In preparation for the Classic, Unreal drilled down with St. Louisan Travis Cottrell, tournament chairman and a member of the American Cornhole Association, who filled us in on the pastime, which, near as we can tell, involves throwing one-pound canvas bags of corn into a hole in a piece of plywood, with a scoring system similar to that St. Louis favorite, washers.
Unreal: How did cornholing get its start?
Travis Cottrell: It originated in Cincinnati. It's a game someone came up with, and it caught on.
Are there any special attributes a cornholer has?
Not that I can think of. An affinity for drinking and competitive spirit.
Can cornholers marry each other?
There are some females that participate, but in our group of friends it's mostly guys. We'll convince the girls to play every once in a while.
Ever get discriminated against for being a cornholer?
Not yet. There's always a chance, I guess. If I walk up into a washers game, I might get discriminated against, especially here in Missouri.
What a bunch of spoilsports. Do cornholers ever play dirty?
There's not a really a way to cheat, unless the other team isn't paying attention and you cross the line you're supposed to throw from. There's always things that happen where you can play defense because your bag is sitting in front of the hole and it can prevent a certain type of player trying to score.
Wow, sounds dangerous. Do people ever get hurt?
No, it's very safe. But feelings are hurt all the time.
Any cornhole bars in St. Louis?
Not yet, but hopefully someday.
Why would you choose to cornhole in a public park?
It's made of corn it's an environmentally friendly game. Why not have it in a state park?
Any terminology unique to cornholing?
I don't know about nationally, but we have a lot of our own jargon [in St. Louis]. If you get all four bags in the hole, it's a "gerbil." Only three bags in the hole is a "Richard Gere," of course. You tend to have the bags pile up near the hole for "hemorrhoids" or a "crammed hole." All eight bags in the hole is a "perfect storm." A bag hits in the middle of the board and bounces in, it's a "shocker." A bag that doesn't touch the board and goes in is a "lube shot."
Now you're speaking our language!
Long Live Living
So now we know: Harry lives.
But Harry, Hermione, Hogwarts and the titanic publicity machine that carpet-bombed the country during the run-up to the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows ain't got nothing on Living the Wiccan Life, a reality TV show produced by the Rossville, Illinois-based Witch School International.
Shot in the shaky frames of a handheld camera, Living features such magickal eminences as the Rev. Donald Lewis-Highcorrell, First Priest and Paramount High Priest of the Correllian Tradition; and Lady Krystel, formerly Rev. Krystel High-Correll, First Priestess of Tradition.
Though it was originally bandied about as a possible offering on the SciFi Channel, the idea was dropped when it became evident that these mid-American witches weren't going to be tossing any reality-show toadies into the cauldron.
"It isn't things like turning people into frogs or flying on brooms," says Lewis-Highcorrell, leader of the Witch School, which, he says, boasts more than 180,000 students. "The kind of magic we're teaching revolves around things like meditation. It has a lot to do with self-knowledge."
That might sound dull, but these folks have put together a gripping first installment of Living the Wiccan Life. The episode, viewable on YouTube and MagickTV, is split into roughly two parts: The first documents the Wiccans packing up boxes from their school's old home in Hoopeston and schlepping their belongings to Rossville, just northeast of Champaign-Urbana. (Sample dialogue: "I'd like to manifest and visualize the most positive experience we could have in our new home.") The second part takes a long look at the recently released movie version of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix from a Wiccan perspective. (It rocks.)
As it happened, Unreal caught up with the coven not long after its members trekked to St. Louis to attend the annual Pagan Picnic.
"There were a lot of nice people there. We got a lot of good interviews," the Rev reports. "I also was at the Temple of Trianna, a Wiccan temple in St. Louis, where I presided over two third-degree initiations and one first-degree initiation."
Can't wait to see that footage! You can see it too: Lewis-Highcorrell has uploaded the video!
Somebody Buy My Crap
Issue: July 22
Unreal: Do you think God would be pleased that you're selling an altar in the Bargain Box?
David: Probably not. My wife didn't think it was a good idea. She thought we'd get ghosts.
Where does one pick up an altar? Catholic Supply?
No. We moved into an old convent in Florissant. The church sold it to Hazelwood School District, and they sold it to us. The altar was in a room where I wanted to put my TV, so I had to take it out of there.
Wouldn't the TV fit on it?
It's a 61-inch television. That wasn't going to happen.
Have you had any interest in the altar?
You're the first caller. It's a nice altar. It's wood and probably seven feet tall in the back. I've heard that the Catholics used to put a bone or relic in their altars. I don't know if this altar has one. I don't want to tear it all up.
Since it's made of wood it's probably not good for burnt offerings, huh?
Nah, you wouldn't want to do that. But I've seen plenty of people with shrines in their homes. It would be good for that. I just want to get it out of my garage.
Why don't you throw it away?
Oh, I couldn't do that! My wife is already giving me hell about selling it.
You're not scared that you'll go to Hell if you pitch it, are you?
Mmm, something like that.