The results of bullying are reaching extreme levels

Oct 25

Oh, society, you keep outdoing yourself.

Life is a precious thing, as we all know. But I have to be honest when I say I have no faith in the future of humanity or society as a whole.

Yes, I’m going to get a little serious with this post. I usually try and avoid things like this, if not just because I know people can get emotional and quite crazy when talking about things like this.

But if society and this world doesn’t find a way to change (and it likely won’t), this world could be in some serious trouble when the youngsters of today are adults.

Taking away politics and the economy, one of the biggest issues I think we need to worry about is bullying. This situation can happen at any level — high school, college, and in adulthood (if you don’t think wars and such are a form of bullying, check things out and think about it — it is). But the scary situation is in the younger ages.

When I was in middle school/high school I felt what it was like to be bullied. Not so much in a physical way, but in mental ways. Name calling and all the catty crap that happens in high school. I wasn’t part of any particular clique, but I kind of roamed. I had friends in all different “social classes,” but I also had “enemies.” By enemy, I mean people who felt it was their nature to call me (and many others) names or crap like that.

It made high school pretty much such.

See, I hated high school. With a passion. I consider those years some of the worst of my life. I didn’t go to my last high school reunion because I didn’t want to look back at that time in my life. The people who I want to deal with from that era, I do, whether it be by seeing them on occasion, being close friends or seeing updates and such on Facebook.

I assure you, for the group I graduated with, it isn’t many.

A couple friends I graduated with tried to assure me that many people had “grown up and gotten past that stage.” My response was simple — I don’t care.

See, people grow up. I understand that. But for those who were on the opposite end of that situation growing up, you don’t forget. For me, those years were awful and it was because of a certain set of people. I have no interest in seeing or talking to them again. I don’t forget.

To be fair, I probably said some unkind things to people as well. It’s a trickle-down effect. One gets slammed and then continues it down the chain. I hope my words back then to others weren’t as bad as what I felt. If it was, it’s probably karma that really got me. And if that’s the fact, I full apologize to those I said things to — though I wouldn’t expect anybody to ever forget because I know the feeling.

That leads me to the reason for this post.

No matter what was done to me during that time period in my life, I got through it. Whether through a physical altercation or two, or just ignoring and battling through it, I got by.

And I’m still here.

An alarming amount of kids these days aren’t graduating high school because of bullying. Why? Because they are committing suicide. That’s a scary situation, folks.

In all the years I received harsh treatment, I never once considered that. Never. Even in the past two years when my life has taken a downward spiral with the economy, it’s never crossed my mind. Ever.

But 14- and 15-year-old kids are figuring this to be the best thing.

It doesn’t matter why someone is being bullied. Whether it’s because of how they dress, the color of their skin, their sexual preference or where they live/come from, it shouldn’t matter.

Leave them alone.

Have you heard the name Amanda Todd?

If you haven’t, you should Google her name. The name has been in the news and all over social media for a couple of weeks. Amanda was a 15-year-old who lived in Vancouver.

Notice I use her name in the past tense. That’s because she committed suicide a couple of weeks ago. This was the culmination of several years of being bullies, online and off. It got so bad that this poor girl decided the best way to escape everything was to kill herself.

This story, obviously, is spreading. I’ve seen it in many different publications and online media places.

As it’s told, the story is one of a young girl who made a mistake when she was a seventh grader. She would webcam with friends to meet and talk to new people. Some stranger talked her into flashing the camera. A year later, a man contacted her on Facebook with the threats of sending said photo to everyone if she didn’t put on a show.

Scarier? The stranger knew many details about her — address, school, friends, names of friends and family etc.

Soon, the naked photo had been forwarded to “everyone.”

From that, Amanda apparently developed some serious issues, including anxiety and depression. Drugs and alcohol followed. She changed schools and tried to find new friends. But the man followed and created a Facebook profile, using that naked photo as a profile photo.

The bully started up again. She cut herself as a way to release the pain. She moved again. Maybe things would get better? A boy started to seemingly like her. But some girls from her first school came and beat her up. It was filmed. She was left along. After that, she tried to down bleach to commit suicide. She was saved — that time.

And how is all this known?

Amanda told the story. Take a peek at this YouTube video she posted a month before killing herself. It’s a nearly nine-minute video, but I encourage you to watch. It’s heart-wrenching in all aspects. This video has more than 5,000,000 views.

