When Unreal broke last month's story that St. Louis ranks as the nation's No. 5 "hot spot" for migraines, no one could have anticipated the extent of the problem. We shook the headache tree, all right: Further checking of our e-mail inbox reveals that 63 percent of respondents in a recent online survey said they treat their achy craniums with over-the-counter medications.
It gets worse: The National Headache Foundation, the Chicago-based nonprofit that conducted said survey, says 67 percent of headache sufferers say over-the-counter drugs don't help.
The folks who bring us high-octane migraine pharmaceuticals like Axert and Topamax would tell you to ditch the Tylenol and roll out the heavy artillery. But Unreal has other plans for our liver; we don't intend to surrender precious liquor-clearing cells in exchange for a few measly headache pills. So we consulted the world's top minds, asking them one simple question:
What's the best way to naturally cure a headache?
"A cup of coffee or tea. It can take care of it in an hour. Have you heard about the new American Express Rewards Plus Gold Card? Anand, American Express customer service representative, Bombay, India
"Prayer. The whole basis of Christian Science is to restore healing as in the time of Jesus. If we feel our own efforts are not sufficient, we'd ask for help from a healing practitioner and ask for their help through prayer." Merribeth Cook, treasurer, First Church of Christ, Scientist, Brentwood
"I really need to know palm, pulse and ask for the details of what type of headache the person has. There are different herbs, and I'd need to make a different formula for each headache. The acupuncture is very flexible. You need to evaluate what type of headache so you can choose which channel or which herbs." Ling Li, acupuncturist, Oriental Healing Clinic, Richmond Heights
"I wouldn't recommend anything. Most people start with an over-the-counter product, but if they're exceeding the dosage most people should be seeing their healthcare provider. These are not innocuous substances. Even though people think of them as 'natural,' it doesn't mean that they couldn't have side effects." Suzanne Simons, executive director, National Headache Foundation, Chicago
"My father used ginger, garlic and red onion. He'd chew it. He'd get a runny nose, and then he'd get well. I just take Advil or Tylenol." Zewdu Lakew, clerk, A & Z Package Liquors, St. Louis
Two state senators recently issued a press release expressing their outrage at two "anti-meat, anti-farmer" questions that appeared in materials used to prepare students for the state-mandated Missouri Assessment Program test.
Republican senators John Cauthorn (Mexico) and Bill Stouffer (Napton) say children are being fed propaganda by a Connecticut-based company called Queue Inc.
One objection involves a passage called "Why Be Vegetarian," which students must read and then write about. The other concerns a poem test-takers must interpret, which includes the following couplet:
Your brain could rot from eating beef
from Mad Cow disease there is no relief
"They were using that to scare kids about eating beef," Stouffer tells Unreal. "Number one, it's not scientifically right, and number two, it's not the purpose of the test."
Cauthorn and Stouffer, it should be noted, farm cattle. "I do have a steak in this and I mean a steak," notes Stouffer. "I love steaks. I have both kinds of stakes in this."
Unreal loves steak, too. But we also once wrote an essay called "Anti-Meat Poetry in Pre-Raphaelite Literature." So we figured the least we could do is write the rest of the poem.
"Your Brain Could Rot from Eating Beef"
Your brain could rot from eating beef
From Mad Cow disease there is no relief.
Got a hankering for some duck?
Shotgun lead will numb your pluck.
Maybe we should roast some veal?
Better yet, just club a seal.
A chunk of flank, a rib-eye steak...
Murderer! Venal snake!
Have some pork, load the larder,
Between pigs and us, they're the smarter.
Roast a chicken, that's delicious.
Caveman hungry, he is vicious.
Carnivores we must defeat!
Unreal has sallied forth to the Ritz-Carlton for a rendezvous with a charming ophthalmic plastic surgeon. Her name is Dr. Deborah D. Sherman, but her colleagues call her "Dr. Deborah Dale Detail." She has come from Nashville to promote Botox. The way she feathers her short hair a good four inches away from her forehead brings to mind Daryl Hannah in the second half of Steel Magnolias. Her Southern drawl is so sweet, we feel a cavity comin' on just sittin' and listenin' to her.
She has a narrow, dainty face made smooth with fillers and Botox. The latter she injects into the mugs of country music stars. Unreal has been promised a facial analysis, from which we will learn how people respond to us based on our appearance.
"Generally I give a patient a Q-tip, which I call the Magic Wand, and say: 'Point to what bothers you.' Then I try to explain why you have that concern," the good doctor begins.
Actually, Unreal's pretty satisfied with our face. "You tell us," we counter. "What's our face saying?"
