Brain Drain

Unreal learns how to keep young, bright St. Louisans in town — and alive. Plus: Blog o' the Week, advice for the apocalypse and a chat with Bill the Thrill.

 Cities Compete in Hipness Battle to Attract Young

Cities have long competed over job growth, struggling to revive their downtowns and improve their image. But the latest population trends have forced them to fight for college-educated 25-34-year-olds, a demographic group increasingly viewed as the key to an economic future.....

They like downtown living, public transportation and plenty of entertainment options. They view diversity and tolerance as marks of sophistication.
New York Times, November 24

Dan Zettwoch

St. Louis Competes in Survival Battle to Keep Young Alive

Unlike other U.S. cities, St. Louis will not introduce any new programs to slow the defection of college-educated young adults to other cities, Ed Rhode, spokesman for St. Louis mayor Francis Slay, said yesterday.

Rather, the city, recently named the most dangerous in the nation by Morgan Quitno Press, is sponsoring an initiative to slow the defection of college-educated young adults to the afterlife.

"Local members of this desirable demographic are less concerned with trendy sushi bars and multiculturalism than with basic survival," said Rhode, speaking at a press conference at the Pin-Up Bowl, from behind a bulletproof Plexiglas plate. "St. Louis suffers from 'brain drain' — too many of our best and brightest's craniums are penetrated by bullets or rusty iron pipes."

The initiative, entitled "25 and Alive!," aims to give young adults the opportunity to live, work and shop within the city limits, with the emphasis on "live." Planned activities included martini happy hours at shooting ranges and tapas-cooking classes at karate studios.

"Upwardly mobile hipsters will be able to network while they learn to destabilize armed, desperate crack addicts," Rhode said.

"25 and Alive!" also has a public-relations component, intended to emphasize the number of St. Louis young professionals who are still very much alive. "Morgan Quitno emphasizes all the murders," Rhode said. "But what they don't tell you is that just as many people — if not more — have never been murdered, and likely never will be."

Reservations Recommended

It has come to Unreal's attention that the world will end on December 12, 2012.

We were reminded of this after watching the trailer for Mel Gibson's new movie, Apocalypto. You see, the Mayans — who abandoned their highly developed cities sometime around 900 A.D. — created a nifty calendar.

You know, that big round one. The one that ends on December 12, 2012.

Holy shit!

Out of our mind with worry, we got Terry James, of the biblical Web site, on the blower and asked him how much time he thinks we've got left.

"The rapture could occur at any moment," James says. "We believe we're close. The number-one sign is the fact that the nation of Israel is again in its land with a common language, Hebrew."

James then discusses why Satan might hate the Jews (as is stated on the Web site). The simplified version: God favors Israel, which irritates Satan, who is ever the contrarian. "Think about Hitler, the Holocaust," James says. "Why would anyone want to kill a people? Because Satan hates the Jews."

Other signs that the rapture may soon be upon us, according to the gay-friendly practices of companies that recognize same-sex unions and the general moral decline of America.

James, of course, can take comfort in the notion that everyone who believes Jesus Christ is the Son of God will ascend to Heaven just as all Hell breaks loose.

And he does mean everyone.

"Even if they have to be taken kicking and screaming," James says, then laughs. "It's a joke, because some Christians are against the idea of the rapture."

He pauses. "It seems almost like they want to be left behind."

"We all have a God-shaped void in our soul," James continues.

Unreal is just beginning to wonder what a God-shaped void might look like when he delivers the kicker:

"If God is not there, Satan is."

Clearly Unreal is not raptureready.

The O'Federer Factor

When we last heard from Bill Federer, he was dominating the 2004 RFT Candidate Challenge, out-bowling, out-karaokeing and outclassing Third District opponent Russ Carnahan. But our de facto endorsement didn't translate into victory for the Republican U.S. House candidate.

To speak da truth, Unreal forgot all about Federer until he popped up in the December issue of Harper's, in a Jeff Sharlet article entitled "Through a Glass, Darkly: How the Christian Right is reimagining U.S. history."

"Federer and I were riding together in a white school bus full of Christians from around the country to pray at the site on which the Danbury, Connecticut, First Baptist Church once stood," writes Sharlet, when Federer offered his interpretation of Thomas Jefferson's "wall of separation" phrase:

"'Those who control the present,' Federer continued his quote from 1984, 'control the past.' He paused and stared at me to make sure I understood the equation. 'Orson Welles wrote that,' he said."

Ooooh, that snarky Sharlet!

But we were more interested in what Bill the Thrill's been up to recently, so we called him at his south-county home.

"To be real honest, I didn't run this year because my wife was discouraged by voter fraud and seemingly regular irregularities," he says. "The first time I ran, my name was left off the ballot in five wards in the city."

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