Kremated

Charlie Foxman gets tough on lard-asses, Unreal learns to network, and Mayor Slay takes credit for the sunrise. Special bonus: an illustrated Local Blog o' the Week.

Even with its corporate accounting practices under federal investigation, Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation has managed to put on a happy face, recently debuting birthday-party packages aimed at youngsters. The fun includes doughnut games such as "bowling with doughnuts" and "doughnut on a string," a store tour, after-party cleanup and, of course, a heaping helping of one-holed wonders.

Meanwhile, right here in Creve Coeur, Midwest Martial Arts Academy proprietor Charlie Foxman is promoting a special curriculum aimed at kids called "Thumbs Up for Healthy Living."

Coincidence? Unreal thinks not.

We recently spoke with Foxman, a seventh-degree black belt in tae kwon do, about America's lard-ass epidemic.

Unreal: Do you think it's a form of positive peer pressure to make fun of fat kids?

Charlie Foxman: Absolutely not.

What if I'm sincerely concerned about my buddy's weight?

You have to take him in as a confidant and say, "Hey, what can I do to help you get in better shape? Maybe we can work out together."

At what ageis it acceptable to begin chiding people for their obesity?

You can't chide a person about being grossly overweight. You make them take baby steps. If they drink eight Coca-Colas a day, get them to make four of them Diet Cokes.

Do you think Krispy Kreme should be subject to prosecution for its party packages for small children, on grounds of criminal negligence?

Yeah. You're preying on the minds of children who really don't make their own decisions. And if they bother their parents enough, their parents, unfortunately, will allow them to do that. Tobacco companies and Anheuser-Busch get into major trouble for targeting children, and Krispy Kreme doughnuts have just as much ill effect on children as alcohol and tobacco. They will clog your arteries and you will die.

If your neighbor owned a Krispy Kreme franchise that went under, would you: a) console him, or b) dance on his lawn while Frisbeeing doughnuts at his dining-room window?

I'd console him, because as a business owner I sympathize. The doughnuts are extremely tasty, and that's why people love them. To treat yourself every once in a while is not the end of the world. Had Krispy Kreme preached moderation and taken trans-fatty acids out of their doughnuts, they might not have been in as bad shape today.

Geez Louise

This Friday, March 18, Gray Hair Management founder Scott Kane will be in Clayton, leading a half-day seminar on the Gray Hair Laws of Networking.

Unreal wasn't of a mind to cough up 85 bucks for membership in a clique of aging execs -- though God knows they'd love to have us. What with the abundance of press releases Kane and crew send forth from their Chicago base of operations, we had no compunction whatsoever about doing a little networking of our own.

Unreal: Is there ever a time when you shouldn't be networking?

Scott Kane: No. You should always be networking, because in today's business environment you never know when your end is going to come. What we've learned is that those people who've established networks and can maintain those networks will always have opportunities presented to them. Everyone's an independent contractor.

So it's an ABN situation: Always Be Networking!

There you go! You have to develop your personal brand that basically says: What makes you different from everyone else? What are you best at? What is your currency? That's your personal brand.

Scenario: You're at a social event. All the monied people of St. Louis are there. How does Scott Kane work the room?

You have to be able to pick out in a minute if this is someone you want to continue your conversation with. You have to ask yourself: What's my mission? Your mission is to find three or four people to build a relationship with. You're not going to build a relationship in two minutes. So the key is not what you do at the event, but how you set up your next week.

Ah! You have to be able to tell the duds from the studs, right?

You get better at it. I've been through a lot of dog meetings.

Nature's Mayor

When running for re-election, it's not so much what you've done, but what you dare to take credit for. This political reality wasn't lost on incumbent St. Louis mayor Francis Slay, who surfed to victory in last Tuesday's Democratic primary on the back of a climactic television spot, "The Loop," in which Hizzoner more or less takes credit for the Delmar Loop -- never mind that the strip originates in University City and was spearheaded almost single-handedly by private developer Joe Edwards.

"When you want to see part of the St. Louis city comeback, come to the Delmar Loop," the script reads. "Investment dollars that only used to go to the county are now coming into the city as well. Thanks to Mayor Francis Slay. Over $2 billion invested, creating places to go and jobs you can count on. For the first time in more than 50 years, more people are moving into the city than out. Mayor Francis Slay: We'll be a great city again."

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