Another Steakout

Don't let the Lou become the sole property of Bloosiers; plus, we try to go on a wholesome date (to Mel's new movie, perhaps?), visit one of the few remaining typewriter stores, learn a thing or two about balls and make some super suggestions for Lambert

Unreal: Bowling's taken some real ball-bashing in the past, as the sport of beehive-haired, gap-toothed miscreants and perverse pin boys. But bowlers are changing their image, aren't they?

Baltz: You mean Dick Weber's son, Pete Weber -- just inducted into the Hall of Fame? Yeah, he wears dark sunglasses and grabs his crotch -- thinks he's a pro wrestler. Yeah.

Are the former Microsoft executives who bought the pro tour thinking of bringing back stuff like the mid-lane loop and exploding pins?

Flash of inspiration: Who says debauchery can't be 
stylish?
Jennifer Silverberg
Flash of inspiration: Who says debauchery can't be stylish?
Just our type: John Orrick keeps it old school.
Jennifer Silverberg
Just our type: John Orrick keeps it old school.

I don't think their Microsoft philosophy is compatible with running the PBA, but they've turned it around. I think you're talking about cosmic bowling, though. You put up some disco lights, oil up the lanes, put on some music, bring out the colored balls.

Speaking of balls, bowling history tells us balls differed from region to region in the early days. How did our balls stack up?

The Women's International Bowling Congress was founded in 1915 in St. Louis. And Chicago was a huge bowling town.

But I'm talking about performance.

Oh, you mean early in the nineteenth century, when people would saw their balls in half, so they had a sixteen-pound ball on one side and a nine-pound ball on the other side. So it was loaded and would wobble back and forth, allowing a much higher score.

How'd we get off the subject of bowling?

Similarly, in the '70s, in the PBA tournament, people were soaking their balls in some kind of chemical, which caused them to become more porous, rubbery, reactive, and adhere to the lane better.

Sex sells, eh?

Now Is the Time for All Good Men...

Unreal still breaks out in a cold sweat at the memory of high-school typing class. The rhythmic rattle of flying fingers. The ding when the typewriter reached the end of a line. The buzzer. The realization that half of the 40 words typed in a minute were misspelled.

With each passing year, typing drills are inflicted on fewer and fewer teenagers. And for John Orrick, that's bad news. Orrick, you see, is a typewriter salesman and repairman. When he started in the business in 1951, typewriters were the king of communications. These days the Jones Typewriter Company on Manchester Road in Des Peres, where Orrick has worked since 1982, is among fewer than two dozen typewriter stores left in St. Louis. "There used to be two or three full pages in the phone books," the 73-year-old Orrick chuckles.

Orrick, a tall man with thinning white hair and glasses, gently lifts his pride and joy out of a glass case -- a Corona from the late nineteenth century. "This one's not for sale," he advises. Around him, used typewriters are arrayed in various states of disrepair. A few new models are scattered on shelves. When a stooped, white-haired woman walks through the door clutching an adding machine the size of a purse, Orrick greets her. "How are you doing, young lady?"

Who keeps the Jones Typewriter Company in business besides little old ladies?

"The City of St. Louis," Orrick replies, cementing City Hall's reputation as a computer-free zone. "We just sold them several machines." Lawyers, insurance companies and car dealerships also are big customers, he says.

In years past, Orrick would spend summer days in the typing labs of local high schools, preparing all the machines for the coming year. But that was a long time ago, he says. "They don't call us to do that anymore."

We Got Your Task Force Right Here

Unreal was disappointed (and a little insulted) when we discovered last week that St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay had convened a seventeen-member task force to study the funding gap at Lambert Field and failed to include us. "We have to make it more attractive to our customers," Slay told the Post-Dispatch. "Like any other business, we have to offer a good product at a competitive price." With that in mind, Unreal convened our own eighteen-member task force, and we're now prepared to unveil our own proposals.

Cut a canal to the Missouri River, float the whole plot in a moat and rechristen the new development Lambert-Pinnacle Casino and Municipal Airport Complex. What's a few million bucks more to Pinnacle Entertainment, which is already dropping a half-billion into two area casino developments? Bumped from a flight? No problemo. More time to drop quarters in the loosest airport slots in the world.

Tear down the main terminal. The high ceilings are hell on the wallet, and all those fluorescent tubes add up. We can do better! Heck, we've already got a model: the double-wide Amtrak station downtown. Where once trains pulled into the majestic Union Station, when the traffic slowed to a trickle (blame Lambert), the city had the vision to abandon the building and relocate into a trailer. Genius! Just call it "temporary" and the public will soon forget. You never read about cost overruns in the double-wide, do you?

Two words: Webster University. They're still itching to make an impact in the area, to be considered "major players," so why not ditch Webster Groves, quit teasing us with the whole Old Post Office charade and leapfrog over to where MetroLink lands at your doorstep? Plus, the strategic location near a competitor furthers Webster's rumored master plan: invading and conquering UMSL.

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