Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Funny Funny

My mom has been going through my stuff recently. She is cleaning out some old closet space in the house. My parents have been slowly going through the house. I think they are going to move sometime in the next couple of years. She has found all sorts of interesting things. She has found my baseball cards. My comic books. My old foreign coin collection. She has found some artwork. Some pictures. I have been picking through them, sorting through what I want to keep. It is kind of fun. Very distracting.

Here are some pictures I have scanned into my computer with very first scanner.

This is a picture of me that I think I got out at Six Flags. Or it might have been at Old Chicago. Not sure.

I am a Cub fan. It is not easy to live in Saint Louis and be a Cub fan. I was born in Chicago and moved here when I was a kid. It was a very difficult childhood, keeping my loyalties with the baseball team I had grown to love. A very humiliating childhood keeping that loyalty. Okay, my childhood wasn't that bad, but it did get freaky. A grown man once tried to steal my hat at the ballpark once. I was just sitting there and a grown man sitting behind me just snatched my hat off my head and began taunting me. I was really more confused. I was long used to the jeering, but I was more freaked out cuz a grown man had just taken my hat and I was only twelve years old. I knew he was drunk, but it was a bit creepy.

The picture is hilarious. I look so serious. I really liked baseball. I still do, but I don't think I could keep a straight face like that with the black smudge beneath my eyes for a fake cover story pic on Sport. Go Cubs.

This is a comic book I bought in high school. I really liked reality based comics. Sort of reality. This is one of a scenario that World War III broke out between the Soviet Union and the US. The headline is classic: "Birmingham and Minsk nuked, is New York and Moscow next?" The picture of a soldier wearing a radiation suit, gas mask, weilding an M-60 with a nuclear cloud behind him.


Then I found my sketches from high school. I took art classes by the esteemed John Mueller at Saint Louis U High. He was the best. I took quite a few classes from him. I still owe him some wood carving tools. I am bad. I have seen him around many times and I have meant to give them back to him, but, man, there really is no excuse any more. He was a great teacher. He once let me read some of the fiction stories I wrote in English class to the underclassmen. Well, that was short lived. The stories were a bit rich for the timid ears of Freshman. And I said that it was actually non-fiction, and the story started getting' freaky.

Here is a picture of President George Bush and his wife Barbara. I thought the picture was hilarious. They are laughing so hard!!

Here is a picture of Hirohito. He was the top royalty in Japan, a relic from the second World War. He was so old and, um, yeah. Old. He didn't really do anything other than plead for peace after being nuked back in WWII.

I really picked funny pictures to draw.

This is a picture I drew of Alan Greenspan. I have always dug Alan. He has always been Mister Cool Under Pressure. He is not owned by anyone and speaks his mind. This oracle speaks the truth. He will talk smack regardless if the Prez agrees with the view. He has been in the driver's seat for quite a while now. Almost as long as the Pope.

This is a half picture of Mikhail Gorbachev and his wife Raisa. I remember it was right before the Iron Curtain fell and Gorby was kickin' it with Glasnost. The new "openness" of Soviet Society. And of course, who couldn't forget the Perestroika restructuring reform movement? I was very interested to read more intimately of Russian culture. It had been paraded as an "evil" society my whole life up to that point. I was afraid that the Russians may invade not unlike the movie Red Dawn. I still have vivid memories of some Russian exchange students at my high school. That was just freaky freaky freaky. Plus two of them were girls so needless to say, we boys went commie crazy. I began to develop the sense of wanting to rescue the young communists. But that was going to be tough, because I both feared girls and communists. I never rescued any communists.

In one of the articles there was a piece on the Soviet rock bands. This is a pic of a Russian rock star of the late 80s. It was weird seeing anything like this before. Cool rock music had only been something from the west. Viva Glasnost!!

This is a picture of Mike Royko, a columnist from the Chicago Trib.

And this is one of my favorites. This is a picture of Dan Quayle. Dan Quayle is holding a Stinger missile. The Stinger missile was an shoulder launched anti-aircraft missile the US had supplied the insurgents in Afghanistan. The insurgents fought the Soviet invaders. The insurgents used these rockets to take down aircraft. The insurgents were made up heavily of the men who became the Taliban. Osama Bin Laden was one of these men. He had been trained by the CIA to spawn a resistance against the Soviet occupation. Now I am not positive, but I think the picture was taken with some Afghani military. It might be Pakistani. I can't remember. I do remember that the picture was especially funny cuz Quayle is holding the fancy bazooka backwards.

