Money Down

We diversify our investment portfolio (hint: it involves scuba gear!), get metaphysical and bump into one of the strangest Bargain Box items yet. Plus: What's Buggin' Sly Brown?

Unreal has long extolled our commitment to a diversified portfolio. Ergo our $100 investment to purchase the naming rights to "River Front Times," a two-year-old Thoroughbred poised to set Fairmount Park ablaze next season. Ditto our (unsuccessful) $100 bid to purchase St. Louis Centre's doomed skyway and our (pending) $100 offer for the St. Louis Blues hockey franchise.

Now comes Maryland Heights resident Bill Warren — author, businessman and (he says) owner of the largest guano island in the West Indies — with another can't-miss investment opportunity.

Warren runs a diving company that specializes in sunken treasure. But right now he's after Natalee Holloway, the eighteen-year-old Alabaman who disappeared in May during her high school's senior trip to the island of Aruba, off the coast of Venezuela.

Warren isn't optimistic about bringing her back alive. Still, he's raring to go, and he's convinced the Holloway family will cough up the reward — $1 million for Natalee's safe return — if he can provide closure. "We have found over 28 bodies that nobody else, no other agency, has been able to find," the 51-year-old treasure hunter notes.

What he's looking for is money: specifically, $3,000 to fund the Aruba expedition. "If we find her body, I would share the million in an equal split with whoever's involved," Warren promises. "The icing on the cake is that Aruba is filled with treasure galleons. Who knows what we'd come up with? We would give investors a percentage."

"We" is Warren and his partner, retired San Diego lifeguard Joe Barnett. "He's 61 and built like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but shorter," imparts Warren. "He is the most highly decorated lifeguard in San Diego's lifeguard history. Joe has found more than 100,000 pieces of jewelry. He goes into the sea; he walks out with a diamond in his hand. He won't eat dinner until he finds a piece of jewelry or a ring."

Warren estimates the foray to Aruba will take about a week. "I will rent a boat, and I will pull Joe slowly on a long rope, like shark bait," he says. "When he releases and disappears, you know he's found something. We're looking for a few thousands bucks to get us down there while there's still something left."

After due diligence, Unreal has determined that Warren's venture merits our $100 flat rate — if and only if our readers come up with the remaining $2,900.

Interested parties must act quickly, however. Like Warren says: "Soon the crabs and the fish will eat everything."

Inquiries about this investment opportunity should be directed to unreal@riverfronttimes.com.

If Billboards Could Sing

Allo, mates! Not long ago a certain internationally recognized pair of sexually ambiguous middle-aged Aussies (a.k.a. "us") took a stroll on the beach with two flutes of Dom, wearing white suits, braided belts and sockless loafers. Then we hit the clubs and rallied some trim back to our suite, where we polished off the DP and had a four-way. Now, just in time for Thanksgiving, we're in St. Louis supporting a new hit single, "Thanksgiving Time." It's a heartfelt cover of an "All Out of Love" spoof that aired on SNL a few seasons back. We were angry about it at the time but grew to love the song as if it were our own. We hope you like it!

Air: It's Thanksgiving time, I love your new blazer. Your sleeves are pushed up. It looks pretty awesome.

Supply: Well, thank you, my friend. You're so kind to say so. Your eyes are so blue. I think that I like them.

Air: It's Thanksgiving time, let's go get a burger. Maybe some fries, and go take a car ride.

Supply: Go to a motel, drink a gallon of brandy. Hang out in robes, and see what develops.

Astral Drain

"Phones on silent, please" read numerous signs posted around the Collinsville Gateway Center on Halloween weekend, as the Pegasus Metaphysical Symposium brought with it a supernatural selection of wind chimes, incense, healing jewelry, Buddhist statuary, wall tapestries and instructional DVDs divulging the deep spiritual mysteries behind belly dancing and teaching oneself to play the folk harp.

For the $7 cost of admission, proud divinators and the di-curious also received tickets for the hourly raffle (Unreal had our eye on a certain blue bejeweled skull pendant) and access to lectures with titles like "Tapping: Healing for Yourself and Others"; "Copper, Magnets & Pyramid Power"; and "Hypnosis: Group Progression to a Future Time." During "Speaking with Spirit," Unreal crossed over with a green, purple and blue peignoir-clad woman who described how her deceased grandmother assured her she truly was the intended recipient of a controversial tea kettle.

We briefly considered a Tarot reading, but discretion took the better part of valor after we heard a woman confess to a companion that her session last year had reduced her to tears. Instead we browsed the CDs for sale, which included works by Yanni, Neil Young, Jon Secada and U2. "Certain music increases your spiritual currency," a woman explained. "And spiritual currency is free to everyone."

Unreal was considering exchanging some of our scant paper currency for a dragon-shaped dagger when our cell phone rudely tinkled, banishing us to the curb and kicking the convention's karma right in the badonka-donk.

Sad to say, we never got around to having our aura photographed and analyzed.

If only we'd progressed with that group to a future time, we'd have seen this coming.

Sly and the Family Stones?

Unreal has a candle burning for our comrade-in-arms Sylvester Brown Jr. In a heart-wrenching 600-word confessional published November 3, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist recounted a harrowing brush with mortality two days earlier. "While getting dressed in the morning (and I'll be discreet here), I noticed 'something,'" Brown informed readers.

Though an urgent visit to the doctor revealed that it was "probably" a false alarm, Unreal remains concerned. When it comes to life-insurance actuarial tables, "probably" doesn't crinkle-cut the pickle. Moreover, what precisely are we talking about here? Brown wouldn't reveal what potentially ails him — not in his column, and not when we contacted him for comment.

Perhaps it was out of politesse. Or perhaps stoicism.

Unreal is asking you to help solve the mystery: What's Buggin' Brown?

The columnist did supply a few clues. Probing for the feared malady, he wrote, involved "the humiliating 'turn your head and cough' thing," "the embarrassing 'bend over and relax' thing," "check[ing] my 'fluids'" and — perhaps most ominous — "more tests."

Sadly, that's all we have to go on.

If you think you know What’s Buggin’ Brown, e-mail your answer to SlyB@riverfronttimes.com

Somebody Buy My Crap

Item: OBGYN Medical Exam Table

Condition: Worn

Price: $200

Seller/Age: Marty/45

Location: West county

Phone: 314-221-7071

Issue: October 30

Unreal: Where'd you get this table?

Marty: I found it seven years ago when I was cleaning out a doctor's office. I wouldn't have taken it home if it didn't have stirrups.

What do you use it for?

Dirty little deeds. The day I brought it home, the wife and I giggled like schoolkids — all night long.

What shape is the table in?

It needs a bit of reupholstering around the edges and corners, where it's been bumped repeatedly. But let me tell you, where there's chrome it shines!

Why are you getting rid of it?

The vinyl is too cold. It takes too long to heat up. Also I just renovated the basement, and the table just doesn't fit in with the décor.

Do you think the table could be worth more than $200?

Probably. I figure I got at least that much fun out of it.

Have you had many calls?

Surprisingly, no. Thing is, if someone reupholstered it, it would make for a cool piece of furniture. At the very least it's a great conversation starter.

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