Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Word from our President

Sunday, June 26, 2005

More fight results

Knuckles gym in Venice put on a fight up in Centralia Illinois last Saturday at some joint called Shooterz. I wasn't able to make it down. We did send up some fighters to compete.

One of the newer adults Steven Yu won, as did Willie Little. Willie, a 12 year old from Webster Middle stopped the kid in the second round. