Stout Fellow

Unreal hoists (metaphorical) pints with Yakov Smirnoff and (real) pints with the Guinness brewmaster; then we try to get a deal on an empty Falstaff keg. Plus: RFT editor Tom Finkel makes some unbelievable hires!

Finkel calls agreeing to terms with Frey, who fabricated harrowing experiences with drug addiction in the best-selling "memoir" A Million Little Pieces, "a career-defining moment that sent me into paroxysms of ecstasy.

"I loved Seely," says Finkel, "but his stories were, by and large, based on fact. To compete in today's media landscape you need edgy stuff — the kind of stuff that just doesn't happen in real life. Now we've got Jim Frey, whose name is synonymous with the word 'bullshit.'"

Also coming aboard: Village Voice senior associate editor Nick Sylvester, currently serving a suspension for fabricating an interview in a recent Voice cover story. "I think we'd all agree the Voice was a bad fit for someone of Nick's ability ," says Finkel. "We're confident he's gonna love it here."

Fergal Murray
Jennifer Silverberg
Fergal Murray
Yakov Smirnoff
Yakov Smirnoff

"Here" is a relative statement. Not only have the new hires never set foot in St. Louis, they don't intend to. In a move Finkel says will save parent company Village Voice Media "many thousands of dollars," Frey and Sylvester will telecommute from their respective New York City residences.

Finkel declined to comment on rumors that the RFT is negotiating with novelist JT LeRoy, other than to say his paper "would love to get that lying sack of onions into our pages."

Somebody Buy My Crap

Item: Falstaff Quarter-Barrel
Condition: Empty
Price: $25
Name/Age: Jim/76
Location: O'Fallon (Missouri)
Phone: 636-978-0773
Issue: March 5

Unreal: Falstaff keg? Didn't they stop making that swill long ago?

Jim: I got it probably 40 years ago, when I was working construction at the old Falstaff brewery off of Shenandoah. It was empty when I got it. At the time I had visions of using it for an air compressor tank.

What happened to those dreams?

I ended up making the compressor out of an empty half-barrel of Budweiser. The Falstaff keg has just been sitting in my basement collecting dust.

Why sell it after all these years? Doesn't it have sentimental value?

I'm at the age where I know I'm going to die sooner rather than later. I got a houseful of junk. I figured I'd convert some of it to cash rather than making my kids root through all of it.

You've got it priced at $25. But with Falstaff out of business, isn't it essentially worthless?

Yeah, you probably can't get it filled with beer anymore. But I'm testing the free-market system. It could be worth any price to collectors. Also, you can use it for other things.

Such as?

I crafted a gas tank for a dune buggy out of a quarter-barrel. You could also use it for storage if you remove the tap and the bung.

The what?

Bunghole. Yeah, the word has many meanings. But that's also the name of the plug that holds the beer. You could remove the bung and fill the keg with water and keep it for use in an emergency.

Sounds refreshing!

Well, it will do in a pinch, I suppose.

From time to time Unreal trolls the St. Louis Post-Dispatch classified section's "Bargain Box." We cannot guarantee any item remains available for purchase at press time.

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