesn’t sound all that impressive, but if you’ve had awful experiences with movers (like I’m sure you all have), it was a thing of beauty.

Moving is always stressful. These guys made it so much less so.

**Every day last week it seemed like more and more horrible revelations came out about former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno. And each day it seemingly got worse.

There was the news of emails between he and other Penn State administrators, pointing a finger at Paterno as the man who protected sex criminal Jerry Sandusky after investigations in 1998 AND 2001. (The bile rises in my mouth thinking about Paterno knowing in 1998 what his assistant had done, and continuing protecting him in a similar situation three years later).
Then there was the story about Paterno, knowing that a grand jury was investigating Sandusky in 2011, getting his contract changed in a more favorable matter.
Then there was the Freeh report on Friday, detailing even more examples of cover-up and obfuscation and plain negligence on behalf of Paterno.

I think finally, what last week’s avalanche of bad news for Paterno and his reputation did, was strip away any last vestiges of defense for the supporters of the deceased coach.
It’s pretty crystal clear that here was a man who raised millions of dollars for his university, and made a school in the hills of Pennsylvania internationally known. But this was also a man who aided and abetted a repeated child molester, and Paterno’s facade of integrity has been shattered.

He cared more about his reputation and his program’s reputation than about protecting innocent children from a disgusting sexual predator. TWICE Paterno had the opportunity to prevent further harm, and twice he did nothing.

An absolute freaking disgrace.

*Finally today, a job I’d like to have. A woman in Penfield, N.Y. named Jackie Samuel has started a new business called “The Snuggery,” in which, for $60, she will come over to your house and snuggle with you.

No sex allowed, just some nice, relaxing holding and cuddling. Samuel said she’s got a few clients so far, and that cuddling has been proved to relax people and lower blood pressure (it always has been enjoyable for me, though I’ve never paid for it).
While I think Samuel’s idea is a little strange (after all, this guy gives out hugs for free) I think anything that makes a person feel a little more loved is a good idea.

Newt Gingrich is about to blow up the Republican party. “The Descendants” is well worth your time. And a few final words on Joe Paterno

Newt, Newt, Newt. So much to say, so much time to say it, now that the biggest windbag this side of George Steinbrenner has won the South Carolina primary, and once again looks like he might, improbably, be the GOP nominee for President.
I’ve had a few days to digest the Rise of Newt, and a few quick thoughts on the last week of his rise:
– There’s no possible way Newt can sustain this; the man has nine eruptions a week, from his past and his present. Then again, nobody likes Mitt Romney. That’s been proven over and over again. So there’s that.
– Andrew Sullivan and other conservatives keep saying this: There’s no way Newt can win a general election. He’d be paying Delta hundreds of dollars in baggage fees, put it that way. So do the Florida voters, and the other primary states, feel so strongly about beating Obama that they’d hold their nose and vote for Mitt? Or are they so Tea Party-infused and blinded that they actually think Newt can beat that “black fella” in the Oval Office?
– Putting politics aside, it is wildly entertaining watching Gingrich at these debates. He’s just SO pompous and so disdainful of everyone else on stage, it’s hilarious.
– Finally, I’ll let a Twitterer named Jesse Taylor have the last word; he filed this right after Saturday’s debate.
“Given what South Carolina did tonight to keep a black man in office, I think they’ve atoned for any previous racism.”

**And now, as a palette-cleanser from King Newt, the beautiful farewell from Rep. Gabby Giffords of Arizona, who is resigning from Congress one year after her near-fatal shooting.

**Finally saw “The Descendants” last weekend. Every good thing I’d heard about it was true. George Clooney, who I see having a Paul Newman-like acting career (meaning he gets better and better with age; I could totally see Clooney starring in movies in his 70′s) was terrific as a father and a husband dealing with an unfaithful wife, a mouthy and unhappy teenage daughter, and an extended family counting on him to make a sound financial decision.

The cinematography is gorgeous (hey, it’s Hawaii, how ugly could they make it?), the acting is top-notch (Clooney’s teenage daughter, Shailene Woodley, is superb), and the movie never treats its audience with anything else than charm, wit, and emotion.

Go see “The Descendants.” It’ll be up for lots of Oscars, and will deserve more than a few.

