Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Gathering Storm

My middle brother, a civil engineer, received his undergraduate degree at Iowa State University in Ames. As a result, he is the only Cyclone fan in the family.

Prospective civil engineers from the Twin Cities often go to Iowa State for their degrees, and this is because Iowa State has the finest civil engineering school within a reasonable distance of the Twin Cities. My brother is one of countless civil engineers in Minneapolis/Saint Paul who received their initial engineering degrees in Ames before going on to seek advanced engineering degrees elsewhere.

My brother continues to keep up with all things Cyclone, and I was pleased for him that his alma mater defeated its arch rival, Iowa, in men’s basketball last night.

The heated in-state rivalry between Iowa and Iowa State generally results in a win for the home team. Until last night, Iowa State had not won in Iowa City since 2002, eight years ago—and, until last night, Iowa State had secured only five wins in Iowa City in the entire history of the rivalry.

Iowa State has a new men’s basketball coach this season, Fred Hoiberg. Hoiberg is a native of Ames and a former Iowa State player—and, until a few months ago, Hoiberg had been a long-time resident of the Twin Cities, where he first had played for and later had worked in the front office of the Minnesota Timberwolves.

I have never met Hoiberg, but my brother has met Hoiberg several times, most recently at a charity function the summer before last. My brother speaks very highly of Hoiberg, as does virtually everyone in the Twin Cities who has known Hoiberg. In fact, I have heard no one in the Twin Cities utter anything but high praise for Hoiberg.

Iowa State is lucky to have Hoiberg. Hoiberg will represent Iowa State well, he will represent the State Of Iowa well, and he will represent college basketball well. Iowa State Athletic Director Jamie Pollard was very shrewd when he offered the Iowa State job to Hoiberg.

Hoiberg is a very classy guy: intelligent, handsome, clean-cut, well-dressed, well-spoken and with a distinct All-American appeal. He presents himself very well, and he creates a very favorable impression.

Hoiberg (the photograph is from last night’s game in Iowa City) is everything that Iowa’s new coach, Fran McCaffery, is not. Indeed, Hoiberg is the virtual anti-McCaffery—and, for once, it was refreshing to see the good guy win last night, and on enemy premises, no less.

It is becoming harder and harder for my father and me to remain Hawkeye fans.

My father, like many Hawkeye fans, pretty much threw in the towel at the time McCaffery’s hiring was announced. Such a poor appointment was inexcusable, and served as proof irrefutable that Iowa has an idiot for Athletic Director.

Since the hapless Sally Mason, President of the University Of Iowa, has proven herself incapable of obtaining a grasp over her university’s athletic department, it will now become the duty of the Iowa Board Of Regents to attempt to clean up the sewer that has become Iowa athletics. The task will not be pretty—and, rightly, will cost numerous persons their jobs, including persons at the very highest levels of the university.

Last night’s game was not a particularly interesting contest, as neither team played well.

A journeyman player from Iowa State went off for a career-high 30 points, in large part because of unbelievably poor defense by Iowa’s Matt Gatens. Such hot shooting by the journeyman Iowa State player probably was the difference in the game.

Foul-mouthed, invective-spewing McCaffery received one technical foul—routine for McCaffery—and should have been issued a second technical foul and ejected from the game after he threw a clipboard a distance of twenty feet.

Iowa player Zach McCabe should have received a technical foul, too, for his repeated on-court use of the “F” word, including at least one use of the “F” word directed at a game official. What did McCabe do when issued a warning by the official? He high-fived another Iowa player and continued to utter the “F” word. At that point, McCabe unquestionably should have been ejected from the game.

This is a starkly skanky and sleazy crew in Iowa City, and the Iowa team members richly deserve the many misfortunes that continue to befall them. I enjoy seeing the losses mount, knowing that each loss quickens the inevitable housecleaning that will come. A gathering storm approaches Iowa City.

At game’s end, a lost and bewildered Matt Gatens looked—literally—like a Martian.

At the same time, Gatens also looked—alas—like a Methadone addict.

Gatens, only a junior, is already old enough to have graduated from college—in Iowa, basic arithmetic apparently is conducted in dog years—and, if Gatens had any sense, he would already have ended his basketball playing days and begun to move on with his life.

It would behoove him to do so at once.


For the last ten days, Joshua has been studying for his exams, which begin next week.

Back home, my family has two birthdays to celebrate this weekend, a weekend also marked by the onset of winter weather in Minnesota.

My niece celebrated her second birthday last night at a grand celebration at my parents’ house (her actual birthday was Thursday, but the celebration was delayed until last night). My older brother will celebrate his thirty-sixth birthday tomorrow at a second grand celebration at my parents’ house.

