Wednesday, June 21, 2017

You See One Bullfight, You've Seen 'Em All


I got into a conversation with a guy today about bullfighting.
I'll call the guy Ralph because that was his name.
"Have you ever been to a bullfight?" Ralph asked me.
"Yes, I have," I said. "We went to one in Madrid several years ago when we were traveling through Spain.
"What did you think of it?" Ralph asked.
"You see one bullfight, you've seen 'em all," I answered.
"I don't like violence, so I don't need to ever see another bullfight. I always know the outcome. "The bull never wins."
The mention of bullfighting brings up a related subject.
The running of the bulls is what I'm referring to.
That's done in early July every summer in Pamplona, Spain.
It's called a festival.
A bunch of bulls are turned loose so they run through the streets of Pamplona, and a large number of idiots wearing white outfits run alongside the bulls or in front of them.
That's an event [pictured] which can, be very dangerous for those men [and, for all I know, maybe women] dressed in the white clothing.
People have been known to die or get seriously injured when the bulls run.
There was a time when I might have wanted to watch the running of the bulls.
Not anymore.
I've pulled in my horns, so to speak.
Well, as far as watching people and bulls running through a street anyway.
The closest I've been to the running of the bulls was on another vacation through Europe--that one entirely by train.
A guy had boarded our train somewhere--maybe Italy, maybe France, I've forgotten the exact country--and I did what you're supposed to do when you hear the voice of an American in Europe.
"Where are you coming from?" I asked the guy.
I can't remember what his name was, but I don't think it was Ralph.
"From the running of the bulls in Spain," the guy said.
"Did you like it?" I asked.
"Loved it," he said. "You should go."
"Maybe someday," I said.
For me, someday is a long way away for the running of the bulls.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Good Day and a Good Night


It's been a good day and a good night.
One of the reasons was, even though these are troubled times worldwide, I didn't have to write anything today about people dying.
A factor in why it was a good night was that the Cubs won and the Brewers lost.

Consequently, the defending world champion Cubs are only a half-game behind first-place Milwaukee in the National League Central standings.
That's saying something because that Chicago ballclub with far too many millionaire players has been scuffling throughout the first 2 1/2 months of the 2017 season.
I was about ready to send manager Joe Maddon back to Tampa Bay for a batboy to be named later.
Another reason I'm in a pretty good mood is because I'm finally getting a chance to write about two of my favorite movie actresses--Lauren Bacall and Audrey Hepburn.
The Turner Clvassic Movie channel is on a lot in my home, and wouldn't you know it, I saw Bacall in "The Big Sleep" and Hepburn in "Breakfast At Tiffany's" and "My Fair Lady" on TCM in the past week..
That's what I'd call perfect timing and beauty at its best.
For a second or two, I was even thinking about labeling Bacall and Hepburn my two TCM girlfriends [imaginary, of course], but I abandoned that idea very quickly.
A lot of church people--even a couple of pastors, maybe a priest or two, and three or four altar boys--read these essays, so you won't ever catch me using the word girlfriend in anything I write.
Besides, both Bacall [pictured] and Hepburn are now acting on the big screen and stage in the sky.
People tell me that dead women don't make ideal girlfriends.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Horribly Sad


This is something that's more than sad.
It's horribly sad.
It's something that leaves me with many more questions than answers.

As the father of three sons who are in their 50s. It makes me mad as hell.
Otto Warmbier will never experience his 50th birthday.
Or his 40fh or even his 30th.
That's because Otto Warmbier died today at 22.
What makes the University of Virginia student's death so horribly sad is that he had spent 17 months in captivity In the lousy nation of North Korea, and he no doubt had been tortured in those 18 months.
I recall writing a few days that North Korea is a place that blown off the map.
I haven't changed my mind.
Warmbier [pictured] was in a coma when North Korea sent him home.
You know and I know that North Korea tortured him.
I know his parents feel that way.
"Unfortunately, the awful tortuous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible...." his parents told reporters.
What North Korea did was inexcusable.
I cannot imagine what Otto Warmbier's parents are going through.
Hopefully, Trump and others in Washington will take whatever action is necessary in this horribly sad situation.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Scandinavia Here We Come