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The sad part of this is Amanda isn’t the first teenager to commit suicide from being bullied, whether cyber or in person. And, unfortunately, she likely won’t be the last.

But this is an issue that needs to be dealt with in a much better way than it is. Parents are part of this, too. Society today has the parents whose kids can never do wrong. It’s been that way for a long time, but more numerous now. When I was in newspaprts, I was accosted many times by parents who thought I should write more about their kid, or this other kid shouldn’t get written about because he or she wasn’t as nice as their kid.

I’m all for backing your kids in anything they do, but one needs to keep it in perspective.

We have to remember that things like this aren’t reversible. Amanda Todd’s smile will never be seen on Earth again. She won’t be able to hug her parents. She won’t have a fairy tale wedding, have kids and grow old with her husband.

And that’s sad.

Instead, the people who bullied her will continue their lives. They’ll get to experience those things. It’s my hope proof is found and the people who bullied Amanda will be dealt with in a legal manner so that they, too, will suffer. It’s my hope they find the person who has cyber bullied Amanda and punish him to the full extent of the law. Apparently, a hacking organization has outed somebody, but Vancouver police said he’s not the person.

I honestly don’t know the next step in society. As the world continues to grow and develop more and more, society is going to change. It’s not the 50s anymore. There’s a lot of hate and it comes out quite easily now.

For anybody — but especially somebody who hasn’t even graduated high school yet — suicide should never be an option. Always find something to live or push for. Instead, it seems like it’s becoming more commonplace for people to consider this a justifiable solution.

And that’s sad. Not just for the person and his or her family and friends, but for society as a whole.

Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at hoohaablog [at] gmail.com. Also, please “Like” HooHaa Blog on Facebook!

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Notes from my Noodle: January 23 edition

Jan 23

It seems that every time I think I have seen it all when it comes to being politically correct, something else makes me shake my head in wonderment.

This time, it’s in Utah.

The Cougar is not a good nickname for one Utah school, for an odd reason. (Photo by Mike Fisher via Flickr commons)

See, though I may not agree with everything that has to be politically correct out there, I understand it. I can see why schools change their team names from something like Warriors or Chiefs or Braves because of being sensitive. I really can.

There’s many more I understand.

Not this time.

See, it seems that there’s this new school in Utah — Corner Canyon High School. And, well, the school ran a contest to let future students decide on its future mascot. The school, according to a USA Today story, is slated to open in 2013.

The board, however, rejected the winning mascot from the contest. And what mascot put the board up in arms?

Cougars.

Raise your hand if you see where this is going.

It turns out the board though calling their mascot the Cougars would be offensive. To whom? To middle-age women who like to chase younger men. Because the term “cougar” is becoming synonymous with that act.

I can’t make this stuff up.

It’s to note, also, that three other schools in Utah, as well as Brigham Young University, all use the nickname Cougars, according to KSTU Fox 13.

The school had decided, instead, to call itself the Chargers.

But being the school doesn’t open until 2013, I’m sure the board will have a chance to re-visit this and see if it offends anyone else by then.

Legendary football coach Joe Paterno died Sunday at age 85.

His death ends the life of the winningest coach in major college history and also one of someone who stayed in Happy Valley for more than half of his life. His donations to and his love of Penn State is known my pretty much anyone who has heard JoePa’s name.

Paterno in November 2010 (photo by Jeremy Kahn via Flickr's creative commons license)

Though his final months were doused in controversy because of the alleged dirty doings of a former assistant coach, I personally don’t think his legacy is tarnished. He still did much for that University.

One could argue that he should have done more with the Jerry Sandusky situation. That’s a fair argument. Morally, should he have done more? Probably so. But, legally, he did what he was supposed to do. I understand both sides of the argument and I’m not going to get into one here. Everyone is entitled to believe what they want.

I still think Paterno got railroaded at the end, which is a shame — especially looking at how his final months unfolded. But he had tremendous support as was evident.

I went to college at Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania, which is about a 20-minute ride to State College. Needless to say, during my years at The Haven, I knew all about Penn State and its athletics.

JoePa was loved indeed.

Though I never attended a football game at PSU (probably a silly move, eh?) I did venture to State College a bit. I explored the campus once or twice, saw a few other athletic contests and did have the chance to see the stadium.

And, I saw JoePa.

It only happened once. I had gone to this restaurant a few times and had been told it was one of Paterno’s favorite spots. I didn’t think I’d ever see him as it was apparently his “breakfast choice.”

