Sportsmanship? Character? … WIN AT ALL COSTS! … (Part II)

Nick’s note:  Wow… my last words at the end of Part I were ” Read on in Part II… to follow very soon.”  “Very soon” turned into six weeks.  Oops.  In a nutshell, a week of job-related training, a week of being sick, a week and a half of my laptop being sick (had to go get professionally debugged), Christmas hullaballoo, and Ryan coming home on leave led to an extensive delay.

*                                                  * * * * * * *

Penn State. 

I want to write about this… and I don’t.  The whole, horrible story makes me sick.

Where to start?  The victims.  I pray for the victims to find peace and healing, and if that requires money, Penn State should pay through the nose.  It’s going to be expensive.  That’s called chickens coming home to roost.  Karma.  Justice.  The coverup always does more damage (at least in the university’s case) than the offense.

Unfortunately, because there is going to be money paid out, there will be false “victims” seeking a slice of the pie.  It always happens in prominent scandals like this… another sad statement on the sickness of our society.  I hope they get caught, humiliated, and prosecuted if possible.

On to the enablers… the numerous, nauseating enablers who are the real heart of what makes this sad, horrifying situation the story that it is.  After all, predators like Jerry Sandusky are a dime a dozen.  Unfortunately, they’re so commonplace that, by themselves, they’re hardly news.  What makes this story stand out is the sheer number of supposedly good, professional, respectable people who looked the other way while this monster committed his foul deeds… including one who was frequently referred to by many people as “the great man”.

Joe Paterno… “the great man” [another stellar example of the need for a sarcasm font] … should go to prison.  I don’t care if he is 85 years old.  And I don’t care for any of his other excuses put out by him or his many apologists.  The notion that he did the bare minimum he was required to do — that he was just an employee who reported to his superiors and therefore had no responsibility or capability to do more — is, pardon my language, bullshit.  “Joe Pa” was, for lack of a better term, a god at Penn State University.  He could’ve handled it any way he wanted to.  He chose to protect the program and his reputation.  He should go to prison for his criminal negligence in failing to stop Sandusky.

All the other Penn State officials that knew and did nothing should also go to prison.  They made their choices when they participated in the coverup.

Mike McQueary … wow, I can’t despise this man enough.  His statements to the press and public have been constantly shifting, and don’t match his official statements to the police and grand jury.  “I did stop it, not physically, but I made sure it stopped.”  Sandusky stopped because he realized he had a witness, not because of any action taken by McQueary… who then ran to his daddy to ask him what he should do.  McQueary’s constant whining that, despite all evidence to the contrary, he “did the right thing” is the desperate cry of a deservedly guilty conscience.  He witnessed a 60 year old man raping a boy that he himself described as appearing to be 10 years old… and did nothing.  Prison?  Absolutely.

And what of Dottie Sandusky, the wife?  If the testimony of Victim # 9 is to be believed, Mrs. Sandusky had to have known of her husband’s activities.  (# 9 testified that he screamed for help at a time that he knew she was in the house, but no help came.)  If she knew, she’s as guilty as the rest.

Jerry Sandusky… what can I say… I’d wish this monster a long and nasty prison sentence, except that I wouldn’t mind at all if another monster cut his life short in prison (à la Jeffrey Dahmer).  After that… burn in hell, Sandusky.

For anyone still doubting his guilt, consider the following:  In addition to the accounts of the victims, you have the eyewitness testimony of McQueary and others (there was another criminal act witnessed by janitors).  To listen to this man proclaim his innocence while attempting increasingly implausible explanations for what others have described (“wrestling”, “massages”, “horseplay”, “blowing on bellies”, “teaching poor kids how to wash themselves properly”) is to wish the scumbag would shut the hell up and find it in himself to end his miserable, worthless life.


Sophomore Jinx? …. Let’s hope not.

   Welcome back!  I’m glad to see you came back to the Treehouse.  I want to thank everyone for reading and for commenting.  And now to the meat & taters…

    ****  POLITICAL PUZZLING  ****   

   The Republican nominee for President…
who’s it gonna be?  Two weeks ago, I’d have said it was absolutely going to be Rick Perry.  Now he seems to be fading back into the pack.  If I was guessing now, I’d say Mitt Romney will avoid saying or doing anything too controversial and will eventually be the nominee.  This seems even more likely now, since in the last few days both Chris Christie and Sarah Palin have said “Nope… not this time.”  My thoughts on this crew:


Romney:  Probably the safest bet.  Looks presidential… for whatever that’s worth.  Many in the GOP still seem to be looking for someone else.  Why?  Probably over concerns that he’s a RINO (Republican In Name Only for y’all who might not be as immersed in politics as your faithful blogger).  I was concerned over whether he’d be too cautious and unwilling to attack Obama on issues where he’s vulnerable.  I’m a little less worried after some comments he made in the last debate.  The Mormon issue doesn’t bother me.  Just try to be a little less… mannequin-like… OK, Mittster?

