For Soulardian Todd Lewis, it's never too late to start chasing dreams. About a year ago, sitting at his desk at XO Communications, where he works as a customer-service manager, the 35-year-old Lewis spontaneously began jotting down a list of exotic goals he hoped to accomplish before he died.
But unlike everyone else who engages in such an exercise, Lewis got right down to knocking activities off his list. To date, he has run five marathons, learned to play African drums and run with the bulls in Pamplona. Future plans include shaking the hand of Dallas Maverick owner Mark Cuban and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
Unreal caught up with Lewis as he prepared to embark on his second run with the bulls, a journey that will begin tomorrow and end, ideally sans fatal puncture wound, July 7.
Unreal: How do you train for running with bulls?
Todd Lewis: Eat whatever you want, drink whatever you want. It's tough [to dodge a bull], because they wet down the street. It's like shooting a cannon into a crowd: Some people are gonna get hit. Wear white. If you show up with a Nike T-shirt, you're gonna get tripped by the locals. If you show up all hammered and obnoxious, they're not gonna have it.
Do you wear a red kerchief around your neck and a chef's hat on your head?
Yes. Actually, I don't wear the chef's hat.
Who would you rather square off against one-on-one: Chicago Bull Michael Jordan, circa 1992, or Pablo the Brown Brahma?
I'd have to go with Pablo. You can't dis Mike.
Before climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, will you consider getting a tattoo on your left pectoral that says "Live Hard, Die Free?"
I would definitely consider it.
Who's a bigger influence on your lofty and versatile list of goals, Forrest Gump or wide receiver/Christian politician Steve Largent?
I gotta go with Forrest Gump. As for Largent, unfortunately, I'm a diehard Bears fan.
Do you prefer the Barcelona runway that is Las Ramblas or the long-vowel-spewing heartland honeys of 12th & Russell?
Twelfth & Russell. They're beyond compare. You don't even have to travel overseas. The honeys are in Soulard.
The Brad Cloepfil Death Watch
Brad Cloepfil lives.
Last month Cloepfil, who designed the new Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis, told Post-Dispatch gossip scribe Deb Peterson that if a stoplight that mars the pristine view of the building's entrance didn't get moved, "I'd probably kill myself."
Naturally, this prompted a flurry of concern. The $7.5 million museum at Spring and Washington in Grand Center is a spiffy addition to the city's landscape. But more than that, does the City of St. Louis Street Department want blood on its hands?
"As of right now, we're not moving it," says senior traffic engineer Len Efthim. According to Efthim, there was always a signal on that corner, and regulations dictate that there always has to be one. He never heard anything about having the signal located anywhere else, so after the construction dust settled, his department put the thing where it belongs. The city would be happy to move the stoplight, says Efthim -- but only if the museum ponies up the cost -- about $25,000.
CAMSL director Paul Ha says it's not in the budget. " If the city wants to move it, fine," says Ha, "But we're not going to make them pay to have it moved." CAMSL is fine with the light right where it is, Ha adds: "I'm happy to have a museum in an urban setting, and stoplights are part of an urban setting."
Cloepfil declines to get involved in the fray. But an associate at his firm, Portland, Oregon-based Allied Works, says Peterson misunderstood the architect's cry for help. "The light posts were the things which Brad had mentioned as potential for suicide were they not moved," explains Jeremy Bittermann. Those have been moved, Bittermann says, and so the death watch has been lifted.
"The traffic signal is something that, of course, we would rather be moved," Bittermann offers. "But we also recognize that that's a much different situation."
MO No-Blow Law Is No Mo'
As of Thursday morning, June 26, 2003, Texas no longer has a law banning homosexual sodomy (defined as anal or oral sex between people of the same sex), thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court's 6-3 decision. The news was celebrated not just in Texas, but also in Kansas, Oklahoma and a little rectangle of heaven called Missouri: It seems all four states share the same legal belief that a little back-door action is OK between Mr. and Mrs. Missouri but not so moral for Mr. and Mr. Missouri.
The news shocked Unreal, not just because Missouri's legal system could somehow classify specific sexual acts as legal for some consenting adults and illegal for others, but because Missouri shares a law with Texas. TEXAS! Does this mean we now share laws with every other state that shared laws with Texas?
Now that the Texas law is a thing of the past, Missouri citizens are free to love like only we can. They don't call this the Show-Me State for nothing, so send those celebratory tapes of yourselves exercising your newfound rights to the Unreal cubicle. Privacy for all participants is assured: Our lips are sealed, but now it's by choice, not by law.