All Over the Map
by Rob Grace
November 25, 2009
Rob Grace will be out this week.
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.
All Over the Map
by Rob Grace
November 18, 2009
I turned 43 this past week, and in honor of this, I've compiled a list of things I'd like to do before I get hit by a bus and finally meet Elvis.
I'd like to drive cross country with a couple of friends in the summertime. I'd like for the friends to drive, though -- particularly through Kansas. My friends could drive through Kansas, and I'd nap. I've driven across Kansas before, and their vistas are really, really boring.
Oh, it'd also be nice if my friends sprang for the gas during our cross country adventure. I have to save some cash for that 64-inch high-def television I need for my bathroom.
I'd also like to travel to Paris. France always gets a bad rap from Americans. Sure, some of them may be a tad snooty, but I'm around snooty people every day. (I mean, have you met the receptionist here at Arkansas Weekly?)
No, I like the idea of hanging around Paris, eating a lot of French bread with lots of butter, drinking red wine, and wearing a beret to impress the local ladies. Later, I'd take a train to the coast where the night life is vibrant, the women don't wear tops at the beach, and the ocean water sparkles.
Did I mention the women don't wear tops at the beach?
Of course, it'd be nice if someone -- like my friends -- would spring for my travel expenses. I have to save some cash for those spinners I need to put on my Prius.
I'd like to have a motorcycle. I'd drive it cross country, too. But I would bypass Kansas. My friends could ride with me on their motorcycles, and we could pretend we were Hell's Angels and scare all of the people we meet during our trip. To be authentic, we'd have to wear bushy fake beards and scrawl fake tattoos on our arms. However, it would be important to avoid coming across actual members of Hell's Angels because when they realized we were fake Hell's Angels, we would probably die.
Or, at the very least, be beaten with chains and crowbars.
And if that happened, I'd have my friends pay for the medical bills. I have to save some cash to install tanning bed lights throughout my place. It's nuts no one has ever thought of that before. Talk about a year-round tan!
I'd like to introduce myself to Taylor Swift. I'm sure she would want to meet me. She's like 30, right? I'd like to introduce myself to Raquel Welch. She's like 30, right? Other celebrities that would probably like to meet me: Sharon Stone, Halle Berry, Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman, Salma Hayek and the red head from Mad Men.
Yeah, I'd like to meet all of those celebrities before I kick the bucket and preferably before their plastic surgeons give up all hope and turn their faces into creepy Joan Rivers faces. By then, there will be a new round of celebrities I'd like to meet.
I'd also like to meet Levi Johnston, the father of Sarah Palin's grandkid; Richard Heene, the 'Balloon Boy' dad; and Glenn Beck, the Fox News personality.
Why, you may ask? So, I can use chains and crowbars on them.
Of course, I'm kidding, but if I did and I was arrested, I would need my friends to bail me out of jail.
I have to save some cash for the tattoo of a unicorn flying over a rainbow that I'm going to have inked on my back.
There are many other adventures I'd like to experience before I die. When you hit middle age, you realize -- uh-oh: in 40 years, I'll be 80-something. My bones will ache, my numerous muscles will sag, and my ear hair will be so thick, bugs will be able to nest there.
So, I better get started. I'll plan those cross country and European trips tomorrow. Plus, I'll figure out how to start meeting all those celebrities.
But first: I gotta make a trip to the bank. I've saved enough cash by stealing my kids' lunch money to have a portrait of myself commissioned.
It's gonna be sweet. I've told the artist that I want to have a portrait painted of myself as a centaur -- the mythical half-human, half-horse.
Actually, I'm kidding. What kind of idiot would spend money on something like that?*
*New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez. And no, I'm not kidding about that.
All Over the Map
by Rob Grace
November 11, 2009
The following is a diary I kept on October 24, 2009 -- the day I took my 14-year-old daughter and two of her friends to see Miley Cyrus in concert at North Little Rock. Cyrus, the 16-year-old daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, is the mega-popular singer/actress who gained fame on the Disney Channel sitcom, Hannah Montana.
OCTOBER 24, 2009
I can't sleep because I'm soooo excited! Tonight's the night! I get to take Hannah and her friends to see Miley Cyrus in Little Rock!!! I think I'm more excited than Hannah. I've followed Miley since the very first episode of Hannah Montana! I have every Hannah Montana CD, DVD, poster, video game, novelization, computer screen saver, t-shirt and beach towel ever produced. I even have a set of Hannah Montana bed sheets, a sleeping bag and a shower curtain! I may be 42-years-old, but damn it, Miley makes me feel like I'm 16 again! LOL!!!