Another Maly father--Ron and Maxine's oldest son Lonn--hit the road, or rather the air, late on Father's Day with his youngest daughter ShelbyKate for a 2-week trip to Norway and Sweden. Lonn is going overseas for business reasons. Shelby went to see friends in the Scandinavian nations, and because she's a world traveler. She's already spent considerable time in Africa, Costa Rica and India.

Maly Dads Minus One

Ron and granddaughter Claire have a conversation.
Maxine tries out one of new deck chairs the kids and grandkids gave Ron for Fathers Day.
Maly dads Mark, Ron and Kevin and their families dined on such things as lobster, ribs and salmon from the outdoor smoker, baked potatoes, salads and melon at a Fathers Day feast at Mark and Polly's home. Topping off the food were 2 desserts prepared by Ron and Maxine's granddaughter Claire--one chocolate, one cherry.
Ron enjoys a glass of French Chardonnay on Fathers Day on Mark and Polly's deck. Ron said the second glass was even better.

A Great Day


Three fathers--this one and 2 of our 3 sons, Mark and Kevin--will be celebrating Father's Day today with our families at Mark and Polly's home in West Des Moines.
Another father in the family--our oldest son Lonn--will be observing part of Father's Day in a much different way. He will be en route to Norway and Sweden on a 2-week business trip. Accompanying him will be his daughter [and one of our 6 grandchildren] ShelbyKate, a senior-to-be at Concordia-Moorhead Universityy,
Two other important fathers--my dad Julius William Maly and Maxine's dad Henry Carl George Koehn--will again be celebrating Father's Day in Heaven, where they'll have lots of company. I sure wish they could be with us today.
A very Happy Father's Day to all fathers out there. Enjoy this wonderful day with your families.

Friday, June 16, 2017

God Help Us


I have never fought in a war, but one of my sons did. There have been far too many wars that have been fought throughout my lifetime. Far too many American lives have been lost in those wars. It breaks my heart when one--just one--U.S. military person loses his or her life in any war. I have lived through World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam Nam War, the Invasion of Panama, the Persian Gulf War, the Iraq War and now the horrible mess in Afghanistan. Now Trump and his military leaders want to send 4,000 more American troops to Afghanistan. That  sickens me. Heaven help us. God help us. 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

This One Will Warm You Up


This is my kind of sports story.
Chris Singleton, whose mother was one of the victims in the South Carolina church shooting in 2015, was selected on the third and final day of the major league baseball draft today, going as the last pick of the 19th round to the Chicago Cubs.
ESPN reported that Singleton [pictured] just finished his junior season at Charleston Southern, where he was an outfielder.
He started all 51 games for the team, finishing the season with 18 stolen bases, 38 runs scored, 10 doubles and four home runs. He was among the nation's leaders with 10 outfield assists.
I'm glad the Cubs drafted Singleton, and I hope he someday plays for them.

Paul and I Remember Nickel Coffee

I was chatting an hour ago with Paul Morrison, the marvelous man who will celebrate his 100th birthday July 25.
Paul maybe didn't draw plans for the contruction of Old Main on the Drake campus, but he came close.
Paul and I were among the usual group of writers, broadcasters, sports fans. hangers-on and one lawyer [hey, our group sometimes needs legal protection] who showed up for coffee-and-free-pie-day at Village Inn in West Des Moines.
Paul and I remember when we could each get a cup of coffee and free refills for a nickel.
Now I don't even know if they still make nickels.
"Boy, $2.49 for a cup of coffee," Paul said as he glanced at his bill.
"Yes, but we didn't get free pie when the coffee was 5 cents," I pointed out. "And the refills on the $2.49 coffee are free."
"Always thinking positively, right, Ron?" Paul said,
I try to do my best, Paul.
Paul [pictured] had apple pie to go, I had key lime and polished it all off in the building.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Heaven Help Us


