The Nose: Garrison Keillor, Penn State Drama, Andy Rooney, And... Oops!

The host of A Prairie Home Companion stops in to nose around with our panel.

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The Nose: Garrison Keillor, Penn State Drama, Andy Rooney, And... Oops!
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The Nose: Garrison Keillor, Penn State Drama, Andy Rooney, And... Oops!

Newsflash -- on this show Garrison Keillor threw cold water on his much-publicized earlier statements that he would retire from PHC in 2013.

You can hear him say, on the audio here: :"I’m starting to doubt that myself. I’ve been thinking about it, thinking: what else would I do? And I can’t come up with anything….If I didn’t do it I would wind up in a tiny walk-up apartment with a couple of cats."

The Penn State story is a Rosetta Stone for American attitudes. There are some obvious parallels between this story of squelching sex abuse charges and what went on in the Roman Catholic church, and the two institutions, Big Football and Catholicism, have some obvious similarities.

In neither one of them is there much meaningful input from women. All-male power structures have a way of missing things.

And in each case, there's a pervasive belief in something bigger and more important than the usual conventions of law and society. One Penn State student told the press, "Of course we're going to riot. What do they expect when they tell us at 10 o'clock that they fired our football coach?"

Of course? Are all bigtime college sports programs so fixated on their success that other values get pushed aside? Is this something that could have happened anywhere? Or is there something weird about Penn State? That and more on today's Nose.

Leave your comments below, e-mail or Tweet us @wnprcolin.



The Press Coverage of these

The Press Coverage of these things is usually driven by other factors than the crime itself. Most of what I read about Paterno isn't outrage over Sandusky and sympathy for the victim: the incident is more of a platform for other issues.

In keeping with that an example, Stamford's John Thomas, United Church of Christ President from 1999 to 2009, was found to be in an adulterous affair during his Ministry as President. His paramour was appointed to national office apparently so the Open and Affirming Thomas could have a frack buddy for those lengthy road trips they used to take on the road.

Now there are churches looking for financial remedy from Thomas particularly the UCC churches opposing the Thomas-era of faux sexual liberalism --you know the whole gay marriage, condoms in the pews, sex ed for the youngest kids, and transgender choir in Hartford (2007 National Conference) thing.

Given that the Congregational Church is New England's largest Protestant church it would seem that this would get the attention that the Reardon trial gets. At least for one day instead of a near complete burial in the Courant.

And the Courant's noted religious oolumnist? She's a UCC (Hartford) Seminary Graduate and former keynote speaker for Hartford Seminary who can't write enough about St Francis and their failings to monitor Reardon and has little to say about the failings of the UCC leader or the IRS investigation into the UCC and other non-profits that make up part of the backdrop surrounding the controversial Citizen's United decision.

Far too often it's not the crime or hypocrisy that offends people and gets the press. It's the quality of the platform for expressing other ideas, personal gripes, and airing prejudices.

Eugne Ronco

It is truly amazing to me. When the Penn State scandal came to light, I thought back to my days in the W. H. school system. I was one of the young men that Eugene would have over to his house. However, I was one of the lucky ones. I wrestled for Hall and we did use his sauna. He was super cool because he let us drink and such. However, he'd taunt us to look at his magazines (Husler) and call us names if we did not. I attended one Penn State game with him (Penn State vs. Pittsburg when Cappaleti was a senior and Dorest was a freshman). He made me sleep in his bed with him. Thankfully, he never touched me, but I was scared to death and never slept. Thus, on the ride to Penn State, I was fatigued. Though he kept giving me cigars to smoke (I didn't smoke them), I got sleepy. He'd punch me, swerve the car, open the window or in order to keep me awake. Again, how lucky I was that I was not touched by that sick man. How he ever avoided jail time I'll never know. What was the matter with the W.H. schools during the 70's? Ellis and Dunn were not far behind. Dr. Dunn would be lingering at the showers after our practices or when we were in the whirlpool. I know that the W. Hftd.,school system was aware of this. How is this any different than what we are seeing to day at Penn State? Is complicity guilt? I now think so. As an educator myself, however, these guys taught me a great lesson. I would always report a fellow teacher if I ever thought they were involved in such actions.


Thank you for addressing the issue of the abuse at Penn State. I have been very upset

about this, and I did not feel like talking so did not call your show.

In addition to Penn State, the cover ups by Catholic Church and by Boy Scouts and school systems,

including local ones, when men abuse children (especially if they are boys), disgust me.

Perhaps you recall the articles about Gene Ronco (Eugene Ronco), former ass't principal of

Conard High School, and Dr. James Ellis, former principal of King Philip Junior High School, both from West Hartford, in the Hartford Courant over the last few years.

West Hartford paid 200,000 dollars to Ronco to retire two years early -- in 97 or 98, I believe -- shortly afterward, complaints were made (and eventually a man won a lawsuit with damages of 1.5 million dollars a few years ago) about sexual abuse of boys at Conard.

Dr. Ellis, who must be over 80 by now, was in the news for similar conduct -- he was still interested in being a foster parent, and a former student, who had been abused by him, complained about him publicly.

When these stories broke, I learned from teachers who had worked for these men for long periods of time that they knew about the conduct for decades. I worked for Ronco for one year (he was my ass't principal at Conard when I was there in early 80s) and never suspected anything about him.

You may be able to find the stories at -- it was there that I read about them. I did not know about either of them, until I read about it in the papers....but I do know of one other principal, whom I worked for years ago, who also exploited kids (largely as a voyeur of boys). I did confront him and complained about his conduct to his superiors and to authorities, and eventually he retired (a few others complained, too)....when stories like PENN STATE surface, I think of him and how "loved and respected" he was/is, too (like Coach Paterno), and how so many people chose to 'look the other way" about him. If he goes to his grave without being exposed, he will die a lucky man.


Colin, just wanted to let you know that this Friday's (11th) and last Friday's (4th) Noses were just the best! Thanks for adding a good note to the end of my week.