You know what's cool? Hannah doesn't know how much I like Hannah Montana! She's really gonna respect me and feel a stronger kinship with me when she realizes this. We're gonna listen to Miley's new CD all the way to Little Rock! We're gonna "Party in the U.S.A!" That's Miley's bestest song besides "The Climb." Tears flood my eyes every time I hear "The Climb."
Just finished making signs to hold up at tonight's show. I put glitter all around one piece of poster board and wrote: "I'M A DAD WHO LOVES ME SOME MILEY!" And then on another, I wrote: "Party in the N.L.R. WITH ME MILEY!" They look soooo cool! My daughter will love 'em. Now, it's off to the closet to pick out what I'm going to wear.
We're on our way! Stopped in Bald Knob for some soda pop. Hannah and friends are in the quick mart. I have a sweater on to hide my Hannah Montana t-shirt. And I haven't showed her my signs yet. I'm gonna surprise her in the arena parking lot. When she realizes I'm the BIGGEST Miley fan, she's gonna think I'm the coolest dad ever!
At Applebee's in North Little Rock. I'm a little confused. Hannah told me to stop singing along to "Party in the U.S.A." in the car. She was quite adamant about it. Oh well, maybe she just wanted to hear the song without my vocal accompaniment. I'm not the best singer in the world, that's for sure. LOL!!!
I'm heartbroken, feel like crying. It all started when we parked in the Verizon Arena parking lot, and I took off my sweater. I showed Hannah and her friends the Hannah Montana t-shirt I'm going to wear into the concert. On the back of it, I had ironed on the words: I'M HANNAH GRACE'S DAD & WE BOTH LOVE MILEY!!! She didn't think it was cool. Then, when I put on the purple Hannah Montana wig I bought SPECIFICALLY for the concert, Hannah screamed and ran away crying. I don't understand. Her friends caught up with her, and they entered the concert. Maybe when I meet her at the seats with my signs, she'll realize that everyone in the audience will be looking at me like I'm the coolest dad ever.
THIS IS THE WORST NIGHT EVER!!! The security guys -- uh, I mean security DOPES at the front door WOULD NOT LET ME INSIDE THE ARENA! I showed these mouth-breathing Neanderthals my ticket, and THEY STILL WOULDN'T LET ME IN!! They said I looked like a "security threat" to Miley dressed like I was, and they confiscated my signs too! One of these bozos said I would also scare the kids at the show!! Uh -- WHATEVER! I'm SOOOO UPSET!!!! I'm going to have to wait here in this stupid parking lot and miss all the fun!! I feel like collapsing and crying in Miley's arms.
Show over. Kids and parents filing out with smiles and Miley Cyrus t-shirts, programs and calendars in their hands. Some parents look at me with horrified faces and shield their children's eyes from me. I probably do look like a wreck. My wig is messy and unkempt because I had to run away from a gang of hooligans who saw me in the parking lot earlier. I hid from them under a car, so my Hannah Montana t-shirt is all dirty, too. I see my little girl and her friends coming this way. I wave. They stop when they see me. They're walking to the sidewalk. They're hailing a taxi!! What the...?
North Little Rock jail cell is very dirty. I was picked up by police after some parents in the parking lot called 911 and reported a crazy man in a purple wig running after a taxi.
Sigh. "Crazy man," they said. Whatever.
Oh, note to self: remember to make sure the cops give me back my wig. I think I'll wear it from now on in tribute to Miley. The gang at work will think I'm the coolest!
All Over the Map
by Rob Grace
November 4, 2009
The following "All Over the Map" originally ran in the Feb. 2, 2005 issue of Arkansas Weekly. At the time, Dr. James Dobson -- founder of the conservative group, Focus on the Family -- had claimed that the popular cartoon character, SpongeBob Squarepants, was gay. The controversy was ultimately short-lived.
The following quote from The New York Times actually appeared in a recent issue.
Dr. Dobson outed SpongeBob at a black-tie inaugural fete last week for members of Congress and political allies. He said that a "pro-homosexual video" - starring SpongeBob, Barney, Jimmy Neutron, Winnie the Pooh, Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy - was set to go to elementary schools to promote a "tolerance pledge," including tolerance for differences of "sexual identity." – The New York Times, January 23, 2005
* * *
Beverly Hills – The recent claim by Focus on the Family founder James Dobson that animated superstar SpongeBob Squarepants is likely homosexual has set off a flurry of gossip and comments throughout the cartoon world.
