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Singing for Real

Singing for Real.  Meet my better half and the half the my baby got all his cuteness from.

Michelle Duggar

I have no idea who Michelle Duggar is but my Twitter feed just told me she is having her 20th baby. Congrats but none are as cute as mine…


The State Penn

I have three friends that went to Penn State University.  At some point in our friendship, each interacted with my dad.  The interactions usually started something like this:

My dad – ‘Hey Sean’

Sean – ‘Hi Mr. Friedman’

My dad – ‘How’s Penn Sate? Or, should I say the State Penn?’

Sean laughs politely.

My dad has a good/dry sense of humor, especially with my friends.  One day I should write a post about some of the ‘pranks’ he played on them but today is not that day.  Today’s post will be a bit more somber. The reason I tell that joke is; today there are a few people who should go straight from Penn State to the State Penn.

Jerry Sandusky, a famed defensive coordinator for the Penn Sate football program (one of the 10 most recognizable programs in the country) sexually molested adolescent and teenage boys in the late 90’s (and probably longer).  These boys came from an organization that Sandusky himself created to help disadvantaged youth.

Other Coaches/School leaders failed to report these severe indiscretions, which they knew about and now all face criminal charges.  Joe Paterno the winning-est coach in Division 1 football history has not faced any major charges but is not in the clear either. Click here if you want more details.

It has come common place to hear of such atrocities in our culture, whether it is the Catholic Church, teachers molesting students or one of hundreds of other stories.  When I first heard this story break, I treated it as such, just another sad story.

I texted the aforementioned Sean, to see if he had heard the story yet,he hadn’t.  Ten minutes passed by and Sean sends me another text.  It simply reads “this is so fucked up.”

Sean and I met working with juvenile delinquents.  Kids from similar situations as the kids Sandusky molested.  Sean actually started working with this type of youth at Penn State with Sandusky’s organization.

If you don’t work with kids, you may not know this but every teacher, school official, counselor, pretty much anyone who works with kids, is considered a mandated reporter.  A mandated reporter MUST report anytime they SUSPECT abuse of any kind.  You do not need to be certain of abuse.  You just need to reasonably suspect any kind of abuse; Physical, Emotional or Neglect.  Neglect could be as simple as sending a kid to school on a 30 degree day without a coat.

I notified the proper officials of suspected abuse over a dozen times in my 5 years as a mandated reporter.  More than a few of those times I was 90% sure abuse did not occur but unless I was 100% sure, I was calling the officials.  I called officials on my own staff a few times.  I knew my staff was innocent but I reported it anyway.  This way, there can be an investigation immediately and my staff and I can be cleared.  This way, 9 years down the road, I don’t get a phone call saying that a kid is claiming one of your staff abused him/her  and did nothing.  So yeah, at times, I reported to CYA.

There was some scary things I needed to report but I knew, in the long run. it was the right thing.  But, thank god, I never had to report that one of my staff was sodomizing a kid.

This brings me back to Joe Paterno.  In 2002, 4 years after Sandusky abruptly quit, one of Paterno’s graduate assistants saw Sandusky naked in a Penn State shower with an underage boy and ran to tell Joe Paterno.  I am a little concerned that this graduate assistant, who happened to play football for Penn State as an undergrad, did not try to: 1) get the child out of the shower; and/or 2) kick Sandusky’s ass. But I digress.

Joe Paterno is the face of the football team and it wouldn’t be too far of a stretch to say, the face of the University and what did he do?  He told a University official.  No cops, no child-protective agencies.  A University official.  That is not even the bare minimum.  I had to tell my supervisor but then had to call all of my contracting agencies and child-protective services, so should have Joe.  And yes, in case you are wondering Joe Paterno is a mandated reporter.

Penn State is a football powerhouse and sends a lot of their players to the NFL.  One of their nicknames is ‘Linebacker U’ still; most of the players don’t go on to play professionally.  Some arrive at Penn State as young as 17, still a minor and have Joe Paterno and his coaching staff to help shape them for the rest of their lives.

Parents used to send their kids to play football for Penn State because Paterno symbolized integrity.  Now, I fear in his 50 years+ coaching football, the kid’s lives that he shaped the most, were the ones that his most-trusted assistant molested.  Now he symbolizes nothing, which appears to be the same thing he stands for.

This is worth a repeating, a mandatory reporter has an obligation to report suspected abuse.  If they don’t they can face criminal charges.  They can face criminal charges if they see one of their 7-year-old students come to school without a coat on a winter’s day and don’t report it, hence the term mandatory.  Joe Paterno knew of the shower scene and did less than the minimum.