**Finally today, think about this: What if Joe Paterno had died four months ago? What if the legendary Penn State football coach, maybe the greatest college coach of all time, passed away in mid-October, during another outstanding Nittany Lions season?
The obits that flowed like wins to Paterno’s program over the last four decades would’ve been universally positive. “Great coach, great man, philanthropic, stoic, won the right way,” etc.
But because this 85-year-old man didn’t die then, but after four months of absolutely image-shattering headlines, his obits all had caveats and references to his unspeakable silence while an assistant coach, Jerry Sandusky, molested boy after boy.

It’s a very complicated legacy, Joe Pa leaves. Too many will vilify him and all the good work he did in his life (read this beautiful story for a small slice of what Paterno was like) for what he didn’t do in the Sandusky case. And I don’t in any way absolve him of his sins in that matter.

But he was a giant among football coaches, maybe one of the greatest of all time. He gave so much money and time, and shaped so many men’s lives, and I’d hate to think any of that will be forgotten now.

One final thought: It’s incredible how fast Paterno’s life went downhill. From being fired, to the lung cancer diagnosis, to breaking his pelvis, to death, all in a little more than three months.

I know the wounds are still fresh over his inaction with Jerry Sandusky. But Paterno’s is a life that should be mourned, and (mostly) celebrated.

The Joe Paterno era ends in disgrace. The worst debating moment of all time. And blowing up your competition, literally.

**I don’t have much new to say about Joe Paterno this morning, except these quick thoughts:

– I think the Penn State Board of Trustees absolutely did the right thing by firing him Wednesday night.
– I think Paterno should, and will, go to his grave with the guilt of how many boys lives were shattered, after 2002, because he didn’t go to the police about Jerry Sandusky’s behavior.
– I think I cannot for the life of me understand what, exactly, PSU students were rallying and rioting about last night in State College. Were they rioting in support of a legendary coach who enabled a child molester? Rioting just because they could? Despicable.
– Finally, I find it stunning that as of now the Penn State assistant, Mike McQueary, who saw Sandusky assaulting a boy in the locker room gets to remain on the coaching staff as of now.

What an awful, awful situation. Anyone who wastes a thought in sympathy for Paterno ought to use that brain power to spare some thoughts for the defenseless victims of Jerry Sandusky.

**Ladies and gentlemen, sometimes it’s so easy. I don’t even need to say anything to you to set up this clip of Texas Governor Rick Perry last night, as he tried to answer a question.

I think Time.com blogger Adam Sorensen put it best: “Watching Rick Perry fail to recall the third part of his own answer in tonight’s debate was like watching a thoroughbred get euthanized on the track. It was shocking, grisly and impossible to look away. “

Yep, that about covers it.

**Finally, when your business is losing out to a competitor, there are a few things you can do: Improve your product. Advertise more.
Or, you know, burn down the other guy’s store.
Two Domino’s Pizza managers in Lake City, Fla. decided they needed to do something drastic to stop a local Papa John’s from stealing their customers: So they torched the place.
Bryan Sullivan and Sean Davidson, take your place in the stupid criminal Hall of Fame. Congrats, boys.
And here’s the kicker, fellas: Even when it’s set on fire, Papa John’s pizza still tastes better than Domino’s.

The Jets are back. Giants, too. A disgusting story out of Penn State. And a fabulous “Goodfellas” parody

Well well, looks like we’ve got a little race in the AFC East again.
Looking nothing like the frauds who lost three straight games in September and October, my beloved New York Jets kicked some serious ass Sunday.
After spending the first half trying really hard to keep the Buffalo Bills in the game, with the boys in green blowing chance after chance, the Jets dominated the second half and won easily, 27-11.
Man that was fun to watch. And thanks to my good friends the New York Giants pulling a stunner up in Foxboro (more on them in a minute) the Jets have an incredible shot next Sunday night, against New England at the Big Snoopy (that’s what I’m calling MetLife Stadium, think it’ll catch on?) to take control of the division race.
Wow. Some quick thoughts after this one:
– The Jets’ D was huge, shutting down a very good offense. Bart Scott and David Harris both made some fantastic plays, and once again Darrelle Revis was fabulous in the secondary.
– Mark Sanchez, you once again make me crazy. You play great on the first drive, get ‘em all the way down inside the 10, then throw a terrible interception. Then you fumble a snap. But in the second half, you were fabulous, making every big throw. He could be SO good, this Sanchez guy, but he’s just not there yet.
– Dustin Keller, please keep your feet on the ground so you don’t kill yourself. Thank you.
Other NFL thoughts on a wild day in the league, as usual…
– What a huge upset by the Giants, going up to Foxboro and beating the Pats, 24-20, with (stop me if you’ve heard this before) a great last-minute drive by Eli Manning. OK, it wasn’t the Super Bowl, but still, that’s a hell of a victory.
– Green Bay’s offense > any other offense in the last 10 years in the NFL.
– Hey Oakland fans, how’s that Carson Palmer thing working out? It’s a mad, mad world when the Bengals are in first place and their front-office made a smart move.
– How the hell are the Bengals 6-2 and the 49ers 7-1????
– Finally, this is one of the best punt returns you’ll ever see. Arizona’s Patrick Peterson, a 99-yard beauty in OT, as called by a Spanish announcer.

