Unreal Asks, You Tell 

We introduce a hot new contest, offer up an earnest prayer and learn you can't sneak naughty limericks past one man from Belleville

Unreal is very excited to present our first-ever Better Than the Post-Dispatch Caption Contest! Please send your best caption for the photo below to Unreal, c/o Riverfront Times, 6358 Delmar Blvd., Ste. 200, St. Louis, MO 63130 or e-mail to unreal@riverfronttimes.com. Winning entries will be published in an upcoming installment of this here column.

Prizes? We'll give it some thought. But like our fine young men and women serving overseas, think of it as your patriotic duty.

Unreal's Prayer

In need of a miracle? Look no further. In the St. Louis area there are eight orders of contemplative nuns who spend their days fielding prayer requests from all and sundry. Their numbers may be small -- the Archdiocese of St. Louis estimates a population of 115 such brides of Christ in the region -- but their prayer power is indisputably divine.

Even better, you can submit your prayer requests through the archdiocesan Web site (www.archstl.org). Listed below, verbatim but occasionally edited for length, are a smattering of recent prayers the nuns have been working on -- including one from Unreal!

Victoria (8/12/2004) Please pray that the Lord will send me a boyfriend really, really, really soon.

Kathy (8/16/2004) For and end of the profanity that is used in all work places.

Kenneth (8/19/2004) Please pray for me that I may be able to concentrate on my studies and not get distracted with the other material things in life like the computer games.

Judy (8/20/2004) I am going out today to apply for a job at a local supermarket. Please pray that something comes up for me. We are down to eating rice and the electricity will soon be turned off. God Knows Best!

Rhonda (8/22/2004) Miraculously end abortion and the sale of aborted human babies.

Mom (8/26/2004) Pleas help Ethan get potty trained quickly.

c (8/28/2004) Please pray for Traci to have a good day.

John (8/28/2004) Please pray God will help me get enough sleep.

Curtis (8/29/2004) Please help pray for my dog Peanut who is going in for surgery.

amaka (8/31/2004) reversal of my husband's transfer and for fruit of the womb

Anon (8/31/2004) I pray for God to take me back two years in time. I pray for this so that i can change my past and make my parents proud of me.

george (8/31/2004) Please pray & agreed for my health & thinning hair to grow thicker at my top front head.

Sharon (8/31/2004) Please pray that my husband drives me to work on time when school starts this week.

Gwen (9/3/2004) Pray for a successful operation for President Bill clinton!

Virginia (9/3/2004) Lord, I'm going to start small. I pray my husband and his girlfriend break up this weekend.

OGUEJIOFOR (9/6/2004) I pray for the success of all my numbers in the megamillions USA game.

Deb (9/7/2004) Please pray that Deb finds the needed information for the audit before the deadline. The information is on the computer, but no one seems to be able to know how to access/find the information.

john (9/13/2004) Thank you God for making absolutely clear to me now -- what my purpose in life is.

d (9/15/2004) Please God help Ray call me today

eva (9/15/2004) Please pray that the alarm system to our truck not go off everytime we open our doors.

Diane (9/16/2004) For the successful and uncontested subdivision of our property and the subsequent sale of the newly formed lot

Ann (9/17/2004) Please pray for my son, Chris. He is flunking an Algebra class which will ruin his chance to be a fighter pilot which is all he has ever wanted to be.

m (9/24/2004) I have been addicted to pornogrpahy since I was 13. I need prayer that I would be completely freed from it. I know that God is more than capable to provide what I need to be freed from this bondage

ann (9/26/2004) Please pray for all rock stars who live a promiscuious lives will change and live God filled lives. Please pray especially for Bob ____. Pray that all women whose lives have been destroyed by infatuation with them turn to Christ and give up their obsessive lives, especially my friend, Grace.

juliet m (9/28/2004) Thank you for prayers regarding my gums and the root cause as I have discovered that I can not use certain tooth paste.

Unreal (9/30/2004) Let there be peas on earth, and let it begin with we.

There Once Was a Man from Belleville

Although it may not always be evident in these pages, Unreal has a sensitive, scholarly side. We have been known to scribble poems on bar napkins, on bathroom walls, on agendas from editorial meetings. So when Belleville resident Chris Strolin posited that the dictionary is "one of the last books any sensible person would curl up with on a chilly winter's evening," our feelings were a little hurt. But then we found out that Strolin is rewriting the dictionary. The whole thing. In limerick form. Like:

An agitator, history has seen,
Is a match searching out gasoline.
He's either for war
And hostilities or
He's the center of a washing machine.

Filled with an inordinate amount of glee, Unreal placed a call to Strolin, editor-in-chief of the Omnificent English Dictionary in Limerick Form (www.oedilf.com).

Unreal: How many limericks do you have right now? Can we write some for you?

Chris Strolin: We've got about 700 now, and we're looking at somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 million. So, 700 down, 3 million to go. We're counting on you for about 2,000.

Are you getting many off-color entries because people associate "limericks" with things they heard in junior high?

We haven't had any, which is maybe kind of surprising. If someone wrote the "Nantucket" limerick today, it wouldn't make it. That would not be a good example of what we're looking for.

What will happen when you have to define "limerick" in limerick form?

Well, I'll be very honest with you: I may not be around. We're taking this very slowly, very methodically, and if I make it to the Ls, that'll be a major accomplishment in itself. I'm looking at this long-term. Twenty, thirty, sixty, one hundred years from now, I want people to have unbroken ground to work with. We don't want this generation to jump ahead and take all the good words.

Do you ever dream in limericks?

I keep pads of paper and a pen by my bedside, and occasionally something will occur to me, and I'll wake myself up and write it down. I'll go to sleep thinking about puzzles. Like: How many things can you think of that you can wear that are spelled with more vowels than consonants?

Um...

Tie. That's one. Or things like a tiara, a muumuu, makeup --

Boa!

Or a toupee or, my favorite, "an air of authority."

Are you counting the "y" as a consonant or a vowel?

In that case it's a vowel. I enjoy things like this, and the OEDILF is an extension of that.

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