Not to engage in, uh, overkill (see this week's feature story), but when the New York Times reported recently that Indiana is the state most vulnerable to terrorist attack according to the National Asset Database, Unreal's knickers developed a twist. As of January 2006, Indiana has 8,591 "critical infrastructures," while Missouri has only 684. What gives?
Turns out the lists are compiled largely by state and local officials. And according to a statement from Paul Fennewald, Homeland Security Coordinator for the Department of Public Safety in Jefferson City, Missouri's slim and trim count is due to diligence: By the time DHS did its count, Fennewald and his minions had trimmed 800 bogus targets from the ledger. So instead of being ranked No. 15, we plummeted to No. 32. "Before enhanced guidance from DHS, Missouri recognized the need to purge our critical infrastructure list to ensure our most vulnerable resources would be protected," Fennewald boasted. "There is nothing comical about any of the sites we have submitted to our national counterparts."
The listings are, of course, top secret. We'd hazard a guess, though, that Busch's Grove and Bellerive Country Club are among them. As for the 800 sites Fennewald and crew cut, Unreal's willing to bet the following were among the first to go:
· 801 North Eleventh Street (St. Louis Public Schools): Duh.
· The Poplar Street Bridge: Bomb it...please!
· The Muny: Ask yourself: Can you stomach another rendition of Gypsy?
· Busch Stadium: Bring back Edward Durrell Stone!
· Chesterfield Valley: Those who live by the flood plain die by the flood plain.
· The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission: Enough with the religious conventioneers!
· Sonic Drive-Ins (various locations): Which brings us back to...duh.
Somebody Buy My Crap
Item: Tattoo kit
Location: Columbia, Illinois
Issue: July 19
Unreal: Why are you selling your tattoo kit? Did something go horribly wrong?
Austin: No, not at all. I just have two of them. This was my first. I upgraded to a better one.
Are self-inflicted tattoos ever a good idea?
I wouldn't suggest it. For starters, it's hard to concentrate with all the pain. It can make for a bad picture.
Our first tattoo kit a needle and a Bic pen cost 37 cents. What's up with the $200 price tag for your tattoo kit?
First of all, this has a lot more than a needle and a pen. This has a machine, power supply, ink, needles and a starter book and starter DVD to show you steps on how to do it right.
Don't you need a license to legally tattoo other people?
Yeah, you're supposed to.
What would you tell youngsters wanting to get into the tattoo industry?
I wouldn't discourage them. But I'd tell them it's difficult. I've been trying to get into the business for a year and it's tough. That said, if you enjoy drawing there's nothing like seeing your artwork come to life on someone's body. It's incredible.
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.
Local Blog O' the Week
"Pam Beesley's Blog"
Author: Jenna Fischer
About the blogger: Jenna is a St. Louis native who stars in the NBC sitcom The Office.
Recent Highlight (July 7): I grew up in St. Louis Missouri. I always wanted to be an actor but when you grow up in a place like St. Louis that is sort of like saying, "I want to be a superhero when I grow up." It hardly seems real. The world of Hollywood is mysterious. You hear stories of girls being discovered at ball games. Success is about having "it" or being pretty or some other intangible magic. You have no model for how to succeed. Everyone's story is different. One person does stand-up for 15 years and then gets a TV show, someone else finances their own movie and it takes off at a festival and suddenly they are the hottest thing. But for each of those people there are thousands of stand-up comics and filmmakers who never got their break. How do you know what to do?
I thought being an actor meant being famous. But, most actors aren't recognizable. It's funny. I watch TV in a whole new way now. Like, I watch a show and I see the person who has 3 lines on Law & Order and I think, "Their family is gathered around the TV flipping out right now. I bet that was a huge deal for that person!" There are so many actors that make a living by doing support work on shows. I was that person for many years. For me to stay in this business, it had to be okay if I was never recognized. I learned that I loved the craft of acting more than the idea of being famous.
Know of an Unreal-worthy local blog?
Send the URL to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The voicemail clocked in at just under four minutes. Here's the gist, edited for conciseness and to maintain anonymity:
"Me and my fiancée have been having problems with the police stopping us all the time, harassing us because she's black and I'm white and apparently that makes her a hooker and me a john.
"Just today, this morning, we were at a gas station, she went in to buy some stuff, came back out, I went in, she came in with me, and I was getting a couple more things, asking her if she wanted a soda. This guy looks at her and said [cue East Asian accent], ‘Don't come back here no more. We don't want your business. You come here with too many johns.' I said: ‘Excuse me, sir, that's my fiancée.' He looked at me: ‘No more coming, don't come here, too many women coming here with you.' I'm like: ‘Excuse me, sir, that's my fiancée.'
"We've been putting up with this for several months now. The police force and now business owners apparently don't want a white man and black woman getting married, because racism still applies. She's a drug user, a prostitute, and I'm a drug dealer, according to the police department, and according to this business owner. I'm a john and she's a hooker, not my soon-to-be-wife. They do not see that.
"And we live together. She is pregnant with my baby.
"I want to get this thing done with, I want to contact a lawyer, and I'm gonna sue that place, because this is just too much. And I'd like the police department to leave me and my future wife alone, because the discrimination in this city is beyond me.
"This city needs to join the rest of the world and realize black women and white men are in relationships [and] getting married and that does not mean she's a hooker and he's a john or drug dealer."
Ever get the urge to jump up and ____ this damn town? Tell Unreal about it!