Unreal could probably write a regular column about the St. Louis Public Schools. But that would be sad. Nonetheless, a recent schools watchdog e-circular proved too good to pass up. It screamed: "NAME THE PIT."
Dr. John Mahoney, a member of the school board from 1983 to 2001, dreamed up the contest for the naming rights to — you guessed it — Ballpark Village. Entries could be submitted along with $5 donations to Save Our Children's Education, a grassroots group that aims to preserve the elected school board. Among the monikers touted so far: Lake Francis Waterfront Condos, Slay's Sand & Sea Resort and Franny's Fish & Swim Club.
Unreal opened up our piggy bank but fell short on funds to enter. So we placed a call to Dr. Mahoney, an activist with a doctorate in education, to see if he'd play ball over the blower.
Unreal: Why name the pit after the Honorable Francis Slay?
John Mahoney: A litany of reasons. Mainly that he's attended more to corporate interests and profit-making than the development needs of neighborhoods.
But Ballpark Village is so earthy, so attractive. You don't think it'd be too much of an honor?
[Laughs] We're giving tax money away like you can't believe, and what we've got to show for it is a big hole next to the stadium. It's so sad you want to cry. Do you know that if you're down there on a day when the wind is blowing from the northwest, there's a fine powder coming out of that baby?
Did you see anybody snorting it?
[Laughs] Not yet.
Your "Slay's Boat & Bath Club" concept is interesting. Maybe the school board could open a rental shop and make some money for the district.
I was thinking along those very lines. Several years back, during a visit of a Russian cosmonaut, the peace movement people held a vigil at the Grand Basin where they floated the cutest little sailboats. I thought we could get a group of school kids and put 150 of those boats in the little lake downtown.
Or we could get the construction-focused charter school to build a charter school that specializes in yachting.
Yeah. Or wait for a good day and get a whole bunch of teachers to go down there and put rafts down to sunbathe.
Would they have to take a sick day for that?
Probably would, yeah.
Our staff came up with a few suggestions of our own. Tell me what you think of Slay's Bait & Switch.
I had that on my sheet.
August Busch Conservation Site, Eastern Annex.
[Laughs] That's good.
Pujols' Poop Pit.
Yeah, I like the first two. You should leave it open-ended and say, "We find in these matters that children are the most creative. So if your child can come up with a good one, tell them to put it on a poster and take it to down to the ball game."
Onan a Million
Sometime around 1969, the public perception of the Jewish male irrevocably changed. We imagine the typical young Jewish man of the early Sixties as a bright, beaming bar mitzvah boy with plump cheeks just ripe for pinching by his adoring bubbe. Pure. Wholesome. Studious. Straight out of Fiddler on the Roof. Sunrise, sunset....
And then Philip Roth published Portnoy's Complaint, and the world learned that the stereotypical Jewish boy actually spent lots of time in the bathroom whacking off while fantasizing about nubile blonde shiksas, which led to a lifetime of sexual dysfunction. Sigh. If only he could settle down with a nice Jewish girl!
Jewmongous' new CD, Taller Than Jesus, which recently fell into Unreal's hands, is part of the brave not-so-new post-Portnoy world: five of the first seven songs make reference to masturbation and a sixth is all about cunnilingus.
Here we must confess: We couldn't stand to listen to any more than those first seven songs. We tried, we really did, but after "Long Tongue Schloime," the big cunnilingus number, we started to get a headache. (And no, not the kind the stereotypical Jewish American Princess develops to avoid sex.)
Jewmongous is the nom de guerre of Sean Altman, a former member of Rockapella and cast member of the kiddie game show Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Altman aspires to be part of that noble tradition of patter songs and soaring melodies. But not the gay part. No, most emphatically not. Only a straight man would sing about the difficulties of properly observing the Sabbath in a strip club.
Not, as one great Jew once observed, that there's anything wrong with that.
It's just that, unlike Portnoy, Taller Than Jesus is not, you know, funny.
On the off chance that maybe it was just us, we coerced a representative from what Portnoy considered the most goyische (i.e., non-Jewish) state in the Union — that would be Iowa — to listen to it with us.
"Long Tongue Schloime" gave him a coughing fit. When the Iowan's lungs settled back to normal, he asked us, "Do Jewish men really not go down?"
Now this, this was worse than the blood libel. Nobody actually still believes that Jews drink the blood of Christian children. But that Jewish men are sexually inadequate, that their women cannot be satisfied except by one freak with a long beard and an especially long and dexterous tongue? Thanks a lot, Sean Altman.
"They do," we said emphatically. "And they like it."
Unreal has been distressed by reports of the death of print journalism. It's not especially comforting to know you are part of a dying profession. (Perhaps this is how burlesque dancers feel.) So we've decided to explore our options, just in case this newspapering thing doesn't work out. Times are tough. Investment banking does not appear to be the solid option it once was. But fortunately, Yucko's Poop Scoop'n Service is hiring! And the online application isn't too rigorous, which leaves us plenty of time to contemplate our grim future.
Address 6358 Delmar Blvd., Ste. 200, St. Louis, MO 63130
Are you over 25 years old? Yes
What is your current employment? Columnist, Riverfront Times
How many hours do you work each week at your present job? As few as we can get away with. We mean, we work devotedly through the night. Every night.
Why do you think you would be right for this job? We know our shit.
Are you willing to get a police report done on yourself? Uh, sure, why not?
Do dogs scare you? No dog has ever scared us as much as the CD of special doggy music we got a couple of months ago.
What experience have you had dealing with aggressive pets? You have not seen aggressive until you've had to deal with the archdiocese. Trust us on this one.
Can you read a street guide? Of course. We're in Mensa.
What previous work experience do you have to assist in this position? Last fall we successfully installed a Spaloo bidet on our toilet.
In the pantheon of Jewish hotness — and, yes, there is such a thing — no one ranks higher than the Israeli soldier. It is not for this reason, unfortunately, that Kaleidoscope Israel, a yearlong series of activities to commemorate Israel's 60th birthday, brought two (male) soldiers from the Israeli Defense Forces to Congregation Shaare Emeth to lead a three-hour mini-boot camp.
"I went to a Jewish summer camp," says the event's organizer, Richie Gallant, a seventeen-year-old senior at Whitfield School. "Every year they would have Israel Day with a simulated boot camp. It was my favorite day. We'd crawl under ropes, and the soldiers would yell at us and we'd salute."
Sounds like a party!
Unreal: How did you find these soldiers?
Richie Gallant: They're from Yokneam-Meggido, St. Louis' sister city in Israel. One specializes in working with high school students to choose their branches in the Israeli Army and the other trains raw soldiers in boot camp, so they seemed like a good match for us.
Is there really a need for Israel-style defense here in St. Louis?
I don't know if we're going to put the strategies to use. The soldiers will demonstrate krav maga, which is like Israeli karate, and how to put on camo, and tell their stories about life in the army.
Do you think they'll inspire anyone to join?
You never know. I don't think I will, but I like the army exercises.
Will the reputed hotness of Israeli soldiers get anyone to come to boot camp?
I hope so — anything that gets people there. You're welcome to come, too, if you want.
We will take it under advisement.