Friday, April 28, 2017

He's a Winner


If Ali Farokhmanesh's basketball coaching career at Drake is any more dynamic than his playing career was at Northern Iowa, the Bulldogs are headed to some very big things.
New Drake coach Niko Medved said today that Farokmanesh [pronounced fuh-ROAK-muh-NESH] will be the newest member of his staff.
In a way, Farokhmanesh is already a collegiate basketball legend.
I mean, 7 seasons ago--on March 29, 2010--the guy made a 3-point shot heard around the world when he played for Northern Iowa.
It was so stunning that Farokhmanesh wound up on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The photo is included here.
As a Northern Iowa senior, he earned honorable-mention all-Missouri Valley Conference honors, averaging 9.7 points and 1.5 rebounds per game, as UNI went 30-5, including an upset of top-seeded Kansas to reach the NCAA Sweet 16.
In that game, Farokhmanesh had 16 points, including a 3-pointer with 34 seconds left to clinch the victory that got him on the cover of the national sports magazine. He also provided the heroics in UNI's second-round victory over Nevada-Las Vegas.
"It's a great day to add Ali to our staff here at Drake," Medved said. "As a coach, Ali is the entire package. He has tremendous character, is a great communicator, he knows how to teach the game and is a tireless worker. Ali has deep roots here in Iowa and had a storied career as a player in the Missouri Valley Conference. He has also developed many important recruiting ties during his [three years on the staff] at Nebraska ,and will hit the ground running."
At Nebraska, Farokhmanesh managed and oversaw the off-the court responsibilities of the basketball players, including the implementation of mentoring programs and community outreach. On campus, he directed recruiting operations, including on-campus hosting duties.
Farokhmanesh said, "I am very exciited to return to Iowa and
the Missouri Valley Conference. I have so much respect for Coach Medved and the programs he has developed, so this opportunity is very special for me. I look forward to helping Niko build the Bulldog basketball program and to being part of the Drake family. My family is excited to be a part of this outstanding university and the community."
Said Nebraska coach Tim Miles: "I'm excited for Ali to join my good friend Niko Medved at Drake. Ali has been a tremendous asset to our program for the past three years and we will miss him greatly, but it is great to see him get the opportunity to get on the floor and on the road recruiting. I have no doubt he will do a tremendous job for Drake basketball."
Drake's sports information staff contributed to this column. Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated.

No Failures


 The National Football League draft, which began a few minutes ago and is being viewed by thousands [or is it millions?] of people on TV, has taken on a life of its own.
Thar's not necessarily a good thing.
There are some first-round choices who will be instant multi-millionaires, but there will be plenty of other players picked in the later rounds who will be fighting for their football lives when the draft finally ends during the weekend.

Just because some elite running back was a standout in the Southeastern Conference or some 310-pound lineman muscled his way through collegiate games in the Big 12 Saturday after Saturday during the 2016 collegiate season doesn't signify automatic stardom, or even a roster spot, in the NFL.
Indeed, just a small fraction of the guys who were strapping on the pads in college will hear their names called in the draft.
Those players will be looking for jobs in accounting, engineering and teaching just like the college graduates [or non-graduates] who never put on a jockstrap or shoulder pads.
The point I'd like to stress is that just because a player isn't chosen in the NFL draft certainly doesn't mean he's a football failure.
Or any other kind of failure.
The chances are pretty good he'll make a lot of money doing something other than memorizing a playbook.

