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Whatever happened to our BS detectors?

dude ..... We often give the NCAA a hard time, what with its inconsistency, hypocrisy, insanity, and a bunch of other -y words.

A lot of it boils down to, you gotta be kidding me? A kid’s father is calling around looking for the highest bidder and there’s no fire? Bowl game execs are partying hardy on the taxpayer dime and you were Pakistani-like oblivious to it?

Dude …. no one can be that clueless, right? Right?

Uh … yeah. Have you heard about Greg Mortenson, aka. shyster?

Shyster wrote a book a few years ago full of rainbows, lollipops and purrty baby bunnies. Actually, it was about his exploits to bring education to Afghanistan and Pakistan, including his one-time kidnapping by the Taliban, and another tale of being rescued by gentle natives who now worship him or something.

The shyster has made millions on this tale. He released another book, gave a bunch of speeches, and accepted large donations from just about anyone with a heart. The White House and U.S. military were groupies.

Only problem? He made it all up. Dude. Here’s the video report. Skip to 13:00 for the Chris Hansen moment.

Why bring this all up here? Cause … /deep sigh … App State was a dupe. Not only were all freshman back in 2009 told to read his stupid book, he was an honored guest on campus.

It gets more depressing.

Maiden would not say how much Mortenson was paid for his time at Appalachian State University, but the “60 Minutes” investigation revealed he averaged $30,000 per appearance.

“Releasing that would be really not to anyone’s best interest,” he said.

While ASU didn’t donate any funds specifically, several organizations and people gave to the cause.

Students from Crossnore Elementary, Green Valley Elementary School, Two Rivers Community School, Hardin Park school, Watauga High School’s Mountain Alliance and Parkway Elementary collected pennies for the cause.

Mary Willis of Mary’s Montessori School heard about the controversy on NPR.

“It’s so sad,” she said.

Her students donated $55 in pennies to CAI.

“I would hate to tell the children,” she said. “We counted every penny.”

We read all that last week and just shook our heads. Whatchagonnado? Then we read a brutal takedown of the whole clusterfark over the weekend and really, did anyone at App State read the stupid thing?

And if you did, why did you believe it?


I read the part where he finds out that Mother Teresa has died, so he goes to her mission in Calcutta. He’s a total stranger, but a nun lets him in and leads him to a room where she leaves him alone with Mother Teresa’s body. Nobody else is around. I remember thinking: this may be the most far-fetched-sounding anecdote I’ve ever read. Mother Teresa has just died and the place isn’t surrounded by mobs of mourners and journalists? This guy turns up from out of nowhere and they let him in and leave him alone with her body? The only reason to buy the story was precisely that it was so far-fetched — after all, the book had sold zillions of copies over the previous couple of years, and presumably if the anecdote were fake, Mortenson would have long since been called on it. Not until after 60 Minutes caught up with him did I discover that the Mother Teresa story was not just exceedingly improbable but utterly impossible — for Mother Teresa actually died two years before the date on which Mortenson claimed to have paid his respects in Calcutta.

Dude. /hangs head in shame

It’s amazing how in the age of google and the interwebs BSers still have life. PT Barnum would be a king.


  1. Big Dave

    May 4, 2011 at 7:16 am

    I went to an event that my company sponsored in Charlotte in 2007 where he spoke. I read the book. I fell in love with the story. Fortunately I did not donate any money personally. You just can't trust anyone…without doing some checking!

  2. NO.2

    May 4, 2011 at 7:48 am

    To make matters even worse, he pulled out the crowd favorite APPA-LAY-CHIN when he spoke on campus in '09.

  3. JMcCray

    May 4, 2011 at 8:05 am

    Heh. Reminds me of this kid I met through some friends when I had just graduated. He was giving everyone some sob story about the Gulf War and all, I don't remember the details. But when he left, I told everyone, "You realize the Gulf War started and ended while I was still in High School? That would have made him what, twelve? maybe 14?"

  4. hapapp

    May 4, 2011 at 8:26 am

  5. HB

    May 5, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Mortensen does incredibly good work. He's not well organized… but, I haven't seen anything that says he's crooked.

    He spoke for free at my mom's alma mater… an all girls school… because he believes in the education of women. He gave gratis copies of his book to every student at the school. He is not greedy and he is not corrupt. He's a mountain climber that found himself thrust into running and managing a huge organization… with little experience or know-how.

    His biggest detractor is Jon Krakauer… who has made a fortune off of a tragedy on Mount Everest, the Pat Tillman tragedy, the Chris McCandless tragedy, and the Elizabeth Smart tragedy. I'd take a man like Mortensen over Krakauer any day of the week.

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