October is widely considered to be St. Louis' most splendid month, and not without reason. But until recently Unreal was unaware that October is also National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. And National Popcorn Poppin' Month.
And National Orgasm Month. At least according to Cincinnati-based Pure Romance, peddler of "bedroom accessories." (You know, the kind of stuff Unreal's Aunt Doris probably still "hides" at the bottom of her sock drawer.)
Unreal put in a call to Pure Romance president and CEO Patty Brisben to get her take on this harmonic convergence.
Unreal: Have you approached the Bush administration or members of Ohio's Congressional delegation about officially declaring October National Orgasm Month?
Patty Brisben: I don't think anybody has gone to Congress trying to push this particular holiday. I think it's more of a fun type of holiday. I'm sure Bush is celebrating, too. We can only hope he's having an orgasm every now and then.
October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Which is more vital to one's health: getting laid like a regular at Plato's Retreat or not being hit regularly by your spouse?
We really work with couples out there with their relationships, because domestic violence needs to be out of here. Nobody, male or female, should be hit.
What if they're into S&M?
S&M is in a category by itself. This is something where you really need to have a trust factor going before you start participating.
Do you prefer to eat popcorn au naturel or with butter and salt?
You know I'm gonna like all the bad things, so butter and salt.
October is also National Popcorn Poppin' Month. Which is better for the healthy, sex-lovin' orgasm haver to ingest: movie-theater popcorn butter or semen?
I would prefer maybe a little semen with my popcorn, but don't worry about the calories. Because if you are having great sex with all those orgasms, you can afford to eat a little bit more.
Is constant, passionate, climax-laden sex a reasonable cardiovascular substitute for, say, a morning run, lap swim or brisk walk?
I would prefer it, and I think a lot of people would prefer it over a morning run or a swim. You need a little individual time for yourself, but instead of spending the morning at the gym, take one morning and use this as a substitute.
Just one morning?
I'd prefer two, but you have to start somewhere.
Unreal's dream was fulfilled last Friday night, when we got to hang out at the presidential debate. Those fools running the show over at Washington University, a.k.a. the Harvard of Clayton, were foolish enough to issue us a press credential.
It wasn't enough to provide access to the "Town Hall" itself, but it did get us into the "Hospitality Tent" pitched out behind the field house, where Anheuser-Busch plied members of the fourth estate with all manner of grilled delicacies. These we eschewed in favor of the free souvenir beer mug and the free souvenir beer to pour into it, the former distributed by a gaggle of hired models, the latter by an ex-Mississippi River tugboat pilot.
Suitably stoked, we joined about 600 of our fellow "journalists" in the media area, a gymnasium equipped with several dozen television monitors and access to what George W. Bush would soon quaintly refer to as "the Internets." As the debate unfolded, we were visited every ten minutes or so by a Bush campaign worker named Angie, who distributed a series of "Breaking Debate Facts" rebutting assertions by rival candidate John Kerry but who refused Unreal's offer of $5 (subsequently upped to $10) for her spiffy-looking "W" hat.
After the debate the gym doubled as the infamous Spin Alley, where the heaviest of political heavy hitters gathered, faking optimism and telling the media sheep what to think. For Unreal this presented an unparalleled opportunity to do what we do best: Ask important people stupid questions.
Look, there's Claire McCaskill!
Unreal: If the Cardinals and the Red Sox get to the World Series, could this be an issue that tears the Democratic party apart?
Claire McCaskill: You know what? That is really a big problem. It's enough to make me pout about Senator Kerry. He needs to get on board. I can see a major split coming if we don't get him over from the dark side.
And...who's that? Why, it's Wash. U. chancellor Mark Wrighton!
Unreal: Have you given any consideration to having students' looks play into the application process? Shouldn't better-looking coeds have a better chance to get in?
Mark Wrighton: I haven't heard of that concept. I think we do the best we can to recruit really talented people--
Talent, meaning, like, looks?
They're interested in the arts, in medicine....
Wrighton keeps talking, but we're distracted by his pomaded hair. Not to mention the arrival of Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe!
Unreal: How exactly does John Kerry know how much money Charlie Gibson makes?
Terry McAuliffe: When they pay people like Mr. [Howard] Stern $500 million to go on radio [momentarily distracted, turning to surrounding lackeys]....We've gotta get in this radio business! [Lackeys laugh]
And there's...Illinois Senator Dick Durbin!
Unreal: Are you excited that Barack Obama's probably coming to the Senate?