Perry:  Still the guy I like the best.  I think Obama is very vulnerable, but we need a candidate to go on the offensive and not be afraid of the media or of being accused of racism at every turn.  Perry and Obama seem to genuinely detest each other.  Perry would play hardball, and that’s what is needed.  I also love his stance on the 10th Amendment (more on that in a future blog, friends).  And he goes jogging locked and loaded… a true Texan! 

Herman Cain:  I like him, but I don’t know enough about him yet.  Many of us seem to like the idea of someone who is not a politician getting in there… but then we worry about whether an amateur can handle a modern presidential campaign.

Michelle Bachmann:  Unelectable, in my opinion.  There are things about her that the media would have a field day with.  Also has a tendency to verbally shoot from the hip with little or no regard for actual facts.

Ron Paul:  Has great ideas on a few things… but then he says things that make you think, “Get Grandpa back to the home and on his meds!”  
However, he has the “tin foil hat” vote locked up.

Newt Gingrich:  Unelectable.  Too many negatives.  Too unlikeable.  Too… “newty”.

Rick Santorum:  Zzzzzzzzz… Primarily a one-issue guy when he was in the Senate.

Gary Johnson:  Who?  Exactly.  He did have the funniest line in the debate I watched: “My dog has created more ‘shovel-ready’ jobs than this president.”

… anyone I’ve forgotten?… oh, yeah…

Jon Huntsman:  RINO.  Seriously… RINO.  Seems to be the Republican candidate for Republicans who don’t like Republicans.  Did I say RINO?   






OH NO, ROMO!    I still don’t know what to say.  But since I’m blogging about it, I have to try.  Against the 49ers and Redskins, Romo was brave and brilliant.  Against the Lions, great… for about 2 1/2 quarters.  Then… what th’ heck!?!?!? 
Cowboys, my Cowboys… you have got to learn to put games away. 

Jason Garrett?  I think you’re going to make a great head coach, but when you have a lead, run the ball!  Kill the clock!  That’s Football 101.
And back to you, Tony Romo… I’ve supported you more than most…
but THINK, Dude!  Stay focused for 60 minutes!  Please!

BIZARRO SEASON so far… Honestly, Cowboys… you’ve won the games you were supposed to win and lost the games you were supposed to lose.  But you’ve done it in the craziest fashion!  You had to come from behind in the games you were expected to win, and gave away the games you were expected to lose. 
No more ROLLER COASTER! OK?!? I’ve had enough!

And just because I’m a nice guy and not a sore loser…
a King-o’-the-Jungle CONGRATS to the Detroit Lions for an amazing comeback!


(You got that, didn’t you?)


 ****  RANDOM THUNKS  ****

[This is going to be a little section for short random thoughts of whatever.  Still not settled on the name for this part.  Options considered have included Random Thunks, Tidbits, and To-Go Menu.  Like those or got any of your own?  Let me know… maybe we’ll vote on it.]

  • I have this Barcode Scanner app for my phone.   Is it just me,
    or does it look like a barcode wearing a thin pair of red panties?
    Probably just me…  maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned it.  


  •  “Dolphin Tale” is the No. 1 movie in the country. It just goes to show what dolphins can do if they don’t play football.   ~ Jay Leno   



  • Jake and I have been watching “Terra Nova” on Fox
    and we’re really liking it.  Also, since we got into “The Walking Dead”
    via the Season 1 DVD, we’re really looking forward to Season 2
    starting soon on AMC.



That’s all for now.  See you again soon!
Thanks for all the advice & encouragement!
~ Nick

Welcome! … to my first “official” blog post.

**** INTRO ****


  This is the official launch of my new blog, Nick’s Treehouse Café.  I encourage you to immediately page over to the ‘About’ tab and read what this is all about… it would be silly to repeat it here.  Or try to say it all again, only differently.  So go there… now… and then come back.

   OK, did you go there and read?  If so, welcome back.  If not, what are you waiting for?   …  Hurry up!  … I’ll wait!  … … …  OK, moving on.

   But I do have some more thoughts on why I’m doing this.  First of all, sometimes I see or hear or read something and I ponder on it a bit, and then I just want to tell everyone else my opinion.  Sometimes just to share… sometimes to ventBecause I’m right, y’know?  LOL!  Or as I said to my buddy Matt the other day, “I’m just egotistical enough to think everyone needs to know my opinion.”  He told me the word I was looking for was “narcissistic”.  

   Also, I just love to write.  The more I do it, the more I want to do it.  I think this endeavor is going to help spur even more creative writing.  Wish me luck.

   NOTE:  I apologize in advance for any awkward changes of font.  This whole blog editing process seems a bit persnickety… several times it changed font on me from one paragraph to the next and doesn’t seem to want to let me change it back.  Subject Matter Expert advice is welcome.


   The name… I wanted a cozy, welcome feeling, and I’ve always liked the treehouse idea.  Many Calvin and Hobbes (“The Greatest Comic Strip EVER”) cartoons featured the treehouse.  A treehouse is shelter, it’s a place to hang out, relax, and have fun… and it has a kid feel… you don’t have to “act your age”.  But as I thought more about the name, I also got this mental image of me standing behind a bar, wearing an apron, sleeves rolled up, maybe grilling a steak and pouring an icy cold one from the tap… and, of course, expounding upon my many opinions.  😀  So I combined the two ideas, and there you have it… Nick’s Treehouse Café!

