At 1:20 a.m. this morning, the authors of this blog saw a red fox walking down Center Cross Drive in Tower Grove Park. When questioned, the fox said he was looking for his son Lamont.
Okay, I'll freely admit that I haven't read the book myself (but reviews like this don't make me want to!); so, I merely direct you to Michiko Kakutani's take on expat Jonathan Franzen's new memoir "The Discomfort Zone."
Apparently Our Man in the World is a sort of miserable but superior being. But hey, Webster Groves, take heart: you're described as "in the middle of the country in the middle of the golden age of the American middle class." So, you know, things could be worse.
Oh, maybe I'm just jealous: I contacted Franzen back in 2001 to see if he would write for our "Expatriates" section, and he got back to me, letting me know it was just bad timing, as he had a new project that occupied most of his waking hours. So, you know, he gave up exposure on our site just for that! Who ever heard of "The Corrections"? :)
St. Louis is frequently mentioned in Idlewild, to the delight of moviegoers in the packed theater at the Chase last night, who showed our hometown much love each time it was alluded to. In the movie, St. Louis is the provenance of Paula Patton's character and the fancy fingernail polish used at Percival's mother's funeral.
The World Aquarium at the City Museum is hoping to set a Guinness World Record in the newly created "Largest Exhibit of Two-headed Animals" category. So far, the exhibit includes 10 two-headed snakes and turtles. It will be on display through September 5.
Last week, Glendale resident John Milonas saw an image of the Virgin Mary in the drip pan of his George Foreman Grill after making a hamburger. He's storing the greasy likeness in his refrigerator. Quick, somebody call GoldenPalace.com.
Salon today carries a story called "The Shameful Six," citing six states where vote suppression in the November elections could "cost voters their voice -- and Democrats the election -- in 2006." Guess which state rounds out the list?
It's only Monday and we've already gotten some good buzz for this week: click on over to the Rome Group site (you'll find it under "The Next Great Thing?" as if it's even a question!) and read a little about their take on the effectiveness of blogs as a communications tool. Our good friends at Blog St. Louis are mentioned, and alongside, there we are (with slightly garbled, but nonetheless welcome!, versions both of our names), with our "fresh look at grassroots civics and culture in St. Louis."
Yeah! We're pretty much the Next Great Thing.
Love this quote: "Paul Rand, global chief development officer at Ketchum Public Relations recently told the Baltimore Business Journal, 'If you're in business or you have a pulse, you're being talked about in the blogosphere. And if you're not, you ought to be concerned about that, too.'"
A source in the story describes the builders thusly: "“The people who built these felt like they were doing God’s work...They did an important job, and they did it well, to stand for generations.” I don't know if you could say exactly the same for the stripped-down city pool I visited recently, but it was certainly entertaining.
We tend to talk here mostly about stuff going down in the Lou, but a recent article in the P-D shines the spotlight on folks across the river taking on grinding poverty, poor schools and intergenerational hopelessness. It's an inspiring read.
A sampling of recent research that's come out of Wash U:
It's great to have a world-class research university in town. If only we could keep more of the students here after they graduate ...
Now, some questions and observations: the article says, "Even before Missouri passed its new law, it had tougher ID requirements than many states. Voters were required, with limited exceptions, to bring ID with them to the polls, but university ID cards, bank statements mailed to a voter’s address, and similar documents were acceptable."
I have never been asked to produce a single thing, except my signature on a line affirming my address/info, when I've voted in the city, going back to 1997. Even then, my signature line is right next to a reproduction of my signature from the last time I signed, making it pretty easy to fake it if I wanted to. On Tuesday, when signs all around my polling station screamed "ID REQUIRED," I was not asked to show any identification. I sometimes take the mailer reminding me of my polling place with me, but just as often I forget it.
Anyone else have similar experiences?
Also, I have to say I break from expected liberal orthodoxy on this: though I don't think individual fraud at the polling place is the most pressing electoral change needed, I also don't think requiring an ID is too much to ask. You have to have some form of ID to do lots of things, like getting a Hollywood Video card, a library card, a check cashed, etc. It doesn't seem like the most onerous task imaginable, especially if do-gooders could ensure the availability of low-cost access to documentation (birth certificates and the like) or funds to help those who truly cannot afford to acquire them.
Keep your eyes peeled, people! 'Specially those of you living along the mighty Mississip. Anyone want to help them pull something off here?
Dave Gray has posted a video of a driving tour of St. Louis in Steve Smith's Lincoln Continental with stops at Cherokee Street, the Silver Spur, the Lemp brewery complex and the graffiti flood wall.