Alas, one night a few of us went to State College and ate at the place. Soon after we arrived, JoePa and his wife came in. They ate not far from us, so we got to see the legendary coach. People said hi as they walked by and he greeted them the same. But nobody bothered him. No autographs. Nothing. They let the man be.

That’s the way it should be.

It was quite cool to see this legendary figure as a member of this small community. Embedded in it.

He was an amazing football coach and one of the best things to ever happen to Penn State. He’ll be missed by many, in football and in life. Rest in Peace, JoePa.

When owning a blog, you really see some interesting comments.

Though spam is awful for your e-mail inboxes, sometimes blog spam comments can be quite funny. (Photo Eddie Awad via Flickr commons)

Many comments are spam and need to just be deleted. But I like to read some of them before I delete them. Why? Because they are quite interesting and funny.

Usually, however, they make no sense.

It’s pretty simple to figure out the spam because you get random comments on posts where the comment makes no sense or on posts that are several years old.

A post of mine from the Day Zero Project — about traveling to five new cities — recently got a comment. It made NO sense whatsoever.

I realize that it might have picked up on some key words or something or maybe it’s because the post was about some travel of sorts, but it still didn’t make full sense as to why this comment would just show up, outside the fact that its spam.

One day while driving, I came to a stop at a red light. I looked both ways and made sure no one was coming, then proceeded to make a left turn. A few seconds later it hits me — you can only make a right on red. I felt like such an idiot.

I will admit it made me laugh.

Though I try to make sure these spam messages don’t make it through, I do give credit that at least some of them can be a bit funny!

You’ll remember that I had my personal stand with the legislation PIPA and SOPA last week?

I thought I’d give a quick update.

Apparently the Internet blackout work as both pieces of legislation have been pulled for now. That’s not to say they won’t come back at some point. I’m sure those who worked on these two will want to find a way to get them back, albeit with some workings.

I looked at many of the people in Congress who switched over on these bills and like that they did. They seemed to see the light — if even just in saying it. The reality is this — America talked and Congress finally listened. Things can happen when done in ways like this.

Protests don’t always have to be taking over public parks and making them slum palaces. There doesn’t always need to be a march, or people getting together in places all over the country.

Sometimes it can be quick, clean and effective. You just need to have a definite agenda, a hope for a resolution and an actual plan for what to do. This one-day blackout worked effectively and was way more successful than some other protests that have been going on for months with seemingly no true direction.

I applaud the country for getting this done, especially some of the Internet’s biggest sites who showed that getting people together in something like this can work wonders.

Again, these bills could slip back soon enough, so we — as  country — need to make sure we can stand for what we believe in. And I’m a firm believe that piracy needs to be stopped, somehow. Just in a different way than these two bills were showing.

Stay proud, America. The Internet is safe, for now.

Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at hoohaablog [at] gmail.com. Also, please “Like” HooHaa Blog on Facebook by clicking the button on the right side of the page!

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Yes, this is really happening…

Dec 07

I realize society needs to grow and keep moving forward.

I’m all for equality. For (some) things being all politically correct. I have no issues with age, color, creed, sexual orientation or anything like that. Seriously. People are people. Let them be who they are.

But, sometimes, things are getting downright stupid.

Did you hear the one about the 9-year-old boy who was suspended for two days at a school in North Carolina?

I’m sure if someone told you that on the street, you’d have common thoughts. A fight. Arguing. Being mean. Bullying. Something.

Nope.

How about sexual harassment?

Look, I get why sexual harassment is such a topic in the current day. But it’s getting out of hand. It seems like anything somebody does can be construed as it. And when that happens, you risk really screwing with somebody’s life. This isn’t a joke. This is real. When you place that tag on someone, you can flat-out ruin somebody.

Don’t get me wrong, we don’t need to go back to the 50s. I’m not looking for it to be like Leave it to Beaver where June stays home cleaning and cooking all day waiting for Ward to come home.

And this isn’t like the old black and white flicks where “dame” and “broad” were normal and accepted terms.

But seriously, folks.

Let me relay the story of this 9-year-old kid, which I read about the other day.

See, he was having a private chat with a friend. Nothing serious or anything. Just the two talking. This boy didn’t grope anyone or touch someone inappropriately. He was talking to a friend.

And what happened?

He told his friend that a teacher was cute.

That’s it.