This was a freaky time. The US had taken out an Iranian jetliner over the Gulf from a warship. We paid up money after a while. I noticed that Libya is doing the same now after taking out a jetliner. The Soviets took out a commercial flight that strayed toward North Korea too. Freaky times. Not much better now.

Fight Results

The fights went well last week for the Gateway Classic Tournament. Demetrius won the 63 lb weight class. He looks great. Solid form, and great counter punching. Not usual at that weight class. Most is just a flurry of arms, but Demetrius was grounded and smart. Maybe a bit too cautious, but it was a clear victory, which is important to remember when inside the ring. Montrelle won his first fight, stopping his opponent ten seconds into the second round. He has very heavy hands, but he is still fighting novice level fighters. He tends to dominate his opponents, but he had not fought any heavy competitors. He fought another fighter from Cherokee Rec the next night and was stopped with a wicked right hook to his side. It was harsh. He couldn't respond. Montrelle has some work to do, and the best way for him to develop the skill is by continuing his competetive schedule. That is how you learn. His defense needs a bit of work, and if he can get that down his hands will do the rest.

The kids had a blast in general. They loved being at the fights. The team trophy went to Cherokee, and I told the crew that I needed more of them at competition level or we won't be able to get one. They began to jeer the kids from Cherokee by shouting "Chero-Weak". I looked at Derron for he was shouting the loudest. I told him that was the lamest put down I have heard. I remember when we used to tease the kids from Mary Queen of Peace. We would call them Many Queer Pigs. Not much better. Kids tend to have terrible insults. Things really haven't changed.

The fight of the night was a great one between Danny Williams of Marquette who squared off against Ricki Lane from Cherokee. That was a dynamite bout. Ricki is not afraid to take a fight in which he might lose. He is a class act. I like it when the kids talk to him. These guys are tops. They are not afraid of what may happen in the ring. They want to compete and show their skills. So does Williams. And Ty Chatman for that matter. Ricki lost the fight, but not after a see saw back and forth bout that could turn at any second. Ricki got stunned with a solid hook that stopped the fight. The crowd was roaring and on their feet. The crowd then left before the title bout. It was crazy, but it was clear who the best were that night.

I have a picture of Darryl Spinks on my picture phone, but I have been having trouble transferring the pix, so I will post later. He was cheering on the fighters. One of the newer fighters, Johnny who comes with his older brother Willie, told me that Cory and Darryl are his cousins. They share the same grandmother. Johnny is funny. He has an adversariel relationship with his older brother. Classic. They live up on Benton and lease from Johnny, yes that Johnny of Johnnies on North Market. They are cool motivated kids. Little Johnny loves coming to the gym, but says his older brother won't let him come. We are working on straightening that out. They both work very hard. They got an interesting story.

Attack by the intelligent

"We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of the culture" Pastor and parent Ray Mummert who opposes the teaching of evolution in rural Pennsylvania.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Report from SE Asia

My good friend Catherine Kustelski just sent me words on her interesting adventures in SE Asia. It sounds amazing. Some might know her from the belly dancing she has done at the boxing matches. She is a really cool woman who in the past couple of months has been travelling SE Asia to learn more about bellydancing.

Here is her letter:

Hello friends and family!

I have discovered that two months is not nearly enough time to take in everything I want to see and do. Note to self: next time, a longer trip.

My time in Malaysia was wonderful: an informative dance workshop, a delightful visit to the Islamic Arts Museum in Kuala Lumpur (a large part of the Malaysian population is Muslim), and getting to know some people there--so much heart. After another short visit with family in Bangkok, I flew to Chang Rai in northern Thailand, made my way to the Laos border, and boarded a slow boat down the Mekong River. Beautiful mountains, quiet river, and a glimpse into the lives of people who know little else. Two days later, the boat stopped in the beautiful town of Luang Prabang, and here I have spent a full and rich ten days.

My room here overlooks the Nam Khan (Cold River), not far from where it meets the Mekong. All of Laos wakes up with the sun, and I do the same. I use a bike for transport; bicycles and motos far outnumber cars and buses here, and the roads are open to all. Just riding around town is a pleasure. The former French presence here is evident in the charming architecture, and the many Buddhist temples here are just as striking.

One reason I've taken this trip is to explore teaching English abroad, and I have found many opportunities to test the waters. Some women at the Lao Women's Handicraft Union asked me to tutor them, and in return they took me to the temple up some 300 stairs on a hill in the center of town. A bird's eye view of all of Luang Prabang, the river, and the mountains beyond.

