All Over the Map
by Rob Grace
May 27, 2009
I've never been an American Idol fan, but of course, having an Arkansan in the mix for the season finale certainly made for exciting television.
Well, wait...that's not really an accurate statement. I've never watched an episode of American Idol, and I missed the season finale because I forgot the name of the network.
It's on Bravo, right? Or RFD-TV? See. I forget.
Anyway, I could just kick myself for missing last week's episode where our very own Chris Allen was awarded the honor of being the 2009 American Idol.
Wow. A Batesville boy done good.
And to think, I graduated with Chris Allen -- the Batesville High School Class of 1985, and now look at him: an American Idol!
I never knew the guy could sing. I remember he played football, drove an old Chevy pick-up and occasionally enjoyed dipping tobacco back in the day. I know his lovely wife, and I know he enjoys his "day job" as the service manager at Scott Wood Chrysler. But who knew he could belt out a Michael Jackson song?
This is exciting. First: Mark Martin. Then: me. Now: Chris Allen. Who knew a little community in the Ozark foothills would produce three superstar celebrities? Think of the attention that will now envelop the town. The paparazzi should just set up a branch office in Batesville. The town's tourist dollars will now explode. And the community leaders need to go ahead and plan an annual Chris Allen fan appreciation weekend. You know -- like the celebratory weekend for Mark Martin that's held every spring. Of course, those community leaders have yet to inform me when my annual celebratory weekend will be held, but in the interest of local solidarity, I'll allow them to put those plans for me on hold and concentrate on Chris...for a few days.
Obviously, we're going to have to have a tickertape parade for Chris' homecoming. It would be really cool if Mark had a break in his NASCAR schedule so he could attend. However, I'll need to check my schedule as well to see if I'll be able to participate with Chris and Mark. But just think of the tourists that would flock to Batesville to see the three of us. They'd flock faster than those wild demon-infested pigs from the Bible did when they stormed down into the river and drowned themselves.
Of course, we wouldn't want the tourists to actually drown themselves like the pigs did, but I was simply trying to think of a good analogy. Or metaphor. Or something like that.
Where was I?
Oh, right! The homecoming for Chris. So, anyway, even if Mark and I could not participate, it would still be a fantastic moment in the history of Batesville. The mayor could present Chris with a key to the city. Chris could sing a few songs for the tens of thousands of people that will come from all over the country. Heck, maybe we could have one of those dances where all the revelers hoist people on chairs like they do in the movies. All of the fans could hoist Chris in a chair above everyone and hop around in celebration. And if I can make it, maybe the crowd could hoist me in a chair above everyone and hop around in celebration. That always looked like a lot of fun, being hoisted up in a chair and all.
I really can't wait to talk to Chris when he returns from Hollywood. I have a million questions for him. What was it like hearing his name being announced as the new American Idol? Did he meet any celebrities like Regis Philbin, Pauly Shore or Charlton Heston? Will he ever start wearing "guyliner" like his competitor, Adam Lambert? Could he slip a picture of me to Carrie Underwood? Does Ryan Seacrest spray on his tan or it natural? Would he mind loaning me $75,000 when he gets back to town? Arrgh! The questions are endless!
Well again, congratulations to the 2009 American Idol winner: Batesville's own Chris Allen! I think I speak for all of Batesville, Newport, Tuckerman, Melbourne, Thida, Concord, Possum Grape -- oh heck: I speak for all of Arkansas when I say the state is very, very proud of you and your amazing accomplishment!
Excuse me, someone's handing me a note.
Let's see what it says here...
Who's Kris Allen?!?
All Over the Map
by Rob Grace
May 20, 2009
To begin this week, I need to express something that's very important to me.
Last week's "All Over the Map" (the one featuring frequently asked questions) contained a joke regarding the grammatical errors and missing words that are sometimes found in this column.
So it was somewhat ironic that last week's column really did contain some ridiculous grammatical errors.
For example, there was this sentence that helped kick off the piece: The subject matter of Rob's column, vary wildly.
In that one sparsely worded sentence, there were two mistakes! (They were: incorrect subject/verb agreement and the inclusion of the comma.)
Other stupid mistakes included misuse of the word "their" and using the word "overwhelming" instead of "overwhelmingly."
My copy editor has to shoulder some of the responsibility. When I confronted her, she said: "Grammatical errors? Oh, I only check for misspellings." She's been editing my columns for over a year, and now she tells me.
Oh well. Ultimately, I'm to blame. I wrote that particular column in a rush, and when I write in a rush, mistakes abound.
I'm not naming names, but that copy editor of mine really put my underwear in a wad last week.
(Again, I'm not naming names. Leslie Sessums -- oops!)
Besides the embarrassment of the errors, I also had to put up with my mother's complaints regarding last week's column.
According to my dad, my mom said the following last week after reading "All Over the Map": "They need to fire the guy who writes that stuff."
Uh...Mom -- that "guy" is ME -- your baby boy!
C'mon Mom! Give me a little bit of credit. Didn't you at least chuckle now and then when you read it?
Brother...I can't catch a break.