The full Treehouse picture from the Header.

 **** By the way… ****

  In case you didn’t know, I’m kicking this thing off “officially” on my 44th birthday. 
Seemed like a good place to start!           

****  What I’m Reading Now  ****

  I’m currently reading “The Girl Who Played with Fire” by Stieg Larsson.  It’s the second book in the author’s ‘Millennium’ Trilogy.  The first is “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”; the third is “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest”.  

   Since I’m smack-dab in the middle of “Fire”, I’ll primarily make this a review of the first book.  Let me start by saying Stieg Larsson could WRITE!  This man knew his way around a plot.  It makes me sorry to know that there will only be these three books.  (Mr. Larsson died in 2004, shortly after turning in the manuscript for the three novels.)  

   Both the first and second novel take a while setting up the various plot strands, but when they’re all in place, the story kicks into high gear and RUNS at a pace you can’t imagine being sustained for 400 more pages.  But it does.  As I said, the man could write!  You may guess at the answers to the plot twists, but the fun is in getting there.  By the way, some of these plot angles are not G-rated.  You’ve been warned. 

   The main storyline – there are several – involves a mystery about a young woman who vanished, presumably murdered, forty years previous.  But the primary strength of the novels lie in their unique heroine, Lisbeth Salander, a mysterious young antisocial computer hacker, and her relationship with the journalist Michael Blomkvist.  Lisbeth is one of the most original protagonists you’ll ever meet. 

    A recurring theme in Larsson’s novels is male violence towards women.  (The original Swedish title of “Dragon Tattoo” was “Men Who Hate Women”.)  The author divides the world of men between relatively “good” men and men who are various degrees of bad… ranging from merely obnoxious to truly evil.  In Larsson’s world, the bad guys seems to vastly outnumber the good.   
Your friendly blogger is not so sure he’s wrong.

   Overall:  Highly recommended!  


 Trivia:  These books made me think about what other books I’ve read that are translated from other languages: 

  • The Bible
  • The Iliad ~ Homer
  • The Count of Monte Cristo ~ Alexandre Dumas 

…….. I think that’s about it!


 ****  MUSICALITY  ****  

Fun songs that you might not have heard:      

  • Into Action ~ Tim Armstrong
  • Boom Boom Goes My Heart ~ Alex Swings Oscar Sings

  • Life, Love, Laughter ~ Donavon Frankenreiter

**** Pigskin Ponders ****     

   I love football, but I’m more a fan of professional football (the NFL) than of college football.  So on one level, I haven’t worried too much about what appears to be the impending demise of the Big 12 (temporarily on hold as of 4 or 5 seconds ago).  As an NFL guy, I don’t really understand the concept of rooting for a group.  Know what I mean?  Like someone yelling, “Woo-Hoo!  SEC, Baby!” I mean, my Cowboys play in the NFC East, but I don’t root for the NFC East.  On the one hand, there are my ‘Boys.  All the other teams are hated rivals.  (How’s that empty trophy case in Filthadelphia, Eagles fans?!?)  

   That being said, I do have an opinion on it.  It seems to me that the great state of Texas … and even Okieland and parts North… have a strong enough football tradition that we don’t need to look to the east or west coast in search of college football significance.  Too many uppity folk on each coast like to look down on us as “fly-over country”.  We don’t need them!  Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska have great football traditions.  Why should Tech want to play in the Pac-12?  Lubbock is over 1,000 miles from LALA-land. 

   C’mon guys… hammer out the differences and keep the Big 12 alive!  Either that or scrap it and rebuild the Southwest Conference! 

     **** NFL snaps **** 

  • Over the last two games, Tony Romo has demonstrated what leadership and courage are all about.  Leading a team chock-full of injuries and inexperience, and playing in a world of pain, he has pulled off two consecutive wins, seemingly by force of will.  Don’t be a hater!  This kid has the determination and guts that legends are made of.     
  • The Dallas defense has played well (some times better than others) in spite of significant injuries at the corner position.  Deserving exceptional praise are DeMarcus Ware (Ryan once described D-Ware as playing like “a bulldozer with a jet engine”!) and Sean Lee (the 2nd year middle linebacker was recently honored as the NFC’s Defensive Player of the Month).
  • I like underdogs and “Cinderella stories”, so I’m impressed with the 3-0 starts of the Lions and Bills.  I think they’re for real, and hope they keep it up!  (Except for the Lions… this week… against Dallas…. y’all can stink it up like old times!)    😉
  • In case you hadn’t noticed, former Red Raider Wes Welker of the Patriots is on pace for a record-setting year for receptions and receiving yards.  Go Wes!  Represent!


 ****  Things I Don’t Have An Opinion On  ****
(Either because I haven’t looked into it… or just don’t care to.)

  • The trial of Michael Jackson’s doctor.
  • The trial/appeal/whatever of Amanda Knox
  • Glee

Hope you enjoyed my first effort!  Comments very welcome!
~ Nick