I've also been going to the Children's Cultural Center every day, to teach English and to observe (and sometimes participate in) traditional Lao dancing. The children take turns playing hand drums, wooden xylophones, and hand cymbals to accompany the dancers. Yesterday after their Lao dance performance, I performed Middle Eastern dance, and then taught some moves to staff and children, girls and boys. What fun! My Lao is as limited as their English, and I found it so much easier to communicate through movement than through the spoken word.

I've also been spending a lot of time at the markets. Both Lao cooking classes I've taken have included a trip to the extensive local food market. The sights! The smells! The heaps of things I don't recognize! Dinner most nights is at the night market. Through the narrow street, crowds file by food stalls offering fresh soy milk, whole fish cooked over open coals, delicate coconut fritters (yum), excellent Beer Lao (also yum), animal parts I don't recognize right away (pass, thank you), flattened dried fish, all kinds of fruit, sticky rice (to be rolled into balls and dipped into other food--a staple of the SE Asian diet), fresh and fried spring rolls, and many freshly prepared foods that I have tried but do not know their names. I can eat my fill of delicious food for about a dollar.

Local crafts: luminous scarves, beautiful needleworked bags and quilts, silver, handmade items made from the mulberry plant. But what has caught my attention most: da chow. This is the Hmong (a hill tribe) word for the decorative hand-sewn panel that falls from the back of the collar on their traditional jackets. About the size of a pocket, tiny stitches attach miniscule pieces of cloth and ribbon to form intricate geometric designs. They are remarkable examples of patience, attention to detail, and the beauty of Hmong design.

The only people I've seen wearing these da chow are ancient Hmong women at the market. Most Hmong favor more modern clothing, so the da chow have been separated from their simple jackets and appear in scant piles next to the abundant newer hand-sewn items. I've spent many hours looking for these, getting to know by sight a few of the old women who have made them. My interest has caught the attention of some of the women vendors, as I show them what I am looking for and they root in their bags to pull out the few da chow they have left.

One of the highlights of my past few days: leaving the day market, hot and brain-tired a long lesson in Hmong from some young Hmong girls, I saw one of the vendors I've visited almost every day. When I told her "see you later" in her language, this very old woman looked into my eyes and reached up to squeeze my hand in reply.

Tomorrow I leave Luang Prabang for the smaller town of Phonsovan, located in the Xieng Khuang province. This area is known for two things: it is the home of the mysterious Plain of Jars, and it remains the most heavily bombed area in the most heavily bombed country in the world. Almost every town in this province was destroyed by American bombs during the Vietnam War. The population there is about 40 percent Hmong. While there, I hope to increase my Hmong vocabulary, learn more about their culture, and also to learn more about what is known there as "the American War."

Thanks again for your support.



Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Errbody NPR gettin' Tipsy

Wow. On Monday I heard the Saint Louis on the Air on KWMU hosted by Tom Weber. Things have really changed in this town. For the better.

Tom had DJ Needles on the air talking about Nelly, the STL Hip Hop scene and Hip Hop in general. There were other people he interviewed, but I nearly had a heart attack hearing "Everybody in the club gettin' tipsy" on KWMU. The last time I heard that was when the kids at the PAC were dancing around. People, kids, were calling in excited about being a musician in the STL. A rock kid called in and was proud. And now it was on the old fogey KWMU. Not so stodgy anymore. Kudos to Weber for not only doing the topic, but finding the right guys with real street cred to talk to.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Wednesday Night Fights

Demetrius and Montrell will be competing at the Gateway Classic Wednesday March 23rd a the Gateway Classic Foundation on 20th and MLK. The entrance fee is a mere 7 bucks. We hope to have them continue through the tournament and into the championship rounds on the weekend. All are welcome to cheer on the Panda AC crew.

Also- I took the PAC crew over to the Lemp Mansion for a Russ Carnahan fundraiser. It is amazing how not only that we are able to go without an invite, but they don't make us pay the 500 dollars to get in. I had to trick the kids to go and told them I was taking them to eat in a mansion. So we made a bee line to the free appetizer buffet. They loved it. I took Derron "the Mayor", Demetrius, Bruce, Dan Dan and one of the newer kids Lil' Al. Lil' Al carried the umbrella and Demetrius carries the brief case. I call these kids the Number one. Lil' Al wants to know if he can be "the" number one. I told him we will see. Lil' Al comes with his stepdad Barry. He lives on the southside off of the Grand strip. He is a cool kid and brings his friends. Sometimes the kids on the southside call me up for rides to downtown. I usually pick them up if I can. A lot of the kids walk or take the bus. When I turned 12 that is what my folks told me to do. Take the bus. That was very liberating. I would take it downtown and anywhere the routes through South City would take me, but usually downtown just to screw around. Run around Saint Louis Center. Famous Barr. The streets. But the younger kids who are 10 or 11, still don't take the bus alone so I pick them up. I will often drive them all home if I can.

