We've heard all of the excuses at Night & Day: Dinner ran late; traffic was bad; Unreal held things up, looking for his foam finger. Usually, we'd understand. You don't miss that much in the first quarter of a basketball game. In the NBA exhibition season, though, the first quarter is the game. Show up in the second quarter, and the best players are already on the bench, in the locker-room whirlpool or sitting down at the restaurant you just left. So if you want to see 2003-2004 Rookie of the Year, media-anointed savior and Olympic bronze-medalist LeBron James in action when he and the Cleveland Cavaliers meet, er, Kirk Hinrich and the perpetually rebuilding Chicago Bulls at the Savvis Center (14th Street and Clark Avenue; 314-531-7887 or www.savviscenter.net), you'd best be there in time for the 7:30 p.m. tip-off. Tickets ($12 to $82) are available at the Savvis Center box office and through Ticketmaster (314-241-1888 or www.ticketmaster.com). -- Ian Froeb
Riches for Bitches
Maybe you don't need suggestions on how to use your unique talents. However, if you've been looking for the best way to, say, put your mad bowling skills to work for the forces of goodness and light, there's not likely a better opportunity than this. The Metro East Humane Society (618-656-4405) is inviting you (yes, you) to the AMF Bowland lanes (5050 Nameoki Road, Granite City, Illinois) for Dog Bowl 2004. It's sure to be the best bowling-themed, dog-benefiting activity this week (though someone should organize a dogs-bowling-for-themselves event). Keep 2 to 5 p.m. open, so you can say you were there. And why just say you were there when your $25 pledge might also get you a T-shirt that will back up your boasting and create envy among like-minded canine-compassionate friends, who foolishly forsook this opportunity? Visit www.mehs.org for a registration form and more info. -- Jedidiah Ayres
This time of year, lots of houses pretend to be haunted. They put on their fancy cobwebs and fill themselves chock full of teenagers dressed in ghoulish ensembles, all to scare the likes of you. But what's scary about that? This Halloween season, it's time for the real spooky stuff, the real haunted places -- like the Nine Acres of Fright at the General Daniel Bissell House (10225 Bellefontaine Road; 314-544-5714 for reservations). After sacrificing $7, hike the haunted grounds (hourly from 6 to 8 p.m.) with only a lantern and a guide to direct you toward three scary truth-tellers, er, we mean storytellers. Or do we? -- Alison Sieloff
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