'Cause I'm on the lam(b)! Ah, is there anything better than a Grandpa Simpson joke?
Yes, there is: undeniable signs of spring. To wit: whilst driving down Hampton today, I happened past Ravetta Photography, just in time to see one of the photog/minders taking little Freckles the lamb (or was it Jelly Bean, or Yoda?) out for a stretch and, let's be honest, probably a poop in-between posings with Easter-clad youngsters. Serendipitous, it felt.
Tonz o' gunz, everybody's getting strapped
Tonz o' gunz, got to watch the way you act
Tonz o' gunz, real easy to get
Tonz o' gunz, bringing nothing but death
Gang Starr, "Tonz o' Gunz"
This garish billboard advertising "Acres of Guns" popped up last week at Jefferson and Cass on my route to work. It's for the National Rifle Association of America's 136th Annual Meetings & Exhibits, a gun show that's coming to St. Louis April 12-15. Lucky us.
Two blocks away, at Jefferson and Madison there's a makeshift memorial for a murder victim who was killed there on March 19.
On December 7, 2006, a man was fatally shot near the intersection of Bremen and Parnell, 1.1 miles from where the NRA billboard is located. As far as I know, the Post-Dispatch never published the victim's name. Like most articles about north city homicides, the paper's account of the shooting was only a few sentences long, in contrast to the gallons of ink that are spilled when someone is killed in Clayton.
Early Monday morning, Rodney P. Jones was shot to death in the street at the intersection of Newhouse and North 22nd, 1.4 miles from the NRA billboard. Rodney was a regular at the weekly Friedens Neighborhood Foundation community lunch and a member of the organization's job club.
Given the history of shooting deaths in the immediately surrounding area, the NRA's choice of location for their billboard is sickeningly insensitive. Of course, sensitivity is not exactly the NRA's strong suit. The group held one of their gun fetish celebrations in Denver ten days after the Columbine tragedy.
Update: Visitation for Rodney Jones will be held at A.L. Beal Mortuary (4746 W Florissant Ave / 63115) on Tuesday, April 3, from 10 a.m. to noon. His funeral will immediately follow.
It's a boy! Beck made his grand entrance at 11:56 p.m. last night after more than 48 hours of labor, bringing smiles to the faces of his exhausted parents, Maddie Earnest and Jason McClelland. In the waiting room party were Susan and Hugh Earnest (Maddie's mom and dad), Jo and Randy Wimer (Jason's mom and step-dad), Angela Melson, Amanda Doyle and me. The incomparable Dr. Teresa Knight delivered the little marathoner at Missouri Baptist.
News on this glorious spring Saturday that took a little sunshine out of our day: Randall Roberts, the last remaining Ray Hartmann-era staff writer for the Riverfront Times where he pens, among other brilliance, "Drink of the Week," consistently the best thing in the paper, with the best one in recent memory celebrating a drink so overlooked you may not even recognize it as such has given notice to the upper-ups that his last days will be in early May. He's leaving on a jet plane for the left coast, where he's gonna shack with friends, become a brilliant screenwriter, acquire an agent and generally kick ass and take names. Well, that's the plan, anyway, via his hookup with The Masses; let's hope he doesn't just get all gaga over his newfound creative proximity to Heath Ledger and take to just drinking and lolling at The Ivy all day...
Truly, we've always been big fans of RR, and we're sad to see him go just short of his ten-year anniversary at the RFT. On the other hand, whatcha wanna bet that several iterations of New Times/Village Voice belt-tightening have taken commemorative watches out of the staff budget? So, we'll be watching and waiting, Randy: make us hometown proud.
But in this case, it's a good thing: a recent USA Today story about the 2006 National Schools of Character includes the St. Louis-area's own Rockwood School District, along with Arnold's Ridgewood Middle School, on the short list of those schools around the country which create and implement a comprehensive plan for character education. At Ridgewood, for example, that means daily ethics discussions and a project in seventh grade that has students write and illustrate fairy tales with a positive moral lesson, which the authors take to elementary schools to read aloud before donating the books to a children's hospital.
Now, our town's reputation for bridge may not be so great at the moment, but that didn't stop the American Contract Bridge League from bringing its national tournament here, right at this very moment, and in so doing, celebrating a return to the spot that hosted the tournament last 10 years ago, in the fall of 1997. (Those up on bridge lore will remember those Nationals as being highlighted by the Reisinger Board-a-March Teams...)
Okay, really, I have no idea what I'm saying. I know less than nothing about bridge, but it tickles me that there are people who are totally into it and that they're spending those conventioneer hours and dollars in the Lou! Also, that this blurb on the event's web site lays waste to all those "most dangerous" claims: "TravelSmart, the nations oldest consumer travel newsletter, named St. Louis one of its 10 Safest, Culturally Most Fascinating Cities in the U.S. for its diverse cultural and tourism activities."
So pffffffflllllllhhhhhh to you, Morgan Quitno.
You can catch the action including speakers on topics such as "Jerry-isms" and "How to Execute a Simple Squeeze" at America's Center until March 18th.
If you're coupled, do you ever feel like you'd like your own room to sleep in? (This hits especially close to home for me, relegated for the last two nights to the couch with my barking cough.) Well, you're not alone: Shakespeare Festival co-founder Lana Pepper and her husband maintain separate bedrooms...and apparently so does a whole lot of the Lou, according to this NY Times story.
Just in time for pre-baseball madness, we offer the following diversion, so you may track the comings and goings of one Paul Pagano...Go Cards!