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Brain Drain

Unreal learns how to keep young, bright St. Louisans in town — and alive. Plus: Blog o' the Week, advice for the apocalypse and a chat with Bill the Thrill.

Cities Compete in Hipness Battle to Attract Young

Cities have long competed over job growth, struggling to revive their downtowns and improve their image. But the latest population trends have forced them to fight for college-educated 25-34-year-olds, a demographic group increasingly viewed as the key to an economic future.....

They like downtown living, public transportation and plenty of entertainment options. They view diversity and tolerance as marks of sophistication.
New York Times, November 24

St. Louis Competes in Survival Battle to Keep Young Alive

Unlike other U.S. cities, St. Louis will not introduce any new programs to slow the defection of college-educated young adults to other cities, Ed Rhode, spokesman for St. Louis mayor Francis Slay, said yesterday.

Rather, the city, recently named the most dangerous in the nation by Morgan Quitno Press, is sponsoring an initiative to slow the defection of college-educated young adults to the afterlife.

"Local members of this desirable demographic are less concerned with trendy sushi bars and multiculturalism than with basic survival," said Rhode, speaking at a press conference at the Pin-Up Bowl, from behind a bulletproof Plexiglas plate. "St. Louis suffers from 'brain drain' — too many of our best and brightest's craniums are penetrated by bullets or rusty iron pipes."

The initiative, entitled "25 and Alive!," aims to give young adults the opportunity to live, work and shop within the city limits, with the emphasis on "live." Planned activities included martini happy hours at shooting ranges and tapas-cooking classes at karate studios.

"Upwardly mobile hipsters will be able to network while they learn to destabilize armed, desperate crack addicts," Rhode said.

"25 and Alive!" also has a public-relations component, intended to emphasize the number of St. Louis young professionals who are still very much alive. "Morgan Quitno emphasizes all the murders," Rhode said. "But what they don't tell you is that just as many people — if not more — have never been murdered, and likely never will be."

Reservations Recommended

It has come to Unreal's attention that the world will end on December 12, 2012.

We were reminded of this after watching the trailer for Mel Gibson's new movie, Apocalypto. You see, the Mayans — who abandoned their highly developed cities sometime around 900 A.D. — created a nifty calendar.

You know, that big round one. The one that ends on December 12, 2012.

Holy shit!

Out of our mind with worry, we got Terry James, of the biblical Web site, on the blower and asked him how much time he thinks we've got left.

"The rapture could occur at any moment," James says. "We believe we're close. The number-one sign is the fact that the nation of Israel is again in its land with a common language, Hebrew."

James then discusses why Satan might hate the Jews (as is stated on the Web site). The simplified version: God favors Israel, which irritates Satan, who is ever the contrarian. "Think about Hitler, the Holocaust," James says. "Why would anyone want to kill a people? Because Satan hates the Jews."

Other signs that the rapture may soon be upon us, according to the gay-friendly practices of companies that recognize same-sex unions and the general moral decline of America.

James, of course, can take comfort in the notion that everyone who believes Jesus Christ is the Son of God will ascend to Heaven just as all Hell breaks loose.

And he does mean everyone.

"Even if they have to be taken kicking and screaming," James says, then laughs. "It's a joke, because some Christians are against the idea of the rapture."

He pauses. "It seems almost like they want to be left behind."

"We all have a God-shaped void in our soul," James continues.

Unreal is just beginning to wonder what a God-shaped void might look like when he delivers the kicker:

"If God is not there, Satan is."

Clearly Unreal is not raptureready.

The O'Federer Factor

When we last heard from Bill Federer, he was dominating the 2004 RFT Candidate Challenge, out-bowling, out-karaokeing and outclassing Third District opponent Russ Carnahan. But our de facto endorsement didn't translate into victory for the Republican U.S. House candidate.

To speak da truth, Unreal forgot all about Federer until he popped up in the December issue of Harper's, in a Jeff Sharlet article entitled "Through a Glass, Darkly: How the Christian Right is reimagining U.S. history."

"Federer and I were riding together in a white school bus full of Christians from around the country to pray at the site on which the Danbury, Connecticut, First Baptist Church once stood," writes Sharlet, when Federer offered his interpretation of Thomas Jefferson's "wall of separation" phrase:

"'Those who control the present,' Federer continued his quote from 1984, 'control the past.' He paused and stared at me to make sure I understood the equation. 'Orson Welles wrote that,' he said."

Ooooh, that snarky Sharlet!

But we were more interested in what Bill the Thrill's been up to recently, so we called him at his south-county home.

"To be real honest, I didn't run this year because my wife was discouraged by voter fraud and seemingly regular irregularities," he says. "The first time I ran, my name was left off the ballot in five wards in the city."

Instead, Federer says, he focused on his new book, The Faith of FDR, which explores Roosevelt's war on (Nazi) terror. The tome was published on Federer's Amerisearch imprint, which also sells his America's God and Country: Encyclopedia of Quotations. Federer says the latter, published in 2000, has sold a half-million copies (at $19.99 per).

He's also a talk-radio regular and makes public appearances for right-wing causes around the nation. He spoke to high school students all over Illinois in September on "Constitution Day" and emceed a "National Prayer Day" event at Mount Rushmore in May. He says his name is well-known on the national conservative circuit, thanks to his books and appearances on shows like The O'Reilly Factor back when he ran for office.

Other than that, he's chillin'. "When we were watching the Talent-McCaskill race on TV," he says, "my wife was commenting on how nice it was to see all the negative ads on TV that weren't directed at us."

Local Blog O' the Week

"The FYC"
Author: Alex Fritz
About the blogger: Alex is a 26-year-old St. Louisan who, according to his Blogger user profile, enjoys mountain biking, baseball and mail fraud. He operates two other blogs, "The Book of Fitz" ( and "Todays Fake Birthdays" (

Recent Highlight (November 30): While heading northbound up Mexico's route 307 yesterday morning, traversing the Yucatan peninsula in the pouring rain (route 307 is easily the weirdest road I have traveled before, Highway of Death aside, of course. Throw in an early morning rainstorm and it is all the more surreal, tipped over vans full of vases scattered along the road withstanding), I was most certain that The Lady Friend and I were concluding a most successful romantic holiday in that drunken slice of real estate known as Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Sure, the whole thing started out with me being a rather hung-over crybaby last Wednesday morning [I threw up on three non-consecutive occasions during my travels last week — including once on the conveyer belt at Lambert International (I apologize if anyone saw that. Gross.)] which is completely and totally to be blamed on the tasty pints I enjoyed at the ever comfortable cold weather bar that is Seamus McDaniel's on last Tuesday (The Tuesday before Thanksgiving is the new Wednesday before Thanksgiving — I'm not sure if you knew that or not). And sure, both The Lady Friend and I were leaving our neighbor to the south with tremendous head colds, but by God Shit, it was a successful trip.

We checked into Cancun's airport without a hitch and were ready to get back home, happy as could be. However, thirty minutes after takeoff, I was hoping for the plane to crash. Something quick and painless would be nice, but I wouldn't mind something drawn out and excruciating either, as long as the end result was the same: Sweet, sweet death. Why, you ask? Because of the in-flight movie: "My Super Ex Girlfriend."

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