The crew sort of stood behind Russ until they got his attention. Derron asked Russ if he owned the Mansion. He smiled and said no. Then Bruce asked him the same question. Typical. He was patient and said no and smiled. Russ enjoyed speaking with the kids and said he wanted to stop at the gym. We will see.

The kids were first most interested in the food. Then they wanted to hear about how the Lemp was haunted. I told them a few tales about the place. I guess that is why they kept asking Russ if he owned the joint. I took them over to meet the Pointers. They own the joint. They were both very very cool with our crew. I got to give them props. Sometimes I get that look like we are going to be asked to leave when we go to places. Not there. Paul Pointer offered to take the kids on a Haunted Tour of the Lemp on a Monday Night. Dan Dan, the youngest, didn't want to go for he was too frightened. It was cute. When I was his age I was scared of Zombies. But that is due to my mother would watch Zombie flicks laughing and laughing while I was petrified. She wouldn't let me watch Kojak, but Zombie flicks were fine. She didn't like Kojak cuz he was a "fanny pincher". Funny.

So if the kids are good we are going to take them in the next few weeks to the Lemp. I told Coach Doveed and he also wants to go. He smiled with excitement just like the kids. It sounds like it is going to be an episode of the Brady Bunch of Little Rascals. I can't wait. I can imagine Dan Dan getting lost and then chased around like the Three Stooges.

Monday, March 21, 2005

The word on the street

is that the kids at the Panda AC are stars. Two great articles came out last week on the Panda AC. One came out in the Saint Louis American and the other in the Post-Dispatch North Section. The pic was taken by Wiley from the STL American. Notice the Scapular around Lorenzo's neck. He asked me if he could have it after his last fight. He won't take it off now. The writers Glenn McBrady and Matt Fernandez did great jobs on making these kids the stars that they are. The kids better get used to the fame.

I kind of screwed up for the phone got disconnected at the gym and we should be getting calls for new members. I managed to get it back on, but it won't be until Monday afternoon, and that is a few days late. Crud.

McBrady always has the perfect boxing writing down with the line "Timekeeper Tony Mascalco had his steel hammer in a back swing as the referee halted the contest with just one second left in the round." That is rich.

Oh yeah, extra props for Fernandez figuring out a way to work the word "doo doo" into the article. I can imagine the conversation the copy editors had about the correct spelling.

And a crew from the gym of adult and kid fighters met up an undisclosed taqueria to watch the TV fight Mexican Eric Morales in which he gave a beatdown to the Filipino Manny Pacquiao. It was a fantastic night I will recap later in the week. Any evening that involves boxers, Mexican nationalism, the new world spirit, Cherokee street, tacos, good friends, smack talk, homemade ice cream and kids is good in my book.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Screaming and Yelling

I was out and about on election day and was noticing some ways adults were dealing with children. I was exiting at Mallinckrodt Elementary after voting as the school was beginning recess. The kids were crossing the parking lot and headed to the grassy field. The teachers were herding them toward the play area. It is always good to see kids, especially when they are headed to the sweet freedom of the favorite class known as recess. There were three teachers directing the herd and one of them began to bark at the kids

"Hurry up!! Hurry up!! Get to the field now!!!!"

The few stragglers who were casually walking perked up and began to run toward the field.

"Don't run!!"

The kids stopped and looked confused and then began to walk again.

I found this very funny, but I also felt a bit sorry for the kids. Really, what were they supposed to do? As a joke it is funny, but I don't think the teacher was being funny. I think the teacher wanted them to do something they couldn't do. Run but not run.

I smiled and jumped in the car. I think the kids will survive just fine, but they probably will ignore the teacher next time she barks.

Later that afternoon I was driving by Saint Ambrose over on Edwards as the kids were getting out of school. I found the packs of kids crossing the street very comforting. I like to see people out and about walking. The crossing guard was a grown man, perhaps a teacher. One mob of kids moved across the street and hung out across the school chatting for a moment. The crossing guard then yelled at the kids from across the street

"Keep moving!! Move along now!! Move!!"

