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BSD Mailbag 6.7.14

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Our weekly mailbag comes to you a day late because...real life.

Urschel's on his way to a long NFL career.
Urschel's on his way to a long NFL career.
Larry French

John Urshel made the comment that he would like a ten year NFL career...In light of what we know about Mike Webster and Jim Otto (may want to Google the latter), should he reconsider?--jiminore

I think we all know that John Urschel is one of the most intelligent men to ever play football for Penn State. He obviously has an analytical mind, and as such, I'm sure he's done his own cost-benefit analysis on playing professional football, and going after a potential ten year NFL career--and then pursuing his PhD after that.

He clearly loves football as much as math. Right now, football is where he wants to focus his time and energy. Far be it for me, or us, to question that which I'm sure John has thought long and hard about for many years.

With the latest glowing review of PSU’s compliance by Senator Mitchell, which sanctions, if any, do you think will be lessened/removed by the NCAA? All schollies restored immediately? Perhaps another "phase-in" of schollies over the next two seasons? Complete removal of the bowl ban so the team is eligible this season? Just the 2015 season being reinstated?--Lucius429

This may have to do with what happens in the O'Bannon case. The NCAA can't afford any more negative publicity--and reducing the sanctions even further may be viewed by some as an admission of initial overreach by the NCAA. They still have to save face, and may have to do so even more in the wake of the O'Bannon trial. Because of this, I'm really not expecting any further reductions of sanctions. But, then again, I'm notoriously pessimistic.

If, though, I'm wrong (and of course I'd love to be), the one reduction I'd see is the removal of the postseason ban effective this year. I interpreted last year's reduction, and later public discourse by Mitchell, to indicate that this was close to happening anyway--so this seems like the next step. Because the scholarships have already been reduced, I don't see that being changed again--and I think that the only way the wins get restored is if the Paternos win their lawsuit. That's the most ridiculous and spiteful part of the sanctions, and the NCAA will hold onto that spite until the bitter end if at all possible.

3 yrs after the Ohio State tattoo scandal, Gordon Gee said "I think everybody won." What did the players win?--bveo12


(yes, that's a tattoo)

Rutgers wants a cool $100 per ticket for their game with us. Thieves or Biggest Thieves?--PSU Mudder

Rutgers gets Penn State, Michigan, and Wisconsin at home. Which of those games will generate the most revenue for their athletic department? It's not even close, really, especially because of the number of PSU alumni in New Jersey and surrounding areas. It's a completely logical thing for the Scarlet Knights to do.

Plus, take a look at Penn State's single game ticket pricing--the best game on our home schedule (Ohio State) is $100 for the cheapest seats ($200 for the most expensive), and only Akron and UMass are less than $80 for the cheap seats. I mean, with the misplaced vitriol coming from Piscataway I'd love nothing more than to throw shade in their general direction--but this isn't the topic to do it on.

What's the swaggiest swag that CJF will get for his players and facilities with the $1.5M donation?--Lucius429

I don't think it will be a ton of swag. It's most likely going to be paint, new furniture, rebranding of the Lasch facilities and the player/alumni portions of Beaver Stadium and the locker rooms...face lift stuff.

In other words, I wouldn't expect any waterfalls in the football facilities in Happy Valley anytime soon.

Was cutting the grass today and was thinking, I cut in a different direction each time, four directions in total, as this is what I was taught as a kid to keep the grass from laying down due to cutting the same direction. Is this really necessary/true or was I lied to yet again as a child?--wta

Okay, I'll be honest...I'm not really an "outdoor girl" (aside from fall Saturdays, natch, and hiking). So I did a google search, and guess what? You weren't lied to! It's not necessary, but it's supposed to be much better for your lawn if you do this. So keep on keeping on, and welcome to BSD (and the mailbag).

What is a word that you think means its antonym whenever you hear it?

For me it’s acute. I know the definition of it means severe, yet whenever I hear "he had an acute pain" it registers in my brain as minor until I mentally process the statement. --Succss With Honor Always

I don't really have one of these...though the one word that I always think means something different is irregardless. Perhaps because I always get into various levels of vicious arguments over whether it is an actual word that should be in regular use in the English language.

The taxidermist just called, my deer is finished. Do I tip this guy? How much?--mattinglywasking

Once again, I went to google for the answer to this question...and most links I came up with indicated that you shouldn't tip your taxidermist. With most things, though, as a personal aside I'd think that if you were really super impressed with his work, you could slip him a little bit extra--and definitely refer extra work his way. But not as a general rule, and he shouldn't be expecting a tip.

