Unreal hooked up recently with Miss Missouri USA, 25-year-old Shandi Finnessey. A partial transcript of our conversation with the former Miss Missouri America and Miss America evening-gown competition champion:
Unreal: What kind of name is Shandi?
Shandi: My parents just totally made it up, but there's a lot of other Shandis out there, actually.
What's the difference between being Miss Missouri USA and being Miss Missouri America?
The Miss America system has a talent portion, the Miss USA does not. Miss USA tends to be more favored by audiences, because a lot of times people will get bored by the talent portion. Miss USA is constant beauty.
Do you think looks are important in a relationship?
I don't think so, because looks can come and go so easily. I know it's a cliché saying, but true beauty does lie inside. If I judged someone based on their looks, then they would have the right to judge me on my looks, and I would never want that to be the full impact of who I am.
Why do you think Missouri is MO and Mississippi gets to be MI? Because it's so poor and the people making the abbreviations felt sorry for them?
Mississippi is actually MS. Michigan is MI.
What's up with the Missouri Trappers Association giving you a fur coat?
They provide a fur coat to Miss Missouri. Mine is made out of raccoon.
Not very PC, huh?
I don't know, actually fur's kind of coming back in. I'm a huge animal lover, though, so I had a slight problem with it. But they were giving it to me as a gift and I think it would be rude to not accept it.
Which is worse: Britney's new song or genocide in Rwanda?
I would probably say genocide in Rwanda, because you can easily turn off Britney's song and not listen to it, and it's easier to control that than it is to control genocide in Rwanda.
Assault and Flattery
Remember last year, when the Cardinals blew it, the Blues came up short (again) and the Rams sucked? And the only thing we had to be proud of was our Most Dangerous City ranking? Unreal was devastated when word arrived of this year's vaunted Morgan Quitno Awards (www.morganquitno.com/safecity.htm) and we learned St. Louis is playing second fiddle to Detroit. Unreal called Morgan Quitno Press president Scott Morgan and demanded a recount.
Unreal: Where did we go wrong?
Scott Morgan: I realize the city which gets listed first or last gets the most attention. My wife and I spent our 20th anniversary in St. Louis last year and it still has parts you wouldn't go to. You're twelfth in burglaries, tenth in murder, sixth in aggravated assault, third in robbery -- but you're still first in motor-vehicle theft.
Can we do anything with that robbery rating?
It's not the ranking. It's how much above the national average you are. Our methodology is to take each of the six crimes and do a percentage difference from the national rate.
What do we need to work on?
Rape is always a problem, because victims often don't come forward.
My car was broken into three times last year and I didn't report it. Could this help us in the rankings?
Your car getting broken into could be a burglary, but while you didn't report it, many people will if the loss reaches a certain amount, because the insurance company will usually require a police report.
What if I put some pressure on the parking-garage and corporate-security people, who are always trying to sweep legitimate crimes under the rug?
I don't think it's gonna have as big of an effect as you think, because a murder is going to be reported wherever it is, unless nobody finds the body. But you won't know until you look into it, I guess.
Speaking of motor-vehicle theft, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay has declared war on car snatchers, but his methods are dubious. Witness the four "bait cars" -- yes, that's four -- parked around town, rigged to lock in ne'er-do-wells by remote control. And how about them 'H.E.A.T.' stickers, which residents can slap on their cars to alert police to a vehicle that's not usually driven between 1 and 5 a.m.?
Since when do car thieves pull over for cops in the wee hours?
In the wake of the jacking of his son's Jeep Cherokee in front of the Slay residence last month, it's time for the mayor to get serious.
Taking the venerable St. Louis tradition of remote-control car bombing (remember the Leisure family in the '80s?) a step further, Unreal hereby unveils a program we humbly call BOJO: Bomb the Joyriders.
The concept is simple: The civic-minded crime fighter purchases his own explosive device, attaches a timing device that causes the charge to detonate if tripped between 1 and 5 a.m., and mounts the sucker underneath the ol' Buick.
Best of all, it doesn't involve a dime of city money.
A Season on the Brink
An action-packed hoops week saw the Sanford-Brown Indians move to 3-4 on the season -- equaling their win total for all of last season. Sandwiched between blowout losses to Oakland City (Indiana) University and Greenville (Illinois) College was a 91-82 victory over Logan College in the opening game of the Greenville tournament, in which the Indians took second place. Sixth man Darrin Burns continued his stalwart play for Sanford-Brown, making the all-tournament team and netting 23 and 21 points, respectively. The Indians next play Westminster College on Saturday, December 13, at 3:30 p.m. at St. Louis Christian College.
You Don't Know Dick...But Now You Know Joyce
Last week longtime River City political kingmaker and Gephardt operative Joyce Aboussie made national headlines when she allegedly threatened political retribution against two prominent unions that had endorsed Howard Dean. What shocked many political observers came as no surprise to Unreal, given that the Riverfront Times had outed Aboussie as a backroom cutthroat artist more than a year and a half ago (see "Joyce Abusive," this paper's cover story on May 29, 2002).
When Unreal caught wind that Aboussie would be meeting with Governor Bob Holden and union leaders, we had the foresight to grease a janitor to wiretap the meeting room. Following is an excerpted Aboussie highlight, directed at Mark Jones, political director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees:
"Why haven't I run for office myself, Mark? I'll tell you why, fucknut. Because I own every office. That's right, bitch. And I own you, too. You think the Congressman actually likes attending your scuzzy-ass white-trash rallies with stale keg beer and E. coli-dogs? Shyeah, right -- he'd rather be watching K Street in Georgetown with a couple bottles of cold milk and a bowl of fortune cookies made in China. You send one fucking Show Me State foot soldier to Iowa and you can bet your sweet keister Dick will make sure the governor outsources every fucking ancillary government service from here to Branson, douchebag. Kai-yaw!"