Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Dave Parker steps up to plate for roasting

By Jim Knippenberg
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The annual January deep freeze on the party circuit ended Saturday with puppets, insults and a bit of dancing cheek to cheek.

        The insults, all in fun, were flying at the Phoenix, where a bunch of sports types lined up to roast former Cincinnati Red Dave Parker. He didn't look all that nervous, but he probably should have, what with roasters Jeff Ruby, Marty Brennaman, Pete Johnson and Jim Bowden (on tape) busy sharpening their tongues.

        A sold-out crowd of 300 munched on beef filet and chicken while watching Mr. Parker squirm on his throne (actually a large barbecue spit) as roaster Mr. Ruby told him his greatest contribution to the Reds was Jose Rijo (the Reds got Rijo when they traded Parker). Oh, he also accused him of styling his hair with sardine oil.

        Proceeds went to LifeCenter, a non-profit organ recovery program, and the University of Cincinnati Islet Cell Program for diabetes treatment.

        Meanwhile, up the block at the Crowne Plaza, 8-foot thingamajigs mingled with 120 guests in their party finery at Madcap Puppet Theater's Groundhog Gala.

        The thingamajigs — Madcap snakes, frogs, that kind of thing — entertained during cocktail hour, before a dinner of chicken cordon bleu, followed by Madcap staffers doing tableside “madlibs,” followed by music from Scott Woolley and friends Deb Girdler, Spring Allen and more.

        All of it in a room split down the middle: One half was decorated like winter, with shivering groundhogs as centerpieces and silver and blue balloons everywhere; the other was spring, with groundhogs in tropical finnery, accented with hot red balloons.

        All of that, mind you, followed by a trip to the Gourmet Room for a right rowdy singalong. No wonder so many of the guests had booked rooms for the night at the hotel.

        Off in Northern Kentucky, the American Cancer Society's annual Strider's Ball packed the Cincinnati Marriott at RiverCenter for cocktails, dinner, auction and a whole lot of dancing to music from Essential Funk.


Wing it with super bowl of chili
Flowerpot project set to bloom or bust
Obesity open invitation to diabetes
Backward and forward
Panera depends on its bread
Slimmed-down dressing thicker but tasty
Smart mouth
Body & mind
- Dave Parker steps up to plate for roasting
Get to it