Sherman studies us, hazards a guess at our age (25 to 30) and declares: "You look quite pleasant!"
No droopy frown lines or etchings. Skin tone: good. Plus, some people have a "1," or an "11," or even a "11,111" between their eyes, according to Sherman. Unreal? Zilch.
Sherman speaks of choosing a "master injector" (such as herself) for Botox treatments and shows off before and after photos galore. Soccer moms, a dentist, a preacher, a fellow eye surgeon. And on and on.
"Why do you keep looking at our mouth?" Unreal asks.
Eureka! Turns out we purse our lips when we listen which might cause some droopy frown lines in a few years' time.
At the end of our 50-minute analysis, Sherman says she's had a ball. Unreal, however, is feeling a tad tuckered. It ain't exactly a palm reading.
"Have you ever wanted to read another body part?" we ask innocently.
"I'm not going there!" squeals Dr. Deborah Dale Detail.
See, ever since "Sultan of Skin," Kristen Hinman's RFT cover story about plastic surgery, we've been, um, preoccupied with a body part called the pannus, a flap of belly skin that results when formerly obese folks shed mondo poundage. "My editor was wondering if you could read the pannus," Unreal blurts.
"You tell her," says Sherman, leaning forward, "I only set my sights above the neck."
Local Blog O' the Week
"Marrio Gardner's Blog"
Author: Marrio Gardner
About the blogger: Marrio is 25, a Jennings resident, the youngest of six brothers, and a writer for inBox magazine. [For more on inBox see this week's "Yo! RFT Raps" column in the music section.]
Recent Highlight (March 31): As the casino was closing, There was about 15-20 guests requesting their vehicles from valet. Mind you, the supervisor let most of the people leave early, so I was bringing up all the cars by myself. Some of the guests had attitudes, which I understood, but they kept some of their comments to a minimum.
Then, it came time for me to bring around the white ladies car, I first apologized for the wait. By her physical actions, I could tell she didn't care about what I said. When I apologize, I really mean it because I'm human too, so I know how service can be too. Evidently, this lady still thinks of blacks as "five percenters." I reacted to her attitude by saying, "Wow!" And I guess I touched a nerve. She started cursing and called me a fucker and all. I started to run down to get the next car and she circled around to where I was at and said, "FUCKING NIGGER!"
*sigh* now... the first thing I thought about doing was some San Andreas type shit. That stuff was SO 1960's of her. I guess I'll never understand racist white folks. Their ancestors brought us over here, they hosed us down, hung us, allowed us to have equal rights after fighting back for centuries. Now that we are showing some success in their system, they get jealous and envious. And on Dr. Kings birthday they yell, "HAPPY NIGGER DAY!"
But you know what? At this casino, the black people act cool while the white people are the ones causing the commotions, starting fights, getting drunk and throwing up all over the place and screaming "WOOOOO!" So you do the math.
five percenters, niggers, coons, 5/8 of a person, monkies, whatever! PISS ON THE CONSTITUTION AND BURN THE MAGNA CARTA!!
Know of an Unreal-worthy local blog?
Send the URL to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Somebody Buy My Crap
Item: Brett Hull cardboard cutout
Condition: Like new
Location: South County
Issue: April 30
Unreal: A life-size cutout of Blues great Brett Hull! Have we died and gone to hockey heaven?
Darren: Well, it's not entirely life-sized. His head is probably life-sized, but his body is kind of shrunken. It's a promotional item they had at McDonald's back in 1994.
So you lifted this thing from a Mickey D's?
Oh, no! I used to work for a printing company. It went out of business and people just took whatever they wanted. I took this. It's been stored in the closet for a dozen years. It's in real good shape.
Do you think Hull should enter the Hall of Fame wearing the Blue Note?
Definitely. Even though he won his Stanley Cups with other teams, his best playing days were here. When he was teamed with Adam Oates, the two were amazing.
Speaking of Hull and Oates, do you have a favorite song by blue-eyed-soul phenoms Hall and Oates?
Jeez, I don't know.
"Private Eyes"? "Maneater"? "Kiss on My List," perhaps?
OK, we'll put you down for "I Can't Go for That (No Can Do)." But tell us, do you think Brett Hull's retirement last year might increase the value of this cutout?
I hope so. That's why I put it up for sale at $100.
But since you didn't pay for it, anything you make on it would be profit. Right?
Yeah. It's pretty much free money.
So the phone has rung off the hook, huh?
No. You're the first caller. But tell your readers the price is negotiable. I'd appreciate that.
From time to time Unreal trolls the St. Louis Post-Dispatch classified section's "Bargain Box." We cannot guarantee any item remains available for purchase at press time.