You're Dunked Next Week

November 4, 2005
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Attention deer hunters: Put down your guns! (At least for a few hours Monday morning, Nov. 14.) The Coffee Dunkers of America (Grand Rapids Chapter) is meeting one month early, and for no good reason.

They could blame the Greeks, but the true lie is that FEMA and the CIA have mandated a new improved daylight savings time program by which federal regulation now requires (Grand Rapids) to move clocks forward one month (for one hour).

Kent County Clerk Mary Hollinrake is expected to protest the entire annual meeting, but has a starring role during the Breast-a-Ville celebration of babes in arms, though the brave mothers of last spring are far from her jurisdiction when the annual show begins at the Grand Valley State University Eberhard Center. No one is safe; not this year — especially those who have not yet mailed checks to Dunker charities benefiting from the annual community roast.

Grand Exhausted Chief Dripless Dunker (and local CPA) Paul Hense, taking the gavel from 2004 Grand Drip GRPD Chief Harry Dolan, will convene the 287th meeting of the Dunkers’ Grand Jury without DeLay (Tom DeLay has not been accused of any shenanigans in Michigan). Be there at the usual time, 7:29 a.m., or be fined by the Kent County Sheriff’s Deputies who have serious reason to impose on latecomers at a time of serious budget constraints. Those who contribute the $4.99 minimum can expect to be pilloried in public. It would be fair to double the contribution given that the Dunkers will have performed twice in 11 months … and after all, they lured new writers this year.

There was no good reason that (sister publication) Grand Rapids Magazine in October opted out of its 20-some-year-old GR Magazine Comedy JokeOff, from which the Dunkers annually stole jokes. So the Dunker crew stole the winner/contenders of past years, instead. They got WOOD TV8’s Brian Sterling (threatened with meetings at the jail); they wooed GR Magazine Metro Male humor columnist Dwight Hamilton (says he’s an attorney, be careful); they baited Michael Marn (hangs out at J.A. Francis during daylight hours) with fresh(!) doughnuts. And joining WOOD TV8 anchor Suzie Geha on stage this year is political reporter Rick Albin, who will rehearse — live, on stage — an upcoming “To the Pointless” show with deGov and DeVos. But the debate between the two gubernatorial candidates is worth the price of admission. (Can you hum, “These boots are made for walkin’…)? The new words to an old tune make more sense than the governor’s comments during the RosaParks funeral in Detroit last week. She told the crowd she has looked forward to the time when “a barber’s son in Detroit has the same opportunities as a doctor’s son in Grand Rapids.”

Huh?

And what about deBoss? Not even Peter Secchia will miss the show this year to favor a stockholder’s meeting (it IS a month early). Nope, Secchia has a starring role to select An Apprentice, while singing every word of Italian opera songs, speed-dialing with his toes and waving his arms in appropriate gestures meant to include or demean his protégé, all the while inking smiley notes to be sent far and wide and setting up a dinner date with Dick Cheney

But there’s more. The rumors that Fifth Third Regional President and CEO Michelle Van Dyke has purchased the west bank will be saluted with the stagecoach song; Mayor George Heartwell’s 53 new part-time jobs will be revealed, accounting for the city commission’s refusal to give him a 53 percent raise. Ponzie schemes at the zoo will be revealed; a new game will be introduced: City Cybernet (with a live, Cyber-speed auction). And Calvin College will get a bomb from the World War II veterans still alive and able to refute the college’s new Revisionist History Institute, where the true story of the bombing at Pearl Harbor is said to have been the fault of Americans.

Why do they do it? Charity needs are big this year. It’s the only thing about which the Dunkers are serious. Four charities were selected as beneficiaries for the second Dunker show in 11 months: the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance (currently serving 175 transplanted Louisiana families); Safe Haven Ministries, offering support and residential housing shelter for domestic crisis victims; Youth Commonwealth; and the Joel Boyden Rotary Scholarships.

The Coffee Dunkers chapter was founded Jan. 30, 1939, by Gerald R. Ford Sr., Police Chief Frank O’Mally, Kent County Sheriff Hugh M. Blacklock and Kent County Circuit Court Judge John H. VanderWal, among others, “to render assistance and raise funds for charitable purposes and to create and promote good fellowship among members” (however odd the bedfellows).

Guests at the annual roast (though none are treated like guests) will receive — free — warmed coffee in very small cups (bring your own creamer) and stale doughnuts. Corporate benefactors (including Kim Bruyn and most especially Matt McLogan) receive stale fritters for $249, program recognition (but no guarantee that they won’t be roasted); $500 “glazed” sponsors receive program mention and a sign (but no sign that they won’t be mentioned); Sugar Sponsors (that’s the $1,000 level) may receive a cameo appearance on stage (please wear old clothes), the program, the sign and the strong consideration of removing names from the script; Cream Puffs bringing $5,000 checks for charity can be seated near the television cameras, take the stage with an accordion … and the Dunker leadership will sign an official Tom DeLay affidavit that they’ve never met you.

There are rumors that Second Story Properties owner Sam Cummings will have a cameo role in the Dunker roast, but at press time the script writers thought they might have a better bull’s eye aiming at the long-proposed second giant flashcube under development by Robert Grooters. Seems Grooters’ marketing people have a way with words: “Over 100 homes already sold!” Not exactly (those are reservation agreements). “The only homes on the Grand River.” Ask the pioneers at Plaza Towers about it. “The only homes with two covered parking spaces.” Ask any of the developers with construction currently underway about that.

It would appear the competition for the new urban housing market is getting pretty stiffed.        

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