Have a heart

News broke this weekend that former Vice President Dick Cheney had undergone a heart transplant and Twitter nearly went wild with people wondering if it were possible to create a rider of sorts where they could dictate who could and couldn’t receive their donated organs. As a relative of a donor transplant recipient, I thought this was callous and dangerous.

Organ transplants are hard to come by; about 19 people die everyday while waiting for a suitable match. As of this writing, there are currently 113,611 candidates on the waiting list (72,803 of which are actively waiting, meaning they have met all eligibility requirements and are ready for transplants) and 14,145 registered donors (all statistics from the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network). Can you imagine if those 14k donors placed stipulations on who can receive their organs?

What if you had a family member who was waiting for a donor? What if it were you? And you got word that one came through except…the donor requested their organs not go to anyone who was gay. Or Black. Or Muslim. Or a woman. Or anyone who’s ever had an abortion. What if this was your last chance at regaining your life? Organ donations are, quite possibly, one of the few selfless gives we can give one another, especially knowing that most of these are given to save a complete stranger’s life. Why would you want attach such arbitrary strings to such a precious gift? Such a reckless condition helps no one.

That said, while I do not agree with the policies and actions held by Cheney, I still would not begrudge him the opportunity to have another few years with his family. Knowing what I know about the transplant process, this is not an easy time. You’re elated that a matching donor was found and you sit through several hours of surgery waiting to hear back about the results, then you wait and hope the operation was a success and the body hasn’t rejected the organ. Then you go through several months of testing and doctors’ appointments to make sure things are going well (for us, we had to live in a hotel within a couple miles of the hospital to make sure Dad had quick and easy access to the hospital for emergencies. He needed someone with him 24 hours a day!). Then you continue to hope the body won’t reject the organ for the rest of your life, downing a multitude of medicine to increase the chances of that happening. It’s tough but for another chance at life? You’re willing and able to accept the challenge.

Take a moment and consider this: strip away everything Cheney stands for and see him as a father, grandfather, husband, brother, uncle, cousin, or close friend. Now imagine his is your father, grandfather, husband, brother, uncle, cousin, or close friend and you come across online rants of people wishing he hadn’t received the transplant, how people would have actively chosen to exclude him from receiving life. How hurt would you feel?

Let’s try to remember the human side of people and not be so quick to judge someone else.


All but typical

It’s no secret that I am an avid sports fan; something that is completely lost on the bf, who doesn’t really care for sports (even my dad was perplexed by this. Seriously, he once asked me what they were supposed to talk about!). Women sports fans aren’t aberrations either; I know a lot of women who are die hard fans. There is a growing number of women who tune into the NFL regular season and the Super Bowl (last year, female viewership accounted for 46%) but it still seems that advertisers are completely clueless to who is actually watching these games.


 [Source: Mashable via BlueKai]

According to this year’s Super Bowl Advertising Infographic I snagged from Mashable, it seems to advertisers that the typical Super Bowl viewer is male, golfers, owners of SUVs, in sales, into sci-fi movies, are husbands, and in the market for Kindles, Sony and Vizio brands. Let’s see, and I am exactly none of these things. And you know what? It really sucks being overlooked like this. I have money too (well, I will have money soon) but it doesn’t feel like that matters. According to the subject matter of the ads, I have no buying power (okay, I don’t at the moment but will by next month).  But that the fact that I do have buying power is simply inconsequential. WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO WITH ALL THIS MONEY?!

Look, I know that the majority of Super Bowl viewers are in fact male (last year they accounted for 54% but even that gap is slowly evening to an even split), but it would be so nice to have a couple of commercials that don’t use provocatively dressed women to sell beer, cars, or web services.  Are women not buying cars? Or beer? Or Doritos? Or interested in fiscal independence? You  know what women get?

John Stamos and yogurt. YOGURT.

Really advertisers? You think the only thing I could really care about is yogurt? And please don’t get me started on the farce that is the “New Adventures of Old Light Brown M & M.”

It’s time that brands and advertisers stop ignoring half of the population to shill their products during the biggest commercial event of the year. It’s not fair to barely be pandered to during the rest of the year, only to be systematically ignored on the largest platform known to business. I’m good enough to spend thousands of dollars on but not millions? That’s not a message you want to send to your potential customers.

I’m hopeful that, with the increased female viewership, brands and advertisers will finally wise up and begin to create commercials that appeal to both genders.

