This Gland Is Your Gland

Unreal snags the rare prostate interview, drops in on a lawyer's blog and cracks open a can of Dinty Moore beef stew (the linchpin of the Pontoon Beach Diet); plus, how many Post reporters does it take to tell us it's really frickin' cold?

Dr. Gerry Andriole is an Unreal kinda guy -- peppy and plainspoken on what you might call touchy subjects.

Andriole, chief of urology at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, is pissed off that too many men refuse to 'fess up to prostate problems. When he asked Unreal to help spread the word about Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), we agreed -- on one condition.

Unreal: Could we talk to your prostate?

Gerald L. Andriole Jr., M.D.'s prostate: I like being a prostate!

What do you look like and what do you do?

I am walnut-sized among men below 40. I make the fluid that sustains the life of sperm after ejaculation. My fluid keeps the sperm safe in that hostile environment -- the vagina -- nourishing the sperm on its quest for the egg.

What color are you?


BPH causes you to enlarge, right?

I can double and in some cases increase tenfold in size.

How do you make life a pain?

I pinch off the tube through which men urinate. They get a slow stream, can't completely empty their bladder. So they keep getting up and going. Some men can't sit through long meetings, through airplane flights. It raises issues for men who play golf, for crying out loud! And it causes problems at night: A man might not want to get started, because he thinks he won't complete the act.

Why do you do this?

I'm a victim of my hormones.

How do most men respond to BPH?

I don't think most men know anything about me. And most of the time they're reluctant to find out. That's why urologists like Dr. Andriole have to say, "Hey guys, let's be honest with each other. Let's just talk about our prostate, the problems it creates and what we can do about them."

Do you envy other body parts?

Absolutely not. I get to participate in some of life's most important processes, which are often quite enjoyable.

What's your favorite vegetable?

Grilled asparagus.

What's a prostate like you doing this weekend?

Living large.

Local Blog o' the Week

"life's a trip"

Author: Peter M.

About the blogger: Peter is an attorney who lives in St. Louis and describes himself this way: "Born in Europe and raised predominately in the U.S.; I'm a mass of contradictions. But cannot forget fun, good looking, sarcastic, and smart."

Recent Highlight (January 7, 2004): I think the receptionist dislikes me.

First off, she never smiles at me. Most of the secretaries and lawyers all say hi to one another in the morning. We don't go around -- office to office -- doing it, but only when we pass each other in the office. The receptionist, on the other hand, refuses to even acknowledge me. I pass by her desk all the time, but not even a slight tilting of her head to indicate her sense of me. I am not invisible!

Second, I believe she thinks I pee too much, and thus has lost all respect for me. I have to leave the office on the hour to go relieve myself. I drink a lot of water throughout the day, so it is inevitable that my bladder needs to be empted. But does this entitle her, or at the minimum give her reason, to hate me?

Third, maybe she hates me because I didn't get her a Christmas gift, like I did my secretary. What is the policy on receptionists receiving gifts? Would a card have been enough? Or, would that have equated to a slap in the face, as there would have been no gift certificate enclosed?

Fourth, could the reason be for her hatred the fact that I call her "Deb," as does my boss, but, when most other lawyers call her "Debbie?" Is this the same as "Peter" versus "Pete," and my loathing the name "Pete," as it brings to my mind a vision of an engaged bird? Have I offended her in some internal, psychological way, as do people who refer to me as "Pete?"

Maybe I'll just send her a funny little card. That should smooth things over.

Know of an Unreal-worthy local blog? Send the URL to [email protected].

Unreal Has a Dream

Sections of Forest Park Parkway were closed in May 2003 for construction of the MetroLink extension. Since then the roadway has been reduced to backhoes and dirt, and a smooth ride looks approximately five generations away. Its rocky, fractured state brings to mind our nation's racial divide.

Having spent Martin Luther King Day boning up on civil-rights history, Unreal decided that, hey, if King could dare to dream, so could we. We put in a call to Cathie Farroll, project communications manager for Metro.

Unreal: In the spirit of the great Martin Luther King Jr., we were wondering: Is it possible that our grandchildren might one day live in a world that includes a navigable Forest Park Parkway?

Cathie Farroll: Uh...yeah. The parkway will reopen. Sections of it will reopen at various times between summer and fall of 2005. And we expect the project to be done in late 2006. Even in my short remaining lifetime!

Your answer reminds me of Southern politicians who promised to end racism but failed.

Well, Metro has a track record of completing projects when they're supposed to be complete. We opened Phase One when it was supposed to be done, we opened the first St. Clair County extension when it was supposed to be done. We opened the expansion to Scott Air Force Base when it was supposed to be done. This will get done!

Do you think the Big Dig in Boston is a fair comparison to this project, or do you think the sinking of the Titanic is more apt?

I don't think either of those projects are fair comparisons, either by order of magnitude or by what was accomplished. The Titanic was a catastrophic maritime accident, and the Big Dig was billions and billions and billions of dollars. This is an eight-mile infrastructure-transportation project.

Bet On It

In Scott Schnuck's 30 years with his family's grocery business, there has been nothing like the recent low-carbohydrate mania.

"If I were a betting man, I'd say interest in low-carb foods will never go away," Schnuck told a breakfast meeting Wednesday of the St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association. No diet trend has affected the grocery business "so hard, so fast and with so much impact," said Schnuck, president and chief operating officer of Schnuck Markets Inc.

-- The St. Louis Post- Dispatch, June 17, 2004

Dismayed at the state of the fast-fading low-carb food industry, Scott Schnuck announced yesterday that there will be some changes at his family's grocery stores.

"Screw Atkins!" Schnuck announced to a breakfast meeting Tuesday of the St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association. "From now on it's all Pontoon Beach Diet, all the time: Dinty Moore beef stew, Miller High Life Light and Kodiak snuff!"

Schnuck breezed into the meeting a half-hour late, having spent the previous night "dieting" in the greater Granite City metro area.

The president and chief operating officer of Schnuck Markets Inc. said his 100-plus stores are clearing out all inventory of low-carb cheesecake, Atkins pizza and genetically modified carbless potatoes. "I lost my shirt on this low-carb crap. I'm telling you, the Pontoon Beach Diet is the way to get thin," he said, pausing to spit prodigiously into a cardboard cup. "We all know being thin is the ultimate aphrodisiac. Pontoontang, here we come!"

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