Sam the Dog ate Worm's really good column this week, so once again the columnist pulls one out of his ass or, as they say in these here parts, the Worm goes Bergering.
COMINGS 'N' GOINGS: A great man reshapes the world in his image, and the Reverend Lawrence Biondi is a great man. He's made St. Louis University a force in the world of bad art. He's driven away faculty whiners and malcontents. He trumped an archbishop and sold off a hospital. He secured a six-figure sinecure for ex-newsman Julius Hunter. History itself can't withstand Biondi, who's busy depriving the Museum of Western Jesuit Missions of historical artifacts. Even the departed get no rest when Father B's around. But this time, Biondi's outdone himself. His proposed "Martyrland" -- a giant Jesuit theme park in the heart of Midtown -- is generating buzz that's even waking the Vatican dead. An anchor for a revitalized Grand Center, Martyrland's family-friendly attractions will include rides, games and hands-on demonstrations showcasing tortures and deprivations suffered by servants of the Roman Catholic Church. There'll be floggings, burnings at the stake, crucifixions, flailings, piercings, scalpings, and quarterings. Special treat: a log-flume ride through hostile Indian country as participants dodge real arrows, shielded only by Bibles and prayer. An exhibit dubbed "Ashes to Ashes" will feature the remains of Reverend Peter DeSmet and other missionaries. "This is better than wrestling!" gushes Grand Center topper Vince Schoemehl.
WORM'S TURN: Four years ago, a storm blew in from the West, pumping new life into the Riverfront Times and changing the face of journalism forever. For four years, the Chicken Little Collective that produces the itsy-bitsy St. Louis Journalism Review has complained that the Storm wiped out the city's only true organ of Mao Tse-tung thought. But times are a-changing, and journalism's local eunuchs are finally seeing the light. In a right nice send-up this month in the SJR by retired copy editor Roy Malone, not only does the Worm get credited for its nationwide impact, the Riverfront Times is deemed "the best newspaper in St. Louis" by an unimpeachable source.
IN ONE EAR: The "Worm of the Month Award" goes to Francis Slay, who, in the nick of time, beat his own constituents to the punch. Last week, just before city voters overwhelmingly approved a measure giving them a say in any future stadium deal, Slay secretly completed a stadium deal with the Cardinals, ensuring that city voters won't have a say. That's the kind of bold leadership the Worm's come to expect from Frankie the Saint.