Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Why polls are meaningless....

..... in the past month, my home answering machine has participated in two political polls.

The first was just before the general election in November. I arrived within earshot to hear the "disembodied voice" ask, "what party will you vote for, primarily, in the election on Tuesday. Press 1 for ....". I fully expected to hear the "voice" say "we did not understand your selection, but instead, I heard the voice say. "Thank you for participating." Huh? I said to my husband, apparently our answering machine will be voting on Tuesday, however, I'm not sure for who."

Then there was yesterday. I heard the phone as I walked in the door. I didn't rush to answer, but instead stood at the bottom of the stairs to hear if it was a call I needed to attend to . Rather I hear the disembodied voice again, announcing a survey. Thinking that it would sense that there was a answering machine on our end and would terminate the call, I went about my business. A few minutes later I arrive at the desk where the machine is STILL recording the voice as it asks: "Who will you be voting for in 2012. Press 1 for Barak Obama, Press 2 for.." As I listened, the survey was apparently getting some kind of feedback it was interpreting as responses. When it got to "what party will you most tend to vote for". Press 1 for.... I intercepted the call and hung up. Who the heck knows what or how the signals the survey was getting were being interpreted. Bizarre.

So there you have it. Surveys are crap. Especially if it is administered by a computer, instead of a human.

And I'm still wondering who the answering machine voted for for school board.......

Monday, November 21, 2011

Send out the clowns...

We're down to of this morning's count. NBC and CNN still have trucks set up on College Avenue, and tents set up on Old Main lawn. I'm hoping they'll waste away from boredom. We're on fall break.

I think this article pretty much covers the craziness. If you look at the photos, you'll see what I tried to describe in my last post.

Please go home now.....

We're now getting used to the new normal. I can tell you that there are about 40,000 year round residents, and 39, 990 of us hadn't a clue as to what was happening. It is completely disconcerting when I think of it. We're now in a wait and see mode, and I think this mode is going to last a very, very long time. The one thing we are sure of, is that the abuse, at least from this alleged abuser, has stopped.

In the meantime, I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving, and that you have much to be thankful for. We do. When we get back, I WILL have kidding. I've not been knitting as much, because I've had an ongoing headache (what a shock!), and I'm way behind on Christmas knitting. There may be some Christmas knitting that won't get done....and so be it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Now back to our regularly scheduled...

...ummm...not so much.

Welcome to the "new" normal. It isn't pretty and it makes me throw up in my mouth a little.

I've been mighty snarky about the media circus that has ensued. But Friday, took me to another, very bad place.

DH and I attended a campus theater performance. (Life does indeed  go on here, and there are other students.) Afterward, one of the local taverns was advertising jazz as their entertainment. Well, because this is such an unusual occurrence, we wanted to patronize said tavern. We also thought we'd get a bit of a break from the non-stop barrage of bad news.

B.I.G. mistake. As is true on most college campuses/towns, we left our car in our legal space and walked from the theater (walking is generally the travel mode of choice on a campus like this). As we approached the administration building we came across students who were leaving the candlelight vigil. As we continued to the downtown area, things changed rapidly. First, the main drag was as bright as daylight from the television floodlights. As we approached I could see a few satellite truck dishes above the screening hedge. But when we stepped into the street there were approaching 20 of these trucks and their attendant ghouls in a  line up and down the street, clearly waiting for "something" to happen.  It was just jaw dropping. In the mere block we walked we saw, literally, 6 state, local and PSU police vehicles on a slow cruise. Sometimes one behind another - with multiple officers on board. I can't even find a way to describe the scene adequately. It was horrific. We beat a path back to the dark center of campus as soon as we could. I was, and continue to be, stunned. The good news is that NOTHING happened.

The fallout hasn't stopped yet, but with any kind of luck, it will slow down enough to eventually allow the business of justice to move forward.

To the whiners and know-it-alls:

Joe Paterno was dealt with the way he was because by his "retirement" announcement, he was trying to do what he's always done. Whatever he wants. Sorry, that's the fact. For years many bemoaned the fact that there was no succession plan in place. He refused to think about how to handle this team he loves so well, and the multimillion dollar business it had become, when it was time to move on. The words selfish and Paterno were being linked more and more often. The message the board sent was that you are not the most important person right now. I believe they saw the standing ovations he would surely get at his last "official" games as antithetical to the "right thing to do". It is really that simple. And let's talk about coaching....can someone tell me how one coaches from a box, with no communication equipment and a cuppa coffee in hand? Shadow puppets? Telepathy? No one knows better than I that he and his family are consummate philanthropists. They have contributed to this community in ways that transcend just money. But it doesn't change the fact that EVERYONE HAS A BOSS and the board finally put on their pants and made that clear.

