By Ray Downs
By Lindsay Toler
By Lindsay Toler
By Chad Garrison
By Allison Babka
By Lindsay Toler
By Jake Rossen
By Lindsay Toler
Weddings are supposed to be a celebration of true love, and though Unreal finds this indescribably moving, our favorite part the whole thing is when they serve the cake. It even beats out the hors d'oeuvres. Our tastes are simple. We prefer a nice, moist slab slathered with buttercream. The only cake we have ever found architecturally interesting was a French croquembuche, a pile of cream puffs magically held together by sugar.
But then we saw a photo of an Allen, Texas, bridezilla named Chidi Ogbuta, and her wedding cake. The cake had been constructed in Ogbuta's image. It was slightly more busty and Botoxed, but there was no question whom it was meant to represent. According to a press release we received from wedding guru Marcy Blum, this is part of a hot new trend in "luxury weddings." Who cares that the economy is tanking? Let's all eat the bride!
Some of Unreal's nearest and dearest are taking the nuptial plunge soon. How awesome would it be, we thought, if they could have cakes in their own images as well? So we got on the phone with some of St. Louis' most celebrated bakers of wedding cakes.
"No, we don't do anything like that," says Andrea Roice, manager of The Cakery, in Dogtown. "I think it would be such a time-consuming and ornate deal. We would never even think to do anything like that. I don't even know how they could get the structure. That's a heavy, heavy cake. It probably weighs more than the bride does. To keep the arms in place would be nearly impossible. Props to them," she adds. "The whole time, I'd be worried it would collapse."
"How weird," says Kristy Burlingame at Truffes, near the Delmar Loop. "Do you ever watch Ace of Cakes? They use metalwork to mold those cakes. That one is probably half Rice Krispies and wood. We've done luggage and a Chinese takeout box, but we don't like to do anything that's not cake."
Wedding Wonderland in Florissant actually does make a bride cake. They do a groom, too. "It's more whimsical than realistic," says manager Nancy McHugh. And, indeed, when we go to the Web site, we see that both bride and groom are short and squat, sort of like three-tier wedding cakes. In the picture, they have brown hair, but McHugh assures us that they can be customized with frosting.
Unreal has been hearing a lot lately about this thing called "inflation." And apparently it has nothing to with the tires on our bicycle. It's actually this widespread phenomenon where, suddenly, all kinds of stuff is more expensive. People in Haiti are rioting because they can't afford rice and beans. Even though Unreal's parents pay most of our bills, we can totally believe it. Like, a gallon of milk costs almost four bucks. That's more than a gallon of gas! What's going on?
Unreal has never really managed to grasp the dark mystery of economics. In fact, all we really know about the dismal science can be summed up in the puerile verse: "Roses are red, violets are blue, if the assets don't equal the liabilities, shame on you." That's why we decided to find someone like Professor Stephen Williamson at Washington University. Here's a man who knows his numbers.
Unreal: Has this inflation thing happened before?
Stephen Williamson: There were a lot of things about the 1970s that look a lot like now. There was a big run-up in commodity prices — food, metals, oil.
Wow, the '70s. Were you alive then?
You bet. It's part of the reason I got interested in economics. There were all these interesting things going on, all this talk about inflation. I said, "What is it?"
And what is it?
Inflation is just an increase in the average level of all prices.
Sooo, you got a Ph.D. to learn that?
The other factor, of course, in inflation is monetary policy. What makes [the consumer price index] increase over a long period of time is the rate at which the Federal Reserve prints money, basically.
OK, you're going to have to save the finer points for the graduate students. What else did you learn in the 1970s — as it relates to the, uh, economy?
What I remember are the cars — these 1970s cars were a reaction to higher fuel prices.
You mean, like hybrid SUVs?
People were driving huge cars. Then they started building smaller ones. Some of them were pretty awful. The Ford Pinto, the one with the exploding gas tank. The Gremlin. This is a period when Japanese cars were trying to get a foothold. They were tiny compared to now — and kind of flimsy.
An Unreal Lament
In our review of Jewmongous: Taller Than Jesus in last week's Unreal, we reported that five of the CDs first seven songs reference masturbation. We also mentioned that the song "Long Tongue Schloime" concerns the lone Jew in the shtetl willing provide oral pleasure to the women. We were wrong on both counts, as Jewmongous' Sean Altman wrote to inform us. Only four of the album's thirteen songs reference masturbation. (God, we've got a dirty mind!) And, as Altman wrote, "It's that the misunderstood stranger (in this case the Jew) is the only man in town who does go down on the ladies, and with great relish! This is not the self-deprecating Jewish humor of the Woody Allen or Philip Roth era; it's the self-aggrandizing Jewish humor of the new millennium."