There are two kinds of people in this world.
The thought flits across Unreal's consciousness with one gander at the family photos near the bar on the way into J.Buck's in Clayton.
There's legendary Cardinals broadcaster Jack Buck in his dashing prime, smiling proudly out from the wall beside wife Carole, spittin'-image son Joe and daughter Julie, whose incendiary gaze could launch bottle rockets out of her eye sockets without the benefit of flint and steel.
And then there's the rest of us, who grew up smoking dirt weed in our dad's garage while listening to Boston on the crappy radio with the broken antenna.
With that image in mind, J.Buck's turns out to be the perfect setting for the July 5 open casting call for Donald Trump's new NBC reality series, The Apprentice, set to debut this fall.
Batting cleanup for the dirt-weed set is stubble-faced roofer Charles Lambert, casually clad in polo shirt and Redbirds fisherman's cap. One senses Lambert has come more out of spite for Trump's type than genuine interest in taking home the six-figure salary the show promises its winner, who'll be selected via a cutthroat format that trims the field of contestants from twenty to one over the course of a season. "He's a guy who takes other people's money," says Lambert, who makes a point to stress that if hell were to freeze over and he were to emerge victorious (two propositions that are drawing similar odds in Vegas right now), he would not try to pressure Trump to expand into the roof-and-gutter sector.
Conversely, the tanned, stylishly coifed Chris Straatmann, a 25-year-old civil engineer in Union, Missouri, expresses nothing but admiration for Trump's hardball business tactics, adding that he considers The Donald's much-younger supermodel mate, Melania Knauss, "good stuff."
Meanwhile, Vanessa Cartwright, a 22-year-old Lindenwood College student and genetic lottery winner clad in a strapless white dress that reveals very little in the way of tan lines, says of Trump, "If I had the chance to do him, I would."
In fairness, there's a healthy hint of sarcasm in Cartwright's lusty declaration. Which is more than Unreal can say for NBC's on-premises lackey as we're unceremoniously ejected from the faux boardroom that serves as the local contestants' proving ground. Our offense: quoting Chris Rock's gangster rap spoof -- "Put my dick in a bucket, fuck it!" -- in the middle of lackey-boy's dissertation/group question about tobacco-company ethics.
"Everybody talked at the same time," a cautiously pessimistic Cartwright will later report, summing up her Apprentice tryout experience. "I got flustered."
At least you didn't get escorted out by security. Guess it's back to the dirt weed for Unreal.
It's easy to hate beautiful, unabashedly aristocratic Manhattan socialites who wear their ability to manipulate men on the spaghetti straps of their evening gowns.
But it's tough not to fall into a tingly crevasse of flirtation after they've sweet-talked you for a few breathy seconds. Which is to say: Sex and the City creator Candace Bushnell, who comes to town July 19 to promote her new book, Trading Up, at Left Bank Books, had us at "hello."
Unreal: Candace, you got ten minutes?
Candace Bushnell: Even fifteen, babe, you've got such a sexy voice!
Your new book is called Trading Up. Looking back on your days as a swinging Manhattan bachelorette, do you think this sort of cutthroat dating strategy is savvy, callous or a mix of both?
Trading Up is not just about dating strategy. Everybody is trying to trade up some way -- sexually, emotionally, jobs, social status. I promise you there's somebody in a trailer park in the Midwest trying to trade up to a better trailer. I don't make this stuff up, I just observe it.
Your press clippings seem to indicate that you hit the sauce pretty much 24/7, and yet you're uber-productive and svelte. Tell us: How do you stave off the hangovers and love handles?
I don't actually hit the sauce 24/7, but I love the idea of it. I do think that it's a terribly good idea to spend time with your friends talking about life and having a great time, and if there are several cocktails involved, so be it.
Do you buy the theory that people have a dermatological glow after sex?
I don't know. What I heard when I was in my early twenties was that you were supposed to take the man's sperm and use it on your face as a mask to make it glow. There were all kinds of different uses for sperm. It's probably the secret of very expensive face creams.
What's your favorite nickname for the male member: A) Stiff Peter, B) Blue-veined Meatroll or c) Thelonius Wang?
My favorite was always "man tool."
What's a more important quality in a man: A big heart or a big man tool?
Oh, a big heart.
Adolescent rage Shia LaBeouf, star of Disney's Holes, was in town last week with friend and fellow teen thespian Lorenzo Eduardo for a little roundball with Joe Torry's Celebrity Basketball Challenge, so Unreal sent expendable freelance hack Tom R. Arterburn to the pre-event gala at the Adam's Mark knowing full well he'd be disappointed to discover that the soiree had nothing to do with legendary Cards catcher/Yankee manager Joe Torre.
Tom Arterburn: Hey! You kids look famous. What sitcom are you on?
Lorenzo Eduardo: We're in the movies. Did you see Midnight Cowboy with Jon Voight?
Yeah, excellent flick. How did you pull that off, seeing as how it was made twenty years before you were born?
Shia LaBeouf: How many beers is that?
My first -- I've been drinking Jack & Coke all night. It looks like you guys are enjoying what appear to be adult beverages as well. Shouldn't your press agent be around here somewhere making sure interviews with local celebrity stalkers don't take bad turns like this?
LaBeouf: Whatever. We were in Holes.
Ho's? Aren't you kids a little young to be in the adult-entertainment industry? Sneakin' a little booze is one thing, but--
[Minutes later, on the escalator, heading down to the line of limos bound for Washington Avenue] Hey, the movie star kids! Where're ya off to?
LaBeouf: [Sweaty tumbler in hand] Club Isis.
LaBeouf: I know, it's gonna be bumpin'.
Yeah, Isis bumps, man.
Hey, you guys wanna see something cool while you're waiting?
My buddy's got a Segway! You wanna ride it?
LaBeouf: Yeah, Segways are pimp. We'll meet you out front.
[Minutes later, out front] Shia? Lorenzo? Has anyone seen Kobe Bryant?
Now He's Cooking
Presidential hopeful and St. Louis homeboy Dick Gephardt has unveiled his strategy for getting to the White House: WWMD?, or "What Would Martha Do?" This past Wednesday, July 9, the Congressman criticized the "phony, macho rhetoric" of President Bush's "bring 'em on" comment regarding the continued guerrilla warfare in Iraq, claiming that the United States needs "a serious attempt to develop a postwar plan for Iraq and not more shoot-from-the-hip one-liners."
Evidently, Gephardt's plan involves eleven herbs and spices. The candidate proceeded to prepare his famous "party chicken" dinner for a photo spread in the upcoming August issue of Esquire magazine. Gephardt's attempt to position himself as an un-macho, domestic thinker who knows his way around the kitchen might not win him the presidency, but he may yet fill the power void left by a certain lifestyle doyenne at Martha Stewart Omnimedia, Inc.
Hey, president is president.