The August 28 preseason battle between the St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs is predictably being hyped as a braggin' rights game for the Show-Me State. There are two problems with this analogy: (1) it's a friggin' preseason game -- i.e., it don't mean dick; and (2) we're talking about two intrinsically flawed cities and teams.
Bragging, therefore, should be an afterthought. What the two teams -- and cities -- should give greater consideration to is joining forces -- an alliance between good and evil, Darth and Luke, Ewok and Stormtrooper -- to form one mega-team, in one mega-city, rather than two flawed teams in two itty-bitty shitty cities.
First, the civic considerations: if St. Louis and Kansas City were to combine as one, we'd have a population bubbling over 800,000, a respectable-looking downtown (Kansas City's) buffered by cool-ass neighborhoods (St. Louis') containing real baseball fans (let the record show that Kansas City's woeful lack of monetary support for the front-running Royals and Kauffman Stadium make it, far and away, the worst baseball city in America).
Not bad, right? Well, it gets better when you consider the prospective gridiron merger. Imagine stalwart fullback Tony Richardson blocking for Marshall Faulk. Imagine all-pro tailback Priest Holmes instead of Lamar Gordon filling in when -- not if -- Faulk goes down with a mid-season injury. Try and grasp the splendid concept of tight end Tony Gonzalez serving as Kurt Warner's failsafe target when Troy Edwards can't remember what route he's supposed to run.
Furthermore, imagine Dick Vermeil taking the head-coaching reins, freeing up Mike Martz to concentrate on offensive coordination -- or Trent Green serving as Warner's backup. Wait, we've been here before, haven't we? And what happened? Super Bowl champs, beeyatch! Things haven't been quite the same since.
Hence, when it comes to the much-ballyhooed St. Louis-Kansas City rivalry, we're our own worst enemies -- in more ways than one. Can't we all just get along? Yeah, right (7 p.m., $40-$75, Edward Jones Dome, Broadway at Washington Avenue, 314-241-1888). -- Mike Seely
Sweet music at Ted Drewes
Few things in this life are as stable as the menu at Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, but just recently, there's been a shake-up (ha ha). The chocolate-chip concrete tastes the same, but Drewes is calling it "The Itzhak Perlman" -- seriously. Apparently the Israeli-born St. Louis Symphony Orchestra music advisor can't get enough of the stuff, so Drewes renamed it in his honor, and 50 cents from every purchase of a Perlman goes to the cash-strapped SLSO. We're still waiting for the Anne-Sophie Mutter caramel swirl (it's luscious) and the Arturo Toscanini spumoni (a volatile mix). Turn those concretes upside down at 6726 Chippewa Street and 4224 South Grand Boulevard (314-481-2652, www.teddrewes.com). -- Byron Kerman
Baklavas & Other Strangers
Fire and cheese, together -- what more could you want? Actually, at the 86th annual St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church Festival (4967 Forest Park Avenue; 314-361-6924), you'll want a lot more than just saganaki (flaming cheese). Be tempted by gyros, calamari and so many pastries that a table more than 100 feet long is needed to hold them all. Get your Greek on with live music, traditional dancing and tours of the historic church. The festival runs 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, August 30, and Sunday, August 31; and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday, September 1. Admission is free. A chance to order flaming cheese and not have the maître d' ask you to leave is invaluable. -- Ian Froeb
When you think of iconic civil rights moments, two come to mind: Rosa Parks' refusal to give up her bus seat and Martin Luther King's 1963 address, the "I Have a Dream" speech. Even though King never got his own Outkast song, he's got something almost as good now. Washington University will celebrate his speech's 40th anniversary with a roundtable discussion of its importance. Among the talking heads are civil-rights lawyer Frankie Freeman and Professor Gerald Early. The analysis begins at 7 p.m. in the Women's Building Formal Lounge with a viewing of a video of the speech and, in the spirit of equality, the event is free to the public. For more information, call 314-935-5576. -- Niles Baranowski