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March 2009

All Over the Map
by Rob Grace
March 25, 2009

A friend of mine has a CleanButt.

In the information he passed along to me, my friend's CleanButt is "...sparkling, comfortable and extremely hygienic."

In fact, my friend says, everyone should have a CleanButt.

I'll explain.

A CleanButt is a bidet for your toilet seat. Oh, and for those who don't know the purpose of a bidet, I refer you to the definition from the New Oxford American Dictionary. I would print the definition, but let's just say, it's an oval basin that sits next to your toilet and washes you after you use the restroom. And apparently, it's quite sanitary.

So, you're asking yourself, "What's the difference between a CleanButt and a bidet, and why am I even having such a conversation with myself?"

Well, to answer the first question: a bidet is a separate piece of equipment. You have to move from the toilet to the bidet to utilize it. A CleanButt puts the bidet on your toilet seat. So, no moving is necessary.

Amazing!

According to the Cleanbutt website (www.gooddaybidet.com/cleanbutt.html), the CleanButt BidetSpa CB7500 has "...an adjustable aerated stream of fresh, warm water to gently cleanse the posterior. Good Day Bidet's BidetSpa replacement toilet seat easily attaches to most elongated toilet bowls adding a sophisticated grandeur to any bathroom."

I love that: "sophisticated grandeur."

Oh, and it's also available with a remote control.

Some models even come with a heated dryer.

Wow. Do the wonders of a CleanButt ever end?

NO!

CleanButt is also environmentally friendly!

Think about it: with the "fresh, warm water" gently cleansing the posterior and the heated dryer option, then there's no need for toilet paper.

Unbelievable!

If you're saving trees and being more hygienic in your personal cleansing, then you must have a CleanButt!

I have yet to use my friend's CleanButt, but he swears it's the greatest invention since...well, toilet paper.

Of course, there is a catch: having a CleanButt is expensive. They run between $500 and $700. I'm sure there's an AIG executive who could utilize some of his bonus money to purchase a CleanButt, but that's a bit out of my price range.

My friend, however, says a CleanButt is worth every penny. And, he likes to remind me that I'll be saving a lot of money on toilet paper.

He says, without hesitation, that a CleanButt pays for itself in the end.

No pun intended.

***

The Eighth Annual Ozark Foothills FilmFest is in full swing this week in Batesville. Kudos to founders Bob and Judy Pest for keeping such a fantastic cultural event growing in this area. The FilmFest is not only a wonderful way for locals to enjoy some unique and fascinating films, but it also attracts film fans and filmmakers from across the nation.

Some of the films featured in this year's fest include Johnny Cash's America, an acclaimed documentary about the Man in Black and his resounding influence on music and our national identity; Throw Down Your Heart, which follows banjo great, Bela Fleck, to Africa as he searches for, according to a press release, "the little known African roots of the banjo"; and the world premiere of The River Within, a feature length drama shot around Hardy and the Spring River.

I will be participating in a panel discussion on Saturday at noon regarding the future of film criticism in newspapers with Philip Martin, the columnist and film critic from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and Noel Murray from the Los Angeles Times and the Onion A.V. Club (www.avclub.com), which is the pop culture offshoot of the wonderfully wicked website, The Onion (www.theonion.com). The admission is free, and the panel will be held in Room 103 at the University of Arkansas Community College in Batesville.

It should be an interesting and enlightening conversation regarding the print critic's role in cinematic discourse that's slowly being dominated by voices and opinion via the internet.

Oh, and I'll be participating in the panel wearing only a Speedo.

That's just a little surprise for the ladies who will be in attendance.

Rob Grace 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 18, 2009

I have a cantankerous buddy who seems to frown on any type of technological progress. You know, he's the kind of guy who would've never given up his pen and paper for a typewriter had he been around back in the day. He's a tad grumpy and stuck in his ways.

That said: he doesn't own a computer, and as such, he doesn't go online.

Once, he was complaining about not being able to find a certain type of grocery item, and I told him, "Well, just get online. You can probably find it on the internet, and order it from there."

The look he returned was full of contempt.

"I do not need to find it on the internet," he said. "I've made it just fine without using the internet."

So every chance I get, I like to remind him of the wonders of the internet.

If he sighs and wishes he could buy a certain type of regional barbecue sauce unavailable in our area, I'll say: "You can find that on the internet, you know?"

If he complains about an area bookstore not having a certain book, I'll say: "You can find that on the internet, you know?"

If he wonders what year Ozzie Smith left the Cardinals, I'll say: "You can find that on the internet, you know?"

One of these days, when he is pondering about some trivia and the words, "You can find that..." start to leave my mouth, his fist will likely stop the rest of my sentence.

