Dubya has a knack for wooing new groups of voters. Earlier this year much political attention focused on the "NASCAR Dads" (a.k.a., the chaw-spittin', jean-short-wearing section of the population) and how they were the ticket to Bush's re-election. But during a campaign stop in St. Charles last week, Unreal discovered that Bush has tapped into an all-new electoral market -- NASCAR Dads, say hello to the pocketknife voters.
The St. Charles County sheriff's department reports that it confiscated nearly 400 pocketknives from among the 11,000 people who turned out for Bush's July 20 visit to the St. Charles Family Arena. Other items confiscated included scissors, a cheese grater and a toy gun.
The St. Louis office of the Bush-Cheney '04 campaign felt disinclined to comment on whether Bush was indeed looking to pocket the vote of the pocketknife voter and referred Unreal's questions to the Secret Service.
Christine Glunz, spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee, said John Kerry's camp is not concerned that it may be losing the hearts and minds of the country's pocketknife-wielding populace. Instead, Glunz offered up this sagacious political analysis: "With [Bush's] support declining, you wonder how far afield they had to go to get that many people. Perhaps they billed it as a knife show."
Meanwhile, back at the sheriff's department, Lieutenant Craig McGuire finds himself sitting on a stockpile of 200 pocketknives not yet claimed by their owners. If no one picks up the knives by the end of this week, McGuire says, the department will have no choice but to destroy the weapons.
Trolling for Endorsements
State Representative Russ Carnahan is one of approximately 85,000 candidates seeking to replace Dick Gephardt in Congress next year. He has managed to line up some financial heavyweights as political backers, including Playboy CEO Christine Hefner.
Unreal: So, besides Christine Hefner, a biker from Ste. Genevieve named Skillethead endorsed you. Is there any chance they'll be doing any joint campaigning together?
Russ Carnahan: Well, I don't know. The only extra space on his Harley was taken up by his wife and yard signs, so I kinda doubt that.
How do you think Playboy magazine can help the citizens of the third district?
Well, the support that I got was from her individually, an individual donation. I know she's been a strong supporter of progressive Democrats around the country.
How old were you when you saw your first Playboy?
Had to be high school.
Do you think back rubs from naked Playboy models on Capitol Hill would increase productivity?
I doubt it.
Do you read Playboy for the pictures or for the articles?
I don't, neither one.
If Playgirl magazine invited you to pose, would you?
I doubt that my wife would want me to do that.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island for a month, without your wife, which Playboy collection would you like to have: Wet and Wild, Girls of the WAC, Barefoot Beauties, Voluptuous Vixens or Sexy Girls Next Door?
I don't know, 'cause I've never seen those. Somehow I doubt if I was stranded on a desert island any of those things would be there anyway; I'd probably just have to have an active imagination.
If you do not win your party's nomination, do you promise not to go on a berserk rampage, gunning down the residents of the city and defecating in the streets?
Absolutely. My mild-mannered temperament I'm sure would take control.
How time flies! Unreal was made to feel like a real geezer the other day when the Post-Dispatch made much ado over the anniversaries of the cell phone and the Sony Walkman. Can you believe it's been 25 years since the Japanese brought us the Walkman and 20 years since the first cell phone? All this vital information got Unreal thinking -- what other anniversaries of inanimate objects deserve celebration? Turns out, lots.
Here's a sneak peek at a few headlines you can expect to see soon in the P-D.
Water. Still refreshing after all these years.
Round it goes! The electric can-opener turns 73!
Safety pin still on a tear at 155.
Millard Fillmore (our first inanimate president) turns 204.
Toasting the toaster at 95!
Mr. Potato Head remains a spud at 52.
Stuck on the Post-It for 25 years.
Birth of the Cool: Willis Haviland Carrier invented the air conditioner 98 years ago.
Always the blowhard, the hairdryer is 114.
Never unseated, the chair enters its fourth millennium.
Is phone sex alive and well? Do you think this type of sensual experience has changed over time? Is there value in having this kind of encounter? What do you think?
Phone sex is a lost Victorian art, like cabinet-making and shoeing horses. And it's an acquired taste -- like lobster, or oysters, or Francis Slay. Like masturbation, real men don't do it; it interferes with ESPN. Seriously, some singles do enjoy it, even before meeting, sort of as foreplay -- though it shouldn't be used to avoid a real relationship or intimacy.
Some women like the vulnerability and submissiveness phone sex implies, like the lure of romance novels. And it certainly constitutes safe sex.