Further, he didn’t even say it to the teacher. It was in the private conversation. He didn’t yell it. He was talking to a friend. A substitute teacher overheard the conversation and reported the child. A substitute.

Then the kid got suspended. For two days.

Sorry, folks, but this is ridiculous. What’s next? A 14-year-old asks a pretty girl out on a date or to “go steady” and she slaps him with a lawsuit? I know several teachers who have been asked to proms over the year. Will this soon be sexual harassment?

Where does it end?

Look, I don’t think inappropriate behavior should be tolerated — by men or women toward each other (remember, sexual harassment isn’t always male to female). Especially in the workplace or things like that. But there has to be a level of what is defined as inappropriate.

Telling someone they are cute or pretty is not sexual harassment. Why should it be a crime for a co-worker to tell someone they look nice on a particular day. Has our society become such a bunch of drones that we can’t compliment one another? Has society become so ridiculous that a 9-year-old boy can’t think a teacher is cute? Heck, I know for a fact I had several crushes on teachers when I was in elementary school. It’s part of growing up!

We need to really evaluate ourselves as a society when things like this are happening.

***

So a 12-year-old boy in Florida killed his 2-year-old brother.

I’m not defending this action, by any means. But how’s this for what’s coming?

He’s being charged with first-degree murder — as an adult. If convicted, he could spend the rest of his life in jail.

As a 12-year-old.

Believe me, I’m not condoning what happened. The defense has rejected a plea deal that would lock up this child until 21. But he would admit to murder and the final three years of his sentence would likely be in an adult prison.

According to reports, Cristian Fernandez allegedly shoved his brother into a bookshelf, fracturing his skull and giving the tot internal bleeding to the brain.

The boy should be punished, for sure. But life in prison? They are saying this is premeditated? Can a 12-year-old boy really premeditate  murder? I think Florida should re-evaluate itself here. Again, the boy killed someone. But did he plan it? Did he want to do it? Or are there other issues here we are not seeing.

There are so many crimes and such out there that people commit and get second chances. But this kid could be facing life in prison? Are we sure, as society, that he can’t be fixed to become a good member in society?

The trial is scheduled for February. I’ll be interested to see how this all comes out.

Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at hoohaablog [at] gmail.com. Also, please “Like” HooHaa Blog on Facebook by clicking the button on the right side of the page!

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Really? Jail time possible for this?

Sep 02

File this in the “Really?” category.

I realize that there are some odd laws on the books. Like some really dumb ones.

Here are a few from my state of New York, from Dumb Laws.

Women may go topless in public, providing it is not being used as a business.

  • It is illegal for a woman to be on the street wearing “body hugging clothing”.
  • Citizens may not greet each other by “putting one’s thumb to the nose and wiggling the fingers”.
  • A fine of $25 can be levied for flirting.
  • A person may not walk around on Sundays with an ice cream cone in his/her pocket.

Seriously?

Let’s go to Pennsylvania.

  • It it illegal to sleep on top of a refrigerator outdoors.
  • Any motorist driving along a country road at night must stop every mile and send up a rocket signal, wait 10 minutes for the road to be cleared of livestock, and continue.
  • A special cleaning ordinance bans housewives from hiding dirt and dust under a rug in a dwelling.
  • You may not sing in the bathtub.
  • A person is not eligible to become Governor if he/she has participated in a duel.
  • You may not catch a fish with your hands.
  • You may not catch a fish by any body part except the mouth.
  • Dynamite is not to be used to catch fish.

And sticking with the theme of states that touch New York, how about a few from New Jersey?

  • It is illegal to wear a bullet-proof vest while committing a murder.
  • It is against the law for a man to knit during the fishing season.
  • It is against the law to “frown” at a police officer.

If those aren’t enough, how about this local law from Bernards Township?

  • It is illegal to frown as the town is a “Frown-Free Town Zone”.

Sheesh!

But the video I am going to post below really caught my attention. This is real. Someone is facing up to 75 years in prison for a level one felony for recording police without their consent. Seriously, this person is facing the same sort of a felony a murderer or rapist would be facing.

Seriously.

And it appears the law, which is some sort of an old eavesdropping law, is in something like 12 states. So if you witness a cop beating someone and record it, you could face jail time.

As someone who believes in our constitution, this is absolutely ridiculous. And that they are pulling this guy through the systems over this is amazingly stupid. This is what taxpayers are footing the bill for in Illinois? For the state to prosecute someone who recorded cops coming onto his property over something about cars in his driveway? Really?