"This is nutssss," said animated legend Daffy Duck in a rare interview outside his home in Beverly Hills. I’ve known SsssssspongeBob ssssssssssince the early ninetiesssssss, and he’ssssssss mosssssssst definitely heterosssssssexual. Jussssssst asssssssssk Sssssssssandy Sssssssssssquirrel. They were an item before the sssssssssshow even ssssssssstarted."
Duck, who began his career with the groundbreaking Warner Bros. "Looney Tunes" cartoons in the late 1930s, says that while homosexuals are commonplace in the entertainment industry, the careers of animated characters are, due to their family friendly image, often cut short if they are identified as gay.
"Look at Aquaman," Duck stated. "Hisssss career hasssssssss been in the gutter ssssssince he was photographed holding the hand of the Ssssssssilver Ssssssssssurfer."
Another cartoon legend agrees. Bugs Bunny, himself no stranger to rumors and gossip since his appearance in drag in the popular animated classic, "Hair Raising Hare," says Dobson is only seeking publicity.
"Look. This, eeeehhhh, Dobson character should be applauded for promoting, eeeeehhhh, ‘family values,’" Bunny said between chomps on an organic carrot at The Grill, the popular Rodeo Drive eatery in Beverly Hills. "But he’s obviously barking up the wrong tree. Everyone knows SpongeBob and Sandy Squirrel have been an item behind the scenes for years. I see ‘em at industry parties all the time. And listen, brother, they can’t keep their hands off each other. No, I think this Dobson fella is only wanting to promote his organization."
Bunny also noted that if Dobson wants to really crack down on indecency in the cartoon industry, he should aim his sights toward two other giants in the animated world: Winnie the Pooh and Porky Pig.
"Think about it," Bunny said. "I love ‘em both, those freaks never wear pants. They never wear pants. That’s sorta creepy, if you ask me, Doc."
When a reporter pointed out that both Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck do not wear any clothes whatsoever in their cartoons, Bunny cut the interview short.
"What?" a seemingly-incredulous Bugs asked the reporter. "This interview is over. You don’t know what you’re talking about."
Most cartoon superstars contacted for this story believe another secret was behind Dr. Dobson’s comments.
"It’s payback, son!" screamed SpongeBob’s popular co-star, Mr. Krabs. "Ya see, the studio big-wigs were giving this Dr. Dobson fella a tour of the set last year. And he specifically asked to see me co-star, SpongeBob, cause he wanted an autograph. But SpongeBob wasn’t feeling too good that day, so he stayed in his trailer! So this Dobson fella thought SpongeBob was being rude. Next thing ye knows, this Dobson fella is all over the news implying that me friend SpongeBob swings for the other team! It’s slander, I tell ye! Slander!"
While the rumors regarding Dobson’s accusations swirl, SquarePants has remained silent, only furthering speculation.
"What I want to know is this: why hasn’t SpongeBob come forward to deny these accusations, hmmmmmm?" asked Cartoon Actors Guild president, C. Montgomery Burns, better known as Homer’s boss on The Simpsons. "I find the silence quite telling, don’t you?"
Others from the cartoon world disagreed.
"Why, who in the world said SpongeBob had to answer these allegations?" said Peggy Hill, husband of Hank Hill, on the popular program, King of the Hill. "I think all of this nonsense is silly, and that Dr. Dobson should look in his own backyard before throwing any stones."
And, Butt-Head, from Beavis and Butt-Head, had this to say: "Ahhhhhhhh, you said ‘butt.’ Huh-huh-huh."
Through a publicist, SpongeBob did state the following:
"This is all a bunch of silly willy stuff. I don’t even know what that loooooong word that starts with an ‘h’ means."
Whether the comments by Dr. Dobson will have a long-standing effect remains to be seen. His program and books are popular among "red-state" voters, yet many in Hollywood believe this controversy will soon pass.
"Look," said Sandy Squirrel in a brief phone interview. "Dr. Dobson has no idea what he’s talking about. I’ve been in love with SpongeBob since we started working together almost eight years ago, and if there’s one thing I know, it’s this: WE’RE ARGUING OVER A SPONGE, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!!!"