First Jesus, then Moses, now this!
Word comes from Great Rivers Biennial winner Matthew Strauss of a new "alternative" gallery space to sprout at 4568 Manchester, called White Flag Projects. Grand opening happens Saturday, Sept. 16, and the season will feature shows from the likes of Bill Smith, Jerald Ieans and Ernest Trova. (There's not much on the site yet, so you might drop a line to email@example.com for more details, if'n you're interested.)
It ends, as all things do now, at MySpace.
Have we really fallen this far? In an article in Sunday's Jefferson County Journal (read by yours truly on stltoday.com), Blue Owl owner Mary Hostetter's psychic experience with the Food Network is explained in what I presume is an editorial intervention, thusly:
"Ironically, Hostetter had visited the Food Network Web site and read a promotional announcement about the Deen's TV show the very day she received the call from New York.
"I got all excited about the show because I thought it would be great if they could come to the Blue Owl," she said. "An hour and half later, I got the call from New York. It was like I had ESP (extra sensory perception)."
(And don't even get me started on how that whole situation is more coincidental than ironic....)
Your assignment: contemplate over a slice of Levee High Apple Pie, the culinary coup de grace that brought the foodies to town.
Jeff Smith's campaign has more than 200 volunteers lined up for election day. He'll have at least one person at every polling place every hour the polls are open on Tuesday.
'Cause that's when the really weird shit goes down...so, on my voicemail at home tonight when I returned from the Y, there was a message from 1-866-249-3243 (Google *that* for real Internet-reading fun!) that went a little something like this:
"Jeff Smith is running for state Congress on Tuesday. Jeff Smith is a part-time professor of African-American studies. [ed. note: at this point, I had yet to clue in as to whether this was pro- or anti-Jeff Smith]. Jeff Smith is the only candidate on Tuesdays who has no legislative experience. Jeff Smith is a carpetbagger who admitted to the media that he moved here from New Hampshire. The only reason he left New Hampshire was because the college where he was teaching didn't want to renew his contract. We need someone in Congress with legislative experience...NOT Jeff Smith."
This message brought to me by...? An admitted relocator? That's second only to "known Caucasian" in terms of things that just don't sound that scary to me.
Remember the Spirits of St. Louis basketball team? Yeah, neither do I. Yet, according to an article in the LA Times, the long-folded franchise nets more money each season for its former owners than most NBA teams make.
Brothers Ozzie and Dan Silna bought the ABA team in 1974. When the ABA merged with the NBA in 1976, they negotiated a television revenue sharing deal that has paid them about $168 million to date. Currently, they're due to get over $24 million a year for not having a team.
Like the Silnas, I also don't own a basketball team. Where's my $168 million? I've got to get a better lawyer ...
Taking a cue from 52nd City, who in turn took a cue from us (oh, the reflexivity of it all), here are four more websites about St. Louis that have recently shown up on my radar screen:
The Black List
Restaurant reviews, recipes and random thoughts from a simple cave man lawyer
St. Louis Time Portal
Antique postcards of St. Louis
St. Louis Living
Reviews, events, bike commuting and various rants and raves
Independent discussion of politics, development, and civic life in St. Louis' 15th ward
As previously mentioned, I have a thing for local music videos. Here's one for "Greedy" by The Helium Tapes that was directed by David Noble Dandridge. The Helium Tapes is composed of Sunyatta Marshall (vocals), Tim Lohmann (guitar), Brandon Mason (bass) and Joe Stulce (drums).
Anyone remember those old E.F. Hutton commercials?
Anyhoo, the Wash U Assembly Series (one of those great, free things that I suspect are always going on at college campuses but don't get much play to the wider community) has posted its fall schedule, and the speakers look to be a good bunch, from Sy Hersh to Marjane Satrapi. Sneak out of work and enjoy!
Fresh for summer's last month, St. Louis Magazine has significantly upgraded its web presence, making it much easier to find more of the content online. I'll just add my own personal shout-out here to the publication for being, well, better in general of late: if you can get past the reams of doctor advertorial in the current, 3-inch-thick issue (hey, someone's gotta pay for all those pages!), you'll find plenty of interest, including features on everyone-loves-to-hate-him Richard Callow ("snake or charmer?"), Undertow records, Typewriter Tim and much more.
That being said, the whole reason I went to the site in the first place was to add more fuel to my former observation about the love affair between St. Louisans and Michigan (there's a feature on said topic in the current issue, too)...and I couldn't find that online. Tra la la: plenty else to read there anyway.