The video is about 15 minutes long, but I implore you to watch it. To think that someone could be put in prison with real criminals over something like this is mind-boggling. I hope, in the end, it works out for this person. And I hope, too, that when these state prosecutors come up for re-election, the people vote them out of office. Quickly.

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There are links, too, to some radio interviews with the guy being charged. They are worth watching, too.

Thoughts? Drop them in the comments below.

Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at hoohaablog [at] gmail.com. Also, please “Like” HooHaa Blog on Facebook by clicking the button on the right side of the page!
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Irene in upstate: Some get lucky, some are devastated

Aug 29

Fields along Route 10 as you leave Delhi.

Hurricane Irene came and went and left quite a path of destruction. Though I believe it was actually a “Tropical Storm” when it came through upstate New York, it wreaked some major damage.

My town, which has often been part of several towns who can feel the wrath of these things decently hard, wasn’t too bad from what I’ve seen and heard. Some basements flooded and probably a few other things, but in the big scheme of things, it wasn’t bad. Same with Oneonta and most areas east. I haven’t heard much about Walton, which is usually a town that gets hit very hard. As of late Sunday night, it seemed much calmer than normal.

We got lucky, it seems

The Legion fields apparently got worse as the day went on.

But as we go further into the Catskills, the same can’t be said.

Margaretville, which is often the victim of these storms was hammered. As was Fleischmanns. Reading stories and such, places such as Windham, Tannersville, Prattsville etc., have experienced an amazing amount of destruction. It’s absolutely heartbreaking to look through Twitter feeds and Facebook posts and see what devastation this is causing.

For those of you who have been to Margaretville, you’ll be able to see how bad the village is. Many of these videos have been all over Twitter, Facebook and blogs, so you may have already seen them.

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To see more, go check out YouTube as there are many videos from the storm and aftermath.

Since the last major flood to hit the area in 2006, there have been a lot of pushes in technology. Though the digital age was in full effect back then, this storm really seemed to utilize the digital age. When the 2006 floods hit, I was in Montreal under sunny skies, so it was odd knowing what was going on. I used the website of the local daily to try and keep pace, as well as phone calls and such.

This storm showed how media has changed in that amount of time.

Many props has to be given to The Watershed Post, an online area news source.

The Post has done a wonderful job of coverage, using its own team as well as reader comments, posts, photos and videos. The people at the Post seem to scour the Internet for reports and images, make numerous calls and have a live blog set up for immediate updates. Other news sources in the area couldn’t compete or compare as occasional updates on roads being closed or a state of emergency being declared can’t compete with real-time stories, images and updates.

The Post has continued its excellent coverage into today, so go there to check out the latest reports from area towns and municipalities about what is going on.

I haven’t seen the destruction first hand as county roads are closed. I’ve heard from a few people over that way, however, and it sounds awful. Be safe over there, people.

The one good thing is that the weather for the next week is supposed to be decent. So hopefully that will allow needed people to get to these towns, assess damage and get the repair part underway. These areas are going to need time and help to rebuild and hopefully things will go smoothly.

The damage isn’t just through New York though. Videos and images I’ve seen from Vermont are incredible and heartbreaking. One video I saw on Weather.com showed one of the many historical and beautiful covered bridges in the state being washed away.

Old Blenheim Bridge in 2008.

I’ve also heard reports that the Old Blenheim Bridge, a covered bridge near all the havoc not far from me, has been washed away. That’s sad as it’s a remarkable bridge (though only able to be used by foot now) and there aren’t many historic covered bridges remaining in the state.

UPDATE: I’ve tracked down the video on YouTube of the Vermont covered bridge going into the river. For those of you who are fans of covered bridges, this is quite sad and the reactions of those videoing the situation shows that as well. This is the Bartonsville Covered Bridge.

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These are times that prove how destructive Mother Nature can be. The images and videos are incredible, but take a moment to realize how many people’s lives have been thrown upside down because of this storm. Mother Nature’s fury can be seen and felt by many and it’s a shame when things like this happen. Many people got out of this story somewhat lucky, but the same can’t be said for a lot of others. I implore everyone to keep that in mind when storms like this luckily miss or make landfall in other parts of the country. Keep in mind that no matter what, the results can impact someone in very bad ways and hopefully we don’t see another one like this for a very long time — in any part of the country.

Let this also be a reminder of how powerful water can be. It really is amazing to see how fast and hard weather can create damage.