But is it safe in other ways? I'd generally say yes, but use your own judgment. If a guy is too pushy or insistent about it, that's a bad sign. Some of my more serious relationships have started out that way and I've sometimes become attracted to women I might not have otherwise, because I found them playful, fun and sexual. Those are good things in a romantic partner. If you enjoy it, don't feel guilty. If you don't, feel a little guilty but not too much.
Finally, guys who like phone sex probably do best with women who do, and vice-versa. Like it says in the Bible.
Address matters of love and lust to St. Louis School Board member Bill Haas at email@example.com, or stamp and send to Bill Me!, c/o Riverfront Times, 6358 Delmar Boulevard, Suite 200, St. Louis, MO 63130. You can also call 314-754-6411 and leave a voicemail -- but only if you promise to speak in a sultry bedroom voice.
Love on the Run
It came as grim news recently when Cosmo for Men, er, Men's Health reported that the Gateway City has one of the highest divorce rates in the country. So let's get this straight: not only do we marry young, but we divorce a lot, too? Hmm.
Unreal can't help the newlyweds, but for the single-and-looking set, we're quite certain aid has arrived. Enter author Nicholas "The Kick-start Expert" Boothman, who swung through town last week to push his latest effort, How to Make Someone Love You in 90 Minutes or Less. Dressed in his signature fire-engine-red loafers, a tan coat and architect-chic spectacles, Boothman shared some of his amorous secrets with a modest crowd at the St. Louis County Library headquarters on South Lindbergh Boulevard. It was a bit of a letdown to the author, who assured the audience of twenty that only days before he'd appeared on the Today Show, but a sale is a sale, so Boothman gave his spiel.
"We don't fall in love with people, we fall in love with the feelings we get when we're with these people" -- this was one of the first pearls Boothman let drop on the lovelorn. "This book will give you the match -- it will give you the kindling to get the sparks flying."
It is compelling stuff. It's one part positive thinking: Want an engaging smile? Simple! Lock yourself in a bathroom, stand in front of a mirror and mutter, "Great! Great! Great! Great!" Engaging smile guaranteed to ensue. And it's one part reading nonverbal cues: How can you tell someone is lying? Easy! They look up and to the left. All of them! Boothman has taken the techniques he developed for success in business and transferred them to the business of love.
And like running a business, the kick-start expert contends, love is a numbers game. Relationship not working? Boothman asks. Cut it off. "There are thousands and thousands of beautiful, bruised and confused people out there," the author told the crowd. "There's no rejection, only selection."
But if, as the great Pat Benatar once opined, love is a battlefield, then our 90-minute warriors must prepare themselves. "Go to the store and buy two of the most expensive pairs of underwear they have," Boothman advised. Put one pair on and go to that training ground of eros -- the mall. "If you're a man, think of the song 'Stayin' Alive.' Ladies get to window-shop, too. But they should hum the Stan Getz classic, 'The Girl from Ipanema.'"
But what about that second pair of expensive panties? For that, young soldier, you'll have to buy the book.
Queering the Vote
Unreal always knew the people of this state were friendly, and that many of those people had families full of friendly people, but we never thought Missouri was recognized as "family-friendly." We were wrong.
"The image of Missouri, which we as a travel industry have worked on for years and years, is that we are a family-friendly state and that's worth fighting for," says Peter Herschend, the owner of Silver Dollar City amusement park near Branson, who has donated more than $1 million to the Show Me You Care campaign committee. Last week the committee began airing advertisements calling on Missourians to strike down an August 3 ballot issue that would amend the state constitution to allow a casino in the tiny southwestern town of Rockaway Beach (population 577).
Show Me You Care blames casinos for destroying families, which is why they've lobbied the anti-gay-marriage vote to help them defeat the Rockaway casino. As Unreal has always said, if there's anything that destroys the family foundation faster than gambling, it's gay union.
"From the beginning we've been saying 'No on 1. Yes on 2,'" Herschend says. "It just makes sense that if someone feels passionately about Amendment 2 [a proposal that would change the Missouri constitution to define marriage as union between a man and woman], they're also likely to feel strongly about casinos. Our campaign would be foolish not to take advantage of both sides."
Still, Herschend is optimistic that the defeat of Amendment 1 would ensure that Missouri keep its "family-friendly" title, regardless of what happens with Amendment 2.
"The fact is it wouldn't have any impact on our image, because the constitution already prohibits single-sex marriage," he says. "That said, it doesn't hurt having it on the ballot. It provides incentive for people to get to the polls."