Monday, August 13, 2012

A Collection of Stray Thoughts

I promised you some thoughts on a few topics but because unpacking from our move's been consuming our days, I have not been particularly good about keeping up with that promise.  So, rather than create that mountain where you want to do such a good job of something that you keep pushing it off and pushing it off and the next thing you know, it's not even relevant anymore and/or it's embarrassingly late (or am I the only one who does that?!), I decided I can just bullet-point a few of those topics and keep on truckin'.

Here you go.

1.  Penn State.  I realize this news is about two weeks old now (Penn State being fined $60 million by the NCAA), but it was the hot topic when we drove our 72,425,361 hours, so I had a lot of time to listen to sports talk and regular news, to formulate my own thoughts, and to think about what I wanted to say.  Here's my short version:

a.  There is no way you can accurately ever say any punishment would be severe enough for anyone who has abused children, nevermind one who did it systematically.  That being said, $60 million seems to have satisfied the masses in terms of its severity.  I don't disagree with it in that sense, but I do disagree with it in terms of whom it punishes:  it does not punish the people who perpetrated the wrongs; it punishes the present students.  $60 million taken away from the coffers of a public university -- even a flagship public university -- hurts kids, too.  It can mean professors won't get funded, or who leave because they won't get raises; it can mean that classes are rescheduled -- it can mean, in effect, that students now need 5 years to graduate instead of 4.  It can mean a loss of scholarships for the general student population.  From what I understand, the number came from PSU's estimated earnings from football (or the post-season?) during the time the crimes were being committed.  Trouble is, football profits go into the University's general fund, generally speaking.  Hitching onto that number and using it as punishment is a good idea, but it takes out the punishment on the wrong people.

b.  I understand the idea of punishing the football program (no post-season for x-amount of years, x- number of scholarships taken away), but again:  the players and coaches there today had no share in this.  No matter what you think of Paterno or his staff, the fact is that the people who played a role in the misdeeds are long gone.  This hurts the program (I won't say forever; there are too many other programs who've suffered harsh punishments that eventually came back for me to really think that), which I understand is symbolic; but I think that punishing today's program for yesterday's wrongs -- when none of the wrongdoers are affected because they are gone -- is again, hitting the wrong audience.  ON THE OTHER HAND, I understand the argument that Penn State valued said program more than it should have and in fact arguably it valued football more than those poor kids, so you HAVE to punish the University.  I understand it; I just there were a better way to do it to ensure you were actually punishing the wrongdoers.

c.  I don't understand why the NCAA had any jurisdiction in this at all.  The NCAA exists to ensure parity on the field and, by extension, in recruiting.  I don't think the NCAA should have had a role in punishing Penn State for criminal acts outside the scope of football or athletics.  If their argument is that football was the guise under which the criminal acts were allowed to be perpetuated, they ought to have said that.  Otherwise, it's just more evidence in why I dislike the NCAA, and think it oversteps and claims authority it doesn't have.  (Caveat:  In its charter or whatever, does the NCAA in fact have this authority to act?  If you're more familiar with the NCAA's authority than I am, please comment!)
Anyway.  I know I'm crazy late to the party on this, but I'd love to hear what you guys think about the whole Penn State saga.

2.  Holy Bryan Adams, Batman(Wait:  should I say "Robin Hood" instead?)  I don't think I have ever heard "Summer of '69" more times in my life.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I'd let my Sirius subscription lapse so I had a lot of radio-station flipping going on.  I think I heard this at least five times a day (no, I didn't listen to it five times a day!) each day on the various stations.  What's up?  Was it his birthday?  Was he just coronated?  Way too much Bryan Adams, radio stations of the East Coast.  Waaaay too much.

3.  RVs.  I want one.  I want to wake up one morning debt-free, and I want to go buy a dazzlingly awesome, huge, with all the requisite slide-outs, football-game-going, mobile-home-possible, RV.  I want to "home school" the kids for a while, and I want to travel the U.S. -- spending one full month per state.  We'd need a "home base" to collect our mail and other stuff, so I figure this is a five-year project.  48 months of contiguous states, plus another 6 months of checking in at home base and specific holiday trips, and then two months each for Hawaii and Alaska, and two months for whatever else comes up.  I'm serious.  I think it would be awesome.  "Where are you from" would take on a whole new meaning!  I suppose I need a lottery ticket in a hurry.

4.  Speaking of seeing the US, I want to put together my own "101 Places" list.  I know the usual -- The Smithsonian, Mount Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, the Golden Gate ... but what else?  I grew up on LI, so I have been lucky to go to the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building and Broadway shows all my life.  But I've never been to the cornfields in Iowa; I want to see 'em (from something other than the seat of a 737)!  You, my friends, are from all over -- what should we add to this list?   PLEASE HELP ME WRITE IT!

5.  Chick-fil-A.  This was also a raging topic when we left Georgia.  I posted here about it already; I want to add just one thing.  I participated in a few discussions on Facebook and read quite a few more.  Without going into my opinion, I will say that I find it outrageous for people to make an argument that amounts to, "If you were my friend and valued our friendship, you would/would not, go/not go (or believe/not believe) to Chick-fil-A (or insert any other thought/action here)."

Um, hell no.  HELLLLLL NO.  (Say that with your best Texas accent, it's way better.  I promise.)  If we're really friends, you see, you'd never ask that of me and I'd never ask that of you.  Period.  That's no better than the idiots on Facebook who say "if you believe in God/cancer sucks/children are precious/teachers are great/whateverwhatever you'll repost."  Because let's be clear here:  we're not talking about genocide or mass rapes or anything else that is life-or-death.  So please, people. Let's not equate it to that.  If you aren't strong enough in your beliefs to allow me my own, we weren't meant to be friends anyway.  I'm okay with that.  Thank you.

Whew!  That sure was a lot, huh?!  Sorry to end on a bit of a rant there ...

Tomorrow I promise at least two more PW updates, and some fun birthday stuff!  For now, though, I need to go play with my new Tervis shaker top.  (Oh yes. A Tervis shaker top.  I was recently introduced to this life-changing invention by a dear friend who also introduced me to the joys of Honey Boo Boo (hmm.  Perhaps the two are related, now that I think about this), and I would be remiss to not spread the joy that is a Tervis shaker top.  More on that tomorrow, too!)



  1. One for your list from my neck of the woods - the headwaters of the Mississippi.

    I will try to think of more for you. I would love to see the list when you are done!

    1. Oh, that is a GREAT one, and likely one I'd have never thought of on my own! Thank you!

  2. The badlands and black hills/Mt Rushmore if you haven't been. If you go that way then you may as well see Old Faithful and Yelllowstone. :). I'm still thinking. Do you have the whole list done?

  3. I would love to see your list when you are done too :) I made my own already and solicited ideas from friends, but I would also love to see what your friends suggest :)