If you've joined the loyal band of OTE readers in the past year, the odds are high that you're familiar with the .gif musings of one Ray Ransom. Odds are also high that you're a Rutgers fan, or a Terps fan, or that you were screwing around at work and this place seemed better than a TPS report. Wherever you fall on that spectrum, you should be no stranger to our Rutgers "writer"/fanboy/apologist/conspiracy theorist/goomba. In the spirit of Rutgers Week (I'll pause whilst you swallow your vomit back down), let's take a moment to get to know Ray on a deeper level of compatibility.
The Birth of Ray
In the beginning, the earth cooled and solidified. Sometime later, Ray was born in the hardscrabble industrial town of Perth Amboy. His mother, the former Dolores Vandalay, had married a swarthy Israeli date farmer named Mordecai "Big Ray" Ransom. Mordecai was a real good fella and a big player in the date palm industry until he lost everything when the infamous "Date Bubble" burst in the late '70s. Times were tough in the post-date era, but Big Ray was a tough man.
Together, the elder Ray and Dolores made a comfortable home above a dockside Kosher deli. He provided for the family by shaking down non-kosher hot dog cart vendors who tried to sell on the docks, because everyone in New Jersey runs a protection racket. Everyone. Dolores kept a tidy home and sewed compression leggings for local diabetics when money got tight.
Big Ray was also known to host a high-stakes Uno game in the back room of the deli. The Stevedores would pat little Ray Ransom on the head as he dealt out cards. He was a beloved little scamp they all adored. That is, until one night when Little Ray caught Stosh Sobotka with a red 5 card up his sleeve. Have you ever wondered about what happened to ol' Stosh? No, you haven't. And for your own health, you should keep it that way.
The College Years
Despite his rough and tumble youth, Ray matriculated to the prestigious State University and Barber College of New Jersey, better known to the rest of us as Rutgers. While a student, Ray was known for his musical ambitions. His dark, curly hair and unrefined style set the ladies swooning. He was equal parts Arthur Fonzerelli and Southside Johnny, capturing the disaffected anger of America's twenty-somethings in his folksy, unapologetic lyrics.
Had fate not intervened, Ray might have been the voice of a generation. That all changed one night in Piscataway. Ray's roommate, Vinny "Boom-Boom" Gambini, talked Ray into the being the wheel-man for a smash-and-grab at a Wawa in Paramus. The plan was to knock off the cashier, grab the whole register and as many TastyKakes as they could carry, and slip into the night on the wings of Ray's 1998 Pontiac Grand Am GT.
The plan went awry when Ray failed to bring his EZ-Pass in the car, and nobody had change for the 73 toll booths on the Garden State Parkway. Little Ray was arrested when the police discovered a load of counterfeit Pizza Hut "Book It" coupons for free personal pan pizzas in his trunk. Ray claimed he was "just holding them for a friend" of course, but the judge didn't buy it.
During his stint in prison, Ray was introduced to the world of computer gaming through New Jersey's "Cons to Coders" initiative. The one-time rock star and wanna-be wiseguy dove into the world of coding like a Michigan fan tracking private flights to California. By the time he was released (time off for good hygiene), Ray was an accomplished video game designer. His pro-bono coding work as a guest of the State of New Jersey includes the curly mullet of Mr. Perfect in the Nintendo 64 smash hit "WWF No Mercy" (Japan version only) and spanish versions of ATM software.
The OTE Era
Ray came to us by accident, in much the same way that Rutgers came to us. Inviting Rutgers into the B1G is like marrying an Italian girl. You marry her and her entire lunatic family, and at least once a week you have to hear her old man bloviate about how the government is screwing up and the working man can't get a break. By day four of Rutgers Week (/vomit) that theme should sound familiar.
Ray keeps a low profile now. His days of meting out retribution with a Hobart deli slicer are long past, as is his affinity for counterfeiting and writing songs about the malaise of the post-Vietnam industrial demise of his home state. The Ray Ransom of today is a man dedicated to the small, beautiful moments in life. Like almost beating Penn State or not tipping the state-mandated gas pumper at the local Hess station (because he "needs to learn to live on his wages"). He is married to the lovely Mona Ransom (née Vito). Mrs. Ransom is an accomplished mechanic, specializing in domestic pushrod V8s and GM locking differentials. They enjoy traveling the country to see family or to watch Rutgers lose to all the teams they should lose to. In his spare time, Ray and his wife enjoy posting .gifs that don't need to be .gifs.
The Ransoms maintain vacation homes in Pennsylvania and Maryland, and look forward to their sons Mort and Sal attending Rutgers. Or Hoboken Junior College. Whichever team is doing better at the time...