Back to Basics

Unreal offers tips to the youngsters, learns about the much-desired Dodge Neon and breaks down the real cost of a Thickburger; plus, did Roosevelt High School take the name of Baton Bob in vain?

More likely, they pulled it out of somewhere else, according to the tipster who brought the incident to Unreal's attention via an anonymous voicemail. "The main premise of the whole drill was that Baton Bob was a child molester," the female caller said. "I don't feel like the city should be using him as a child molester. He's already got enough bad press. He's harmless."

"In no way was this disrespectful," responds McCrary. "There was nothing malicious about that exercise at all. In fact, Baton Bob was the victim in this whole thing. We actually rescued Baton Bob!"

Unreal caught up with Baton Bob (a.k.a. the Ambassador of Mirth, a.k.a. Bob Jamerson) in Atlanta, where he's house-hunting, having grown increasingly disenchanted with St. Louis after recent run-ins with the Webster Groves police on July 4 and with Union Station guards during an August appearance by the Kerry/Edwards presidential campaign. He says he plans to leave town for good by the end of this month, but he's thrilled to hear about the security scenario.

Dan Zettwoch

"I think that's commendable of the officers, because what they're really touching on are some real issues, issues that are in people's minds," Bob says. "I feel really good about it that they're taking it in that text, because I think that any constructive message that anyone in an authoritative position can portray of me is always a good thing."

And with a girlish laugh, he bids farewell.

Unreal Leading the Blind

When we heard that the Minds Eye Information Service was reading St. Louis-area newspapers over the radio for blind people, we thought: That's nice. When we heard the service's 160-odd volunteers were reading Unreal to the blind, we thought: That's bizarre. So we journeyed to Belleville's Our Lady of the Snows campus, a Catholic-run devotional site, to see for ourselves.

"So, you actually read Unreal to blind people?" we ask volunteer Marjorie Moore when she comes out to greet us.

Actually, Moore says, Minds Eye, which was founded 31 years ago, used to read the bulk of the Riverfront Times live over the radio every Thursday night. But donations have been slow and hours had to be cut from the daily live schedule (they still have time to read the Walgreens ads, however). The RFT only makes it onto taped bits, which are used to fill time when volunteers fail to show up, or when there's a technical problem. (The broadcast is transmitted on a signal that's "hidden" in the frequency of 101.1; Minds Eye provides free special receivers to users.)

Having been told more than once that we have a face that's perfect for radio, we're anxious to get into the recording booth ourselves, but we have to wait our turn behind seventeen-year-old volunteer Kristine Mauldin, a member of the National Honor Society. By the time we get our chance, Mauldin has read most of the good stuff, including, alas, our page.

We settle for "Drink of the Week," and we do a pretty creditable job, if we do say so ourselves.

Next time: "Savage Love."

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