Raising Men

So, what do you suppose it is with men who are in positions of power and the women in their lives?  Why do these guys continue to cheat in the way and manner in which they do?

Or do they?

Are men who are in these positions really more of the cheatin’ kind than the normal population of men?

And why are women drawn to powerful married men?


I was a geek.

I AM a geek.

I programmed on an Atari 400; cassette tape drive and all.

My favorite thing in all the world for a very VERY long time was: Sepia Snake Sigil.

I suffered through very much humiliation as a young man in high school.

However, the hottest woman I’ve ever met married me.

Son:  Dad, wanna go outside and play some catch?

Me:  Sure, get your shoes on.

Son:  Dad, you can be thrower #7 –> The Viking’s new rookie QB Christian Ponder..

Me:  Thanks!  Who are you?

Son:  Me?  I’m Ahmad Rashad.

Me:  Wiping away a tear.

Son:  Daddy…?  What’s wrong?

Me:  Nothing son, nothing at all.

To say the least, there’s been a lot of attention on the Penn State football program.  Joe Pa, one of the greatest coaches in any sport, was forced out in disgrace as reports became public of wide spread child abuse in the program.

But I’m not here to talk about Joe today.  I wanna mention a guy with more wins and less attention.  His name is John Gagliardi.  And he coaches in Minnesota at St. John’s University located in Collegeville.  He’s a legend:

At the age of 22, with six years of high school coaching, Gagliardi was hired at Carroll College in Helena, Montana. In four seasons as head coach at Carroll, Gagliardi compiled a 24–6–1 record, winning three Montana Collegiate Conference championships. After the 1952 season, Gagliardi left Carroll for the Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota

Did’ja get that?  At the ripe old age of 22, John had 6 years of high school coaching under his belt.

John Gagliardi began coaching football in 1943 at the age of 16 when his high school coach was called into service during World War II. He was a player-coach his senior year of high school and continued to coach high school football while obtaining his college degree at Colorado College.

At 16 he is a player/coach in high school and continues to coach while attending college.  This guy is a stud.

He is currently the head football coach at Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota, a position he has held since 1953. From 1949 to 1952, he was the head football coach at Carroll College in Helena, Montana. With a career record of 483–133–11, Gagliardi has the most wins of any coach in college football history. His Saint John’s Johnnies teams have won four national titles: the NAIA National Football Championship in 1963 and 1965, and the NCAA Division III National Football Championship in 1976 and 2003. Gagliardi was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006. With Chris Ault, he is one of two active coaches in the Hall of Fame.

John is the winningest coach in college history.  Joe Pa sits at 409; 74 behind John.  Seventy ‘effin four.

And he’s comin’ back for more:

St. John’s coach John Gagliardi — college football’s winningest coach — has decided to return for his 60th season directing the Johnnies. St. John’s finished 6-4 thanks to a season-ending four-game winning streak that helped convince Gagliardi to return.

“For awhile there, I thought maybe I had lost it,” Gagliardi told Frank Rajkowski of the St. Cloud Times. “But we came back and started playing good football. That helped a lot.”

John is 85 years old.  He’s been coaching football for damn near 70 years.  When asked what he’d do if he gave up the game?

“I don’t know anything else,” said Gagliardi, 85. “What else should I be doing? Am I going to take a trip to Italy or go climbing the Himalayas? I don’t want to do any of those things. There are days I don’t even like going into St. Cloud.”


Last night I made a move to defend Paterno.  I’ve seen some other arguments thatkinda don’t agree with me; and that’s fine.  I like the push, the challenge.  So, I’ve thought about it some more.

From what I understand, the crime was witnessed by a graduate student.  This grad student then reported it to Paterno.  It’s here, in my mind, that the critical decision takes place.  Where I work, if I hear, HEAR, of a possible crime being committed by an employee or on corporate property, I’m to report that information to internal HR or security.  At this point, I am NOT to call 9-1-1.  Rather, I will have my statement taken and then I’ll be directed to do the appropriate.

If that’s too call the authorities, then I will.  If it’s to watch or listen for further information I will.

Whatever else I might think about what happened, should happen or will happen, my role is to report and do what I’m told.

Now, with that said, given the nature of the allegations, I might have acted not like that.  Be that as it may.  In fact, it might turn out that if I HAD acted like my gut told me, I would be or could be sued, I might do it anyway.  However, Joe didn’t.  He did what the book said.

I slide a little more towards the “support Joe”: camp the more I think about it.





I don’t know the man.  I’ve never studied the man.  But it is my opinion that there are a few, a handful of people in college sports, who’s reputation is rock solid.

Joe Paterno, in my mind, is one of those people.

I think he was wronged today.

I openly mock people who pursue degrees and careers in the soft sciences the Liberal Arts.  And Music and Art is no exception.  However, in no other discipline, Mathematics excepted, am I moved to tears as I am by music.