He should be in jail.

UPDATE:  This ESPN article came out after I published my post.  Look at what the police have to say http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/7207465/penn-state-nittany-lions-sex-abuse-scandal-jerry-sandusky-was-campus-last-week-reports-say.

Grinds My Gears

I am a hateful person.  I have no real reason to be hateful.  I have lived a fairly charmed life.  I have a wonderful/supportive family, a beautiful wife, a great-step son and unarguably the cutest 6-month old in the world.  Yet, I still hate.

I don’t hate on color or creed.   I am not a racist, one of my best friends is black.*  Nor am I prejudice, sexist or a classist.  I don’t care if you are rich, poor, tall, short or any other comparative descriptor I can use.  I hate equally.

Well, I guess that’s not entirely true, I hate people who lack common sense.  I don’t care if you are not the smartest person in the world, hell, I know I’m not the smartest person in the world but you need to have common sense.  Unfortunately, the majority of us lack this so-called ‘common’ sense, leading me to hate almost everyone around me.   My friends and family get a pass here, I love them unconditionally (but they do test the boundaries of unconditionally).

Here is an example of one such thing that pisses me off throughout a day. The reason for my angry rant is admittedly, minuscule but I needed to vent.

I work in a building with 8 elevators.  I work on the 5th floor and for whatever reason the building security doesn’t let us take the stairs, I asked.  So every time I get to work or leave from work I need to get on an elevator.  Sometimes I happen to be the first person to be waiting for the elevator and I hit the ‘elevator request button.’  Sometimes they take awhile, sometimes they don’t.  Now, this is where I get angry.

Almost every time I’m waiting and I press the button someone walks up behind me and presses the button again.  The light is clearly on, indicating that I requested the elevator, why do they need to press it again?  Do they think I did not do a good enough job pressing it?  Do they think a double-press will let the elevator know we’re in a rush and to come post-haste?  I don’t understand.

To make it worse, as people file in they all need to press the button.  And then the topper…we get on the elevator together, I press 5 and then they, right behind me, press 5.  I hate these people with a passion.  That is all.


Next week:  That Lindsay Lohan…


*This is a joke.  If someone says of course I’m not racist, I have a black (or any race, nationality or religion) friend, they are definitely racist and if you need to use this phrase to explain your actions, you have already messed up and should apologize for your stupidity and kindly excuse yourself.


This morning at 4am, my wife watched the Royal wedding.  I’m not sure if she woke up to watch it or just stayed up all night because she was so excited.  Either way, at 4am she was up watching the pre-wedding coverage (I would make fun of the fact that she watched the pre-wedding coverage but my logical brain says it no stupider than me watching 2 hours of pre-game coverage before a sporting event).  The actual wedding didn’t start until 6:30am… I think.

I knew she was really looking forward to the wedding.  She told me a while back that one of her earliest, fondest memories with her mother was watching Royal Weddings.

Juliana actually wanted to have a Royal Wedding party with some girlfriends until she realized that the wedding was at some ungodly hour and it would be an inconvenience for everyone.  She did text with a few of her girlfriends and her mother throughout the morning (again this seems ripe for teasing but if Lebron had a huge dunk in a game, I would be texting my friends, no matter the hour).

I asked Juliana to watch it in the bedroom so I could share* in her memory.   I even watched TLC or Oxygen or whatever feminine channel the pre-game was on last night, as they prognosticated about what Kate’s dress would look like and all the other wonderful details. **

I made two comments last night as I was watching it with her.

1. Kate got way too skinny.

2.  Prince William is by far the uglier brother.

That was the entirety of my ‘intelligent’ contributions to the events.  And what do I get for my good deed of trying to share this moment with my wife…?

As soon as I get into work, one of the Administrative Assistance says ‘You kinda look like Prince William.  You have the same goofy smile.’

Gee Thanks.

*I slept through the entire thing!

** I will be watching 12 straight hours of ‘The Man-Show’ tonight in attempts to return my testosterone levels to normal.

Quintuple D’s

No you perverts, I am not talking about ridiculously large bosoms but possibly the greatest game ever created and which the 5 D’s; Dodge! Duck! Dip! Dive! And… Dodge, are vitally important!


For those of you who follow me on Facebook, you know that a few weeks ago, I was overly excited about father/son gym night with my step-son.  I figured we’d play soccer, basketball and if the Gods were smiling on me that day, dodgeball.

I could both simultaneously bond with Arthur and take out all my pent up aggression through that beautiful red sphere.  But, alas, the gods were not smiling on me. In fact, I most have really pissed them off because the most athletic event we played that night was rock, paper, scissors.

