Theyve Bin Laughin

May 16, 2002
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During these down economic times, money is an issue for just about every business, agency, organization and even coffee klatch.

So it’s no surprise that this year’s show from the Coffee Dunkers of America, Grand Rapids chapter, will revolve around money — as in, how to get some.

The theme for next Monday’s annual soiree is “Been Laden, Dumb That.” And, yes, the man mentioned (kind of) in the title has been invited. Of course, with a bounty of upwards of $25 million, why not take the chance, the Dunkers reasoned.

But if capturing Osama bin Laden and plucking the resulting booty are out of the question, it’s always good to have a sound business plan in mind to cover the financial shortfall.

That’s why the Dunkers are going into business.

“We’re going to make ourselves a little consulting committee,” said longtime Dunker spokesman (because no one else would) JamesBoothBurrJr. “We’re going to approach the Butterworth/Blodgett people — and charge them a $25,000 consulting fee — and tell them our research shows people have decided that both hospitals should be named Spectrum.”

Don’t laugh. It worked once.

The Dunkers will be treading a fine line this year, with the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington D.C., the slumping economy and the anthrax scares capturing most of the news.

But this group of local miscreants will be bringing their brand of fellowship, humor and charity to Grand Valley State University’s Eberhard Center on Monday, Dec. 10, just the same. A donation of $4.99 at the door (or $12.99 in advance) will get you in. As a bonus, two will be admitted for the price of three. The show starts at 7:28 a.m. promptly.

“As an extra incentive this year, we will be offering special cups of coffee laced with Cipro,” said Burr, noting that he was grateful to the federal government for driving down the cost of the anthrax-fighting antibiotic.

And while the Dunkers will strive to be tasteful, don’t expect too much decorum.

“This is the Year of Sin,” Burr said. “Not only with bin Laden, but also with Harry Potter. Poor Harry has ruffled a lot of feathers. We’re going to try to fix him up with KimberlyScott, because she’s ruffled a lot of feathers, too.”

Burr said the Dunkers have penned a song for the woman who is tussling with every county government official and Republican over the name of the city’s new convention center.

“We call it, The Ballad of Kimberly Scott, The Dot-Com Princess,” he said.

The Dunkers also plan to hand out some awards this year.

“We’ll be giving the Economic Awards for the Dunkers Hall of (Shame) Fame to the five gas stations that put capitalism to abuse, er that’s use, on Sept. 11.”

While a tongue-in-cheek look at the year’s headlines is a Dunker staple on the second Monday of each December, it should be noted that the event’s true purpose (besides laughs) is to generate money for a host of worthy causes.

This year’s charity recipients are Youth Commonwealth, Dwelling Place Inc., The Women’s Resource Center and New York’s 911 Firefighters Fund.

Grand Rapids Fire Chief MikeBurton, who’s also a Dunker board member, will be delivering that check to New York personally.

“Charity and humor go hand in hand with fellowship,” Burr said. “The Dunkers have been involved with Youth Commonwealth since about the 1930s. That when the Grand Rapids Superintendent of Police, a guy by the name of O’Malley, got involved (with the Dunkers) and he was the same guy who started Youth Commonwealth. So there’s always been a very strong connection there.”

Another of the original eight who actually incorporated the Dunkers chapter was none other than Gerald Ford Sr.

“The painter, not his son, who went on to be quite famous in his own right,” Burr added.

Which is sort of like the Dunkers themselves.

  • Kevheads were legion in the early 1980s, when their leader, local disc jockey KevinMatthews brought his impersonated “sidekicks,” including the unforgettable Jim (Gym?) Shorts to the airwaves of WFFX, WCUZ, WLAV and WGRD.

When Matthews moved to the big-time in Chicago, he never forgot his Grand Rapids roots, once going so far as to ride a personal watercraft around the Lake Michigan shoreline to come back to West Michigan.

So it should be no surprise that Matthews picked GR as the place to kick off his new “profession” as cookbook author when he visited Schuler Books last week to debut “This Book Could Kill You: Recipes To Die For.”

He says the recipes all are original and that he gained the inspiration for the tombstone-shaped book from his grandfather, who “fried everything” and “died of a massive heart attack.”

With recipes that call for a pound of butter and a pound of lard, the caveat “buyer beware” takes on a whole new meaning.

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