I am simply stunned and aware when I encounter grace such as this:

I wept.

Children!  Children, gather ’round.  I wanna tell you the story of the Leftist.

When someone you disagree with enters into a war to overthrow a brutal dictator, you protest him, call him Hitler and burn him effigy.  It is IMMORAL to use force against a foreign nation in an attempt to overthrow an evil brutal dictator.

But.  But….if Barack Obama would like to do the same, it is okay if:

  1. He does it quickly.
  2. There is no #2.

See, if one President goes to the United Nations and obtains resolution after resolution forcing the evil bad-guy dictator to allow this or allow that, and the evil bad-guy dictator doesn’t, AND the President gathers a coalition of foreign nations to assist in the overthrow of that evil bad-guy dictator AND that President goes to, you know, CONGRESS, AND….AND Congress authorizes force to remove evil bad-guy dictator AND that evil bad-guy dictator is captured AND that evil bad-guy dictator is imprisoned with human right’s representatives on guard AND that evil bad-guy dictator is given a trial and found guilty; well, THAT is immoral and the President is a douche.

He is greedy and is Hitler.

But, if the other President is Barack Obama, well, then we can target the evil bad-guy dictator in an assassination attempt, never go to Congress, the UN or any other body, watch as he is strung up on the hood of a truck like a deer, beat and shot without trial THEN allowed to have his body, decaying, be placed on public display for all to see while crooning:

We came, we saw, he died.

THAT is a foreign policy success, and the President is macho.

The Left is without morals.  They have none.  Which is why they try to legislate morals to force ME to abide by ’em.  They demand the rich donate to charity, but never do the same.  They demand that the Right care for the poor, but never do the same.  They scream that the Right engages in immoral wars, yet don’t care that they are the worst offenders.

They legislate others to do what they themselves can’t or won’t.

I’m watching Bill O’Reilly just now; it’s paused* as I type.  He’s mentioning that Irene passed within 8 miles of his house; 8 miles to the WEST!  Jeepers, not many people are able to say that a hurricane passed to the West of ’em.

Anyway, hes talking about the fact that the storm brought out the best in people.  Folks made an effort to drive to their places of business in order to open for people who didn’t have power.  Profit motive maybe?

Sure, maybe.  But probably not.

I grew up in Minnesota.  We had highway 60 run right through town until the 4-lane came through and moved it outside of city limits.  Winters are, as you would think, harsh brutal affairs.  We would register at the city center and offer to house people who were caught on the highway and couldn’t continue.

Good times.

Once, in college, I suffered a flat tire.  While it was winter, it wasn’t brutally cold, only about 5 or 10 or so.  I changed that tire that night and made my way to the Perkins, open 24 hours.  A few folks were in there including some that knew me from my time tending bar.  They mentioned that they heard I was out on the highway with a flat but that I had the car jacked and was making progress.

While I’m sure that they didn’t keep “a-look-out” for me, it was nice knowing that they knew.  Cars were driving by and knew who I was.  They told other people and they knew to say that to me.

When I taught, I kept a house off the paved road.  While the water was running, it was cistern fed.  I had to have a truck deliver water to my house; I collected rain-water and snow.  I couldn’t cook or drink with t hat water, but hey; small town USA.

One night the neighbor down the way lost his barn in a fire.  The whole scene was filled with neighbors taking care of kids, hustling cattle and horses.  The barn, like I mentioned, was lost.  4 weeks after that fire we had a party at that farm.  A new barn held host to a dance and much beer, love and friendship.

Minnesota, rural Minnesota, even in modern times, is still a place that can sneak up ya.  Neighbors act decent because we’re a community.  We know that we may be needed to deliver food, or labor or donate a horse or sheep.

Most of America is like this.  Or would be like this if blizzards hit like they hit in Minnesota.  Or if flat tires meant danger, like in Minnesota.  People care, they wanna help their neighbor.  They want to know that the place they live is a good place.  Where you are cared for even as you care.

I wonder why we don’t think that’s the case?

*  Paused.  Awesome.  My children have never watched TV that they couldn’t pause.  I had 4 channels in total until I was 13.  We did have a color TV, but it had knobs.  The days…

I’m a weird guy.  I’m a weird adult who grew out of a weird kid.

I had weird hair growing up, and played weird games.  My most favorite thing to do as a kid was to play D&D.  I remember getting that very first blue Dungeons and Dragons rulebook.  Remember?  Back when an Elf was a class and the levels went ALL the way up to 3?

Crazy times.

I played that game until I was 4 years out of college.  And even now am anxiously awaiting the day when my son understands how to play the PokieMon cards I’ve bought him.

