Even with its corporate accounting practices under federal investigation, Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation has managed to put on a happy face, recently debuting birthday-party packages aimed at youngsters. The fun includes doughnut games such as "bowling with doughnuts" and "doughnut on a string," a store tour, after-party cleanup and, of course, a heaping helping of one-holed wonders.
Meanwhile, right here in Creve Coeur, Midwest Martial Arts Academy proprietor Charlie Foxman is promoting a special curriculum aimed at kids called "Thumbs Up for Healthy Living."
Coincidence? Unreal thinks not.
We recently spoke with Foxman, a seventh-degree black belt in tae kwon do, about America's lard-ass epidemic.
Unreal: Do you think it's a form of positive peer pressure to make fun of fat kids?
Charlie Foxman: Absolutely not.
What if I'm sincerely concerned about my buddy's weight?
You have to take him in as a confidant and say, "Hey, what can I do to help you get in better shape? Maybe we can work out together."
At what age is it acceptable to begin chiding people for their obesity?
You can't chide a person about being grossly overweight. You make them take baby steps. If they drink eight Coca-Colas a day, get them to make four of them Diet Cokes.
Do you think Krispy Kreme should be subject to prosecution for its party packages for small children, on grounds of criminal negligence?
Yeah. You're preying on the minds of children who really don't make their own decisions. And if they bother their parents enough, their parents, unfortunately, will allow them to do that. Tobacco companies and Anheuser-Busch get into major trouble for targeting children, and Krispy Kreme doughnuts have just as much ill effect on children as alcohol and tobacco. They will clog your arteries and you will die.
If your neighbor owned a Krispy Kreme franchise that went under, would you: a) console him, or b) dance on his lawn while Frisbeeing doughnuts at his dining-room window?
I'd console him, because as a business owner I sympathize. The doughnuts are extremely tasty, and that's why people love them. To treat yourself every once in a while is not the end of the world. Had Krispy Kreme preached moderation and taken trans-fatty acids out of their doughnuts, they might not have been in as bad shape today.
This Friday, March 18, Gray Hair Management founder Scott Kane will be in Clayton, leading a half-day seminar on the Gray Hair Laws of Networking.
Unreal wasn't of a mind to cough up 85 bucks for membership in a clique of aging execs -- though God knows they'd love to have us. What with the abundance of press releases Kane and crew send forth from their Chicago base of operations, we had no compunction whatsoever about doing a little networking of our own.
Unreal: Is there ever a time when you shouldn't be networking?
Scott Kane: No. You should always be networking, because in today's business environment you never know when your end is going to come. What we've learned is that those people who've established networks and can maintain those networks will always have opportunities presented to them. Everyone's an independent contractor.
So it's an ABN situation: Always Be Networking!
There you go! You have to develop your personal brand that basically says: What makes you different from everyone else? What are you best at? What is your currency? That's your personal brand.
Scenario: You're at a social event. All the monied people of St. Louis are there. How does Scott Kane work the room?
You have to be able to pick out in a minute if this is someone you want to continue your conversation with. You have to ask yourself: What's my mission? Your mission is to find three or four people to build a relationship with. You're not going to build a relationship in two minutes. So the key is not what you do at the event, but how you set up your next week.
Ah! You have to be able to tell the duds from the studs, right?
You get better at it. I've been through a lot of dog meetings.
When running for re-election, it's not so much what you've done, but what you dare to take credit for. This political reality wasn't lost on incumbent St. Louis mayor Francis Slay, who surfed to victory in last Tuesday's Democratic primary on the back of a climactic television spot, "The Loop," in which Hizzoner more or less takes credit for the Delmar Loop -- never mind that the strip originates in University City and was spearheaded almost single-handedly by private developer Joe Edwards.
"When you want to see part of the St. Louis city comeback, come to the Delmar Loop," the script reads. "Investment dollars that only used to go to the county are now coming into the city as well. Thanks to Mayor Francis Slay. Over $2 billion invested, creating places to go and jobs you can count on. For the first time in more than 50 years, more people are moving into the city than out. Mayor Francis Slay: We'll be a great city again."
Of course, Slay's not home-free yet. His opponent in the general election, Green Party candidate Willie Marshall, is advancing his brilliantly eponymous "Marshall Plan," a point-by-point menu of campaign promises that seeks to put a stop to biotech, taxpayer-funded sports stadiums and toxic industry. Fortunately for Slay, his campaign team is prepped to out-green the Greens -- or so indicates a draft script of a soon-to-debut ad Unreal recently salvaged from Slay 2005's recycling bin.
Script: "The Mississippi"
When you want to see part of the St. Louis city comeback, come to the Mississippi River. Rainwater that once deposited itself only in oceans and lakes now trickles in mass quantities along a large dirt ditch on the Illinois-Missouri border. And sun that once rose only in Chicago now rises in St. Louis, too. Thanks to Mayor Francis Slay. Over $2 billion invested, creating transcontinental rivers that flow and giant, burning stars you can count on. For the first time in more than 50 years, more natural wonders are moving into the city than out. Mayor Slay: God ain't got nothin' on Saint Francis.
LOCAL BLOG O' THE WEEK
"The Daily Burble"
About the blogger: John is an unemployed comic artist and ceramicist.
Recent Highlight (February 14, 2005):
SUNDAY IS ONE OF MY THREE VOLLEYBALL NIGHTS lately. All three involve very low-level, non-competitive play. The other two groups I've played with before, but I'm new to the Sunday night one. This was our second week -- weirdly, the session started on Super Bowl night. Seems to be a mostly good bunch of people. Tonight, though, I ended up across the net from some whiny malcontent who muttered under her breath at pretty much my side's every hit. She wouldn't come right out and call a foul, see, just quietly demonstrate her aggrieved superiority to us jungle-ballers. I heard her going at it again after my first serve, so I asked, "Is there a problem?" "You can't step over the line when you serve," she hissed. Later I would experience some esprit de l'escalier about this -- my unspoken brilliant ripostes include, "Looks like I just did, baby," and "No shit?" But I think my actual response was pretty good too. I stepped back from the line in question -- showing admirable restraint in going only about fifteen feet, and not some really ridiculous or insulting distance -- and served an ace past her ear.
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