Lastly, this is not about football. This is about a group of powerful people throughout the community who somehow thought that they could control an alleged predator. They mistakenly thought that hiding information was going to protect the community at large, and their various organizations. I have no idea how anyone could possibly come to this conclusion. I also believe that holding this information in secret, put the rest of us as guardians out of loop.

There are two satellite trucks still here today: NBC and someone generic. However, with interim President Erickson sending an email to the campus community about every 15 seconds. I don't think they'll be getting much. So, move along folks nothing more to see. We're going to have to figure this out for ourselves. All that's left is a sad, stunned community.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Lord help me there's more....

..... We are currently embroiled in a circus, inside a carnival, within a rodeo. I am beginning to scream at the radio because EVERYONE has[is] an assh.... uh, opinion, and apparently no one has taken the time to think this through. (Also my regular coffee shop was completely filled. No seats! How rude! And the streets are FILLED with satellite trucks.)

Here are a few more "facts".

Fact: The graduate student is not named in the indictment as a witness. GET THAT? NOT NAMED      ( go ahead, read it, I dare you). It is a pretty easy inference, especially here, but still. Because someone speculates on a blog is not an adequate reason to crucify someone. IMHO.

Fact: Another eyewitness, named in the indictment, to a second, later, equally horrific event, at the same facility, was reduced to blubbering when he met with his shift supervisors. Does this not tell you what this does to a normal psyche? Also included in the report, is the little line that the perpetrator and victim saw both witnesses at the times of the incidents. For those that are hollering "why didn't [witness] stop the assault"...well, maybe it's because it did stop when they were seen. This information may possibly be in reports that will be used for prosecution. Didn't think of that did'ja?

Fact: For all of this, the victim of the first witnessed incident has yet to be identified. I have very good information (you can't imagine how small this town really is), that indicates two full time state authorized investigators have worked full time for six months to identify this individual, with NO success. While not deadly to a conviction, this can be used to cast doubt in a defense strategy. While on the search, they participated in gathering all the other witnesses that the GJ heard. (And yesterday, Victim Nine was forwarded to them.)

Fact: Has it not occurred to anyone that being quiet is the best strategy for the prosecution? If ONE of these allegations is true, this man is a monster, and I do not want to risk him getting off. That being said, another fact, is that he is being represented by a pretty sharp lawyer. He's local, but he's one smart cookie. I suspect he is waiting for information he can use to "pop up" in the press. I hope everyone who may be part of the prosecution just shuts up! NOW!

Fact: Everyone is making a big deal about Paterno's cancelled press conference. Here's the unvarnished story. Paterno has become the Andy Rooney (RIP) of the sports world. The filters between his brain and mouth have deteriorated. He regularly intimidates the local sports media,  backing them down, they're afraid for their jobs and need PSU access, but the national media is another matter. Of course, he doesn't see it that way... We were settling in for a Woody Hayes moment, where he'd say something completely off the wall and he'd have to be locked in a closet for the remainder of the season. Also, there is the possibility I alluded to above that he might have compromised the investigation and prosecution. I can't imagine that this situation is REALLY a complete shock to him. Call me a cynic. Then there is the turmoil within the administration, while I have no sympathy for anything that's going on there, let's not make it worse. No matter what happens they're all pretty much done. Call the realtors now is my advice. So we have someone who is deluded at best, mean at worst wanting to answer questions--from a bunch of sharks..... Does this not sound like a train wreck to anyone?

Fact: ESPN is reporting that Paterno has announced his retirement. Too bad he procrastinated so long he's riding out on a wave of crap, rather than glory. Leaves his team and staff in a bad situation. Another post for another day. Won't be any retirement celebrations any time soon, I suspect. 

ETA: As I walked back through campus, from honest to goodness university business...the worker bees are still toiling, every person I passed had a cell phone glued to his/her ear and what I inferred from the one sided conversations is that the board of trustees has asked the president to step down or be fired by the end of the day. Nothing official has been released. No surprise there. The PR faculty are thinking that this is the worst PR performance since BP, which recently overtook the Exxon Valdez as the way not to address a crisis. Nice, huh?