Monday, April 24, 2017


After going through most of my life without having to do much grocery shopping, l've been spending considerable time lately doing just that.
It seems like I'm going to either Fareway or HyVee [or both] every other day.
Indeed, I visited Fareway this morning, and managed to spend $37.01 in virtually no time.
I prefer Fareway over HyVee for several reasons.
One is that I don't have to take the groceries out of the cart at the checkout area. The checkout person does it.
Another reason is that someone--usually a kid aged 16 or 17--wheels the cart to my car and unloads the groceries into the trunk.
Yet another reason is the conversations I get into with whatever kid is wheeling the grocery cart to my car.
I'm sure you get into the same type of conversations when you do your grocery shopping at Fareway.
All of the carryout kids are polite. They always ask if I have any plans for the rest of the day.
I'm fairly certain Fareway's management instructs them to do that.
The checkout lady asked me the same thing today.
After joking today to the kid unloading my groceries that my only plan for the day was to try to stay out of trouble, he said he had a specific plan in mind for a later time.
"I'm going mushroom hunting," he said.
"Morel mushrooms?" I asked, trying to indicate to the kid that I know something about mushrooms.
Actually, the only thing I know about mushrooms is that I've never met one I didn't like.
I have a friend who wants to stay as far away from mushrooms as she can.
She has no interest in hunting them or eating them.
I'm different. I have no interest in hunting them. All I want to do is eat them.
Getting back to the Fareway carryout kid, I asked what he does with the morels after he finds them.
" I could sell them at a good price or take 'em home," he said.
"How does your family prepare them to be part of a meal," I asked.
"Just fry 'em up," he answered. "They taste great."
[A morel mushroom is pictured.]
Conversations on other days with other checkout kids have also been interesting.
A couple of years ago, a kid informed me that he was the Valley High School football player who kicked a long field goal that beat Johnston in a playoff game.
Another kid told me that he attends Roosevelt High School in Des Moines and is 6 feet 4 inches tall.
"I have a twin brother who also is 6-4," he added.
A while back when I was at Fareway on a Saturday, the girl wheeling the cart to my car asked, as instructed, if I had any plans for the rest of the day and night.
"I'm hoping to go to church at 5 o'clock," I said. "How about you?"
"We're having a party at our house," she said. "I know my sister will get drunk."
That's probably more information than I needed to get in a parking lot.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Cubs Are Ready for AARP


The Chicago Cubs should be
proud of themselves.

They became the posterboys today of both AARP and Medicare.

Bronson Arroyo, a 40-year-old pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds; ended the Cubs' 4-game winning streak, 7-5.

Arroyo's fastball has the velocity of the changeup thrown by pitchers half his age.

Rumor has it the Cubs were looking for a shuffleboard matchup later in the day at the Old Soldiers Home.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Music In the Night

Our granddaughter Claire is in her second year of performing with the acapella vocal group Boots & Cats at the University of Nebraska.

She is pictured with the group at its spring recital. In the photo, she is the featured singer in the group's presentation of "Hide Away."

Also pictured is Claire with her West Des Moines grandparents Ron and Maxine, and her parents Mark and Polly.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

My iPhone Thinks It Knows What I'm Doing


I'm wondering if something like this has ever happened to you.
I was scanning several web pages on my iPhone a few minutes ago when the following message suddenly appeared on the phone's screen:
"Ronald Wesley Maly is drinking Coors Light with Craig York at Starbucks located at 2800 University Avenue in West Des Moines."
I didn't know my iPhone or Apple, the company that manufactured it, cared so much about what I was doing on a Thursday afternoon.
I'd be tempted to call it an invasion of my privacy, but actually the message is so full of errors that it's hilarious.
When the message popped onto my phone, I was not at a Starbucks coffeehouse nor was I drinking Coors Light nor was I anywhere with Craig York.
I was [and still am] sitting on my Lazy Boy in the living room of my home.
I then was drinking coffee I brewed in my own coffeemaker, and I'm drinking coffee out of the same pot now.
Also, I am assuming Craig York, a relative of mine from Ladora, IA, was [and still is] working at his job in the eastern half of the state.
So the rumors of Craig and I enjoying Coors Light together this afternoon [as enjoyable as that sounds] are greatly exaggerated.
Another thing. As far as I know, Starbucks does not serve or sell Coors Light.
As I wrote earlier, do any of you get messages like that on your iPhone or any other phone? Let me know.

The raisin supreme looked too good to me today to pass up at Village Inn's free pie day. Everyone else in our group of writers, broadcasters, movers and shakers approved,

