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Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Joe Paterno's Newspaper Quarterbacks

When Penn State played Nebraska this past weekend, they beat them badly. They whomped 'em. They murdelized 'em. They destroyed them. They dismantled them, stomped on the pieces, and auctioned them off on eBay. So this week a lot of columnists are eating crow for saying that Joe Paterno was too old, that the game had passed him by, that spring chicken Bobby Bowden would be zooming past him any minute now in the all-time wins column. It's nice to see. Although ESPN's resident buffoon Lee Corso seems to have forgotten that Penn State is in the Big Ten now when he said that none of the Big Ten's wins this past weekend were over what you would call national powers. I guess three national championships in the 90s wasn't enough to make the Cornhuskers real contenders.

(I'll spare you the stories of the three years I spent working on JoePa's television show in the early 1980s, since most of the people who read this site have probably heard them at least a dozen times by now.... Short version is that Joe was no fun to have in the studio and not a very nice person to the people in the studio. But hey, he's a helluva football coach.)

Posted at 6:47 PM


Note: I’m tired of clearing the spam from my comments, so comments are no longer accepted.

Penn State, they still have a football team?

Posted by smart bottom at 5:24 PM, September 19, 2002 [Link]

Well, they considered folding the team in fear of the tremendous onslaught of Rutgers, who they don't even play any more, but figured they'd given out all those scholarships, so they might as well field a team for a few more years.

Posted by ralph at 8:42 PM, September 19, 2002 [Link]

I am just curious as to why you feel like you have the right to say that Joe Paterno is not a nice person. Having known him for the past 23 years, I can say without a doubt in my mind that he is one of the most kind, caring, & generous people I know. It disturbs me that because of his public profile, people have this need to perpetrate unfounded stories and take every perceived slight as a sign that he is a horrible person. He does not owe it to every person who ever meets him to be unendingly gracious, no more than you or anyone else does. I probably should be used to this sort of pettiness at this point, but I still find it disturbing.

Posted by Erin at 3:52 PM, September 25, 2002 [Link]

I didn't say Joe wasn't a nice person. I said he wasn't a nice person to the people in the studio. He was rude and condescending to me and my colleagues, and not just one week, but every week. Maybe he's not a morning person; the show taped at 11 am on Sundays. Since I was in that studio for three years and you weren't, I have far more right to state that than you do to state that I'm wrong. That's not an unfounded story. It's my personal experience. By contrast, Fran Fisher, who hosted the show, was a delight to work with.

I don't doubt that Joe's a wonderful person in other circumstances. It's wonderful that you get to see another side to him. I greatly respect his contributions to the university, and in particular his work on expanding the library. But working on his television show in the 1980s was not fun.

Posted by ralph at 2:41 AM, September 26, 2002 [Link]

I'm sure you think that you have more of a right than I do to comment. My point remains that you have no idea of what it is like to be expected to be unfailingly kind to every person you meet. That is not expected out of most people, yet somehow, when it is someone famous, that person must always be on and is not allowed to have a bad day without someone reporting on it. I think it takes an incredibly small person to broadcast their brush with someone famous in such a negative way. You clearly do not know him at all, or respect him, or you wouldn't insist on spreading this kind of story.

Posted by Erin at 5:08 PM, September 26, 2002 [Link]

Look, it wasn't one day that he was rude. It was every week during football season for three years. I didn't expect him to fall all over himself to be interested in us. But I did expect him to refrain from yelling at us like we were walk-on freshmen on the JV football team. Everyone else who walked into that studio in my time there treated us like professionals. Joe did not. That wasn't my experience on a single day. It was my experience week-in and week-out.

I'm sorry if you're offended by that, but it's my story and I'm sticking to it. I've long since gotten over the idea that famous people had to be nice people. I respect Joe's prowess as a football coach. He's the greatest. I had a friend who dated one of his sons briefly, and she said nice things about him. And if I ran into him in other circumstances, I don't doubt he'd be the soul of graciousness. But in that television studio during those years, he was not a pleasant person to me and to my colleagues. If you don't like me saying so, you should feel free to visit any of the 14 million other web sites out there run by people who weren't treated rudely by Joe Paterno.

Posted by ralph at 12:50 AM, September 27, 2002 [Link]


Posted by Pitt Fan at 12:30 AM, February 20, 2004 [Link]

Ah yes, the University of Pittsburgh once again displays the superior quality of its education.

Thanks for stopping by. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Posted by ralph at 8:42 PM, February 20, 2004 [Link]


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What do you mean there is no cat?

"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

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[ photo of Mischief, a black and white cat ]

Mischief, 1988 - December 20, 2003

[ photo of Sylvester, a black and white cat ]

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