If you are still having difficulty believing that we are living in a screwed-up world at a very screwed-up time in history, consider this: Dennis Rodman, a 6-foot 8-inch circus clown and former professional basketball player whose body is heavily tattooed and whose dyed hair changes color every day, is on his fifth trip to North Korea, a nation that is a major threat to start World War III and should be blown off the map.
Rodman evidently is in North Korea for no particular reason except to further his own image as perhaps the most laughable person on earth. Barnum & Bailey's circus tent has been folded forever, but Rodman is continuing to act like he, the bearded lady and the 6-legged man want to keep the Big Show alive. The elephants, lions and monkeys have gone back to the jungle to retire as long as their Social Security and pension checks don't bounce, but Rodman keeps us laughing.
As far as I know, the circus act in the White House [named Trump] didn't send Rodman to North Korea. But I guess I'm not 100 percent sure of that. Circus performers are friends for life. Rodman [he's the goofball in the picture] appeared on Trump's old Appentice TV show twice, and maybe the two of them now whisper sweet nothings into each other's ear with their iPhones every night of the week.
For all I know, Rodman has has some illegitimate thing going on with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Who knows what tnose guys do behind closed doors? Heck, maybe Rodman IS representing Trump in North Korea. If that's the case, heaven help us all.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Looking for a Thai Restaurant In Vladivostok


Sometimes when I'm thinking of things we've never done, but might like to do, is to take the Trans-Siberian Railway trip from Moscow to Vladivostok. Not this year, maybe next year. We've been to Moscow, but not Vladivostok. I've always wanted to visit Vladivostok so I can see if there are any good Thai restaurants in the city of 606,653. By the way, the Trans-Siberian Raiilway is not confused with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, which often performs in the U.S., including our state.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Kinnick Wall Of Fame Revisited


While attending a meeting in West Des Moines this week, someone asked me about the Media Wall of Fame in the Kinnick Stadium press box at the University of Iowa.
It was nice of that person to ask.

She had noticed in one of my Facebook essays that I was one of 20 charter members of the Wall of Fame.

Instead of me writing more about the honor that took place 11 years ago, I'll reprint an announcement from the University of Iowa and a column I wrote on one of my websites about the the who, what and why of the whole deal:

There was this announcement from the University of Iowa:

The new press box at Kinnick Stadium will feature a Wall of Fame to recognize members of the news media and the University of Iowa’s own public relations staff.

“We want to honor those individuals who have covered Hawkeye football with integrity, accuracy, and fairness over a long period of time,” said Iowa Athletic Director Bob Bowlsby, in making the announcement. “We believe a Wall of Fame in the new press box at Kinnick Stadium is an appropriate way to do so.”

The Wall of Fame’s first class includes 20 men who will be recognized at Iowa’s football game Oct. 28 with Northern Illinois. Together, they have a total of 780 seasons covering Hawkeye football.

“This is an extraordinary group that has reported on the past 84 years of Iowa football,” said Bowlsby. “They knew all the great coaches and players during that time, and witnessed all the great games. We are fortunate to have had them chronicle the Hawkeyes.”

Listed alphabetically, they are:

Bob Brooks, WSUI Iowa City, 1943-48; KCRG Cedar Rapids, (Deceased).

Bob Brown, Ft. Dodge Messenger, 1956-1993. (Deceased).

Gene Claussen, KXIC Iowa City, 1948-86. (Deceased)

Tait Cummins, Cedar Rapids Gazette, 1939-47; WMT Cedar Rapids, 1948-70. (Deceased)

Al Grady, Iowa City Press-Citizen, 1951-87; Voice of the Hawkeyes, 1988-2002. (Deceased)

Ron Gonder, KRNT Des Moines, 1965-68; WMT Cedar Rapids, 1969-99.

