Smiles And Tears

June 19, 2002
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To laugh or to cry? That’s a question many Americans are facing lately on a daily basis.

Sister publication Grand Rapids Magazine is going on with the show; the Comedy Joke Off is scheduled for 8 p.m., Oct. 10, at The BOB. Laughter, it is hoped, is the best medicine.

But the show will go on without WOOD-AM on-air personality GaryAllen, who, while not 100 percent committed the comedy night, now finds himself in a different role: that of economy booster.

It seems station manager PhilTower has decided that the station will take on the task of kick-starting the local economy all by itself.

Allen and crew will be on remote location in October. Not just one evening in October. Not just one full day in October. All of October.

“Thirty Days of Remotes” will be bringing its road show to strip malls, shopping centers and just about any other place that will have them in an effort to promote consumer spending (not to mention boost the station’s ad revenue).

But not to despair: The Joke-Off still will feature plenty of funny faces. Scheduled to appear are Skyview Traffic’s KevinRichards, WXMI Fox-17’s DanRing and Grand Rapids Magazine veteran MikeMarn, among others.

Maybe you’ll laugh and cry at the same time.

  • A great many members of Congress apparently thirst to see the federal government take over airport security. But many think sinecures rather than security would result.

Besides, everybody heard Norman Mineta, secretary of transportation say, “We will not allow this enemy to win this war by restricting our freedom of mobility,” as he introduced a series of measures restricting our freedom of mobility.

The requirement to arrive at the airport two or three hours early will send many business people back to the office for high-tech conferencing instead (see story, page 1). As for parents who must entertain toddlers for 120 minutes at the airport, good luck…

  • Naturally, Congress is in a dither about the proposals to arm airline pilots. In fact, the new wisdom of the FAA — that’s the genius agency which was using radio tube technology in Detroit airport radars into the mid-’90s — holds that no pilot will be permitted to carry a pocket knife with a blade more than three inches long. Maybe they fear the pilots will endanger terrorists who wish to hijack airliners.

Come on! Most airline pilots are fighting men. In fact, all of the F-15 pilots who’ve been flying cover over Washington are airline pilots who belong to the Air National Guard activated for the current emergency. And one of the airline pilots’ union members had a quick comeback to an airline spokeswoman who said airline pilots’ jobs is to fly, not fight. He said, “Honey, it’s pretty hard to fly when some terrorist has just murdered you.”

  • A doctor told one of our staff that the day after the terrorist attack his patients and co-workers alike seemed slightly dazed. “Stunned,” he said is how he himself felt.

Then he saw several patients with lower-than-normal blood pressure. He checked his own to find it down slightly, so he made a tour of the office checking nurses, receptionists and other colleagues.

“I found that a lot of us were exhibiting mild symptoms of shock,” he said.

Odds are that hasn’t worn off yet.

  • “Shock” may not be the right term, but the thoughts of many of the 500 Grand Rapidians who participated in a WZZM13/Survey USA Poll are at least surprising.

The survey concerned questions regarding chemical or biological attacks on the United States. Results found that 40 percent of respondents said it is either “likely” or “extremely likely” that there will be a terror attack on the area’s drinking water supply.

Overall, 64 percent of those taking part in the poll said it is either “likely” or “extremely likely” that a chemical or biological attack will occur on U.S. soil.

Conversely, 87 percent of those asked say they have not personally taken any steps to prepare for the possibility of a biological or chemical attack.

  • For those who do want to prepare, a quick trip to Detroit tomorrow might be in order. Retired Marine Col. OliverNorth is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at the second annual Michigan Business & Legislative Forum at Cobo Center in Detroit.

North is scheduled to discuss the recent terrorist strikes against the United States by airline hijackers and what the U.S. can do to prepare against future attacks. North originally was set to address the conference on ways to succeed when running a business, but instead the combat-decorated Marine who is a frequent guest on national television will speak to an area in which he has even more expertise.

For the record, it also should be noted that North also is the founder of a small business and an inventor with three U.S. patents.

  • While North’s event will go on, others have been canceled in light of the Sept. 11 attacks.

One of those is Grand Rapids Community College’s annual fundraiser.

“Given the uncertainty of the coming days and out of respect for our national circumstances, we have decided to postpone the BIG Event originally scheduled for Oct. 19,” said GRCC President JuanOlivarez. “Although still several weeks away, it seems most disrespectful at this time to solicit financial support from corporations and individuals. Sadly, many of us feel uncertain about future events in general, and are reluctant to think about any kind of celebration right now.”

Olivarez said the BIG Event will be staged at a later date.

“At some point, it will be time to move ahead with the plans and I’m confident the event will be a success for the GRCC scholarship fund.”

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