Dear Joe Paterno,

I had the honor of going to the Penn State v. Wisconsin game last weekend in Madison, Wisconsin. After going to to the game, experiencing the crowd, and the listening to the media…all trying to blame you, I just wanted to write to you and tell you how much of an inspiration you have been to me over the years.

I grew up in New York, while my grandparents lived in Pennsylvania. My grandparents, although never attended college, wanted the best for their grandchildren, and began taking my sister and me to Penn State at the young age of three. I remember one of my first Penn State games…I stood on the seat and was as tall as my parents who were seated next to me. From then on, I always got excited each year to go to a Penn State home football game and to see you coach year after year. Shortly after the public could only request two seats together (from four), my grandfather wrote a letter to the ticketing office requesting four for he could sit with his granddaughters “who are very interested in Penn State”. We were never sure how it happened, but we got four tickets together, and I knew by that point that I would attend Penn State.

I am writing to you because I wanted to let you know that regardless of what the media says, you are, and have been an inspiration to Penn Staters on and off the football field. While my classmates in grade school were doing biography reports on George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, I did mine on you. While the media blames you for a decline in recruiting, I know there are other students at Penn State, football players and non football players that go to Penn State because of you. You are such a presence on campus, and even to me now that I live in Chicago.

When I hear the sports announcers try and point fingers at you about the past few years, I get so frustrated. What most people do not remember is that the media has never liked Penn State. If there was a chance to bash Penn State, the sports casters did. If there was a time to compliment Penn State, they hurried over it and began talking about the beloved Notre Dame. Thank you for not stooping to their level.

You bring Penn State more than wins and losses, you bring and often demand honor, tradition, and respect, something that the media often overlooks. You have kept the uniforms simple. Your football players have one of the best graduation rates of any university (only public university to be ranked in the top ten of graduation rates). Your football players show up to class, take off their hats while in class, travel in suits, and are 99% of the time very respectable and upstanding young men. You spark a great sense of unity and honor in Penn State fans of all ages every weekend.

I will never forget the 1987 Fiesta Bowl where Mr. Testeverde and team dressed up in camo and tried to intimidate the Penn State team as they were getting off the plane in suits before the game that decided we were National Champions. I was shocked then to see the behavior of other atheletes, and have never been so shocked until this past weekend when I was at Camp Randall. To hear the students cheering the team on, and then also cheering against us, using foul language…I was never so disgusted since the Fiesta Bowl. I know you would not have stood for it at Beaver Stadium, and I thank you for that. These past few seasons have been tough on all of us. We all hear everyone’s opinion on why Penn State has had a bad record the past few years, but I all say to them is “how many football games have you won”? “How many football games has your coach won?”. I also realized this weekend, that while those questions are valid, they miss the point that you have always tried to make. It was easier to miss with our winning seasons, but more evident and important now. It is not about wins and losses…it is about honor, tradition, and respect. Thanks for teaching me so much. We have had our good times and we will surely have them again, but in the past few weeks, I have learned an equally important lesson: how to lose with class, and again I have you to thank for it.

About Joe Paterno

loud cell phone talkers.

To the annoying girl on the 523 train that got off at Des Plaines stop after talking the entire non-express train trip…I have something for you….a F*&$)ing clue: everyone on the train does not care about the horrible day you had. As you talked about how nervous you were at work and how you started crying because you could not convert a Word Perfect document to a Word document…I think we all thought you were pathetic. How do I know? I think everyone in your car except for me gave you the super pissed off slow head turn in your direction to give you a hint. Guess like your day job, you just do not get it. I do not understand the phenomenom of loud cell phone talking!!?? Cell phones have a amazing mics and just like when talking to a foreign person, talking louder does not help, it only annoys everyone around you. I do not care if you use your cell phone on the train home, but try to follow these two courtesy points:

  • know your ring. How many people do I have to stare at in order for them to think “Oh, you know that ear piercing ring could be mine!”
  • adjust your ring volume to an appropiate level. I should not clearly hear your ring while I have my iPod on. If you are concerned about missing calls, try vibrate mode and ring.
  • you do not need to talk loudly into the phone. I can usually get away with a level between my normal volume and a whisper. Really. We do not care about what you did today or what you are having for dinner, or that you cried at work because you did not know the difference between a section and a page break.

I think my favorite Metra story of all times in their newsletter was a story about someone who was sitting next to one of these annoying cell phone talkers. Blah blah blah, all the way to her stop. During the cell phone conversation, the loud talker gave the caller her cell phone number so they could call her back. The annoyed Metra rider memorized it, got off at her stop, headed over to a pay phone and called the loud talker and told her what I am telling you. Have some f*&%ing consideration and shut the hell up!

the mysterious b.o.

We are all aware of something called deoderant, right? Well, as I sat down next to an older woman on the train today, I thought all was well. I was coming home early, and had a seat next to someone who did not hog the seat nor talk loudly on her cell phone. A few minutes later, as the train filled up, a sudden scent had me looking in all directions, discreetly. Was it me? You always think it for a second, but without making any direct motions to smell myself, I realized it was not me. In front of me was an older man, hair sprouting from his ears as long as the hideous comb over. He wore his “member’s only jacket” with pride, but was it too hot for him? To the left of me was a guy from India, or somewhere in the eatern part of the world, but when he moved, the smell did not seem to waft over to me. I did not want to look behind me, but every once and awhile the smell would be over powering. After 20 minutes of the investigation, I got off the train, following my number one prospect, Mr. Member’s Jacket…but just as I thought I finally found PE #1, I did not smell anything. Mystery unsolved…foiled! Yes, Clue was one of my favorite games as a child.

thanks gop! (for ruining cnn.com for a week)