What do women want anyway?--ReadingRambler

Yes, I am a woman. But I'm not sure I'm the best person to answer this, because in many ways I'm not a typical evidenced by my spending all of my free time hanging out on here with you fine people rather than face to face contact with real life actual human beings. And also sports.

But I'm going to say that most women want someone who tries to understand them, and accepts them even if they don't understand them--despite all of their faults. Someone who is considerate and offers to help them in whatever way necessary--even if they're viewed as self-sufficient. And pretty blue eyes never hurt.

Which breakfast cereal is best?--gerrylovesnathalie

My favorites are Wegmans' strawberry shredded wheatWeetabix, or Lucky Charms. Had to throw one completely unhealthy one in there.

Was it a millionaire who said "imagine no possessions"?--psualum9931

Yes. And I don't see an inherent contradiction within that. Some millionaires are some of the most generous philanthropists in humanity.

Plus, every time I think about that song, I think about the fact that Yoko Ono put up a billboard in Piccadilly Circus with lyrics to "Imagine" after the London terrorist bombings in 2005, and that response to hate and anger--one of unity and love--is basically the best response I can think of.

If that makes me a hippie communist, well, then, whatever.

My patio is on the top floor of my building. It faces an office building, and is only partially visible from other units in my apartment complex (the only ones with an angle facing it are on lower floors). How nude can I be on the patio, assuming non-working hours?--WorldBFat

You're WBF. I'm surprised you're not fully nude out there every moment that you're at home.

What are the top 5 places you have ever visited? What are the top 5 places you want to visit?--spigmana

Top five I've visited:

  1. Athens (Greece, not Georgia)
  2. Beaver Stadium on a beautiful fall Saturday before an evening kickoff
  3. London
  4. Capon Springs, WV
  5. Nimes, France

Top five I want to visit:

  1. Egypt
  2. the Yucatan Peninsula (or any Mayan ruins around Mexico)
  3. Florence, Italy
  4. Machu Picchu
  5. Salzburg in Christmastime

Where should I go on my honeymoon?...Keep in mind, we’d like to try and do an all-inclusive if possible and the wedding is next May if that affects the answer.--trizani83

I've never done an all-inclusive aside from the mentioned Capon Springs (in my top 5 visited, above), which may not be what you're looking for as it's decidedly non-exotic though I find it quite relaxing and awesome. There were a lot of great suggestions in the fanpost that you can refer back to; again, I'm not a typical woman so personally I wouldn't want to go anywhere tropical (strange, right?). My ideal would be a Mediterranean cruise with stops all around Europe, and Turkey.

So why is Queen on your mind?--Former_DC_Buck

It's very easy for a song to get in my mind. All it takes is something around me or something I or someone else says to remind me of a lyric, and I'll have that song in my head for hours if not days...for example, the other day I said "Yo" to someone at work, and had Beck's "Loser" in my mind for the remainder of the day.

In this instance, I was google image searching for something--I can't remember what--and this came up; this meme always reminds me of "Bohemian Rhapsody", and so there you go.

Queen is my favorite band of all time?--garder54

Nothing came up on the pest inspection, but...I’ve been looking for a house and was under contract to buy one that was inhabited by a pitt fan. However, that deal fell through this past weekend. Assuming I can find another house and it is also inhabited by a pitt fan (the only other one in existence) what kind of cleansing ritual or seance needs to be performed to make the house habitable?--ktolikestea

Depending on what religion you are (if you're religious at all), there are traditional cleansing rituals for most spiritual paths--from Judaism to Christianity to Islam, to more "non-traditional" religions like Wicca. Even Feng-Shui has space clearing rituals.

All that being said, can you ever get the stench of Pitt out of a house? You might end up trying ritualistic burning. Or just buying a different house.

What does it mean when people put more than one question mark at the end of a sentence?Am I right for finding it annoying??--psualum9931

It means people are trying to emphasize something, and garner attention to their question. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn't. I find it rather annoying myself, as I think you should let your words--and not their punctuation--do the actual work.

Gas, Charcoal, or George Foreman?--Dbridi

Wood fire.

You've enlisted the help of a celebrity with some trivial task that you should probably just be able to do yourself and not look like a giant wuss. Who is the celebrity and what are you doing?--skarocksoi

I mean, seriously, guys, this is me. It's Mike Mauti, and he's doing something ridiculous like changing light bulbs.

And now we come to the Game of Thrones portion of the mailbag...I asked you all for GOT questions, and you delivered! Skip now to the comments if you don't care, or don't want to be spoiled. There's no spoiler text available here, so consider yourself properly warned.

