By Tim Baffoe-

(CBS) Memo to Jay Paterno, son of dead disgusting person Joe Paterno: Step away from the interviews.

I understand how difficult it must be to accept that your dad was a monster much the same as the pedophile he systematically protected—I do not envy you. I get, too, that it would be even harder to publicly chastise your father even if you did accept about him what intelligent people have.

Regardless of your apparent refusal to accept that there is no Nittany Lion Santa Claus, you need to stop talking into microphones. Matt Lauer kept giving you the “Are you sure you really want to look this stupid?” look throughout the interview you did the morning the Freeh Report was released. Your subsequent interviews on other networks didn’t help either.

You’re making things worse. Touting your father’s positive qualities and accomplishments digs a deeper hole instead of filling it. Using some skewed form of rhetoric to say that the Freeh Report is “basically an opinion” and “not a legal document,” finding that Freeh came to “reasonable conclusions” in the absence of facts and used the “same facts we’ve had” to come to a “different interpretation” is jaw-droppingly stupid.

Another tip—stop referring to your dad as “Joe.” It’s just really weird.

I don’t know if you’re dealing with crisis management or PR people, but if so, they are doing an awful job, and if not, get some around you immediately who will likely tell you, as I am, to shut up.

On to your questions. All emails and tweets are unedited.

Has Matt Millen donated his brain to Chris Nowinski early? How else can his commentary be explained? #TFM—@TSpeeps

Literally mere minutes after this question was posed to me, Deadspin published this from Drew Magary, which answers it way better than I can and has the rampant profanity I so long to use if only CBS would free me from its Puritan shackles.

#TFMB Q: You take a job as Penn State’s AD that starts July 13. What do you do in your first 24 hours as director?—@SudsiestPanda

Whether at my welcoming press conference or in a special assembly of some sort, I address the student body. I tell them the absolute truth—that the face of their school, the symbol of all that is Penn St., Joe Paterno, is dead and not coming back, and that he needs to not only be physically dead but also dead in reverence. I also stress that his reputation and thus the institution’s is irreparably damaged, and rightly so. There will be no more illusions of grandeur—Joe Paterno was a terrible person.

Screw his charity work (which was often secretly self-serving anyway) and his stressing of academics on his players and all PSU students. What he allowed—and he did consciously allow it—to go on is unforgivable, and no amount of good deeds can negate the awfulness that occurred for years in Happy Valley. If I as a teacher help produce several future Nobel and Pulitzer winners but I abuse a student or knowingly allow such to happen, none of my positive work matters. That is the biggest obstacle to fixing Penn St.—getting students and alumni as a whole to realize that there is no persecution going on here, there is no misappropriation of blame, there is nothing redeeming right now, especially not flipping football games.

I begin work on that immediately and continue that reprogramming until my tenure ends. Everything athletic is secondary.  

#TFMB after sexist/racist tweets fill up my timeline yesterday re:e.andrews/m.cabrera how pessimistic should i be 4 future?—@bradjahnz

“Yesterday” refers to the night of the MLB All-Star Game obviously. For those who aren’t Twitter users or happened to miss it, while Melky Cabrera was being interviewed on FOX after receiving his MVP award for the game, many absolutely hilarious morons decided to mock his command of the English language and, worst of all in my comedy opinion, be uncreative about it.

I, too, was frustrated and disappointed in the tweets about Melky Cabrera. To be honest, I didn’t see many about Erin Andrews because most people I follow understand that Erin Andrews and the rest of her sideline reporting kin are useless.

The Cabrera stuff was low rent, though. “Hey, he’s not a native English speaker but can still speak it better than I can speak any language foreign to me! I’m going to make fun of him without regards for considering his emotions of winning an award with his family right next to him, thousands of people watching him in person, and a TV network that planned the whole interview very poorly and set him up to look like an idiot!”—much of Twitter

That’s one of the downsides of social media. Anyone can spew bigoted stupidity often without reprimand. The CEO of Twitter, Dick Costolo (who I was surprised to learn is a former Chicago improv guy), discussed that downside along with other issues in a “State of Twitter” sort of thing with the L.A. Times. “It can end up being a place that’s easier for people to hide behind hate speech,” Costolo said. “We have to be thoughtful about all that.” He went on to mention that Twitter may hide abusive replies to celebrities’ tweets from people who have no followers, no biographical information or profile picture. Good, I say.