I am a CNN junky, but unfortunately for me, I have to cut back this week due to all the pictures of the GOP Convention. I like Laura Bush, I think she has great intensions, although I would have liked to see more of her in the last four years. I respect Giuliani, and well, Terminator 2 is my all time favorite movie, so I can handle seeing the T-800 Model 101 on stage, but I have had enough of W and the “twins” all over the media. Yeah, thanks for taking time away from getting arrested to show up at the convention. W…as a historian and as a Young Republican in college, I force myself watching some of the convention, and I will watch your speech. I am truly interested in what you have to say, but please…enough of this “compassionate conservatism”. Oh right, compassionate on your terms, with your beliefs. Obviously, what is best for the religious right wing is best for everyone. Please, “compaasionate conservatism” makes me just about as sick as hearing you say “resolve”. Anyway, I cannot wait until your face and your daughters’ is not plastered on CNN.com and the papers so I can look at them again to keep up on the crazy Russian situations!

what are the chances?

Well. Early Monday morning is not my favorite. Rushing to get ready, rushing to get to the train, fighting with the crazies…(see posts on Metra)…anyway, let us not forget on top of all of this, I have the luck of Larry David.

So I make it to the train, but no seat, so I sat on the bottom steps going up to the upperdeck on the first car. We get past Clyborn (last stop before the Chicago train station) and at there is a woman’s knee in my back, apparently she wanted to get really close to me, so close her knee was hitting me until I look back and give her my “are you serious??” stare down. So I then stand up right in front of the doors that go into the vestibule. Next, I see some guy tearing through the line that already goes to the end of my car. He gets to me and I block him with my arm and say “Everyone is wating too, you know.” I saw this shennigan last week, just so the guy could make it off the train in front of everyone else. At this point my mind is going through all the feelings I experienced at Six Flags with all the line cutters so I decide that this is it. I am tired of people just cutting lines, so as he tries to force himself forward, I again hold back and again tell him “it is not polite to cut in front of all these people that are already standing”. Again he resists, and my arm muscles tighten and I say once more, “please wait your turn”. Well, at this point, the situation soon turns into a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode. The guy, then furious with me, tells me: Move out of the way!! I need to get to the conductor because there is a woman in the next car back having a seizure!!” I then apologize and let him through. What are the chances?

PS, yeah there is a new URL/layout…I will talk about that another day, after I stop feeling like a jack ass.

metra riders: single seats are upstairs.

I have been riding the Metra for over five years now, and not once have I ever put my bag next to me on a busy train to try and deter other people from sitting next to me. I have also never asked someone to move their bag until this morning. My morning express is like most other express trains, jammed. There is always that one jack ass that decides he is too good to have someone else share the two person seat and usually I will go out of my way to not strike up any conflict. I have gone back three or four cars looking for a seat in the past, but something was different this morning – I finally had enough.

We are all adults. The seats on the bottom level are two seaters, not one. So this morning there was only one seat on the bottom of my car with only one person in it, but his “$19.99 Father Day special briefcase” was sitting next to him. At first I walked past, but then thought, “my god this is ridiculous” so I walked back and said “can you please move your bag so I can sit down?” and after a few huffs and puffs, he moved it. Get over it. I am now going to seek these people out 😉

Lesson for all your Metra riders: if you do not want to sit next to anyone, go to the upperdeck with the single seats, especially on packed trains.

six flags, take two.

Having a Six Flags’ season pass is great. We can make a last minute decision to go to Six Flags in the afternoon or after dinner, and that is what we did on Saturday. Figuring the park would start to slowly empty at 5pm, well we were mistaken, but perhaps it was because we just happened to choose the dayof Gospel Fest. Yeah, just our luck. Church busses, vans everywhere. Ok, I can deal with that, but the lines were crazy. And I am guessing “Thou shall not jump lines” was not in the Ten Commandments, because there would have been a lot of sinning going on (well more that there was). It is very frustrating. Which brings me to my thank yous…

A big thank you goes out to the woman (I cannot even call you a mother) in front of me in the American Eagle line. Wow. Not only was I so sick of your obnoxious daughter “practicing screaming” for 30 minutes at the top of her lungs, I was really hoping she would have taken a dive off of the railing or the fences that she was crawling up uncontrollably while you just stood there and laughed. Seriously. Two kids, completely out of control, thanks for sharing. Then I had the lovely opportunity to sit in the car right in front of the screaming hell child. Yeah, that is why I screamed all sorts of word hoping the hell child would pick them up while on the ride. My ears were ringing after dealing with the murder screams. For this, you win the “wow we should really test people who want to be parents because you would never make the cut”. PS, you are her mother, not her friend, so take some responsibility.

Next up, a friendly reminder to the men out there…cut your freaking toenails. If they are pointy, or they extend past the actual toe, it is time to cut them. Also, to the men out there with crazy and out of control ear hair…come on, take a few minutes and trim that. (That also goes for nose and eyebrows too). Thanks for standing right in front of me for the hour I waited to get on the Viper.

A final thanks to the person who forgot to tell me that wearing a basketball jersey was required to fit in. Was I at a basketball convention that had rides or Six Flags?

Oh, but wait, how could I forget the cell phone talkers? Thanks for proving me wrong; thinking you would not be able to hold an hour conversation while in line for my favorite ride, the Raging Bull.

Yeah, the visit was less than heavenly, but the Raging Bull makes it all worth while.

new look.

It is that time where I am customizing the look and feel of this web site so stay tuned for some future enhancement and changes. Eventually I will fully customize the template that I am currently using, but small steps first.

I still need to adjust the right side of the page, but it is getting closer. Fun with CSS layout!