The group, mostly girls, ignored him. In fact I heard a snicker as I passed through the intersection. It seems by junior high they realize that ignoring is easier.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The sophisticated BBC News

The only thing creepier than Michael Jackson is a computer animated Michael Jackson.

The BBC World News has been reporting on this whole court case. I tune out when I see it in the news, but it is hard to tune out when you double the freak factor of Jackson with computer animation of him in the court room. They show how it looks inside the court room with Michael Jackson sitting at the defendants table next to his lawyer except it looks like cardboard cutouts done in computer animation as they describe what is happening in the courtroom. I always though the courtroom drawings were creepy but I think the computer animation is far worse.

I have been unable to find the creepy animation on the BBC website.

PBS Late Night Pledge Drive

I was up late working tonight and I was trying to watch the News Hour that I had taped earlier in the evening. There was a piece on the jump in military spending in China and I tried rewinding the tape and it got jammed up in the VCR. I had to eject it and straighten out the tape by hand. While I was doing this PBS was on the air pushing pledge drive. An aged pimped out Clarence Carter was singing "Strokin" in front of an equally as aged pimped out crowd. It was very cute. Then it cut to the break. Then it reminded me of something besides a pledge drive. Normally they have the local relatively sincere schills begging for money, but this time it had a pre recorded radio style voice over hawking the great 4 album set of soul classics. Then the songs from the four cd set scrolled down the screen as "the number to call now" was right in the bottom with Visa, MC, Amex and Discover accepted. It was no different than the late night commercials for the Time Life music series of genre fill in the blank. The same intense smarmy voice, the same style of glam backround.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

P.O. Matt Browning Fundraiser results

Here are some shots taken from last weekend's Police Officer Matt Browning Fundraiser at the Casa Loma Ballroom. Officer Roger Englehardt put on the show with help from SLAB and Ozark Boxing.

This is Demetrius, "the Navigator", after his solid victory over a young man named Isiah Dean from Gamble Gym. Demetrius looked very sharp and poised knocking down his opponent in the third round and taking a decision victory. Notice his grandmom on the balcony cheering.

This is a shot of me cheering from the side of the ring. I usually let the coaches run the corners unless we are short.

Here is an action shot of Demetrius.

Here is a shot of Montrell in his corner with Coach Roberto Martinez. Montrell KO'd his opponent from the SBAC. We are particularly proud of this victory.

This is Montrell basking in the glory of his victory on the sidelines. He looks especially angelic, but don't let the picture fool you.

And this is a shot of me doing mitts with the kids at the Panda AC on Broadway.

Derron "The Mayor" lost a very close decision to Rodney Bell from 12th and Park. Derron wound up brawling much more than necessary. Lorenzo "Technical" Taylor, or "Sleeping Beauty" as he wants to go by now, was stopped, but he looked very good. Coach Ron Egan lost a controversial decision after knocking around a guy from North County Boxing Club. All the fights looked very good.

The show was great, but they needed more people at it. There was money raised, but they needed to do more people. Next time for certain. I am going to be even more involved in the setup.

The pix were taken by Dilip, the official Panda AC Photog.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Rap Snacks Redux

A couple of years ago, I posted on a list serve an amazing discovery. Since this sensation has swept the country. A friend requested I repost this on my blog. I am going to repost some fun items from the past over the next few weeks.

This was posted Jan 3, 2003 on the Nonoise list:

Steve Smith, longtime lurker, rare poster here in this strange post
noisemaker world now world w/ no noise. I have a hot music story
sensation I wanted to pass along to my nonoise peeps. Please read
through. For the Vintage Vinyl posse, go talk to Jim Utz. I brought
the goods to him tonight at his spin at the Halo. You can see and
taste it for yourself. Please bear with me, for I must request your
help. Finally STL is getting its props! But we need to take action
to make sure a hometown hero gets the respect he deserves.

I was just got back from my second favorite milk provider 7-11 on
Morganford. I was walking down the aisles taking a look for additional products to potentially purchase to enhance my lifestyle. I saw some taquitos rolling on the old hot dog rolling machine. Um, no thank you. I will just go to El Bronco for the real deal. Hmmm. Stay away from the sugar aisle, for it will make your nose bleed if it is hit repeatedly. But I spotted something very special; there was a display over by the Slurpee machine that was holding a rack of chips.