It should be noted that the corrected version of last week's "All Over the Map" is posted on the Arkansas Weekly website (www.arkansasweekly.com) as well as on my blog (www.suburbanvoodoo.blogspot.com) -- with pictures to boot!
And Mom, if you felt so strongly about last week's column, it's probably best you don't go anywhere near my blog.
Just sayin'. Heh.
My iPhone continues to amaze me.
Sure, you can't text photos and crude videos to other cellular phones (several of my friends who relish the texting of videos showing yucky things mock my iPhone's inability to accept such items), but, oh, the other things the iPhone can do.
Besides being a full-fledged iPod, I can also utilize Google Maps and Google Earth; download songs from iTunes; record 20 seconds of a song on the radio and have the iPhone tell me the title and artist; use it as a flashlight; play the cowbell; snap imaginary bubble wrap; shoot imaginary guns (complete with the sound of the shells hitting the concrete); watch YouTube videos; and enjoy fun sound effects of a guy barfing.
The latter is always a big hit with the kids.
There's also Emergency Radio, a nifty little application that basically turns your iPhone into a police scanner. Granted, there aren't any local agencies yet available, but the application allows you to listen to all types of police, fire, EMS and other emergency frequencies from most of the major cities around the country including New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Memphis, St. Louis and more. Apparently, over 900 frequencies are available so far, and you can request the owners of the application to add more.
It even gives you a rundown of the emergency code definitions on your iPhone screen while you listen.
The current top selling iPhone application from Apple is The Moron Test.
I have yet to download The Moron Test. I believe it's some sort of an IQ test. But judging from my grammatical errors in the last column, there's a good chance I'll qualify as a moron.
Der-huh. Der-huh. That's a jokey.
All Over the Map
by Rob Grace
May 13, 2009
Frequently Asked Questions regarding “All Over the Map” and its author, Rob Grace.
Why is the column entitled “All Over the Map”?
The subject matter of Rob’s columns varies wildly. For example, topics discussed in the column have included pleas for bipartisanship in the political arena; the genius songwriting craftsmanship of Bruce Springsteen and Ryan (not Bryan) Adams; the rise of metrosexuals; the possibility of controlling the poodle population by feeding the fluffy canines to pythons; and, recently, the popularity of fried calf testicles. As one can see, the topics are “All Over the Map.”
Joe Don Baker for President
Is “All Over the Map” a liberal or conservative column?
Neither. As noted above, Rob believes centrist bipartisan politics is crucial to the betterment of the country. He has no use for blowhards like Rachel Maddow or Keith Olbermann pushing the far left agenda or gasbags on the far right such as Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh spouting their particular nonsense. Rob also believes Joe Don Baker from Walking Tall would make a great President.
Liberace. Rob has this exact same costume.
Has Rob ever considered running for political office?
No. Rob will never run for political office. He believes there are people much more qualified – such as Joe Don Baker from Walking Tall. Plus, Rob’s habit of dressing like Liberace, complete with a glorious bouffant and sequined cape, would likely be hazardous to his health at political rallies held in rural areas.
Why are there grammatical errors and missing words in some “All Over the Map” columns?
To put it bluntly, the editorial staff at Arkansas Weekly sometimes falls asleep at the wheel. That, and the fact that Rob usually writes “All Over the Map” while consuming 40 ounce bottles of malt liquor at three in the morning, could help explain such mistakes.
Are there any noticeable side effects from reading “All Over the Map”?
Yes. Some readers have reported headaches; double vision; constipation; ulcers; severe mood changes such as a nice state of relaxation quickly turning into severe rage; ingrown toenails; and nausea. In rare instances, readers have reported bleeding from both eyes. One reader’s head reportedly exploded while reading “All Over the Map.” And, there have been two reported cases of readers bursting into flames while reading the column. Please consult your physician before reading “All Over the Map” on a regular basis.
Should I purchase a PC or an Apple?
“All Over the Map” overwhelmingly supports Apple Computers. The column also endorses Kentucky Fried Chicken, long hot bubble baths with at least two rubber ducks (or rubber SpongeBob SquarePants toys), the collected masterworks of Liberace, Sanford & Son re-runs, mashed potatoes, Colt 45 malt liquor and Joe Don Baker from Walking Tall for President.
On a related topic, how do I repair my Dell laptop computer?
After diagnosis by a Dell technician, Dell will send you packaging and instructions to mail your notebook to a Dell repair facility. Your repaired notebook will usually be returned to you in 7-10 business days after you've shipped it.
But if you would have followed Rob’s advice, you would have bought an Apple. Dummy.
Does Adam Lambert from American Idol play for the other team?
What happens at the end of Marley & Me?
The dog dies, okay? Move on.
Does “All Over the Map” currently accept Fred’s pharmacy patients?
Beatles or the Stones?
The Stones, all the way. (Although the late-era Beatles do rock.)
If Rob was trapped on a desert island with Barry Manilow, Adam Lambert, Rosie O’Donnell, Keith Olbermann and the guy from the Verizon commercials, what would he do?
Rob would locate the tallest point on the island, climb to that particular point, jump from that particular point and pray for a quick, painless end.