Because really, no one should be subjected to the nonsense that is GoDaddy.

Say it ain’t so, Joe.

On Saturday we were celebrating JoePa’s 409th collegiate football victory.

On Wednesday we were saying goodbye to a legend who was once above reproach.

It’s an odd bookend to an otherwise illustrious career; however, as we read more into what was uncovered during those three days, the more it makes my stomach turn.

All I know of Joe Paterno is what I’ve seen in interviews and on the football field. He was admittedly old-school, tough, and commanded respect. He didn’t seem to put up with a lot of the nonsense that is prevalent these days and really, he was everyone’s grandfather; he was Grandpa Joe. He withstood the criticism of his coaching abilities as he grew older and brought this year’s Penn State team to a strong 8-1 record (currently undefeated in the Big 10) and probably a top-tier bowl game.

But as details of the alleged sexual abuse from one of his former assistant coaches, Jerry Sandusky, begin to seep out, the less JoePa’s coaching achievements seem to matter. Here is a man who, for whatever reason, chose not to get more involved, chose not to fully flesh out what then Graduate Assistant Mike McQueary witnessed, chose not to question his assistant coach, and chose to not follow up with his superiors. There was a systematic failure on all levels to protect the ones who really needed protection: the young boys. Instead, they chose to protect their own; one who certainly needed to be outed and not taken back into the fold.

From what I have read, JoePa and McQueary, now the receivers’ coach (more on this later), did what was legally required by following Pennslyvania state protocol by reporting the incident to their superiors. It was the Athletic Director Tim Curley and the school’s Vice President Gary Schultz’ responsibility to report the abuse to the Department of Public Welfare, in which they failed to do so. Where JoePa and McQueary went wrong was failing to follow up with DPW to check on the status of the case and to press for more action.

Protocol aside, the problem most people are trying to reconcile is why no one stepped outside themselves to provide additional help. Why didn’t the university do more the limit Sandusky’s access to campus facilities knowing that he had a history of using them while exhibiting inappropriate behavior with young boys? Why didn’t any of the top brass confront Sandusky about the rumors of inappropriate contact (because you know someone knew something and told other people)? Why didn’t the janitors and McQueary intervene when they witnessed the alleged assaults? Why didn’t one of the janitors report the abuse he witnessed? Why didn’t they call police? Why didn’t they insist their superiors follow up with the case? Why didn’t the DA decide to pursue a case after Sandusky admitted to showering naked with a young boy back in 1998?

Why was this allowed to continue over a 15 year period?

There are so many failures within this chain that I’m disheartened that it has gotten this far. I can’t help but take it personally, as I wonder how I would feel if I found out there was a known pattern that was not stopped before my friends’ sons, my nephew, MY SON was abused. If even one child is victimized, it is too much.

Should JoePa have lost his job as a result? As a man who holds so much sway within a community, he could have, and should have, done more. His failure to exert more pressure for an appropriate solution is disappointing but legally he did all that was expected. However, for a man who’s main goal is to “serve the best interests of this university and the young men who have been entrusted to [his] care,” it is sad that he did the opposite. Sandusky was using the Penn State football facilities during his assaults. JoePa should have stepped up for the sake of those boys. If Jim Tressel can be dimissed for failing to monitor the situation at Ohio State, certainly JoePa could be dimissed for failing to monitor the situation happening in his locker room. This is bigger than a football issue. This is a human issue and whenever you fail to act rationally and morally, then you have simply failed.

No matter what, JoePa had to go. There was no way he could have coached for the remainder of the season without the increased scrutiny surrounding this case. Every week he would have faced more questions about the case and it would have grown to a much larger distraction. But if JoePa is fired for his inaction, then surely McQueary should be let go as well [ETA: ESPN is now reporting that McQueary will not be coaching this Saturday but still remains on staff – it’s a start], considering he actually saw the abuse and did as much as JoePa in terms of reporting the incident. If anything, I’m outraged that he is still allowed to remain on staff when the other bigger names have all been dismissed or stepped down. But can you imagine how the victims and their families feel? Watching people riot and protest a coach’s dismissal as a result of his inaction in their lives? Is it hard to possibly think they could feel that the protesters might think THEY are the reason why JoePa was fired? That is not a burden that should be placed on them.

It’s sad to see JoePa’s legacy tarnished by this scandal, but it’s even sadder that so many adults failed to protect those boys.