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March 2008

All Over the Map
by Rob Grace
March 26, 2008

Well, the past week has been very busy for your humble scribe. So, it is with regret that I inform you I do not have a column this week.

I know. I know. Some of you are likely distraught at this news. Some of you might even be throwing a noose over a tree limb right now, as well. But fear not, I will return next week with news of my journey to Columbus, Ohio to see Mr. Bruce Springsteen in concert, and in the meantime, I encourage you to visit my blog, www.suburbanvoodoo.blogspot.com, for your entertainment pleasure.

Until next week, I wish you well, good health and for goodness sake, put down the rope.

Rob is the president of W.R.D. Entertainment. Feel free to e-mail him at rgmax99@yahoo.com, and check out his blog: www.suburbanvoodoo.blogspot.com.

All Over the Map
by Rob Grace
March 19, 2008

With the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas, I absolutely loathe the period of time from Halloween until we move our clocks ahead an hour.

When 5:15 in the afternoon brings darkness, I ain't happy. When I have to warm up my car because arctic conditions reign supreme outside, I ain't happy. When the long underwear comes out of the drawer, I ain't happy. When the rain is ice cold and the wind chill brings a bitter and sharp freeze, I ain't happy. And when my beloved Cardinals pack up the dugout, Uncle Rob ain't happy.

Yet just as all good things come to an end, all bad things must end as well. The sun is now setting later in the day. It's over 50 degrees as I write these words. And Mike Shannon is back on ESPN Radio, AM 1340 KBTA, providing play by play for the Cardinals pre-season games.

In early May, with the cool spring air, I'll be back in Busch Stadium with a kosher dog smothered in grilled onions, cheering on the Red Birds. And Halloween will seem an eternity away.

***

 

Speaking of Mike Shannon and the Cards on the radio, I miss Jack Buck, but Shannon still keeps the '70s nostalgia of my youth alive. Counting the possible exception of former Card Bob Uecker, there's not another baseball announcer on the air that's more entertaining.

With his deep voice and (possibly) Budweiser-induced sense of humor, Shannon provides the Cardinals broadcasts with an irreverent, die hard Red Bird fan's perspective that makes listening to the game on AM 1340 KBTA the next best thing to being there. He truly bleeds Cardinal red.

And many times during the broadcasts, some truly insane things can come out of his mouth.

I found some hilarious Shannon play by play quotes on the web that showcase his sometimes unintentional, um, quirkiness.

For example:

"A hit up the middle right now would be like a nice ham sandwich and a cold, frosty one."

"He ran to second faster than a cat in Chinatown."

"That foul tip bounced up and caught him right in the groin...and that'll really clear your eyes out."

After eight of the nine Philadelphia Phillies leave the field, wrongly believing a third out had been made: "...and the Phillies all head for the dugout, thinking that was the third out... all except Luzinski out in left... heh heh heh...and he's the pollock."

"Albert [Pujols] ripped into that pitch the way the Cookie Monster rips into cookies. Atta baby, Albert."

"They've got a guy named Diaz (Die-az) and we've got a Diaz (Dee-az), and they're both spelled the same. I tell you, folks -- English is a strange language."

"The Yankees and Mets are playing tonight at Shea. After four innings, New York leads 3 to 2."

"I just want to tell everyone Happy Easter, and to our Jewish friends, Happy Hanukkah."

Speaking about a Japanese player: "He's the biggest thing to hit Japan since they dropped that bomb on Nagashima!"

"There's a full moon in Pittsburgh tonight; hope there's a full moon wherever you are."

"And that youngster will leave the stadium with a souvenir today. Not a ball, but a nice looking bruise."

"The Ozarks are a beautiful place this time of year, with all the animals scurrying around, trying to add to their heritage..."

"His name sounds like he's from Czechoslavia...er, Yugoslovakia...well, one of those two."

"And Matt Lawton is stuck in the desert without a paddle."

"Them umpires, they like those John Wayne movies. Heh. I'll let you think on that one."

"John, if I had to invest in a company, long-term, I'd invest in hearing aids."

And last, but certainly not the least:

"Ernie Hayes is up there, playing with his organ."

***

If you live in the Batesville area, listen to the Cardinals on EPSN Radio, AM 1340 KBTA.

And if you own a business, and would like to advertise on the broadcasts, call our sales director, Matt Johnson, at (870) 793-4196. (Hint. Cough, cough. Hint.)

***

A few readers of last week's column -- including the subject of last week's piece -- pointed out some grammatical errors I made. Such mistakes in the column drive me batty because three or four people (including myself) read drafts of "All Over the Map" before publication, and none of us caught them.

In fact, there are probably some errors in this week's column. So, from now on, just overlook them and know that when people point them out after publication, I give myself 50 lashes with a whip.

Thank you and good night.

Rob is the president of W.R.D. Entertainment. Feel free to e-mail him at rgmax99@yahoo.com, and check out his blog: www.suburbanvoodoo.blogspot.com.

All Over the Map
by Rob Grace
March 12, 2008

Here's something you don't read every day.

I once had a high school teacher that threatened her class by telling us she was going to hang naked from the chandelier.

Of course, she never did. Perhaps that's because there wasn't a chandelier in the classroom.

But if there had been a chandelier in the classroom, it's quite possible this teacher would have carried through with her threat.

Audrey Seibert, my former typing teacher at Batesville High, probably won't appreciate the fact I printed her continual threat in the pages of Arkansas Weekly, but then again, many BHS graduates were the targets of such a warning. I would bet some of you reading these words right now would remember Mrs. Seibert saying those very words.