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Let's get a few things straight....

We are not a "state university", despite the name, due to an anomaly in funding. Our state schools are a set of loosely affiliated small universities-fourteen to be exact. So "the state" can't fire anyone. Officially, we are a state-related public university. So much for media fact checking.

There are literally, thousands of faculty, staff and students who are stunned by the depth and breadth of the indictment against the former coach. We toil, heroically for the most part, so those that attend get the best education possible. From the folks that wipe the desks down each day to the course designers, web developers, and subject matter experts, our focus is to enhance learning. We understand where we are in the "food chain" and just have to trust that those in responsible positions, will make reasonable decisions. And there's the breakdown.

It doesn't always happen. Particularly when it comes to a certain 80-something football coach. A friend from athletics and I used to joke that "everyone has a boss"...."except Joe Paterno". It's too bad it was true.

That being said.
Fact. The 1998 incident you are hearing about (and if you have the stomach for it I suggest you read the indictment--it does take a strong stomach though) was not pursued because, apparently, the DA decided he didn't have a case. Why? We'll never know because he disappeared in 2005. Yes, you read that right. Disappeared. Drove his car about 30 miles east, parked and "poof". He was declared dead this past spring. The only assumption that can be made is that there was not enough evidence to file charges. (He was a pretty cautious DA overall.)

Fact. In 2006, the next DA took, what is now a series of incidents, and decided it needed a bigger office with more investigators, and citing "conflict of interest" kicked it to the state AG (who is now our governor), and the investigation began in earnest. The grand jury was convened in 2009, and that brings us to today.

Fact. The university officials who were arraigned yesterday, were charged with perjury, nothing more. Unfortunately, there is no legal basis for shirking your ethical or moral duty to humanity (mores the pity).

Fact. We have people here pointing their collective shaking fingers at a certain graduate assistant who actually had the temerity to tell his boss what he saw. If you read the indictment and [his testimony] description of what he saw, you begin to understand how horrifying that experience probably was. He will not have me second guessing him. And here's the rub. I also suspect that when he went to a certain 70 year old, and used words like "inappropriate" rather than rape. My 70 year old mother wouldn't have gotten it either. Let me also say that graduate students are in horrible positions just generally. They can be kicked out of their respective programs for seeing the wrong movie, or changing a syllabus. They walk on egg shells. In this light it was particularly gutsy. Maybe not far enough, but hell, he did what ordinarily would be the "right" thing.  (If you want to argue this point, fine. However, I see what goes on here with GAs, and it isn't pretty.) Also please keep in mind that in the past three years he gave testimony to a grand jury investigation.

Fact. Even though this former coach was banned from campus, particularly with kids in tow, few knew it. If I had seen him last week on campus with a kid, I wouldn't have thought twice about it.

Fact. We are all being painted as worshiping at the "shrine" of Paterno. Not so much. Rumors are now swirling around campus that there will be an "announcement" at Saturday's game. My current earworm is the "Hallaujah Chorus".  

(Speculation: The administrators will be found not guilty, or have their charges dropped. And plausible deniability exists for the president and Paterno.)

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Hit and run ...


Here is where we were  a week ago Saturday:

Fort Ligonier

Please notice the blue skies and sunny weather.

This was this past Saturday:

Yeah, snow. Heavy wet, snow. It wasn't the earliest that we've gotten snow like this, but jeepers. It just wasn't fair. I was so glad we sold our tickets to the football game.

There's lots more about Fort Ligonier that I will save for a future post. The hair on the back of my neck stood straight up at the sight of original George Washington journal entries. And his saddle pistols.....!! I had no idea I was a history geek, but there you have it.

While I had the time I finally finished the languishing Leyburn Socks.

Please ignore the fancy pj's still cold here.

Zitron Trekking Pro-Natura
Lovely yarn. Has bamboo in it.
Pattern needed reworking (details here), and I had to fuss with the slip stitch pattern too much to make it worth my while to knit again. Another reason why they languished. They are very pretty though.

In addition to the socks, I also finished ANOTHER father-in-law knit cap (his favorite) this time in blue multi, and a neck warmer for my mother-in-law. Photos soon.