I wasn’t very good at games with a ball; I can catch anything thrown within 10 yards of me and can hit the eye of a bird flying, but I SUCKED at those games.  But, for a small farm town kid in farm country I could run forever.  In track I won more races than I didn’t.

I went to church, Sunday school and sang in the choir until the day I graduated.  I delivered Easter morning sermons at 5:00 AM.  I marched in the band [though I did quit after two summers of marching in Minnesota heat in those hot as hell wool uniforms and those ugly black buffalo hats].  I loved debating in school, was in theater and ran the computer lab during study hall.

It was great.  All of it.  And I wouldn’t trade it for all the world.

But I paid a price; a massive price.

Beginning in the 5th grade I started getting picked on.  While fast, I was small; until I was 33 I weighed 137 pounds.  Marching in the school band with your head in the Monster Manuel while the cool guys played on the varsity basketball team didn’t make a lot of friends [though it made the BEST of friends].  Not until years later did the torture really stop, and even then it didn’t really stop.  It just slowed down.  I still remember opening my locker and reacting with horror that the entire contents had been doused with water; my Honor Cords [you know what honor cords are?] were in there.  Thankfully the perpetrator had displayed some form of human sympathy and took ’em out before the dousing.

I was hit, kicked, pushed and taunted.  Heck, I even had my hair set on fire once coming back from a class trip.  The things you see in the movies…..they’re real.

I still remember walking down the empty second floor hall in the middle school when I realized one kid in front of me.  One in back.  I fought as hard as I could, but I couldn’t stop ’em from pinning me to the locker and feeding me dog food.

Good times.

Oh, and to ensure that I would continue to participate in this mandatory fun, my dad was the 8th grade math teacher.  The deck was stacked against me.  In science class it got bad one day.  2-3 guys [it was never just one now that I think of it.  cowards] were kinda taking turns, like crows on road kill.  It went too far that morning and I actually retaliated; I hit the kid in front of me.  That kinda calmed things down.  After class, the teacher pulled me aside and mentioned that he saw what had happened.  I was relieved, ’cause it didn’t FEEL like the bastard saw it while it was going on.  He then looked at me dead in the eye and expressed his disappointment that I had hit that kid; he expected better.  I bit my tongue–that made TWO of us.  Ass.

But at least I didn’t have to worry about a girlfriend 😉

I knew back  then that this wasn’t “fair”.  That I really didn’t do anything that deserved this.  Heck, I didn’t DO anything.  I read The Trilogy, all four of ’em*, during class and just stayed out of the way.  I went to class, went to Greyhawk, went to church, went to track and went to bed.

I suspected then, I continue to believe even now, that those kids didn’t know what they were doing.  I bet if you were to ask those boys, now men, they wouldn’t remember the stories.  In fact, if I were to see ’em in town, we’d have beers and talk about the GOOD times.  As if.

And so it is, as I read stories of kids in school today being bullied, that I wonder how I’m gonna teach my own kids.  What I’m gonna say, what I’m gonna do.  What lessons will I make them endure.  My own father let me experience every one of ’em.  He didn’t intervene even once that I knew of.  In fact, only one time did I see an exchange that let me know he knew what was going on.

Down the street were some brothers.  And one day they were picking on my sister.  We told dad and he went over and tried to talk those boy’s dad.  The man refused to believe that his kids could’ve done that, “Not my boys” was what he told my dad.

The next night my brother and I took it out on those brothers at the ice rink.  Looking back I suppose it was us that was the brute then.  Anyway,  it wasn’t long before that man came knocking on OUR door and asked my dad to explain why his sons would have done what we did to his boys.  I still remember dad saying, “That wasn’t my boys.  My kids wouldn’t do that.”  He closed the door and simply went back to his paper.  Not even one word, for or against, was said.

I think that I’ll try, somehow, to explain to my kids that growing up is a lot like life.  It isn’t not getting knocked down that’s the goal, THAT is gonna happen.  It’s all about the getting back up.

My heart breaks for those kids getting picked on today.  I just read a story of another girl who has been bullied and the hell her parents are going through. For those kids that don’t know where to turn and who to talk too, [God knows they most likely don’t even KNOW about Styx] I just wish they could see their 26 year old self.  Still weird, still geeky.  But okay with the world and their place in it.  But if I could talk to ’em, I know what I’d say; “Get up!  Get back on your feet!  You’re the one they can’t beat and you know it.”

Anyway.  I don’t remember what the point was except maybe that life teaches how to prepare for life.  Yesterday’s wimpy kid is going to be tomorrows Libertarian champion maybe?  The geek makes good maybe? The ugly duckling gets the hot wife perhaps?  I dunno know.

Maybe it’s just to remind us that mean people suck.

* Rings, Lord of the; Unbeliever, Thomas Covenant the;  Lance, Dragon and Foundation, Just