Jerry Jurgens, Quad City Times, 1945-77. (Deceased)

Ron Maly, Des Moines Register, 1959-99.

Bert McGrane, Des Moines Register, 1922-63. (Deceased)

Frosty Mitchell, KGRN Grinnell, 1960-85; WMT Cedar Rapids, 1986-96.

John O’Donnell, Quad City Times, 1925-67. (Deceased)

Gus Schrader, Iowa City Press Citizen, 1950; Cedar Rapids Gazette, 1951-78. (Deceased),

L.E. “Ike” Skelley, Associated Press, 1929-58. (Deceased)

Russ Smith, Waterloo Courier, 1955-90. (Deceased).

Bud Suter, UI Athletic Relations Director, 1955-74. (Deceased)

Buck Turnbull, Des Moines Register, 1952-93.

Maury White, Des Moines Register, 1946-88. (Deceased)

Eric Wilson, UI Sports Information Director, 1924-68. (Deceased)

George Wine, UI Sports Information Director, 1968-93. (Deceased).

Jim Zabel, WHO Des Moines, 1949-2000. (Deceased).

Brooks covered more than 60 years of Hawkeye football. Zabel, Grady and Schrader were on the scene for at least 50 years each.

McGrane and Wilson covered the Hawkeyes when they still played on the east side of the Iowa River and, along with Skelley, reported on the first game at Kinnick Stadium in 1929. Those three, plus Cummins and O’Donnell, chronicled the legendary 1939 Ironmen, starring Nile Kinnick.

Cummins, Grady, Maly, McGrane, Turnbull and Wine have all written books on Hawkeye football.

The Wall of Famers were selected by a committee appointed by Bowlsby. Additional individuals will be honored in future years.

* * *

Now for some personal comments from me that appeared in print in 2006.

Thank you, University of Iowa.

Thank you Bob Bowlsby.

Thank you, George Wine, and everyone else else who had something to do with establishing the Wall of Fame.

I am humbled.

On behalf of all of us in the charter group, I am grateful that Iowa and Bowlsby chose to honor those who were able to share the rich tradition of University of Iowa football by writing and talking about it over all these years.

"This was all Bob Bowlsby's idea," said George Wine. "He asked me one day if I'd like to get involved with the Wall of Fame in the new press box.

"It's a nice thing for him to do, and I think it's appropriate. He has an appreciation for people like you and the others who covered the Hawkeyes for all those years. Bob is an Iowa native who has followed the scene down here for a long time."

[At the time, Bowlsby was winding up 15 years as Iowa's athletic director and was preparing to take a similar job at Stanford. He spearheaded the drive to make the $90 million improvements in Kinnick Stadium -- the new press box being a big part of it. Bowlsby's successor is Gary Barta of the University of Wyoming. Bowlsby now is commisioner of the Big 12 Conference].

"Bowlsby explained to me earlier this year what he had in mind for the Wall of Fame, and said he needed someone to pull it all together," Wine said. "So I told him I'd think about it. I got hold of Phil Haddy and Tom Bauer. The three of us basically selected the 20 people for the Wall of Fame."

Haddy succeeded Wine as Iowa's sports information director. He now is retired from that job. Bauer worked in various capacities at the university for many years.

"Once my committee got the 20 names together, we ran them by Bowlsby," Wine said. "He told me to start working on having plaques made of the 20 members. I have the plaques ordered, and I think they'll be very nice-looking.

"They will be gold, etched in black. I'm going over to the new press box Friday to determine which wall they'll be on."

Wine said the Wall of Fame will be in the press section on the fourth level at the north end of the new press box.

It's sad that all 20 members can't be present for the Oct. 27 dinner at the Iowa Athletic Club and the Oct. 28 game at Kinnick Stadium.