***

There's no doubt the internet has revolutionized our lives. Without a doubt, the positives of the online world have outweighed the negative. I mean, if you would have told me ten years ago that I would be able to watch old episodes of William Shatner's groundbreaking police drama, T.J. Hooker, on my computer, absolutely free, I would have said that you, my friend, are clinically insane.

Yet, head to hulu.com, and you'll not only find numerous episodes of T.J. Hooker where William Shatner and his hairpiece outwit criminals, but also episodes of 1970s staples such as What's Happening!, Kojak and Fantasy Island.

Sadly, Hee-Haw reruns are yet to be found on hulu, but that's what youtube.com is for, right? And that's where I found a treasure trove of clips from the greatest television show to ever come out of Nashville, Tennessee (and yes, I realize that many of you feel that Florence Henderson's Country Kitchen was the seminal show from Nashville, but you're just wrong).

Yes, Hee-Haw -- what a show. Just this morning, I found clips of the Hagar Twins (remember them) singing "Gamblin' Man" with their wide-collared shirts, tambourine and love beads. I found clips where cast members and guests pop up from the cornfield and tell "corny" jokes (Example: Buck Owens and Johnny Cash pop up. "Hey Johnny, I hear you been workin' on playin' the trombone," Buck says. "Yeah, but lately I've been letting it slide," Big John says. Ha. Get it? "Lettin' it slide"); and of course, there are numerous videos of the greatest used car salesman in the world, Junior Samples, who -- come to think of it somewhat reminds me of my grumpy old friend who refuses to use the internet. I can't see Junior Samples using the internet were he still with us -- just on principle. He probably wouldn't even have a cell phone. All he would need would be a land line with his famous phone number: BR-549.

(Samples, who weighed almost 400 pounds at times, died of a heart attack in 1983. Guess how I found out about that tidbit? Yep, the internet.)

***

Like I said, there are obvious negative aspects of the internet. Access to all types of things one's eyes should never see -- like Tori Spelling without make-up -- are available. And, the internet is an incredible time-waster, particularly when you're trying to write a column.

But when I can sit back and watch the Hee-Haw Honeys gossip, sing and crack double entendres while they do the laundry, why would I want to write a silly column?

***

By the way, some of the most famous Hee-Haw Honeys were Barbi Benton (Hugh Hefner's ex-girlfriend); Linda Thompson (Elvis' ex-girlfriend); and Misty Rowe (who appeared in, um, Meatballs 2).

Guess how I found all of that vital information?

Rob Grace 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 11, 2009

I just established a Facebook account.

After countless friends and some family members kept asking why I didn't have an account with the popular Internet site, I finally caved and signed up the other weekend.

Facebook, for those folks unfamiliar, is a website that connects you with friends from all over the world and allows you to keep up with their activities and...well, their life. You can connect with friends from kindergarten, family members who live on the other side of the world and even strangers who are friends with your friends if you so desire. As long as you have a Facebook account, you can trade and/or share messages, photos and videos. You can even alert people to what you are doing at a particular moment.

For instance, there is a box that says "Rob Grace is..." I fill in the rest, like "Rob Grace is taking a bubble bath right now with his SpongeBob floaties on his arms." I submit that, and that info goes out to all my fellow friends' Facebook accounts.

Why people would be interested in the fact that I might be in the tub with my SpongeBob floaties is beyond me, but people really dig this aspect of Facebook.

I'll share some examples of what some of my friends have posted (the names have been changed to protect the innocent):

"Steve Pickens had his teeth worked on today. Looks better!"

"Elizabeth Smith is wondering what the American Idol judges are smokin'."

"Ann Brooks is going to play bridge tonight with the Potty Mouth Bridge girls."

"Jim Korman is going to take a nap."

And, of course, friends can comment on what you're doing. Using the Steve Pickens post as an example, someone could comment: "It's about time you got those damn things fixed."

***

When you first get a Facebook account, you can log on and look up friends and family and send them a message that you want to be their "friend," and most of the time, if they answer, they accept. The lone person who hasn't accepted me as their friend is my little girl. She thinks I'm too old to be on Facebook, but she's 13-years-old and has yet to realize that adults are always trying to do things that make them feel 13-years-old.

That's why God invented plastic surgeons and hairpieces.

Or something like that.

Anyway, people of all ages utilize Facebook -- even my great aunt (You go, Fern!).

Yet, I must be an anomaly because I just can't get into it.

I'm on the Internet constantly, but I spend more time on other sites than Facebook. And, I have a bunch of messages and "friend" requests I haven't answered so I suppose I'm not a good Facebook friend.