I wish Josh and I were home to join in the celebrations—but at least we will be going home for Christmas on the morning of the 23rd.


  1. At a wrestling meet last Saturday in Iowa City, an Iowa wrestler picked up a Michigan State wrestler after the whistle had been blown and when both wrestlers were out of bounds. The Iowa guy slammed the MSU guy into the coaches’ chairs. The Iowa fans gave him a standing ovation. I don't think anything could possibly be worse sportsmanship than that.

  2. Matt Gatens does not have a Methadone problem. He has a weed problem and a COCAINE problem.

    He is, however, very definitely a Martian. He is very, very, very strange. His whole family is very, very, very strange.

    He has a much older sister, Meg, who dates one of the student managers on the Iowa basketball team, Brandon Morris. Meg Gatens is very unattractive, a real horse face, and she is one of the biggest sluts in town. Her boyfriend actually tweets about her going down on him—and none of these sleazy people are capable of any embarrassment, no matter how awful their antics. Corn bred, inbred, as they say.

    The word here in town is that the NCAA has its tendrils in the program over shenanigans going back years in the university’s gaming of mandatory drug-testing for NCAA athletes. Gonna be interesting. It may take out half the football team and more than half the basketball team.

  3. Didn't you notice that the Iowa player Zach McCabe high-fived after being warned by the ref over his language was none other than cokehead Matt Gatens? And it was cokehead Gatens, not McCabe, that initiated the high five. I would have thrown them both out of the game at that point.

  4. Dave, I don't think you should play favorites between Matt's sisters. Nicole Gatens, who works for Athletico in Chicago, is just as much a slut as Megan Gatens. Both are notorious, and have been for years.

    Matt's mother, Julie, is also notorious. I have photos of a very drunk Julie (and not in what can be described as appealing positions) that never should see the light of day.

    The whole family is made up of Martians.

  5. Any further “slut” comments will be deleted. My policy has always been to delete comments only when they contain objectionable language—my mother, after all, reads my blog—but any further “slut” comments will result in an instant change of policy. Such comments will be deemed unacceptable and will be eliminated.

    Comment Two would already have been deleted except that I was able to ascertain that, yes, indeed, the Iowa student basketball manager did in fact tweet publicly about the activity in question, which makes the matter already one of public record, however unappealing it may be.

    Commenter Four: I would have deleted you except for the fact that the cat was already out of the bag by the time you entered your comment in the middle of the night—but, please, I beg you, stop sending me emails with photos of some drunken woman. Do you honestly think I am going to post such things here?

    Martian comments are fair game, since I raised the Martian matter myself, in jest, and simply because the second photograph in my post quite clearly does make Matt Gatens look like a Martian.

  6. I check my blog only every two or three days, if that, and I noticed a short time ago that this particular post has received over 700 visitors from the Iowa State Rivals Forum since 8:00 p.m. last night.

    I would appreciate enlightenment, since I was unable to visit the Iowa State Rivals Forum—apparently a private, members-only forum, unless one is willing to shell out $99.95 for an annual membership—and I am curious to see the source of the referrals.

  7. I'm from the Rivals board--got here when a forum member posted a link to this blog. His entire post: "Iowa venom: mostly good on us except he does diss Scottie kind of hard and saying he wasn't guarded is wrong but mostly this blogger turns on his own hawkeyes" followed by a link here. I don't think the poster will mind me quoting him.

    Nice blog post, btw. I'm the same as your brother--Minnesota raised, went to school at ISU for engineering. Stayed in Iowa though!

  8. Over on the Spartan Tailgate tonight, Michigan State fans are crucifying Iowa players for their rampant use of drugs.

    And they are naming names.

    It is all coming on the heels of today's news about drug use by athletes in Iowa City.

  9. I just listened to a podcast of a Des Moines radio program from this morning.

    The sportscasters called Kirk Ferentz and Gary Barta liars, which seems fair under the circumstances.

  10. Both Ferentz and Barta should be fired, and I suspect both shall be before long.

    Iowa is now below Arkansas and West Virginia on the sleaze scale. Such was unimaginable ten years ago.

  11. From the Amphisbaena Whisperer
    (January, 2011):

    (Los Angeles) Hollywood agent Christiana Phalately recently announced that she had successfully recruited University of Iowa basketball player Matt Gatens to star in a new television bio movie based upon the life of stage and tv actor Ray Walston. "Ray and Bill," to be sponsored by Coke on CBS, will be set in the 1960's during the production of "My Favorite Martian."

  12. I missed "My Favorite Martian", although I have heard about it.

    Ray Walston always struck me as a sourpuss. He had one of those faces one instantly recognizes, but cannot quite place.

    His obituary notes that he appeared in "Paint Your Wagon". I do not remember him in that film.