Why is George R.R. such a sadistic bastard? And why can’t I stop watching?--true_TRUE_freshman

At the risk of starting on a long-winded sci fi/fantasy rant, Martin is by no means the most sadistic writer of the realm (though I'm pretty sure you didn't intend to use the term "sadism" in its truest literary sense of the word, but rather how he tortures readers/viewers by hurting and killing the awesomest and beloved characters). Game of Thrones, and by extension the A Song of Ice and Fire series, has become so mainstream with the television show that so many more people are now aware of the plight of the sci fi/fantasy book nerd.

Welcome to my world. It can suck a lot, but overall the benefits outweigh the heartbreak.

I haven't been able to stop think about the end of last week's GoT. Was [the end] the most shocking, jarring moment of non-live television in history?--Bill

I still think the Red Wedding was more shocking and jarring, with Robb's wife's death (because even those of us who had read the books weren't expecting that). That being said--just wait for the next two episodes!

Do I have to reread all the effing GoT books before this next one comes out? Assuming it does come out, because I don't remember anything right now.--skarocksoi

Instead of re-reading them, just check out the Game of Thrones: Complete History and Lore videos on You Tube. One of my coworkers hadn't read any of the books, but just watched all of these--and it made him understand all of the backstory of the show so much more (thanks to Brandon for the links). Yeah, you'll probably still miss a few things that you would have gotten had you re-read the books--but you'll save a few months in the process.

Why didn't Prince Oberyn play through the whistle? Time and again there are incidents where a guy starts to spike the ball on the two yard line and risks giving the other team a touch-back instead of giving his own team a touch down. If the other team got a field goal on the next series, that’s a ten point swing. What do you think Prince Oberyn’s position coach would have to say about his performance this past weekend?--successwithhonorsarasota

Let me preface this answer by saying this was my favorite question in quite some time, combining two things I adore--Game of Thrones, and football. I'll also say that I've spent literally days wracking my brain trying to come up with an adequate answer that does this question justice, and attempted to channel famous football coaches in my response. It was all for naught, as apparently I can't write as anyone but me.

In my view, the athletes who fall victim to this are the ones who let their emotions get the better of them. They're the ones who are so excited to be scoring or helping their team out that they aren't using their heads--they're not thinking, period. Their motives may be pure or selfish, but they aren't being logical and following the rules of the game that they are playing. In this way, the Red Viper analogy works perfectly.

Oberyn was so intent on getting a confession out of the Mountain that he wasn't thinking clearly (and, to be fair, the wine he'd drunk didn't help). Getting the Mountain--the tool of the hated Lannisters--to admit to everything that Oberyn simply KNEW was the truth for years was the overarching goal of his journey into King's Landing, Oberyn's own life be damned. And, ultimately, it was his own life that was the cost for said confession--and I'm not so sure that the Red Viper wasn't willing to pay that price. He didn't care about Tyrion; their goals simply aligned on this one issue. And ultimately, despite his gruesome and horrific end, he got what he wanted--the Mountain admitted to everything that Oberyn goaded him into admitting.

And I'm pretty sure that Oberyn would consider that a win, despite the fact that he didn't live to see the repercussions. And that's where the two analogies diverge--because the ultimate goal in sports is to win the game, not to be "right", whereas the Red Viper's ultimate goal was to expose the Mountain and the Lannisters, not necessarily to win.

So a two parter Game of Thrones question: Was Arya's laughing fit more at the Hound because he won’t get paid or more at herself and her streak of shit luck? And because the Mountain may have died along side the Red Viper, is that a definitive trial by combat?--LoggingLion

I think Arya's hysterical laughing fit was for both of those reasons--because she thinks it's hysterical that the Hound has kept her around all for naught (and I agree), but mostly because she keeps getting ever so close to finding family again, only to have that hope ripped cruelly away from her. Obviously, she doesn't know that Sansa is in the Eyre (though, to be fair, with the way they parted that might be more of a deterrent for Arya) but at this point, with the way fate has dealt with Arya and how she's been kept away from her family, if she didn't laugh she'd probably cry. And she's too badass to break down sobbing, especially in front of the Hound.

WRT your second question, in my view since Oberyn clearly died first in the trial, irregardless (see what I did there?) of the Mountain's ultimate fate, Tywin can spin it that he won the trial since he survived longer. Let's face it; Tywin Lannister would get the outcome he wanted. He wanted Tyrion to be found guilty, so he declared the Mountain the winner, iffy logic or morality be damned.

Kinda indicative of the entire show, huh?