Now I am sure that everyone is familiar by now with Pretty Willie. Who hasn't read about his escapades and adventures from his youthful days as a member of the "Baby Gangsters" to his new fame as a Hip Hop giant in this city's finer daily and weekly publications? Pretty Willie is a STL native who is proud to be from the Lou. He was a track star at the University of Mississippi, where he pledged Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, and received a degree in Psychology with a minor in Political Science. He would drive back to the Loo almost weekly to record the album that has created the huge national smash hit "Roll wit me" an ode to Saint Louis where he received generous support by the people by packing the clubs regularly for his Hip Hop performances.

Now I know Saint Louis has hit it big time when I saw Pretty Willie's face staring at me from of a bag of chips on the bottom rack across the aisle from the slurpee machine at my second favorite milk provider. Salsa and cheese flavored chips to be exact. Rap Snacks, owned by the genius James Lindsey has a line of chips featuring illustrations of Hip Hop artists. On each bag above the flavor is a different message with Pretty Willie's bag sporting "Love Your Neighbor". There are a series of Hip Hop stars on these bags from Lil' Romeo Stay In School bar-b-quing with my honey flavored chips (who proudly and defiantly holds a pacifier up in his picture) to Master P Start Your Own Business platinum bar-b-que chips (who has a wistful and almost tiresome look about him).

Now here is how we can make a difference to show our pride in the Lou. The clerk at 7-11 told me that Lil' Romeo (the one holding the defiant pacifier) is currently the most popular seller. The kids love his Stay In School bar-b-quing with my honey flavored chips. But coming in second is our homeboy Pretty Willie. The kids love giving STL's own Willie his propers and they also enjoy snacking on his Love Your Neighbor salsa cheese chips. So we all need to show our propers for our STL homeboy hero Pretty Willie and purchase a bag of the Love Your Neighbor salsa cheese chips. Go to the clerk at the 7-11 on Morganford and proudly tell him you are paying your propers with a vote for Pretty Willie. Eat the chips proudly and buy an extra bag for that one kid you know would think you are the coolest for buying it for him or the kid who you think needs to find out just how cool Pretty Willie is.

Wall Ball Saturday

I have been helping a bit for Wall Ball. I am going to take some of the fighters to Wall Ball after the card at the Casa Loma.

Here is the formal Press Release:

Hans Hofmann said:
Art is to me the glorification of the human spirit,
and as such it is the cultural documentation
of the time in which it is produced.

Join us for this time of cultural documentation.
Saturday, March 12th from 7pm to Midnight
At the City Museum's Architecture Hall in
Downtown St. Louis.

A silent auction of "fresh artwork" and celebration that benefits
SCOSAG and its Forest Park Southeast Expansion Project.

Further information for you!
View the Wall Ball flyer at: www.SCOSAG.org/wallball/
Complete with hot links to our generous sponsors!

WALL BALL features 33 St. Louis artists who will start with a blank canvas and complete a work-of-art during the night's event. While the artwork is being created, party-goers are invited to witness the artistic process and silently bid upon the 30 "fresh" works of art.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Warren the Barber cuts the Navigator

We had a social hour after training on Tuesday. Warren the Barber came down to do haircuts. He has left his old shop on South Hampton and is opening a new one around the corner from my crib at Macklind and Chippewa in about a month. My crew and I needed a haircuts badly so I invited Warren to come down and give out cuts and neck cleanings. The kids sparred and hung out for a bit to have some food. Warren boxed out the kids hair for free. Very cool. This is a shot of Demetrius "The Navigator" Johnson, a quick moving 10 year old with solid skills. He will be competing on Saturday at the Casa Loma for the Officer Matt Browning benefit.

I am very much looking forward to Warren, Dave and his crew opening up his shop. It is great to see young blood flexing.
(pic by A Cutraro)

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Boxing Benefit for Officer Matt Browning at the Casa Loma

(This is being reposted to be at the top of the blog)
Some of Saint Louis' finest amateur boxers will be squaring off at the historic Casa Loma Ballroom for a night of fights to benefit Matt Browning, a Saint Louis Police Officer whose legs were traumatically severed while on duty. The Panda AC will be having several fighters on the card.

Casa Loma Ballroom 3352 Iowa at Cherokee
Saturday March 12 starting at 7:00 P.M.
Tickets are $20 reserved tables for groups of 10
you can contact me for tickets at theroyale@sbcglobal.net or call 314-680-3955

Blog of the Week

So I am blog of the week in the RFT. It was a matter of time really. I have been getting some razzes and props in public. I noticed it last Friday. Normally I don't set up shop at Mangia during the day. I typically go to El Bronco on Cherokee or sometimes over to Tanner B's. But I am able to capture wi-fi now over at Mangia, but I just prefer the ability to get cheap sopas at the taqueria or the simple side of vegetables at Tanners.

