Thursday, December 1, 2016

Ron Gets His Thai Food Fix


After threatening to break the all-time record for turkey consumption in the past week or so, I switched food gears today.

I went to one of my favorite hole-in-the-wall haunts, the Zuzap Thai restaurant at 12871 University in Clive for lunch.

Thai food is among my favorites. Many people [especially those who haven't  tried it] associate Thai food with spicy food.

Well, you darn  right Thai food can be spicy, and some folks  [me included] like it spicy.

But the waitresses at Zuzap always make sure they ask how spicy on a scale of 1 to 5 you want your food.

In the old days, I'd say 3. Now I say, " No spice,  but bring me the spice tray."

The spice tray enables me to control the amount of spices on my food. I'm afraid some people don't even know a spice tray is available in most Thai restaurants.

Zuzap's best lunch deal costs just $8.95.  For that amount, I got shrimp rangoon as my appetizer, tom ka kai soup [which is made from coconut milk, and mine included tofu],  soy milk for my drink, and my entree was mango delight with tofu and mixed vegetables.

I didn't need to dip into the spice rack much. Just a couple of times.

Rice was included with the mango delight, but I didn't have room for that, so I brought it home. I ate it at about 4 p.m.  It was a nice snack.

 So now I've had my Thai food fix for a day or two.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Christmas Season Has Officially Started


The Christmas season began for me tonight.

The official Christmas season, I mean.

Oh, sure, I know Younkers and Von Maur have had decorated Christmas trees in their stores since Labor Day.

But that's only meant to spur people into spending money.

Department stores are department stores.

They want your dollars.

It's difficult for me to get in the Christmas spirit when it's 85 degrees outdoors  and the malls are air conditioned.

Anyway, the Christmas season officially began for me when the Southwestern Community College choir from Creston came to Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Des Moines to sing Christmas music.

The weather cooperated.  A combination of snow and rain was falling when I drove to the church.

That, plus the cold wind, made it feel like Christmas.

The Southwestern chamber choir performed such numbers as Carol of the Bells, O Magnum Mysterium, Eljah Rock,  plus the more familiar stuff like Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, I'll Be Home for Christmas, Silver Bells, O Holy Night and Silent Night.

The audience [and it was large] joined the choir in the singing of Silent Night.

That's the one that really gets to me.

Like I wrote earlier, the Christmas season has officially started for me.

Look for me to be sitting on Santa's knee at the mall any day now. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Jerry Moses


Legends don't show up all that often in Iowa high school football.

But that's exactly what Jerry Moses was.

A legend.

I was sorry to learn today of the death of Moses, a standout running back at East Waterloo High School in the 1960s.

The Waterloo Courier reported that he died this morning at the age of 65. The photo of Moses is courtesy of the Courier.

I can recall him running rampant through high school defenses during my newspaper years.

Every Friday night, it was Moses does this, Moses does that.

Nothing stopped him.

Like I said, a legend

The Courier said Moses scored 56 touchdowns, was a two-time first-team all-stater and a high school all-American while East Waterloo was overpowering other Iowa high school teams.  

East didn't lose a game from 1965 until the first game of the 1972 season.  The Courier said the state's sportswriters voted East as the mythical state champion five times, prior to the current playoff system.

Moses played for coach Johnny Majors at Iowa State after his standout high school career.

Unfortunately, his collegiate years weren't as kind to Moses as his high school years.

Injuries slowed him.

No matter.

We always had the memories of his high school exploits.

And those memories are still clear. 

Still fantastic.

My thoughts and prayers are with Jerry Moses' family.

The man died much too young. 

Tigers Will Get Better


I had fun following and writing about Valley's march last season to the state high school  class 4-A boys'  basketball championship.

I mean, when a guy's granddaughter is a student manager for a state championship team, it's always fun.

 Naturally, I was eager to get a look at what the Tigers  have for the 2016-2017 season.

That opportunity came tonight when Valley defeated Fort Dodge, 51-39, at the Bill Coldiron Fieldhouse in West Des Moines.

Coach B. J. Windhorst's team is a work in progress, but the Tigers have a chance to be pretty good as the season continues.

I'm certainly not predicting any repeat state championship at this stage, but I have confidence in Windhorst's coaching ability. 

Count on it that this team will improve.

Windhorst has size. Charley Crowley is a 6-8 senior, and Blake Brinkmeyer is a 6-7 junior. Quinton Curry is a 6-6 senior who has started since he was a freshman.

However, Curry won't be able to play until January at the earliest because of a knee injury sustained during the summer.

Windhorst had Crowley and Brinkmeyer in the lineup at the same time during crunch time tonight. Both can play. Brinkmeyer scored 12 points, Crowley 9.

Senior Reese Skinner scored 14 for Valley.

The Tiger girls had a much easier time. They soared to an 87-50 victory over a Fort Dodge team coached by Julius Michalik, a 6-11 former Iowa State player from Slovakia.

I was covering the Cyclones for the paper when Michalik was playing from 1991-1995. The guy could shoot with the best of 'em.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Women's Basketball, Arts To the Rescue At Drake


My friend Jay A. Davidson posted a message on Facebook a few minutes ago that read:

"Terrific music tonight at Drake University by Nicholas Roth, in the Keys to Excellence Piano Series. Nicholas played Philip Glass and Robert Schumann. All in attendance won!"

I responded to Davidson and his other readers with this message:

"Jay, I'm glad you're keeping us updated on the impressive music and arts happenings at Drake. There was a time when men's basketball was the biggest thing on the campus at this time in the school year. lt appears those days are gone, at least in the immediate future. So it's women's basketball and the arts. Sounds like a bunch of winners to me."

