Subbing For the Divine Miss Ehm
Hooked on Sonics’ surprising revelations
Sports Vue, November 3-10, 1994
An era has ended. Erica Ehm, the lovely and talented veejay, left MuchMusic at the end of October. I, for one, will miss her. In her program Between the Sheets, she asked rock stars about the books they were reading. She felt that if the youth of today learns that its heroes have interests outside of their idolatrized professions, and even read books on occasion, then maybe kids themselves could be persuaded to develop good reading habits. It was kind of Hooked on Phonics for the acne set.
As a tribute to the Divine Miss Ehm, I thought I would carry on her tradition of discussing great literature with role models – in this case, members of the Seattle SuperSonics. I call it Hooked on Sonics.
To break the ice, I try to get Sam Perkins and Kendall Gill to comment on the Grizzly logo.
PERKINS: I haven’t seen it.
Are you just being diplomatic?
PERKINS: I haven’t seen it, I’m sorry. What does it look like?
Well, it’s turquoise and there’s a bear on it. There’s some red and gold.
PERKINS: I can’t comment on it; I haven’t seen it.
Okay, what are you reading now?
PERKINS: I’m reading The Chamber.
PERKINS: Grisham. John Grisham? The Chamber? You’ve never heard of it?
PERKINS: What?! You’ve never heard of it? See, it’s possible you never hera of something or see something, okay?
Are you giving me a hard time?
PERKINS: No, but you couldn’t believe I didn’t see the logo.
But you’re in the NBA. It’s your business.
PERKINS: It’s the first time I’ve been up here.
It didn’t make the news down there?
PERKINS: Hey, I ain’t been with the team. It’s my first game.
Oh yeah, you were away. What was the problem?
PERKINS: Don’t you read the news? See? Okay then.
Okay, what else are you reading?
PERKINS: Magazines. I read Essence, a black magazine – about black women. I’m trying to understand them as much as possible. The more I read the more confused I get. What else am I reading? Home Remedies.
PERKINS: What to do in case you have a headache or bee sting or various things.
Don’t you just run to the trainer when something goes wrong?
PERKINS: Well, you know, trainers always get you on medication or something like that, so it’s a good book to have.
A good, entertaining read. I’m waiting for the movie to come out.
PERKINS: Which one?
PERKINS: The movie? I ain’t heard about that one. Um, what other books? I read The Client. Oh, this book I read called And Deliver Us From Evil [Murder, Madness and Mayhem in the Lone Star State by Mike Cochran]. It’s a book on Dallas, Texas, all the happenings from John Kennedy to Reverend Walter Railey.
So do you believe in the conspiracy theory?
PERKINS: Oh yeah, definitely, that was a conspiracy, no question. But there are different events that happened in the state of Texas they still haven’t solved. Like Walter Railey. You never heard of him?
PERKINS: Dang, where you been? You’ve been up here too much.
You played in Dallas for a few seasons.
PERKINS: Yeah, it’s a Christian-like city but a lot of evil things, that’s why the book is called And Deliver Us From Evil. There are a lot of things that happen down there to be so Christian.
They’re hypocrites is what you’re saying. All Texans are hypocrites.
PERKINS: No, they’re not all hypocrites but they say one thing and do another.
[Let’s all think about that one for a while. It’s an interesting distinction to be sure. I move on to Kendall Gill but keep Perkins in the conversation.]
Kendall, have you seen the Grizzly logo?
GILL: No, but I’ve seen the colours. They’re nice.
PERKINS: See! See!
What do you think about the name?
GILL: The name is nice.
Come on, speak your mind.
GILL: Grizzlies? I’m speaking my mind.
You really like it?
GILL: Yeah. What do you think it should be named?
I don’t know. I don’t have one. I can just sit back and criticize.
GILL: I know, you’re a reporter. It’s in your blood.
Are you reading anything right now?
GILL: Right now I think I’m going to go get, uh, what’s that girl’s name? O.J. Simpson’s wife?
GILL: Yeah, I think I might go get that book.
Do you think he did it?
But the book paints him as doing it, doesn’t it?
GILL: Yeah, but I mean the power’s in the paint. You know that right, right? (laughs)
You think O.J. did it?
PERKINS: I don’t think so. Do you?
I don’t know. It’s got to be proved. But why did he take off?
GILL: What would you do in that situation?
PERKINS: What would you do? Go straight to the cops and let ’em take you to jail?
PERKINS: You say ‘yeah’ now. And plus, he was black so what of it?
PERKINS: I guess if you’re white, I guess you’ll say ‘here I am.’
But he’s a superstar.
PERKINS: If he wasn’t a superstar, the case would have been over. That ain’t got nothing to do with it.
GILL: So was Mike Tyson, so was Michael Jordan, so was Michael Jackson.
GILL: They were all superstars and look what happened.
What happened to Michael Jordan? Did I miss that one?
GILL: Yeah, you all ran him outta the game.
[I decided to get out of that debate before I got smacked. Shawn Kemp, a.k.a. the Rain Man, says he’s just finished reading the latest issue of GQ, featuring his rival Charles Barkley. As for books, he is a horror fan whose favourite author is Stephen King. But science fiction is no match for science fact. Or at least fact according to new Sonic Sarunas Marciulionis.]
MARCIULIONIS: I’m very interested in all these UFO mysteries.
There are a lot of sightings in your country (Lithuania), aren’t there?
MARCIULIONIS: No, in the States much more.
Do you believe in UFOs?
MARCIULIONIS: Oh yeah, sure. You think there are just us in this whole space? You think there’s only we human beings?
MARCIULIONIS: No, wrong.
Why haven’t they been better documented?
MARCIULIONIS: They’re filmed. The thing is, we have to prepare society for all this news. The government, they don’t really want to publicize everything because people would think that we’re an experiment on this earth. Nobody would feel good about that. This is hypothesis and it’s almost proven.
Have you seen one?
MARCIULIONIS: Uh, not yet.
Aren’t a lot of sightings simply lights people can’t identify?
MARCIULIONIS: No lights. No, this is what some scientists want to tell you. You know, lights, shadows, planes. I’ve seen tapes and it was pretty impressive.
Is this a hobby of yours?
MARCIULIONIS: Yeah, kind of. I’ve been interested for the last 10 or 12 years. But in the former Soviet Union you weren’t allowed to think that way so we didn’t have much information. People would stop working if they knew there was something more powerful, something stronger around.
What about the Bermuda Triangle?
MARCIULIONIS: There’s gotta be some connection with that stuff – magnetic anomalies in the former Soviet Union and the Triangle. It’s very interesting.
I leave the Sonic locker room secure in the knowledge that our children are in good hands with such well-read role models. Then Marciulionis catches up to me. He informs me that there are four aliens in a Roswell, New Mexico warehouse, having been captured in 1947. He tells me that you can learn more from such TV programs as Montel Williams.
Maybe it’s just as well Erica is no longer on the air. Such discussions can be disillusioning