A few weeks back local IHOPs were frantically stocking their freezers in anticipation of the greatest food promotion ever (or at least since this summer, when Dairy Queen offered free "MooLattes" to patrons accompanied by live cows). Had any of the Cardinals-Dodgers playoff games gone into extra innings, Unreal would have feasted on all the popcorn shrimp we could eat at IHOP -- for free!*
Disappointed by the ballclubs' failure to come through but still fascinated by the hubris and the mass quantities of crustaceans involved, Unreal powwowed long-distance with IHOP spokesman Patrick Lenow.
Unreal: How did you come up with this promotion?
Patrick Lenow: IHOP is a Los Angeles-based company, and we thought this would be an excellent way to introduce our Never Ending Popcorn Shrimp while at the same time having fun with the Cardinals-Dodgers series.
What did you do to prepare for the onslaught?
We had extra product on hand and closely monitored the games. We made sure our staff was aware of what's going on and were prepared to serve hundreds of thousands of hungry Cardinals fans.
What will become of all the shrimp?
It's not like it will go to waste. The way it's been selling, it's probably already used up.
Are these shrimp deveined, or do they still have those little shrimp poopies in them?
I don't think of IHOP as a seafood restaurant. Could I get the shrimp in pancakes or an omelet?
I don't think you'd want to. Popcorn shrimp is battered food that is fried. We try to do anything to please our guests, but I don't think shrimp in their pancakes would make them happy.
*Offer would have been valid 3-5 p.m. the day after a Cardinals-Dodgers game went into extra innings
On Friday, October 6, while Washington University was as abuzz as a presidential-debate beehive can be, odd events were more quietly transpiring on the Forest Park campus of St. Louis Community College a few miles to the southeast.
Above the wastebaskets in several buildings, signs had been posted that read: "Prophylaxis Disposal."
Some passers-by misread the posters and wondered whether the administration had launched an environmentally sound condom-tossing system, but the actual explanation is more, well, Unreal.
According to campus police chief Richard Banahan, the wastebasket network was one of several measures taken in preparation for a possible biological-weapons attack during the debate. The precautions, says Banahan, were orchestrated by the St. Louis Department of Health and the Missouri Department of Homeland Security. "They were just sort of preparing in case anything went wrong," the chief explains, noting that the waste containers were intended for disposal of smallpox-contaminated clothing.
Neither the health department nor Homeland Security returned Unreal's calls.
Same As It Ever Was
"The Tacoma News Tribune has floated the name of Whitey Herzog as a managerial candidate for Seattle because he once promoted current Mariners general manager Bill Bavasi to be his assistant more than a decade ago in Anaheim."
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
October 14, 2004
October 14, 2024
The Las Vegas Sun has floated the name of Whitey Herzog as a managerial candidate for that city's major-league club because he once promoted current Snake Eyes general manager Bill Bavasi to be his assistant more than three decades ago in Anaheim.
But Herzog, a former Cardinals manager and general manager, said he had heard nothing about it and wondered if that would be a good job for him anyway.
"I don't think I'll live long enough," the 92-year-old Herzog said.
Long enough for what? "Long enough for them to win," joked Herzog, mindful of the Snake Eyes' string of seventeen last-place finishes since joining the American League West via expansion in 2007.
"I like Bill," Herzog said. "He called me when they were in town this year. But what direction are they going? They'd better have some young pitching in the minors."
Herzog's name reportedly also had come up very informally in Philadelphia, where Mike Lieberthal was fired.
"I didn't know that," Herzog said. "There's a club that I thought was going to win this year. With Philadelphia getting "Little Billy" (Willie) Wagner as their closer, I thought they were going to win the division going away."
But even though Herzog hasn't been contacted, that doesn't mean that he wouldn't listen.
"I would talk to people, let's put it that way," he said. "But, to be honest, they'd really have to sit down and talk turkey.
"If a team's got a chance to win, I'd have to look at the whole situation. I might have to try it. It wouldn't have to be a lifetime contract. Maybe it would have to be a day-to-day deal."
We're Sticking to Stag
Wall Street Journal reporter Ken Wells spent last year drinking beer. So did Unreal. The difference is he got paid to do it and even wrote a book at the end of the bender, while Unreal simply continued to purchase Stag by the case.
Wells devotes a chapter of Travels with Barley: A Journey Through Beer Culture in America to his experiences in St. Louis, and in particular to Anheuser-Busch. When we heard he'd be reading from the book at Left Bank Books this evening, October 20, we figured we'd get a taste in advance.
Unreal: In your chapter on the Anheuser-Busch empire, you seem to go out of your way to be neutral about their beer. Do you like Budweiser?
In my view, Budweiser is not a bad beer. They've managed to engineer a beer that's essentially inoffensive to almost all palates.
What's the worst beer in America?
I was in Woody's Bar in Caruthersville, Missouri, and it mainly served [Anheuser-Busch] Natural Light. I'd never had one. I wouldn't call it bad, but once you get used to drinking full-bodied beer, there's not much to it.
That's the diplomatic answer. What's the worst beer in America?
I spent most of my time trying to avoid drinking bad beer. I was on an expense account, so I no longer had to drink bad beer.
Beer aficionados have almost surpassed wine drinkers in snobbishness, no?
There are two categories. There are Beer Geeks -- which isn't a pejorative, it's an honorific bestowed upon people of great beer enthusiasm and knowledge who are willing to share their expertise. Then there are the Beer Nazis. If they catch you drinking a Budweiser, it's like throwing abortion into a fundamentalist revival meeting.
Do you have a drinking problem?
No problem. I get drunk, I fall down, I get up again. No, actually not. I'm a good, two-beer-drinking sort of guy. And in most of the places that I went, I either parked in the city center and sort of did all my touring on foot, or I spent a lot of money on cabs. The secret is water: water and Advil.
Did you end up with a big gut?
No, I actually went into training. I call this "Beer Year." I was running three to five miles a day. The only good reason to run is so you can drink more beer.