Fortune magazine just did a cover story on the 24-year-old founder of Facebook (a guy who looks like he's 12, and is, of course, worth billions now), and the article indicated that Facebook might be the standard of communication on the Internet in the future.

I'm not sure about that. It has been somewhat nice to reconnect with old friends, but I'm simply not a Facebook fanatic. This is not to say that all my Facebook friends are crazy (well...some are, but, hey, look at me). I'm simply saying that I find myself heading to other sites more often than Facebook.

Sites like...spongebobworld.com, or unitedspongebob.com, or beavisandbutthead.net, or robgraceinaspeedo.com.

You know, websites where I can spend my time more constructively.

Rob Grace 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 4, 2009

Dear President Obama,

I hope this letter finds you well and situated in your new home. The view, I hear, is fantastic, and I bet the food is delicious.

(A side note: if I were president, I would hire the cook from Herman's Ribhouse in Fayetteville, Arkansas. You would likely gain 100 pounds, but it would be worth it. Their garlic chicken will astound, but afterwards, Michelle might not want to kiss you for a while. Who knows, though? The way women are these days that might be a bonus. [Rimshot.] Ha. That was a joke, Mr. President.)

Anyway, I downloaded a copy of your new stimulus plan. That thing has a lot of pages. I went through two printers and 27 ink cartridges just to print the damn thing. Then I acquired a hernia picking it up. And when that happened, I dropped it on my foot and fractured three toes. This being a litigious society, I first thought I might sue, but America is in a tough spot these days, so I'll restrain my greedy urge for retribution.

However, I will say that when I started reading the plan, I was disappointed there weren't any pictures.

(Rimshot.) Ha. Heh.

Cough. Okay, where was I?

Oh! The stimulus package. Yes.

Mr. President, I realize you've been receiving a lot of protest over the plan. Critics are saying, "We'll go further into debt." Or, "We're just printing money, and our grandkids will have to pick up the tab. Or, "We're spending too much money on 'hot button' topics such as ACORN and birth control."

And, of course, the major criticism: "The stimulus plan is stuffed with pork."

The last complaint surprised me because, with the exception of some religions, pork is really, really popular in America -- especially barbecued.

(Rimshot.)

Heh.

Anyway, Mr. President, I realize the plan is somewhat flawed. You're never going to please everybody, particularly some of the far-right folks, but perhaps the intent of the package is justified. If banks aren't loaning, people aren't spending and jobs are being lost, then we need a whole lot of cash out there for job creation, spending and such.

I also realize, Mr. President, the plan is pretty much set in stone. States are already receiving money from the package, and the proverbial ball has been set into motion. However, if I may, I'd like to respectfully suggest one additional project that is in need of funding.

Not many people realize this, but Michael Jackson is broke. He has no money after he spent it all on extravagant mansions, gifts and chimpanzees that, in the future, could attack and maul this fading superstar. Mr. President, wouldn't you hate to pick up the newspaper one day and find that an agitated Bubbles had bitten off what is left of Michael's nose? Yes, I realize Bubbles is no longer with us, but I would also bet Jackson has a couple of other chimps in his shrinking entourage, and sometime in the future, when Michael's back is turned, they're going to pounce on the guy and go "all you can eat" on the poor man.

Chimps do that these days, you know? They're sweet and cuddly one second -- sitting with you watching Home Improvement reruns or enjoying some dinner and wine, and then the next second, your face is in their mouth.

So, I think a fund should be established to get Michael out of debt, and if he is horribly disfigured, then he'll have the money to pay for his eventual surgeries.

Oh, wait a minute. What am I thinking? He already is horribly disfigured!

(Rimshot.)

Ha. Heh. Ha.

Okay. You're right, Mr. President. That joke was tasteless. My apologies.

I simply wanted to lighten up your day with a letter full of amusing ditties. Your job is tough and full of pressure, and I'm sure that sometimes in your hectic days or nights, you'd like to have a laugh or two.

Of course, you may not have found them in this letter, but if you did laugh, or even chuckle, I could do the occasional state dinner or maybe I could warm up the reporters before a major press conference every now and then. (I have some killer Helen Thomas jokes that will really loosen up the room.)

My agent's contact information is attached, and if you talk to Bernie, tell him you want the "Presidential Special," and I'll give you $100 off.

Thanks for reading. Good luck, God bless you, and God bless America.

Sincerely,

Rob Grace

P.S.: Tell Rep. Barney Frank "Congratulations!" the next time you see him. If you haven't heard, he's been cast in the new Oliver Stone film about an experienced hunter of game. It's called Fudd.

(Rimshot.)

Heh.

Rob Grace 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.

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