Mrs. Seibert is nothing but a jolly, silly, and fun woman. She's been retired from teaching for many years, but I still hear from her time to time. And she's always quick to remind me that I wasn't the perfect student.

For instance, the one and only time I was sent to the principal's office in my years of schooling came courtesy of Mrs. Seibert. I kept forgetting to bring typing paper to class until she had enough. Off to Vice Principal George Snelgrove's office I went, where his stern, no b.s. manner convinced me that it would be best to stock up on Mead typing paper -- pronto.

There was also the time when she came into class and there I was, with my back to her potted plant and my hands held in front of me, below the waist.

"Roooooooaaaaaaaab Guuuurace-ah," she screamed (Mrs. Seibert has the tendency to add more syllables than necessary to certain words). "Are you tinkling in my puuulannnt-ah?!?"

Of course, I wasn't. I simply wanted to get a rise out of the woman. Besides, I had no worries because I could have always gotten on her good side if I brought her some Snickers. She loves Snickers.

Audrey called me the other day to check in. Her health isn't what it used to be, but you certainly can't tell it when you talk to her. She still has that vibrant and zany personality that made her the favorite teacher of many BHS students. She and her daughter, Patricia, also like to drop into the W.R.D. Entertainment offices from time to time and grace us with a big box of Krispy Kreme donuts.

When she called, I told her I just might write a column about her. She said, "You better not-ah! I'll tell everybody what you did-ah to my potted plant!"

Mrs. Seibert, I beat you to the punch.

Love ya!

***

I wanted to express my deep appreciation to those who have e-mailed me and called regarding last week's column concerning clinical depression. It delivered the biggest response I've ever had for this column.

When you get a moment, head to my blog -- www.suburbanvoodoo.blogspot.com -- and scroll down to the link I posted for the webmd.com website devoted to the illness. It contains information for both those afflicted with depression as well as for loved ones of those suffering.

Rob is the president of W.R.D. Entertainment. Feel free to e-mail him at rgmax99@yahoo.com, and check out his blog: www.suburbanvoodoo.blogspot.com.

All Over the Map
by Rob Grace
March 5, 2008

I'm not making any more cracks about Britney Spears.

Over the past few weeks, it's been obvious that something is seriously wrong with the woman. Say what you will about her pampered lifestyle, but pain is pain whether you're struggling to pay the bills or you're driving a Bentley. And mental pain, or mental illness if you will, is debilitating. It is an illness just like cancer or heart disease are illnesses. Laugh if you want, but 99% of practicing M.D.s will back me up on this.

It's very simple and simple-minded to scoff at clinical depression. Many who have not suffered from it can have a difficult time rationalizing it and have little patience with those who are trying to deal with it. Erratic behavior and oppressing, dark moods can overwhelm those experiencing depression, and those who have not endured the illness have a rough time putting up with such bleakness. And such seemingly unsympathetic reactions to those suffering with depression can only add to their misery. The saying that goes something like, "You know who your true friends are when you are in times of trials and tribulations," hits home with people dealing with depressive issues.

By now, you likely have realized that I have dealt with depression. I still am dealing with it. I have for over 10 years. And I wouldn't wish such anguish on my worst enemy.

I don't mention this because I want sympathy. I simply mention this because there are many people going through the same ordeal, whether they are your relative or friend, or someone in the public eye like Ms. Spears. Reacting with impatience, rude confusion or stubborn superiority only heightens the torment in those who are going through depression. I know my experience with it has resulted in damaged friendships and relationships, but there are also those who have continually reached out and stood by me, and for that I am humbled and grateful. You really do know who your friends are in such times.

So, no more Britney jokes. I wouldn't make fun of a celebrity (or anyone) suffering from multiple sclerosis or brain cancer, and I certainly would not mock anyone suffering from clinical depression.

That would be the pot calling the kettle black, wouldn't it?

***

Sometime head to the Wikipedia.org page on clinical depression. It contains a wealth of information, and it also features a painting from Vincent Van Gogh entitled At Eternity's Gate (or On the Threshold of Eternity, depending on one's translation). Van Gogh, of course, suffered from depression, and his depiction of it in this painting is unfortunately and painfully accurate.

***

Onto brighter and more trivial matters...

The 2007 Oscars have come and gone, and boy, I have to wonder why I sit through those telecasts. My picks are usually never awarded (although No Country for Old Men is a great movie). I wish There Will Be Blood and Michael Clayton would have picked up more awards, but such is life.

One award I was happy to see presented was to Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova for Best Original Song. If you haven't heard "Falling Slowly" from the movie Once, then head to youtube.com and look up the performance of this song on David Letterman's show. It's a gorgeous piece and fully worthy of the Oscar. The movie's excellent, as well.

In the latest issue of GQ, there's an eye-opening article about nuclear power and the stigma surrounding it since the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl disasters. Wil S. Hylton, the article's author, points out the countless opportunities this country is missing by not actively utilizing nuclear power and recycling its waste. Political ignorance and the false hysteria surrounding the miniscule likelihood of a nuclear accident, Hylton argues, are holding up an incredibly efficient and economically beneficial supply of power.

Both the GQ article and the Letterman performance of "Falling Slowly" can be accessed at my blog: www.suburbanvoodoo.blogspot.com. I've started posting stuff there after a two month hiatus for those who care to waste some time on the Internet.

Rob is the president of W.R.D. Entertainment. Feel free to e-mail him at rgmax99@yahoo.com, and check out his blog: www.suburban-voodoo.blogspot.com.

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