Flickr member AustinHorse has a series of images that show the destruction in Windham. It’s worth taking a peek. Crazy what it looks like after the water has gone away.

Here are a couple of more shots I took around Delhi, but again, they aren’t anywhere near as bad as the ones I’ve seen through the Internet in other towns.

Fitch's Bridge with the river getting close to the bottom.

Back River Road.

Water runs across the road near Sherwoods Road Bridge.

Though it looks calm because of the long exposure, the river going under the Kingston Street bridges was raging.

Feel free to leave a comment, or e-mail P.J. at hoohaablog [at] gmail.com. Also, please “Like” HooHaa Blog on Facebook by clicking the button on the right side of the page!

 

 

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RIP, Joey Vento

Aug 24

Joey Vento, making a cheese steak at Geno's. (December, 2008)

It’s the first time I can say I heard about a relative dying via Twitter and the Internet.

But, that’s how I found out that my second cousin — my mom’s cousin — Joey Vento died Tuesday. He apparently had a massive heart attack Tuesday night. He was 71 and a Philadelphia legend.

It’s a sad day, too, as Joey was a strong man, opinionated and giving. He ran a solid business and made good things out of what he started with. Geno’s Steaks is known throughout the world (as is his competitor across the street, Pat’s) for the steak sandwiches he created.

Joey pointing to his sign that created so much controversy.

Let’s not cover everything up, however. He didn’t shy away from controversy and he became the center of it in 2006 when he put a sticker in his window that said “This is America. When ordering, please speak English.”

People came down hard on Joey, though he always defended his decision as freedom of speech.

On one of my visits there, he told me that he didn’t deny service if someone didn’t speak English, but that it was more of a fight against illegal immigration. It was a fight he was willing to take on and take it on he did.

Take a peek at Joey taking about this controversy on the Glenn Beck show:

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To follow that up, here’s a little more from Joey on the situation — but in a different light as this was for an interview for a documentary.This clip also shows him telling how to order a steak, and some of the history of Geno’s.

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For the record,after he was chased down for being discriminatory, he eventually won his case showing he wasn’t discriminatory.

But don’t think that Joey Vento was a bad person. He was far from it. He lived the American dream and he wanted to defend it. And when he made his money, he gave back.

He was known for his kindness. His support — vocally, financially and every other way — toward policemen, associations and everything law-abiding was known well. He didn’t hold back when giving to charities. Every time I talked to him, these were some of the things he told me he was most proud of.

I always tried to visit him when I went to Philly for a baseball game. I stopped there last year and hadn’t been to Geno’s this year. He always invited me (and friends) in for cheese steaks and fries and we’d sit in the “VIP” booth and chat for a bit. He always had the smile on his face and he never stayed away from being an active participant in his business.

Joey had battled some health issues last year as an Associated Press story noted that he had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer and underwent surgery this past November in New York City.

I didn’t know him for his controversy or a lot of the things he did with charities and all. I knew him as my second cousin. I remember going to his house as a kid and having the chance to beat around his large property with a golf cart. I also remember the ride he gave me in his blue Jaguar — and that speed wasn’t an issue. As a kid, I wore a lot of Geno’s shirts because he gave us so many. I have a few from a recent trip that I’ll hold onto as well.

He always took the time when I’d call ahead to let him know I was coming down to chat and he’d never take a dime for a steak sandwich or drinks. Not from me. Not from my friends. And he always sent me home with a few extra. And yes, when they made it back to New York that night, the next day they were just as good re-heated!

Joey on one of his motorcycles.

I like my steaks “wit wiz” and one of the last ones I had at Geno’s was one he cooked up for me (see top photo). It was amazing how good it was.

He was proud of his motorcycles and always took the time to show me them in his showroom, which is across the street from Geno’s.

My memories of Joey will be fond.

He was a good man, a good businessman and thought highly of people. He always treated me well and he always spoke highly of my mother. And he always told me to give her a hug from him when I left Geno’s.

Next time I’m in Philly, I’ll make sure to get there and order a steak. Wit wiz, of course. I’ll sit outside as I’ve done many times before, under the fluorescent glow of the shop and chomp away at the steak with some of his outstanding cheese fries. I’ve eaten there at all hours of the day — morning, afternoon and late night — and the steaks are always outstanding. The next one I have will be a little bittersweet, however.

Rest in peace, Joey. You’ll be missed.

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