Dick Durbin: Oh, yeah!
You guys gonna throw some parties?
I don't know about parties. What are you with, the Party Herald?
Before we can answer, we're practically run over by de facto Kerry campaign manager Joe Lockhart!
Unreal: You seem to be playing a large role in the campaign. Isn't that you writing all those e-mails?
Joe Lockhart: I hope you're giving money, that's all I can say.
All this is fun, but our evening won't be complete if we can't wedge in a question to GILF babe and CNN anchor Judy Woodruff!
Unreal: Your suit -- it's...striking. Would you call that color "fuschia," or would you call it "Barney"?
Judy Woodruff: Fuschia.
Attack of the Bush Buttheads
On the night of September 22, copies of a macabre poster began to appear around town, glued to bus shelters, electrical boxes, light poles and abandoned buildings. Blaring the title "READ MY APOCALIPS," the posters feature an orange-and-fuschia mushroom cloud that forms a nimbus behind a frightening pen-and-inked head of President George W. Bush, whose mouth is drawn so as to bear a striking resemblance to an anus.
The posters are the work of Los Angeles-based artist Robbie Conal -- who, coincidentally, had spoken that very September night as part of Washington University's Visiting Artist Lecture Series. Or not so coincidentally.
Reached via e-mail, Conal tells Unreal that after the Wash. U. lecture, he invited audience members across Skinker Boulevard to Kayak's Coffee for a more hands-on talk -- about guerrilla activism techniques. At the gathering, the artist and his pseudonymous partner Boom Boom spoke about postering technique and what Conal refers to as "guerrilla etiquette." They requested that guerrillas stick to public property and not poster on private property. After a demonstration on poster plastering, rolls of posters were distributed along with brushes and Tupperware containers of wallpaper glue.
"About twelve crews disappeared into the night," Conal reports, "never to be seen or heard from again, except in an unspecified parking lot at 2 a.m. to swap heartening late-night adventure stories."
More people queued up for posters than Conal had expected -- about 60. "Maybe the educated youth of St. Louis have something against the Bush administration's plans for world domination, I'm just guessing," he tells Unreal.
The guerrilla event is part of a cross-country postering tour. "We're painfully aware that our subjects have way more power than we do and this is the only tactic available to us," Conal says.
During his own stealth postering session here, Conal was confronted by a few "very polite" St. Louis city cops. "They were lovely," he says.
Urine the Money
The world would be a better place if Unreal didn't have to constantly interrupt our intake of boilermakers with trips to the gents'. That's why we nearly choked on our Pimp Juice chaser when one of our fellow imbibers informed us that a Show-Me Stater has devised a solution to one of life's thorniest problems.
It seems that Beverly Hodges, a traveling nurse from Cape Girardeau, has invented Protex, a streamlined alternative to Depends that might just be the next big thing in men's bar-wear. "Women always benefit from pads more than men because pads are anatomically designed to match their bodies," imparts a Protex press release. "Men have no choice but to wear bulky and uncomfortable diapers that are sometimes noticeable through clothes."
We caught up with Hodges and quizzed her about her lean, mean absorption machine.
Unreal: Protex is being presented as a discreet alternative to adult male diapers. Explain how it works.
Beverly Hodges, R.N. : It's a product designed to fit the male anatomy.
Meaning the penis?
Correct. It's used for urinary incontinence. I can't go into great detail on it because of patent issues. I thought you'd know that.
I know nothing. Anyway, your mother suffered from incontinence, yet your inspiration for inventing Protex was the potential for your father to one day become incontinent. Is he?
No. He took care of my mother for years and changed her bed anywhere from ten to fourteen times per day. So I wanted to develop a product that, unlike diapers, he would not find degrading if he were to have that problem himself. My product is just as absorbent, and it leaves other areas -- like your bottom -- open to air, and it's not noticeable under clothing.
If you fail to find a distributor for Protex, will you take the product to market yourself?
Oh yes, definitely. I'm sure it will be expensive, but it will be worth it.
Protex seems to deal exclusively with urinary incontinence. But is it an effective device when defending against sharts?
Sharts? You've lost me.
Is it an effective agent against inadvertent fecal discharge?
No, it's for urinary incontinence only.
When you were a little girl, did you dream of becoming President of the United States, or of inventing a killer male incontinence undergarment?
Actually, I came up with the idea of pull-up diapers twenty years ago. I just never did anything with it.