Friday, May 19, 2006

You Get It All--Talented Jane Pauley, Ditzy Deborah Norville, Clyde The Orangutan, a Stadium Still Named In Honor Of a Sportswriter, Plus Dimmer Bulbs

As I consistently point out, a severe case of memory loss has robbed me of my ability to remember anything about certain people.

One is someone named Mike Gartner.

Although I don't have the slightest idea who Gartner is, who he was or what he does, my readers evidently have not forgotten him.

I have received even more e-mail this week about the guy.

Here goes, starting with a message from Bud Appleby of Des Moines:

"For anyone who thinks Michael Gartner might have forced some administrators to leave the University of Iowa, they just need to remember that he once shoved a talented Jane Pauley out the door of the 'Today' show and replaced her with ditzy Deborah Norville.

"What a jerk."

Bud Appleby

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Obviously, Appleby isn't having any memory problems. When he digs up the names of Pauley [lower right] and Norville [lower left] from NBC-TV history, he demonstrates that his mind is sharp as a tack. I asked Appleby if he wanted his real name used, along with his pointed comments, in this column, and he wrote, "As far as I know, it isn't libelous to call a jerk a jerk, so you can use my name." Some discussions on the Internet, of course, use such phony names as "Pissed Off In Pisgah" and "Shorty From Southern Iowa" as contributors. Appleby is a retired writer and editor at the Des Moines Register. Rumor has it that Gartner also drew a few paychecks there. By the way, Appleby's reference to University of Iowa administrators had to do with rumors that Gartner influenced the exits from the state of David Skorton, president at the Univeristy of Iowa, and Bob Bowlsby, the school's athletic director.]

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"Doug From Davenport" also wrote about Gartner, as well as the laughable search for a new school superintendent in Des Moines.

Here's Doug's e-mail:

"Have you followed Mike Gartner's attempts to buy the Class A Midwest League baseball team [in Davenport]? He failed for now, but I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't make another run at the team owned by Kevin Krause, a son of Kum and Go mogul William. Kevin Krause owed the city about $420,000 for his share of stadium renovation and was dragging his heels because he didn't think he owed that much. Literally at the last moment, he sent the team's mascot, Clyde The Orangutan, with a check for the city and Gartner's plan to buy the team for what appeared to be a very sweet price ... for Gartner anyway ... failed. It was high drama in minor league sports. A great stadium, by the way, if the river isn't on the rampage.

"When I read that everyone in Des Moines was shocked that the school superintendent was leaving, I read the story, even though I didn't really care whether the person stayed or left. In the Quad Cities, we have school administrators jump across the river from Iowa to Illinois quite often and sometimes they don't even have to move their residence. If you look deeper, it is usually because they are able to begin collecting their pension for their experience in Iowa, but can still go over to Illinois to higher-paying jobs for a few years, possibly work long enough to qualify for another pension, and not affect the pension they are collecting from Iowa. It's classic double dipping. I read the Register every morning on-line and I don't think I've seen money mentioned as a reason why the super left.

"Keep up the good blogging."

Doug From Davenport

[RON MALY'S COMMENTS: Many thanks to you, Doug, for reminding me of the great baseball tradition in the Quad Cities, specifically Davenport. I can recall attending many games as a kid at what is now called John O'Donnell Stadium in Davenport [pictured]. Unlike the money-hungry owners of the Iowa Cubs, those who run the Swing of the Quad Cities -- a team in the Class A Midwest League -- have retained the name of the ballpark, which was named in honor of the late Quad City Times sports editor, John O'Donnell. For a long time, the I-Cubs' ballpark was named Sec Taylor Stadium in honor of the late Des Moines Register sports editor, and still should be. Instead, the naming rights -- shamefully -- were sold to an insurance company whose name I have forgotten. Also gone from my memory permanently is the name of the owner of the team. I now refer to the stadium as "No-Name Ballpark--Sorry About That, Sec." Look at it this way, Doug. If John O'Donnell Stadium had changed ownership, you could have figured that the new name of the place would be something like Rath Packinghouse Hog-Kill Sausage and Bacon Ballpark, or some equally idiotic name -- if you know what I mean. I plan to see a game soon in Davenport, as long as the ballpark is still called John O'Donnell Stadium. I want to get an up-close look at Clyde The Orangutan [pictured]. Maybe he'll give me a check, too. As for the school superintendent search in Des Moines, it has turned into what it really is -- a fiasco. I've forgotten about that, too. See you at the ballpark, Doug. I'll buy the popcorn].

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[Ron Maly is a four-time Iowa Sportswriter of the Year and also is the best-selling author of "Tales from the Iowa Sidelines," which is in its second printing as both a hardback and softback book. The book is about the rich football tradition at the University of Iowa. Maly has a heck of a lot of fun doing what he's doing. Ron's columns about sports, newspapers, his family, medicine, travel, the people he knows, the people he doesn't know, a few people he'd like to know better, a few people he once knew and is trying to forget, a few people he has already forgotten, and anything else that trips his trigger appear regularly at and].

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[Photos courtesy of Jane Pauley's family, Deborah Norville's family, NBC-TV, Google, The Saturday Evening Post, Norman Rockwell's family, Swing of the Quad Cities, Clyde The Orangutan's family, Clyde The Orangutan's photo album, Stars and Stripes, Pravda, Viditelny Macek].