**This is one of the most disturbing stories I’ve ever heard. Jerry Sandusky, a former longtime assistant coach at Penn State under Joe Paterno, has been charged by a grand jury with sexually abusing eight boys over a 15-year period.
What’s almost as awful is that officials at Penn State apparently knew about Sandusky’s behavior and DID NOT report him to legal authorities.
Joe Paterno has had a legendary career as a head coach at Penn State, and scandal has never truly touched him. So far,  it doesn’t look like Paterno is charged with any wrongdoing.

But man, these things have a way of mushrooming and enveloping everyone involved. So we’ll see.

**I’m a huge “Goodfellas” fan, as I think all right-thinking people should be. And if you know Scorsese’s classic, you know one of the most famous scenes in movie history is when Henry Hill takes Karen out on a date to the Copacabana club in New York City, and the camera follows them for one incredible shot as Henry walks through the kitchen glad-handing everyone on the way in.

ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” show just celebrated its 9th anniversary and did a fabulous parody of the scene. Here’s the original scene, and above is the incredible ESPN version. Love it!

The hilarious Brian Williams, a big product endorsement, and a little Barry M.

brianwilliams.squidarnoldbread

When you think of great funny men of our time, we all can agree on the same basic list.

Jerry Seinfeld. Chris Rock. Billy Crystal. Brian Williams.

Yes, the same Brian Williams who hosts the “NBC Nightly News.” Seriously, dude is really funny. I’ve seen him on “The Tonight Show” a few times, and then this past weekend he was on my favorite NPR show, Wait Wait, Don’t Tell me.”

Guy just has great comic timing, is smart and self-deprecating, and just comes off in a funny way. Here, take a listen for yourself.

***My own tennis update! I maintained my undefeated record in the Greater Volusia Tennis League Men’s 4.0 division Monday night. My partner Keith and I, who I’ve only played with a handful of times, totally destroyed our doubles foes, 6-2, 6-2. I’m now 5-0 in doubles on the season, thank you very much. Tennis players out there, you know when you’re in the zone and you expect every shot to go in, and you’re genuinely surprised when they don’t?

I was there Monday night. One other thing: The guys we played seemed nice, but even though we repeatedly praised their good shots, they never once said “nice shot” or anything when Keith or I hit a winner. That’s just poor court manners.

**OK, you may be asking yourself why there’s a picture of Arnold’s Whole Grain bread up there. I’ll tell you why. Not only is this stuff fantastic to eat, but my own accidental little experiment over the last few weeks has proven one more thing: This stuff does NOT go bad.

I accidentally bought a loaf of this delicious bread a day after thinking I was out, only to discover that I had a whole full loaf already in the fridge. Well, let me tell you, I figured it’d be a race against mold (bread’s arch-enemy, like The Joker is to Batman) with my bread. I figured there’s no way both loaves would survive.

But let me tell you my friends, it’s been more than three weeks and this bread is still going strong! I’m nearly finished with it and not one drop of green stuff anywhere.

Arnold Bread people, I bow to your fresh greatness.

**OK, two things in this week’s Sports Illustrated I’m compelled to share. One, Joe Posnanski’s excellent profile of Joe Paterno. I’m biased because I think Joe Pos is the greatest thing since, well, since Arnold 12 Grain Bread, but this truly is a great story about an old lion of a football coach.

The second thing, and this completely cracked me up: Remember the clip of that 9-year-old hockey kid in Boston who scored that crazy goal? Anyway, his name is Oliver Wahlstrom, and he was asked if he’ll honor the sudden autograph requests he’s getting.

“I don’t know. I’m still printing.”

Classic.

Finally, I realize that I’ve been doing this blog for three months and have yet to share one my all-time musical favorites with you. I’ve been roundly mocked for loving this man, but dammit, listen to this and tell me he’s not incredibly talented!