When it comes to bloated capital projects, Unreal doesn't give a rat's ass how big the cost overrun as long as they build the damn thing. We were there back in 1869 to see the glorious Golden Spike join the Central Pacific with the Union Pacific and to form the Transcontinental Railroad. We were there in 1914 when the Panama Canal opened and in 1956 when old Ike signed the bill paving the way for 40,000 miles of interstate highways.
But none of that quite matched the thrill of climbing aboard last Saturday for the very first ride on MetroLink's Cross County expansion. Our eyes welled with tears at the sound of the cheers and applause, the clicking of cameras, the flutter of balloons, and the haunting song sung at the Forest Park station before the journey to Shrewsbury commenced:
"They've been working on the Metro, all the live-long day."
How clever and how inspiring. It was over at last three long years of construction, lawsuits and a final price tag of $678 million. All for eight magical miles of track. And worth every penny!
At precisely 11:11 a.m., with a merry toot-toot, the train left the station, nudging forth to break the red, white and blue streamer draped across the track. Someone forgot to put Unreal on the list for a coveted First Train Ticket, so we were forced to sneak aboard. Regardless, there we all were Congressmen Lacy Clay and Russ Carnahan, St. Louis County Councilman Kurt Odenwald, University City Mayor Joe Adams, Washington University Chancellor Mark Wrighton and Unreal a gently swaying community of MetroLinkers.
At every stop the well-dressed (with the exception of Unreal) congregation squeezed out to admire each brand-spanking-new station and offer up a few clichéd remarks to the taxpaying citizenry awaiting their first chance to climb aboard. "This is a joyous day," Metro's chief executive officer Larry Salci declared at the Big Bend station. "This is a joyous day," Salci said at the Forsyth station.
Salci, heralded throughout the ride as the man who made this all happen, told Unreal he planned to end this historic day with a quiet dinner with his wife and daughter. "And then," he added softly, "I'm going to take ten days off and go to Michigan. I haven't had a day off in three years."
Funny, that's exactly what Leland Stanford told Unreal in Promontory, just before he hammered home the Golden Spike.
According to a new survey by Men's Health magazine, Orlando is the angriest city in the nation. In second place was Orlando's Florida sibling, St. Petersburg, followed by Detroit, Baltimore and Nashville.
Perhaps predictably, St. Louis placed tenth. We're even underachievers when it comes to getting pissed off! But who cares? The factors Men's Health considered in coming up with the rankings: percentage of men in each city who had high blood pressure, rate of aggravated assault, workplace deaths from violence, traffic congestion and the number of speeding citations.
Arbitrary, you say? Well, Unreal was inspired conduct our own study, in which we found that St. Louisans have the biggest balls in the entire United States of America. That's right, our men have big, brassy testicles that hang down to their knees and, when they run, bang together like church bells. In second place is East St. Louis, and, in last place, with teensy-weensy tiny balls full of drowsy, lethargic sperm, is New York, New York, home of Men's Health.
Our survey factors included the quantity of musk melon consumed, bowling frequency and the size of the koi swimming in each town's Japanese garden.
And now, if you'll excuse us, we are off on another survey, to determine the fairest pseudonymous local columnist of them all.
Mighty Like a Mofo
As if seeing his mug in newspapers and on television weren't enough, Unreal was recently walking in south St. Louis and stepped on the face of Post-Dispatch columnist Bill McClellan. Not a bad thing, for sure, but unexpected. It was stenciled on the sidewalk and contained the caption, "Bill McClellan Motherfuckers." Next to it, pasted to the side of a yellow Post-Dispatch box, was a poster of Mayor Francis Slay's head beneath a caption that read: "The mayor thinks you're an asshole." It was signed "Bill McClellan Motherfuckers."
Ah, propaganda, the seed of revolution. Nations have fallen based on leaflets and graffiti such as these. Is the columnist attempting to overthrow city hall?
No, but a punk band is. They're called Bill McClellan Motherfuckers and have been gigging around the city for the past few years. Last year this very paper honored them for "Best Band Name" in the annual Best of St. Louis issue.
"I've met these guys," McClellan tells Unreal. "They called me after last year's Best of St. Louis issue and told me, 'We mean it respectfully.' I told them I take it respectfully. In fact, I'm flattered. It makes me sound hipper than I actually am. I told my son Jack about it, and said, 'Well, we've got to go see them.' And he said, 'Dad, you're probably not going to like them they're a punk band, and they probably won't go on until after 10:30.' So I'm sorry to say I haven't seen them yet."
(Like a true punk band, Bill McClellan Motherfuckers declined repeated interview requests.)
McClellan says Post-Dispatch readers have expressed concern. "They say, 'McClellan, you've got an enemy stenciling your name on the side of trash cans.' I just tell them, 'No, that's my band.'"
But does the mayor really think we're assholes? A call to Slay's office netted a promise to get back to Unreal on that.
We're still waiting.
Local Blog O' the Week
Author: Julie Wiskirchen
About the blogger: Born and raised in St. Louis, Julie now lives in LA but continues to root for the Cardinals. She loves her Brockabrella, which is signed by Lou himself.
Recent Highlight (July 30): I finally gave in to the relentless barrage of AT&T commercials during the games imploring me to visit seehowtheylive.com and get a tour of Albert Pujols' crib. The house tour only covered the backyard, kitchen, and game room of Albert's Kansas City abode. The tour script involved a lot of plugs for AT&T products Deion points out the Dish TV with DVR, Albert uses the phone to call for a pizza, and Albert talks about using his treo to stay in touch with his family when he's on the road. It's an interactive video where you can click on hotspots and learn additional fun facts about the annoying Deion (please don't let him get a talk show) and Albert and his family. I was impressed that Albert's class shows through even in this extended commercial. The crib was very nice but not ostentatious, and there was no parade of bling. Albert mostly wanted to talk about his family, faith and his foundation. it's worth a look, if only for the concluding footage of Albert smashing line drives into a cardboard Deion (for each direct hit, Deion donated $100 to Albert's foundation).
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