So one fella I really don't know came in with a crew of familiar fellas. He came over, shook my hand, and told me he thought I wrote the best column in the RFT. Now I don't write for the RFT, but I found this very amusing.

Then another guy came over. McCarthy. I am terrible with names, but I remember an Irish last name. He told me he loved my column. I am not used to this. I don't really write a column. I write a blog. I like it. I guess others do too. I talked to the fella and he wanted to take a neighborhood kid to the gym. Apparently the kid got caught borrowing a car without permission and is in trouble. He wants to take the kid to the Panda. I told him to bring him down. It will be a bit of work. He is a bit older. And has gotten in some pretty serious trouble already. The kid is lucky McCarthy is looking out for him. I think it will take a team effort. I hope he brings him down, although I am a bit worried for a boxing program is not a cure all for a troubled kid.

Gaslight Square

Margie Newman did a slick documentary on Gaslight Square. It was an interesting cross for it did a hard history piece and then another half which was about residential development on this former hotspot. I really liked the first half for it was more cultural history. It had a lot of interviews of witnesses of the history that were relevant and well edited. It is still a bit odd for it is so close. Margie's doc far better than the one I saw at the History Museum. That one had some killer interviews such as the Smothers Brothers and more, but the editing and style were, uh, I should keep my opinions to myself with that one.

I think I was taken aback on the second half for Margie was playing rock music for the construction scene. I am not used to hearing rock music on channel 9, and it was funny rock music. That was a very different piece, but it made perfect sense and was an interesting evolution that happened.

It was pleasant to see Margie on channel 9. It always rubbed me that I have watched Donnybrook since I was a kid, and with rare exception it has had pretty right leaning very reactionary crew, rarely had anyone under the age of 70 and never really had any urban progressive. I guess they figure Ray filled more than enough for one person, but that is a joke. So it was a pleasant change to see her on the air. It is a great sign for a new direction for 9. I guess I have been spoiled by the hyper progressive nature of KDHX, and have high expectations.

On Sunday I am going to read out of Thomas Crone's book on Gaslight Square at Mangia Italiano. It starts at about 4 and I will be reading Vance Thompson's bit.

Bathroom Stickers

This was in the bathroom at Lemmons over on Gravois. I couldn't help but chuckle. A lot of people are not fond of the man, but by making a sticker it builds the cult of personality even more, so I would say making stickers it is a flattering thing to do. Perhaps a "Free Beatle Bob" sticker is next. It wouldn't be a shock either. Bob is okay in my book, but there are many books out there with all ranges of opinions. Better there to be something than nothing considering what everyone is in arms about.

LeMarco wants and article on him

So these are some pictures of LeMarco. LeMarco is the younger brother of Lorenzo. He wrote a response to one of the blog entries wanting me to write about him because he works hard. Well, he has been coming into the gym, but we did kick him out for a week. I was thinking of giving him the nickname "Nut Puncher". Almost a month ago LeMarco was sparring Lorenzo. LeMarco then got a little frustrated and punched Lorenzo in the groin. While he has good skills, he needs to work more, not lose control and focus.

Now notice the looks on his face. Those alone make the pictures. But notice the bottom row of teeth. We were over at Knuckles Boxing Gym in Venice on a sparring field trip. LeMarco over by the mirrors getting ready. I asked him what was going on as I looked at his mouth. He knew what I meant.


"LeMarco, what is in your mouth?"

"Platinum" and he closes his mouth and turns away like I busted him.

"That is not platinum, that looks like foil. That is foil."

I started to joke with him and he was no longer shy about his teeth. He suggests I should get a platinum grill. I then asked to borrow the money from LeMarco and he gave me one of his looks. He then proudly displayed his foil wrapped teeth for the camera phone.

LeMarco reminds me of the younger brother in one of my favorite comic strips "The Boondocks". He often has that scowling tough kid look on his face with this quizzical side. He always looks at me funny when I ask him to do something like to clean Adrian's cage. LeMarco does warm up, but not after a while. And when he does, he can be funny. LeMarco's hair style changes every week. Sometimes it is a wild fro, other times it is thick corn rows and one of the best is two pig tails that stick straight up. He looks very tough, but the kind of tough that drives the girls crazy. And I have seen it happen when his sisters come in to the gym. That is when the Taylor kids just whip into a frenzy. Lorenzo, the older brother, also drives girls crazy too. He reminds us of this fact regularly. He shaved a heart into the side of his head and tells all the coaches and anyone who will listen that he is an all star and the ladies love him.