    Coke, of course, appears to be the ideal sponsor for the TV project.

    Will filming of the television movie interfere with "Matt Gatens As Chita Rivera"? I wish Josh would provide some updates about the course of the latter production.

    December 17, 2010 8:41 PM

  13. I didn't see "My Favorite Martian" much because it always aired on Sunday evenings when my family was never at home. Ray Walston is most famous to "boomers" as "Uncle Martin" the martian. For me, Walston will always be con artist "Billis" in the 1958 film version of "South Pacific," one of my mother's favorite movies.

    "Paint Your Wagon" was one of my late father's favorite movies. I believe this film provides the only opportinity for one to mention Andre Previn and Clint Eastwood in the same breath. Dad's favorite line from the film is uttered by Lee Marvin's character after the town parson falls through the earth into a gold-collecting shaft: "Howdie, preacher, welcome to hell!"

    My own favorite line from "Paint Your Wagon" is also spoken by Marvin's character, who has corrupted a missionary's virgin son by introducing him to "Belle," one of the saloon "ladies," outside of whose upstair room the teenager is thereafter rarely seen again. Missing his protege, Marvin walks up to proprietor Harve Presnell and asks, "Where's the future father of our country?"

    Ray Walson had a forgettable part as one of the townsfolks of "No Name City."

    I haven't heard anything new regarding Matt Gatens' association with "Chita" (TAW has been silent). I also am waiting on Josh.

    I think that it is in Gatens' best interest not only to drop out of basketball but to drop out of school as well, given the new career opportunities coming his way.


    Changing the subject, did you see the New York Time's tribute yesterday to Robert Schumann? Not a single critic mentoned Mazur's Teldec recording of the four Symphonies.

  14. I did not realize that Walston had appeared in “South Pacific”, too. May I presume that he was given a bit part in “The Sound Of Music” as well? Perhaps playing one of the Nazi villains? Or one of the Von Trapp children?

    I just read the Schumann piece you noted. The short texts each critic had written were foolish. Many of the disc choices were poor. None of the critics had anything worthwhile to offer on the subject of Schumann or Schumann performance.

    I am not familiar with Masur’s Schumann cycle on Teldec. Is it better than Masur’s earlier Schumann cycle with Leipzig?

    I await Marin Alsop’s Schumann cycle.

  15. Yes, all those choices by the Times' critics were pretty lame. Leonard Bernstein's symphony cycle over Szell's, Karajan's (1971), and Mazur's? Please!

    I always loved the three alternatives above, valuing the more recent Mazur readings over and above Dohnanyi's and Karajan's (1977), which bore me (the latter) and frustrate me (the former).

    I don't think, however, that I have heard Mazur's Leipzig record. It seems at this time that this set is no longer in print.

    I don't remember Ray Walston having a part in "The Sound of Music." The only other film I recall seeing him in is "Popeye," in which he plays "Poopdeck Pappy."

  16. Myself, I am partial to the Clint Eastwood Schumann Symphony cycle. Many people are unaware that, during post-production of “Paint Your Wagon”, Andre Previn gave Eastwood conducting lessons. Previn discovered Eastwood’s profound musical talent while rehearsing Eastwood in “I Talk To The Trees”.

    Those conducting lessons resulted in Eastwood receiving a recording contract with the now-defunct Telefunken label, the finest fruit of which remains Eastwood’s incomparable recording of Boulez’s “Pli Selon Pli”, no longer available (but much-prized on the after-market).

    I have always regretted that, owing to poor sales, Eastwood lost his recording contract. Eastwood was in the midst of a compete Bruno Maderna cycle when Telefunken pulled the plug.

  17. I'm surprised then that Eastwood did not compose and also conduct the soundtrack scores to the movies he directed himself, as John Carpenter did for HIS films. I think "Unforgiven" would have been a better film with a Maderna-style underscoring.

    Of course, you know that I was alluding earlier to Kufu Mazur, not Kurt Masur, right? Mazur was a student of Surge Cheleebaddacha, a student in turn of Elmer Burnstien. Mazur also had a short-lived contract with Teldec, with whom he documented not only that Schumann Symphony cycle, but also the complete Symphonies of Marin Alsop - all 13 of them - with the same orchestra as the Schumann set, the mighty Orlando Philharmonic.

    I was able to hear the concert performances of all thirteen at the Bobb Carr Performing Arts Center last year, on February 10. My favorite among them is the Eighth, in one sonata-form movement, subtitled, "Nanosym IIX for Strings" and dedicated to the memory of Samuel Barber - a work that Guiness now recognizes as the world's shortest symphony, having a running time of approximately eleven and a half seconds.

    The Alsop set hasn't yet been released, but I understand that you can pre-order it at