You'd think that when a 24-year-old inks a seven-year contract worth $100 million, he'd be apt to splurge on bling and young ladies. Not so Cardinal Albert Pujols, who, in the February 21 Post-Dispatch, explained that he's still a man of humble means.
"I'm pretty sure people think, 'What can I do with that money?" Pujols told the Post. "But it's not my money. It's money that I have borrowed from God. And He has let me use it. Whatever He wants me to do with it, that's what I'm going to do."
For Unreal, such a holy proclamation presents, ahem, a hanging curveball. So imagine our elation when we inadvertantly hooked into this conversation between Pujols and the Holy Father:
Pujols: Yeah, Papi, but Renteria has an Escalade.
God: [speaking with a faux British accent)] Butterflies are people, too, my son, and those damn tanks are hell on my ozone layer. Why do you think I have an oxygen bar off my rec room, yo? Escalades, that's why.
Pujols: Then what should I drive?
God: If I had my druthers, you'd take the MetroLink and spread the word, playa. But if you must drive, go with the Toyota Prius. Either that or a pimped-out Ducati.
Pujols: Pat Robertson says you're predicting Bush will win in a landslide come November. True?
God: How should I know? I'm not even sure what district I'm supposed to vote in, after that chaos in Texas.
Pujols: Boxers or briefs?
God: Bikini briefs, my son. God wants more Pujolses on his great green earth, and I can think of no greater gateway to foreplay than a Latin lover in a tiger-striped thong.
Pujols: I know I should have asked you this before I signed the $100 million contract, Father, but what sort of interest rate am I getting hit for?
God: 18.9 percent, fella. So don't get hurt.
When they learned on February 22 that their DC++ file-sharing program was about to be shut down, members of Washington University's computer-downloading community erupted into protest and threats of violence.
In the middle of the night.
Peeved that they'd no longer be able to trade free music, movies and porn, students blamed the shutdown on Ben Westhoff's February 11 Riverfront Times story "Peer-to-Peer Pressure," which chronicled how the bootleg campus network had sprouted after university officials curtailied use of popular Internet-based file-sharing programs such as Kazaa. The students also faulted Wash. U. freshman Lindsey Chesky, one of two DC++ users quoted in Westhoff's story.
As word spread of the impending plug-pulling, Chesky was excoriated on the file-sharing network's online forum.
"she squealed man" user b1357> fumed.
"THE BITCH BURNS AT 1," TheDivineMissB> put in.
"lets roll up to her room with torches," suggested SMoKeY>. "lets go throw shit at her window...such as bricks and rocks."
Added lauradeluca>: "look this girl is going down if anything." And then: "this is about life and death."
Someone posted Chesky's dorm room address. A group of students showed up later that night, banged on Chesky's door and wrote the word bitch on her dry-erase board, according to Judy Leicht, the school's associate vice chancellor for communications.
Leicht says Chesky vacated the premises until things cooled down. "She's back on campus now," the spokeswoman says. "She may have gone [temporarily] to another room for her own safety."
Chesky did not return Unreal's calls requesting comment.
Meanwhile, at around 3 a.m., a few dozen students congregated outside the school's residence halls near the intersection of Forsyth and Big Bend boulevards. A student band's attempt to play an impromptu concert was thwarted by campus police, who later cited band members for disturbing the peace and interfering with a police officer.
By daybreak on Feburary 23, DC++ was no more. Though a subsequent article in the campus newspaper Student Life intimated that school administrators had nixed the network, Leicht says that's not so. "The university had no part in shutting down the hub," she maintains. "The student who was running the hub turned off the hub."
At any rate, Matt Arthur, the school's director of residential technology services who was quoted in both Westhoff's story and in Student Life, announced late last week that all students who used the file-sharing network will receive a letter or e-mail warning them to delete any illegally copied files or risk disciplinary action.
The Crunk Deficit
Recently announced: The U.S. trade deficit is at an all-time high. We buy China's crap and they seem to have no use for ours. How strong are their abs, anyway? How much fat have they recently burned?
Now think of St. Louis as the U.S. and Atlanta as China. And we're not talking about beer and dog food, we're talking about crunk. The St. Louis crunk deficit -- calculated as the amount of Atlanta-based crunk consumed here versus the amount of local crunk consumed there -- is staggering.
Lil Jon spins incessantly on local hip-hop stations. Trillville plays to breathing-room-only packed houses. Yin, Yang, and Twins are practically household words here.
All Atlanta-based artists.
Can Roni Sarig -- until recently the music editor of ATL alt-weekly Creative Loafing -- even name a single St. Louis crunk artist?
"No," Sarig says, almost apologetically. "Nelly and Chingy are big here, but in terms of crunk? There's a real kind of local sense in representing the hometown."
In the STL, though, neither regional pride nor market forces seem to be doing the trick. Sure, we've got Da Hol 9, the All-Stars, and Hard Knox, but Unreal's not even sure we spelled those right. In the spirit of the Democratic primary season, then, might we offer...governmental solutions?
In Canada, for example, a certain percentage of the songs played on the radio must be made by Canadian artists. Might that do the trick here?
Nah, says Wes Allmond, director of operations for Ch'rewd, a local urban marketing company that has worked with Lil Jon, as well as the All-Stars. "St. Louis radio already supports some of the local crunk artists, but there's really not a ton out there."
Then should local politicians spring for some crunk development dollars?
"That'd be a wonderful thing," says Allmond. "But I doubt that'd ever happen."
The secret to success in crunk, Allmond contends, is in the attitude. "Lil Jon and those guys just love to party 24/7. We'll be driving around and Jon will see a bar and he'll tell the driver to pull over and demand that everybody get out and take a shot."
Tequila subsidies, anyone?
A (Final) Season on the Brink
The Sanford-Brown Indians closed out basketball coach John Campbell's 55-year career in spectacular fashion last Tuesday, with a come-from-behind 78-77 road victory over the St. Louis College of Pharmacy Eutectics. Despite shooting guard Darrin Burns' 26 points, The Indians trailed for most of the game before star point guard Gary Lenoir (23 points) drilled a three-pointer from the top of the arch with four seconds left to end the Indians' 9-13 season on a sky-high note.
Campbell, who received a standing ovation before the game, was stoic afterward, hinting that he may not be quite ready to mute his trusty whistle.
"I'd like to go someplace, but I guess it won't be here," the 75-year-old coach says of the tiny business school's hoops program, which school officials are canceling after 57 up-and-down seasons -- all of which involved Campbell as either player or coach. "I'd like to keep going for one or two more years in the right situation."
While Campbell would be a shrewd addition to any local school's coaching staff, Unreal wouldn't be surprised if he ends up finishing his career as one of first-year University of Missouri-St. Louis head coach Chris Pilz's right-hand men. Campbell's Indians tormented UMSL through the years, and Unreal has heard that Pilz has much respect for the cagey Campbell's coaching wiles.