LeMarco has done much better since he had his involuntary vacation from the gym, but he needs to start training some more. He, and actually Lorenzo too lately, need to train more regularly if they expect to compete. Getting into the ring is no joke. We are having a tough time keeping the kids in proper shape and training regularly. It is hard to argue school and taking care of family though. Then we have other kids that...well...I am glad they are coming into the gym, but I don't know if they ever will be boxers. Not all the kids go into the ring.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Epiphany Fish Fry

Three dollars. Jack Salmon. Green beans. Corn. Condiments. I didn't eat the cupcake. I gave it to the lady selling candle houses at the craft fair in the classroom.

Hickory Street

I went to a party at my friend Jen and Karens. They have a beautiful place over on Hickory near the 12th and Park boxing gym. It is three stories tall and is just a stunning interior. Jen and Karen are tops kind of ladies. I have known them for years. Last year they got married at the American theater. It was a great wedding. These are the gowns they wore.

Thursday, March 03, 2005


A friend sent me some pix she has taken in markets. I love markets. I would have loved to be in these markets. It looks like something I would have done at that age.

"The first is of these two brothers, budding entrepeneurs, selling homemade hatchets, rubberband guns, miniature war scenes, AND a zen garden. Detail of the Zen Garden. Third a great object . .. fourth boxing gloves."

Building longterm value

You know what would be really good for this city? A series of documentaries, an American Experience on the History of Saint Louis. Like the ones done on Chicago and New York. It would do amazing things for Saint Louis. Far more than most of the small and medium sized public projects. One of the big local donors who might be coming into a lot of cash might do well to finance such a project (hint hint Emily). It would be something a long time in the coming and our history is so ridiculously rich it would be a great relevant story. They should take a cue from the book "Saint Louis Then and Now". I talked with the Author Elizabeth McNulty and I know she did books on Boston and Chicago when she was on the east coast. She wanted to do one on her hometown. The publishers didn't want to do the STL one for they didn't think it would sell. Apparently the Saint Louis one outsells the other two combined. This is a good indicator that such a project would be well recieved. Who ever funded it would get a ton of points of good will in town, and it would be relatively easy for there are plenty of resources in town, both written from great books like Lion in the Valley, Beyond the Frontier the many newspapers from the Star to the Argus and many living witnesses of our history. It could be an amazing project.


At first I was a bit annoyed that the local news is taking up so much time doing something on this person on American Idol. I am not exactly sure what happened, but it is actually very cute. Everyone is so excited and proud and emotional. They are all up. It is kind of fun. I guess I am used to this being categorized in sports or the human interest section, but it can be fun for it to poke its head above the regular radar every once in a while. I guess I have been a bit jaded after the rash of murders across the area. The two old ladies and guy killed in Belleville, the old woman who was killed when a guy who was chasing a woman in his car and wound up crashing into a house on the north side, the woman who was stabbed to death in Overland, the firebomb that killed a baby sleeping in a crib in North County and the two women that were shot and killed on the street in West County. So putting attention to American idols are good sometimes. It is a relief.

I can smell things today too

"People are tiring of holding their noses and are looking about a helpless way for some remedy" George Templeton Strong on the state of government in post civil war New York.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Lenten Vegetable Update

I have actually exceeded my goal of nine fruits and vegetables a day. It was one of my Lenten resolutions, and it is starting to stick. My intake has increased and I have been averaging between 5-9 a day, but it is a struggle. Before Lent I was doing 3-5, mostly fruit. Today I hit about 14 mostly vegetables. I am full and had great food today.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Polish Falcons Gymnastic Home

So we went to the Polish Falcons Gymnastics Home last week for the Fish Fry. It went great. Now an unusual coincicdence happened. About four years ago when I did a Fish Fry there Mike Chance showed up the week before he ran for Mayor. He lost. I am not sure how he found out about the Fry, but he was very welcome and I hardly make a big secret out of where the Fish Fry is held and I often get random people that show. Then I noticed that Steve Patterson showed up this last week at the Falcons. Again, a bit odd for I am unsure how he was directed to the Fish Fry. I wonder if it is good luck or bad luck to come to the Fish Fry. Now I have also seen Gephardt at Joan of Arc. Hmm. He has no idea who I am though and that wasn't planned. Hmmm. I wonder what this means?