Tuesday morning, 10 a.m. A female voice answers the phone: "Holiday Inn, Airport Oakland Park."
Unreal: Hi, this is the Holiday Inn off Natural Bridge Road, right?
Woman's voice: Yes.
I heard on the radio that there was a party there?
A party for what?
I'm not sure. I just heard that there were already eight shorties and people were going to be sipping on some Hen'.
Are you sure? I heard that Ching-a-Ling, Mr. Wiggles and Big Snoop Dizzle were there.
No, you've got the wrong number.
Well, just so you know, there were also rumors that some 'dro was going to be smoked. You might want to check into that, just in case it was a non-smoking room.
Sorry, sir, I don't have time for these games. So you can call somebody else and play them.
It was on the radio!
It wasn't on the radio. It wasn't for this hotel. You should probably call that radio station and see who you should be calling.
I heard it on three different radio stations!
That's fine. Then you call one of them, okay.
You might also want to beware of heathen behavior. You might want to check into that.
Thank you, good day. [click]
There we stood among the cops, firefighters, lawyers and journalists, waiting our turn to gawk at County Executive Buzz Westfall's casket at the St. Louis County Government Center, feeling as conspicuous as Martha Stewart at a swingers' party. Meramec Avenue was clogged with fire trucks. TV cameras were everywhere. Queued up in the long line, our eyes began to glaze over. Our mind swam with foreboding thoughts. What if there's a fire somewhere, or a journalistic emergency? What then?
The last time we saw a famous dead guy was in 'Nam. Hanoi, 1998, to be specific, when we visited the immense mausoleum where Ho Chi Minh surveys eternity from an open casket. Vietnam's state-sponsored newspaper probably didn't devote as much ink to Ho's death back in 1969 as the Post-Dispatch gave Westfall last week, and there were other key differences, as well: Visitors paying their respects to Buzz snapped digital pictures and paused in front of the closed casket to finger their rosaries. In Hanoi metal detectors made certain none of Uncle Ho's well-wishers snuck in a camera, while white-uniformed guards with rifles ensured everyone hustled past the pickled corpse.
Things didn't turn out quite the way Ho Chi Minh dreamed they would -- for one thing, he'd stipulated that his body be cremated -- but he did have a city named after him (the former Saigon). In the same spirit, in recognition of our fallen county executive, Unreal will henceforth refer to the Lou as The Gateway to the Westfall.
Congratulations to Washington University's Student Life for getting people talking. As Ben Westhoff reported in an October 8 news story ("Can You Get a Witness?"), the conservative Washington Witness was more actively stirring up campus debate. But that's all changed since Stud Life's October 17 bombshell "What is the average size of a penis?' by Wash. U.'s official health educator, Jill Ringold.
People are pissed. Well, at the very least one student's dad is.
In a letter to chancellor Mark Wrighton, the man, who identifies himself only as the parent of a "Christian WU student daughter," protests the article, as well as other pieces penned by Ringold in her new "Making Wupee" column addressing the issues of "why female nipples may point outward," "vaginal itch/irritation" and "male pre-cum lubrication."
Accompanied by a trio of helpful photographs, Ringold's penis piece reveals that "as we get older, the rigidity of the penis decreases and there is slight shrinkage" and includes statistics on length and girth. But the author questions the validity of the various research studies the figures are drawn from, pointing out that subjects were asked to measure their own members in most cases and tended to be white. Unreal wonders, however, whether those criticisms are warranted, as it seems likely that the statistical inflation caused by the first bias would be corrected by the deflation inherent in the second.
We Pimpy the Fool!
Cornell and Johnna Richardson of Florissant are the proud owners of two very cherry automobiles. So it can be forgiven if they thought their Lincoln Continental double entry (baby-blue '62, blood-red '68) would walk away with the case of Pimp Juice in Unreal's Pimpala contest, announced in the October 15 issue.
But ultimately, Unreal's a sucker for '80s kitsch. Which brings us to Lee "B.A." Wells of Champaign, Illinois, whose black, pimped-out A-Team van takes top honors. It's not just the rig, with its workhorse odometer reading of 320,000 ("and running strong!" reports Wells), that pushed Wells over the top. It's what he does in the rig.
"It comes in real handy when I'm Mr. T for Halloween," says Wells, whose van Pimp Juice CEO Demetrius Denham will have the pleasure of mulling for Pimpwrap consideration. "Although I am so short that I look like Arnold from Diff'rent Strokes when he dressed up as Mr. T."
Wells' winning van, however, does not limit its revelry-on-wheels to the Night of the Dead. No, sir: Wells also cops to hosting "regular viewings of 8mm porn, Atari parties and, of course, plenty of lovemaking'" in the vehicle. And then there's the 1,200-watt Alpine sound system, perfect for bumpin' the latest Lunatics hit or (duh) the A-Team theme song.
Congratulations, Lee -- your Pimp Juice is on the way! Unreal will have you know that it works great as an antifreeze substitute should you blow all your money on porn and Pong.
Live Where You Shop, Shop Where You Live
Unreal would like to thank the grocery workers' strike for reminding us of one of life's simple pleasures: shopping in a neighborhood market. It was on the way home from the office the other day that the craving for rocky road ice cream struck. What to do? Crossing a picket line isn't cool (and Unreal is nothing if not cool). But when you get to hankering for large quantities of chocolate ice cream studded with marshmallows and al-monds, it's hardly any time before you're thinking: Picket, shmicket.
Then it appears, as if in a dream. Gewinner's Market on Clayton Avenue in Dogtown. Inside, the butcher at the meat counter is greeting customers and asking after their kids. Folks in line are chatting with one another. When they leave, the bagger holds the door open, then insists on carrying out the groceries.
Misty-eyed, Unreal recalls a recent conversation with members of a new group called BUILD (Businesses United for Independent Local Development), which aims to convince consumers that shopping at small, local businesses has advantages: unique selections, a relaxed buying experience, civic betterment. The movement is fueled by a nationwide umbrella organization called the American Independent Business Alliance, which reminds consumers that 45 cents out of every dollar spent at a locally owned business stays in the community, compared to 15 cents of each buck laid down at a national chain.
BUILD is trying to recruit small businesses into a co-op of sorts that would give them name recognition, political cachet and joint buying power (think insurance, payroll services and advertising). The group promises to produce a buyers' guide of locally owned, independent businesses and schedule monthly socials.
Sounds good. As long as they tell us where to get our rocky road.