Don’t be pessimistic about the future, though. I think idiots like that are slowly but gradually lessening, especially because another beauty of Twitter is dumbasses like that get found out and ripped apart by actually funny, creative Twitter people, and then they go away and no longer make their bad jokes. The ones that still exist tend to get louder on social media in an attempt to save their dying, foolish species, so it might seem like they’re staying steady if not growing, but I see enough intelligence and compassion in the youth of Chicago’s South Side that I can assume the future can only be bright.

National French fries day [is Friday, July 13]. Who has the best fries and why? Or rank the top 5 fast food fries.—@DouglasAngle

French fries may be the most important food in the world. Good fries can put a meal through the roof, and bad fries can leave you demanding the blood of a restaurant staff to flood the streets. That’s my reaction at least.

That said, I appreciate fries for the perfect ratio of tastiness to simplicity. I don’t need my fries to be a meal in themselves or something for a culinary museum; therefore, adding chili or cheese or bacon (I apologize, ye gods of bacon, for besmirching you just this once) or anything else to the fries probably means the potato sticks themselves ain’t up to snuff.

The best fries can only be judged on the fries themselves—potatoes, oil/batter, salt.

Something that is crucial to the greatness of a fry is the cut, too. In my vast fry-consuming experience, the crinkle-cut fry tends to be the most consistently great. Portillo’s and White Castle would then take the cake in that department. Simple, crinkly, perfect.

I appreciate a non-crinkle batch of fries, too, don’t get me wrong. What I am not a fan of, though, is steak fries—the “hey, let’s just cut a potato into big-ass long chunks” laziness. If I want a baked potato, I’ll get a baked potato. Fries should not be greater than a standard long pretzel in diameter/thickness.

Chicago-specific fry superiority would consist of the following in no particular order: the curly fries of Grant’s Wonderburger, the garlic fries at Mr. Submarine (which is literally just fries sprinkled in store-bought garlic salt, but they rock), the simple, standard batch at Hot Doug’s, the waffle fries at Fox’s Beverly, the shoestrings at Pop’s Beef, and the greasy bag style at Top Notch.

National fast food rankings? Well, I quit eating national chains with rare exceptions (I’m in a rural area or I’m drunk, for example) a few years ago, but I can still taste each brand of fries they all serve. 1. McDonald’s (they’re made with crack), 2. White Castle, 3. Arby’s, 4. Burger King, 5. Wendy’s.

I absolutely must go get some fries now.

Thanks for emailing, tweeting, and reading. If your question did not get answered this time, that does not necessarily mean I am ignoring it. It may be saved for the next mailbag. Hopefully you’re a slightly better person now than you were ten minutes ago. If not, your loss.

Want your questions answered in a future Mailbag? Email them to or tweet them with the hashtag #TFMB. No question, sports or otherwise, is off limits (with certain logistical exceptions, e.g. lots of naughty words or you type in Portuguese or you solicit my death). If you email, please include a signature.

tim baffoe small Ten Foot Mailbag: Jay Paterno Needs To Shut Up, And French Fries

Tim Baffoe

Tim Baffoe attended the University of Iowa and Governors State University and began blogging at The Score after winning the 2011 Pepsi Max Score Search. He enjoys writing things about stuff, but not so much stuff about things. When not writing for, Tim corrupts America’s youth as a high school English teacher and provides a great service to his South Side community delivering pizzas (please tip him and his colleagues well). You can follow Tim’s inappropriate brain droppings on Twitter @Ten_Foot_Midget, but please don’t follow him in real life. E-mail him at To read more of Tim’s blogs click here.

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