I could have added these words:

Maury John, where are you when Drake's sadsack men's basketball program, as well as what's left of the fan-base, need you? This 2016-2017 team doesn't look like it's got much game or much fight. Consequently, it's going to be another long, long season.

Meanwhile, Jennie Baranczyk and her women's basketball team, plus the arts Jay A. Davidson and others follow faithfully, hopefully will save the winter at Old Main [pictured] and elsewhere on the Drake campus.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

No Such Thing As a One-Day Holiday Or Birthday


One of the beautiful things about my family is that there's no such thing as a one-day holiday or a one-day birthday.

Holidays and birthdays in this outfit go on and on.

Hey, one year I had 6 or 7 birthday parties, but had to add just a year to my age.

Holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, the Fourth of July and Labor Day never end either.

We just keep celebrating, moving from one home to another, one smoked, roasted or fried turkey, one baked ham, one champagne cake, one apple pie to another.

I'm pretty sure we had our last Thanksgiving of 2016 late this afternoon at Kevin and Donna's house.

The first Thanksgiving get-together was Wednesday night, and the celebrating of the turkey-and-all-the-fixin's just kept going Thursday, Friday and today.

Of course, you can't have a Maly gathering without pictures.

One with Ron and Maxine and grandchildren Nate and Megan [Kevin and Donna's kids] is included here.

I know one thing. Today's Thanksgiving bash at Kevin and Donna's beat any football game that was on TV.

Before leaving for Kevin and Donna's, I watched the entire Ohio State-Michigan game that was played in Columbus, Ohio.

In a game in which it seemed neither team wanted to win, Ohio State finally prevailed in 2 overtimes, 30-27.

I watched both teams keep screwing up in their final regular-season game of the season.

I mean, it was one mistake after another, one failed field goal after another.

For a while, the Buckeyes and Wolverines threatened to set collegiate football back 75 years with the ridiculous way they were performing.

Consequently, I am saying right now that I think Iowa, which walloped Nebraska, 40-10, in a regular-season finale yesterday in Iowa City, is currently the best team in the Big Ten.

The Hawkeyes have already beaten Michigan, and I fully believe they'd defeat Ohio State, too, if the Buckeyes were on their schedule.

I know Penn State did a number on Iowa a few weeks ago, but Kirk Ferentz's team has come a long way since then.

I like the Hawkeyes over the Nittany Lions now.

I know none of us can do anything to improve 

Iowa's 8-4 record, but I'm staying with the belief that the Hawkeyes are the best in the BigTen right now.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Bob Devaney Rolled Over In His Grave Today


I have absolutely nothing against Nebraska.

Great state.

Great people.

Great university in Lincoln.

One of my sons and one of my daughters-in-law have degrees from the University of Nebraska.

One of my grandsons will earn his degree from Nebraska next month.

His wife already has her degree from the university.

I have a granddaughter who is a sophomore at the University of Nebraska now.

I have a number of wonderful, intelligent relatives and friends who live in Nebraska and Iowa, and are huge Cornhusker football fans.

But, for a minute or two, I'd like to write about Nebraska's 2016 team..

And I don't want to upset any of those relatives and friends in Nebraska and Iowa while doing it.

I saw the Cornhuskers play Iowa on the tube today, and came away wondering what in the name of Crab Orchard, Nebraska has happened to their once-mighty program?

This was one of the worst Nebraska teams I've ever seen, and I've seen plenty of 'em over the years.

The Hawkeyes, with a big-play offense that completely befuddled a Nebraska defense that used to pulvervize and otherwise manhandle the opposition, sliced and diced the Huskers, 40-10, in a gala regular-season finale at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City.

And, yes, I'm giving Kirk Ferentz and his Iowa players lots of credit for making it happen.

It wasn't just Nebraska's inept football that was the reason for the rout.

In my newspaper days, I covered lots and lots of Nebraska football games.

I was in Memorial Stadium in Lincoln so many times they almost named not only a seat, but an entire row, in the press box after me.

The best of the Nebraska juggernauts I covered were coached by Bob Devaney and Tom Osborne.

I preferred Devaney, who consented to a long one-on-one interview with me one day in Lincoln in the middle of a very good season.

The only thing Devaney [pictured] didn't like about my questions was the one I asked about his salary.

Coaches don't especially like it when sportswriters ask 'em about the millions of dollars they're paid.

Devaney, who won a ton of games and a couple of national championships at Nebraska, has been dead since 1997.

He's buried in Lincoln, and I'm sure he was rolling over in his grave when someone relayed today's final score to him.

When Devaney heard it, he probably said something like, "Who the hell is Mike Riley and how soon can you run his ass out of Lincoln?"

Devaney used to talk like that.

Especially when he was alive.

Mike Riley is the coach of the sorry excuse for a football team that showed up for today's game in Iowa City.

This wasn't even the worst drubbing the Huskers have taken this season.

Mike Ebbing, a former sportswriter who is a friend of mine, reminded me that Ohio State hung a 62-3 haymaker on Nebraska earlier this month.

Despite that, the Huskers somehow went into today's game ranked No. 16 nationally.

Don't ask he how or why.

Also, don't get me wrong.

I don't mind it that Nebraska doesn't have a very good team this season.

I like it that the Hawkeyes won big.

Nebraska is still a fine state, the people who live there are fine people and the university in Lincoln is a wonderful institution.

I'm sure the folks who are Nebraska fans aren't feeling very good about their football program in the wake of today's blowout.

I sure don't want to act like I'm rubbing it in.

Don't forget, I covered an Iowa team that lost all 11 games it played in a season many moons ago.

I know how it feels.