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


Be proud of yourself, Des Moines.
Raise a fist. Pound your chest.
The city has again landed the first and second rounds of an NCAA men's basketball tournament -- this time the 2019 event.
The games will be played March 21 and 23 at Wells Fargo Arena in downtown Des Moines [pictured].
Drake will be the host university, meaning Iowa state, Iowa and Northern Iowa would be eligible to play in the tournament.
Drake, however, wouldn't be eligible even though it stepped front and center and became the host school.
If you ask me, that's idiotic.
I'm not saying Drake's struggling men's basketball program will be strong enough to produce a team worthy of an invitation to the NCAA's Big Dance in two years, but it's ridiculous that a university whose president and athletic department officials were willing to host the first- and second-round games has no chance of its team being selected for the Des Moines event.
That's totally unlike the NCAA women's regulations, which permit host universities to have their teams in the tournaments they sponsor.
The host schools' presence vastly improves attendance in the first two games, and consequently the host team has a much better chance of succeeding.
Indeed, Drake's 2016-17 women's team--which was unbeaten in the Missouri Valley Conference's regular season and league tournament--had to play at host team Kansas State in Manhattan, Kan., in the first round of the NCAA tournament, and lost.
Whatever, Des Moines should be proud as hell.
The city did a wonderful job hosting 2016 first- and second-round games, and the NCAA noticed.
I'm confident Des Moines will stage another spectacular NCAA show in 2019.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Al Goes Rabbit Hunting


My Neighbor Al walked over for a cup of Italian Dark Dark Roast this morning.
"Did you have a good Easter?" I asked.
"So far," Al answered.

"What do you mean so far?" I asked.
"I won't know until I go to Walgreen's today to see if the Easter candy is 75 percent off like it usually is the day after the holiday." Al explained.
"Good luck on that," I asked. "Any particular type of Easter candy you're looking for?"
"Chocolate rabbits," Al answered. "I've liked 'em since I was a kid."
"Happy hunting on those rabbits," I said, "but don't waste a lot of time. Chocolate rabbits are an endangered species. Especially after Easter at Walgreen's."
"You're not telling me anything I don't know," Al said.
"If I can find more than one chocolate rabbit I'll give you one. I've.been hitting you hard on Italian Dark Roast lately, so a chocolate rabbit is the least I can do."
"Don't mention it, Al," I said. "I always enjoy your common sense, especially when it comes to shopping for chocolate ranbbits on the day after Easter."
"Pour me another cup " Al said.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

A Blessed & Happy Easter To You

A blessed and happy Easter from me and everyone in my family to you and everyone in your family.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

I Want One Of Those 108-Diamond Rings


My clock said 12:41 a.m .today when the defending world champion Chicago Cubs celebrated at Wrigley Field following a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

No Cub fan considered it a problem that the team they root for started their 2017 home opener Monday night and finished it Tuesday morning.
It was the night the Cubs raised the banner signifying that the 2016 team won the franchise's first World Series in 108 years.
The banner ceremony and the start of the game were delayed nearly 2 hours by rain.
Then the game took forever to play.
Hard telling what might develop Wednesday night when the players are awarded their championship rings.
Maybe you haven't heard about those rings.
Each one has 108 diamonds in it.
One diamond for every year between world championships.
I'm starting to think the rings are the largest ever manufactured.
I also think it would be fitting if Theo Epstein, the brains behind the Cub operation, awarded me one of those rings because I waited a hellacious amount of time to finally see the Cubs win a World Series.
I'll check my mailbox later today to see if Theo sent me my ring or if I'm supposed to go to Chicago to get it.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

I've Never Seen Anything Like It


As a kid, baseball was the first sport I played.
I was probably 5 or 6 years of age when I was hitting pitches thrown to me by my dad in our backyard on 18th Avenue Southwest in Cedar Rapids.
Nothing fancy about it.