As I think of that, the years are on rewind in my mind as I write.

I think of those no longer with us.

I think of Gus Schrader, the longtime sports editor at the Cedar Rapids Gazette, who gave me my first sportswriting job when I was 15 years of age. I once said I'd work at the Gazette for nothing. And that's about what I got. I was paid 75 cents an hour. But I wouldn't have traded it for anything.

I think of Bert McGrane, who came out of the Grantland Rice school of sportswriting and wrote such wonderful game stories for the Register. I had the pleasure of working in the same office with Bert late in his career. As a 24-year-old, first-year copy editor/one-night-a-week bowling-columnist, I'd use his typewriter to write stories -- hoping there'd still be some magic in the keys after he'd gone home for the day.

I think of Maury White, the sports columnist/reporter who was still showing up in the Register's offices in his 80s. He died the way he wanted to die. He collapsed on the newsroom floor -- probably after he'd written something clever --and went to the big press box in the sky a few days later. No one worked harder than Maury.

I think of Al Grady, the Iowa City writer and Hawkeye sports historian who defied death several times -- probably because he wanted to see one more Iowa victory over Michigan. If anyone bled black-and-gold, it was Al.

I think of Tait Cummins, the sportswriter-turned-broadcaster whom I listened to as a kid regularly on WMT-radio in Cedar Rapids.

I think of John O'Donnell, the man who knew everybody and called every one of them "Coach."

I think of Eric Wilson, the intense veteran of 44 years in the information business at Iowa.

I think of Bud Suter, who told me over lunch in 1965 that he thought Forest Evashevski would came back after his earlier success to coach Iowa again. Too bad it didn't happen.

I am honored to be included in the same list of Wall of Famers as my friend Buck Turnbull. Buck and I still exchange war stories. The best thing was that both of us were fortunate to cover sports during the golden age at the Register.

There are, of course, some talented broadcast heavyweights included in the List of 20.

One is Jim Zabel, who spent the last half of the 20th century living and dying with the Hawkeyes for WHO-radio in Des Moines. Zabel is now deceased.

Another is Bob Brooks, the veteran Cedar Rapids announcer who watched Nile Kinnick and the Ironmen play in 1939. Brooksie has also gone to the big press box in the sky.

Another is Ron Gonder, a man I got to know when he worked for KRNT in Des Moines in the 1960s, then went on to a standout career at WMT in Cedar Rapids. He's a master storyteller and an excellent person.

Frosty Mitchell covered the Hawkeyes for 25 years for KGRN in Grinnell, then bought WMT and did Iowa games for the Cedar Rapids station for another 10 years.

George Wine, who became Iowa's second sports information director in 1968 and later wrote a book about Hayden Fry and another about Hawkeye sports, was among those of us who suffered through 19 straight non-winning football seasons at Iowa. "As Jim Zabel says, 'There were one or two bad decades in there,'" Wine said with a laugh. Wine and Zabel are now deceased.

To all the others in the Wall of Fame -- Bob Brown [deceased] of the Fort Dodge Messenger, Russ Smith of the Waterloo Courier deceased], the late Jerry Jurgens of the Quad City Times, the late Gene Claussen of KXIC in Iowa City and the late Ike Skelley of the Associated Press -- I join Iowa in saying, "Thanks for a job well done."

Iowa has added others to the Wall of Fame, including Rick Brown [Bob Brown's son] since the charter members were named.

The attached photo is of me and my entire family in the press box in front of the Wall of Fame on the weekend the charter members were honored.

Included in the family photo in addition to me are my wife Maxine, sons Lonn, Mark and Kevin, their wives Julie, Polly and Donna, and grandchildren Cole, Jerika, Shelby, Claire, Nate and Megan.

Obviously, the grandkids were much younger and much smaller 11 years ago than they are now.

Indeed, our family has grown by one since the photo was taken. Cole married Danielle last July 30. We love her a lot, and she's a wonderful addition.