Bush Strikes Out

Our commander in chief takes to the mound, Missouri gets its very own dinosaur, an Old Kid on the Block remembers when he was New, and Unreal learns a little something about love and basketball

Unreal:Hey Jordan, how's your day been?

Jordan Knight:I just woke up.

Rough night?

Yeah.

Who does the rap solo toward the end of the "Hangin' Tough" remix: P. Diddy, Donnie Wahlberg or someone else?

This guy named Ryan Gardner. He's, like, a tall skinny white boy who looks like a surfer dude. He's from Salt Lake City.

It seemed for a while you were trying to distance yourself from the NKOTB legacy. Now it appears y'alls is tryin' to play it up. Why the shift in attitude?

I never really shifted in the attitude. I never tried to not be one of the New Kids on the Block. I just felt like doing the songs over.

How are the other New Kids with the project?

They didn't have nothin' to do with it, really. I did it for fun and figured I might as well release it. They're fine with it.

Is your frequent collaborator, Robin Thicke, thicker than his father, Alan, ofGrowing Pains fame?

I don't know what you mean.

Modern-day boy bands like *NSYNC have massive followings in the gay community. Did NKOTB experience a similar phenomenon in its heyday, or was that way before gay became the new black?

That's funny! We had a closet gay following. It was in the closet, but it was there.

Do you look at the seamless transition Justin Timberlake has made from boy band heartthrob to pop star/boyfriend of Cameron Diaz and say, "Man, I wish I could have pulled that segue off?"

Uh, I do. Hell yeah.

Did you guys have any sort of rivalry with New Edition back in the day?

Just a little bit. We were always pretty much gentlemen between the both of us.

My ex-girlfriend used to get juiced up for junior-high dances by staring at her Jordan Knight doll in the mirror. Do you still collect royalties from that doll?

Not much. I don't know if you can find one at a Wal-Mart near you.

Love is in the Air

Wanna know a dirty little journalism secret? Unreal fields a lot of phone calls and mail from PR flacks. And when we say "a lot," we mean a lot.

No, wait. That's not the secret. The secret is: We love hearing from those people! Like the flack who was pimping the recently published Chicken Soup for the Bride's Soul: Stories of Love, Laughter and Commitment to Last a Lifetime. When we learned that a local resident had scored a coveted slot with her story "Love Is in the Air," we just hadto get the scoop.

Unreal:What's your story about?

31-year-old Ballwin resident Lynette Helms: In November of '99 my boyfriend proposed on the airplane. The pilot came over the intercom and said, "Lynette Baker, John Helms would like to know if you would spend the rest of your life with him." If I were to accept, I was to press the call button. I was sitting next to my boyfriend at the time, and I whispered yes. But I couldn't get to the call button because I had my seat belt on, so he had to push the button for me. Then the flight attendants came over with a bottle of Champagne.

So in a way he got engaged to himself.

Yeah, since he was the one who accepted for me.

Did it flash through your mind to say no?

No!

What did you get for being in the book?

I was paid $300 for the contribution. We also got 50 percent discounts on any of the Chicken Soup books if we want to order them for family and friends.

I used to work at a used bookstore, and you can get those old ones for, like, 50 cents each. We had shelves and shelves of those.

Yeah? I know they're pretty popular. My husband bought me Chicken Soup for the NASCAR Fan's Soul.

Who is the more pro-Chicken Soup candidate, George Bush or John Kerry?

Oh, Jeez. Probably George Bush, because John Kerry was such an activist, he'd probably speak out -- he's not into that mushy-gushy stuff.

How long do you and your husband plan to stay married?

Forever.

Same Time Next Year

En route to her University of Nevada's regional semifinal game against the favored Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at the Edward Jones Dome last Friday, a mildly inebriated woman with a smile a mile wide paused to take stock of the possibilities afforded a visiting Wolf Pack fan during a weekend in the River City.

"I think I'll go see Ludacris and the St. Lunatics," the rap star-challenged Nevadan was heard plotting from her seat on the crowded eastbound MetroLink train.

Such charmingly naive ruminations were on display all weekend on the Landing and at select east-side burlesque clubs, which played host to as much cutting-edge action as the three thrilling games at the Ed, a tune-up of sorts for next year's big shebang: the 2005 Final Four in St. Louis. (Confidential to the gracious cabbie who drove a moderately impaired Unreal home at 5 a.m. in the wee Saturday hours: We'd like our black messenger bag back, por favor.)

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