Can you tell me what this growth is under my right arm?
It looks like a harmless seborrheic keratosis. No worries. You’ll be fine. I can burn it off for you if you wish.
Type of outfit Rob wore to Possum Grape catfish fry.
Why does Rob have a black eye?
That’s what will happen when you head to the Possum Grape catfish fry dressed like Liberace.
Should we be concerned with Rob’s mental state?
Oh, yes. Definitely.
Rob Grace is the president of W.R.D. Entertainment. Feel free to e-mail him at email@example.com, and check out his blog: www.suburbanvoodoo.blogspot.com.
All Over the Map
by Rob Grace
May 6, 2009
It's April 30 as I type these words, and I don't know about you, but I'm thinking about packing the truck and heading to Stillwater, Oklahoma this weekend.
Well, I'll tell you why, neighbor: it's the 18th annual Tumbleweed Testicle Festival, tonight through May 2!
That's right! All-you-can-eat fried calf testicles! My stomach is growling for some right now! Can you hear it?
Man, I can't wait to plop a bunch of these babies in my mouth.
These Tumbleweed Testicle Festivals sound fun. Lots of music from acts such as Cross Canadian Ragweed, Pat Green and Miranda Lambert; gallons of beer; and buckets of fried calf testicles!
The festival draws over 30,000 folks a year, according to the Oklahoma State University's newspaper, The Daily O'Collegian. Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Hank Williams, Jr. have all appeared at the festival, and I'm sure they've all enjoyed a delicious meal of fried calf testicles.
You may not know this, but to prepare fried calf testicles, one peels the raw testicle; coats it in flour, salt and pepper; then POUNDS that sucker until it's flat and drops it in the deep-fryer. Yummy! (Duffie Bryant, my fellow columnist, might have a better recipe. Who knows?)
Of course, fried calf testicles are not just served in these parts. They're a popular dish in Canada, Italy and Spain. And they go by different names as well: Rocky Mountain oysters, Montana tendergroin, cowboy caviar and, of course, the always popular - swinging beef.
I'm so hungry for some cowboy caviar that I can't wait to go all the way to Oklahoma. I'm heading to the butcher right now! I'm gonna get a bagful of some swinging beef and fry up some Montana tendergroin for lunch!
I'll save some for you in a doggie bag. You'll love 'em!
* * *
I need to clear up something from my column two weeks back concerning the T.E.A. Parties that were held April 15, and the fact that our current economic mess is a bi-partisan mess and not a partisan one.
The entire American political machine -- populated by Democrats and Republicans -- is a corrupt and infected institution that has divided the country into schoolyard factions who only see black and white and no shades of gray, no spirit of simple cooperation.
Besides being grammatically questionable (I'm quite certain my former high school grammar teacher, Tommie McDonald, could find a million things grammatically questionable in that sentence), that statement is also wrong.
The entire American political machine is not corrupt and infected. There are effective politicians from the local level to the national level that serve free of party bias and partisanship.
Say what you will about the recent defection of Sen. Arlen Specter from the G.O.P to the Democrats, but I was impressed by this comment from him: "Whatever my party affiliation, I will continue to be guided by President Kennedy's statement that sometimes a party asks too much. When it does, I will continue my independent voting and follow my conscience on what I think is best for Pennsylvania and America."
That's the kind of attitude more political leaders need to embrace rather than spurn.
Remind me to send him a batch of my fried calf testicles. He's a good guy.
* * *
Oh, and here's an unsigned e-mail I received regarding that particular column:
In your article on April 22, you suggested several people should take a cruise to the coast of Somalia. Mr. Grace, if you think, as you said, everything in America is going to be o.k., well, I think you must already be on some kind of trip. How in the world can you think this? Mr. Obama saying that we are not a Christian nation is bad enough besides all of the other silly things he has done. He is trying to silence all that oppose his agenda. When homeland security comes out and puts our veterans on a watch list, does this not concern you? There are so many things that have happened...I do not have time to list all of them. But Mr. Grace you need to open your eyes and see what is happening and look at history to see what has happened to other countries when their leaders wanted no opposition. If people do not take interest in what is happening, before long I fear your freedom that you enjoy as a writer for your paper may be taken from you.
GOD BLESS THE USA
I think this particular reader needs to chill and relax. Obama's not the boogeyman ultra conservatives make him out to be.
Reader, if you send me your mailing address, I'll send you some of my delicious cowboy caviar.
That should make you feel better.
* * *
Finally, another note regarding that particular column...
I'd like to add one more name to the manifest of the Somalia coast-bound cruise ship: Adam Lambert, the creepy American Idol finalist. If it weren't for his first name, I could swear this dude is a dudette. A manly dudette, yes, but still a dudette.
I bet he squirms at the sight of some Montana tendergroin. But if he would eat a batch, I think it might man him up, don't you?
Yes? Me too.
Rob Grace is the president of W.R.D. Entertainment. Feel free to e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and check out his blog: www.suburbanvoodoo.blogspot.com. This week's column is posted with educational pictures on his blog.