The baseball was scuffed up and covered with dried mud bigtime like it had been rescued from a sewer, and the bat I was using was probably cracked and had been sitting in a dusty corner of our garage for 2 or 3 years.
But the shabby equipment served the purpose.
I learned how to hit a moving baseball. That was the important thing.
And that was a long, long time ago.
I bring that up because I had never seen anything like I saw on the telecast of today's Chicago Cubs-St. Louis Cardinals game.
And evidently there are lots of players, managers and announcers who'd never seen it either.
I'm talking about a baseball sticking to the chest protector of Cardinal catcher Jadier Molina [pictured courtesy of] that allowed Cubs batter Matt Szczur to reach first base after thinking he was out in the seventh inning.
Molina, one of the best and most experienced catchers in all of baseball, said he had never been involved in a situation where a baseball was stuck to his chest protector or any other catcher's chest protector.
I watched Molina being interviewed on TV following the game.
He seemed baffled.
Or else he was doing some thespian work and was just acting baffled.
He kept saying "I don't know" when asked how or why the baseball was sticking to his chest protector.
Finally, Molina displayed anger.
When asked if he had put a "foreign substance" [like pine tar] on the protector, he said, "That's a dumb question."
Sorry, Jadier, it was not a dumb question.
A few players interviewed after the game said it's common for catchers and other other players to put pine tar somewhere on their uniforms so they can get a better grip on the ball.
Pine tar is also used by hitters. They put it on the bat so they can grip it better. But no one said he had seen a baseball stuck to the chest protector of a catcher.
There were a lot of "I don't knows" after the game when reporters continued doing their interviews.
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, a former catcher, also said, “I hadn’t seen that before. I have no idea. Never seen it. That’s all I can tell you.”
The truth is, Matheny, Molina and other players and managers don't want the public to know what sort of foreign substance is on their uniforms during games.
You know what I mean. What happens on the field and in the clubhouse stays on the field and in the clubhouse.
Whatever, Molina's screwup with the baseball stuck to his chest protector was a key factor in 4-run seventh inning that enabled the Cubs to win, 6-4.
That was the best part of the afternoon.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Not Official


I'm going to keep this short and not so sweet. I know the scoreboard said North Carolina 71, Gonzaga 65, but I am not regarding it as the official end to the 2016-17 collegiate basketball season or the official end to the Big Dance and the Final Four. The only way it could have been official was if Gonzaga had won. Sorry about that, Tar Heels. It's just the way I feel.

You [And\ the Cubs] Can't Win 'Em All


I'm not sure which guy or girl had the good sense to first make the comment, "You can't win 'em all."
Maybe it was some wounded infantryman in the British army after George Washington and his American soldiers were victorious in the Revolutionary War in 1783.
Heck, for all I know, it was Martha Washington who first said it when husband George had a bad day before, during or after the war.
I'm certain that the Chicago Cubs have every right to deliver that "you can't win 'em all" line today after losing their 2017 opener last night to St. Louis, 4-3.
Take it from me, and probably from George Washington [pictured] and Martha Washington that there's rarely anything positive that can come out of a Cubs loss to the Cardinals.
The only good thing for the Cubs is that there are 161 more regular-season games, plus the playoffs, left to prove they're still the best team in baseball.
Eighteen of those remaining regular-season games are against St. Louis.
Unless it's slipped your mind, the Cubs ended a 108-year drought by winning the World Series last season.
In a way, however, the Cubs last night resembled Cub teams from more than 100 years that their fans are trying to forget.
Their offense was so impotent that they didn't score until the ninth inning, and their relief pitching was awful.
Thanks to the guy who put together the National League schedule, they don't have to play again until tomorrow night.

Saturday, April 1, 2017



"I'"I'm for Gonzaga!" was the comment Pastor James Brammeier used when he began his 5 p.m. service today at Mount Olive Lutheran Church.
That's about as ecumenical a Lutheran man of the cloth could get before the opening game of the NCAA Final Four classic in front of a whopping 77,612 fans at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ.
Gonzaga, after all, is a Catholic university in Spokane, Wash., that was founded in 1887 by the Society of Jesus.

Pastor Brammeier didn't exactly say he was praying that Gonzaga would win. So it would incorrect for me to say his prayers were answered.
But at least I can write that the pastor's wish was granted when
Gonzaga managed to defeat South Carolina, 77-73, to advance to Monday night's championship game agaist North Carolina, which got past Oregon, 77-76, in tonight's second game.
Its too bad the North Carolina victory isn't an April Fool's Day joke.
By the way, I told Pastor Brammeier [who is pictured] on the the way out of church that I, too, was hoping Gonzaga would win.
So the Zags made at least one Lutheran minister, me and the thousands [millions maybe?] of their fans by improving their record to a fantastic 37-1.
Not at all bad for a university with 7,421 students and a "mid-major" label hanging onto its logo.
But hey, listen, there was nothing mid-major about the way Gonzaga performed on the big stage today.
That was a class act all the way by coach Mark Few and his players.
Sad to say, North Carolina will be Gonzaga's opponent Monday night in the national championship game.
I'm fairly certain you know my feelings about the Tar Hels.
They've already won far too many games to suit me.
I was hoping Oregon would win, and it's too bad it didn't happen.