Don’t get me wrong, I still had a blast and as prove I enter exhibit A, my facebook status the next morning:

‘I was a bit disappointed by the father/son event last night. It was more of a goofy event than an athletic event. I was hoping for dodgeball but instead got scooter races. However when Aidan and I faced off in rock/paper/scissors I jumped out to an unprecedented 12-0 lead. To beat someone, anyone, in r/p/s that many times in a row is unheard of. He made a strong comeback but in the end I held him off for the victory.’

Anytime I can spend just playing with Arthur I will take it but the lack of true athletics in school is really bothersome.

Dodgeball has been out of American schools for sometime now and I have heard the arguments.

“It’s a violent sport!” and “Don’t you feel bad for the kids that get picked last and then get pegged with the ball, it hurts their self esteem?”

And, I have heard the arguments for, “By not having dodgeball and competitions in schools you are creating a coddled bunch of soft pu##ys!”

Let me answer each of those individually:

“It’s a violent sport!”

Yes, yes it is, thanks for noticing.

“By not having dodgeball and competitions in schools you are creating a coddled bunch of soft pu##ys!”

You sir are an idiot!

It is the last one that can not be more wrong!

“Don’t you feel bad for the kids that get picked last and then get pegged with the ball, it hurts their self esteem?”

First, losing builds more character than winning.  Have you ever met someone who has won at everything since birth, they are complete assholes but I digress. 

The real reason we need dodgeball in schools is for the kids that are good at dodgeball.  Everyone has their strengths and strengths are usually where we get out self esteem and self worth.

Some people are good at athletics and maybe that is the  only place they have ever excelled.  The same kids that get picked last in dodgeball may be the same kids that are getting straight A’s or are a wiz on the Piano.

The reason we need dodgeball in our schools is because our schools need to become more well rounded.  The more things we cut out of schools, the less chances a kid has at finding something he is good at, even if it is throwing a ball at someone else’s face.

I’m Back and Doing Math!

My wife, my step-son and I went out to dinner last night with a few good friends of ours.  For whatever reason, there was not any alcohol consumed on this night.  Maybe it was because two of the three women there were pregnant or more likely because it was B.Y.O.B and we didn’t B.O.O.B (I hope my readers are intelligent enough to figure out the last acronym and at the same time sophomoric enough to appreciate the word boob).

Even without any alcohol, the conversation never died.  For the most part it was light; we caught up, talked sports, movies…the usual.

Throughout dinner, my step-son, we will call him Arthur (of course this is not his real name but my wife insists on privacy and worries that a crazed fan of my blog might read this and stalk us.  I tried to explain to her that the only people who read my blog are my mom and her but she is a stubborn women) was working on his homework.  Arthur is a smart kid and got through 6 worksheets with only a few mistakes.

The mistakes were in math and math is my department.  It’s not that my wife is not good at math, it’s that she is so much smarter than me in every other subject, that math is the only area I can contribute.

Arthur and I went over his mistakes.  All the mistakes were in the addition and/or subtraction of 3 digit numbers (I.E. 234-139 or 545+321).  I start going over it step by step, how we were all taught in grade school.  Below is an example:





Carry the 1



I hope this all make sense.  To put it into words, you start adding the smallest digits and work your way up to the largest digits.  This is how I learned and apparently how all the other people around the hibachi grill learned as well.

As I am going over it with him, my wife very kindly whispers in my ear (as not to correct me in front of Arthur) that, that is not how they are teaching them in school.  They are teaching him to do it completely the opposite:






= 926

Yes, you get the same answer but it makes absolutely no sense to me.  You are doing so much more work because you still have to add 3 digit numbers together after the first addition. THIS MAKES NO FUCKING SENSE.

I asked my wife ‘Why they do it this way?’

The teacher told her ‘Because that’s how adults do it in their head.’

This is true.  When we shop or add bills in our head we start from the biggest number and do a kind of ‘rounding addition’ but this is where I get really mad!


Does America not see this?  We keep making changes in our schools and our schools keep getting worse.  Change does not equal better!

According a report out in December 2010, report, which compares the knowledge and skills of 15-year-olds in 70 countries around the world, ranked the United States 14th out of 34 OECD countries for reading skills, 17th for science and a below-average 25th for mathematics.

25th for math???

I remember the good old days when it was the U.S., China and Russia.

I know this post was a bit heavy so I am going to end this with a joke:

‘How many Polish people does it take to screw in a light bulb?’


Who’s laughing now?

Tomorrow, my rant on schools will continue…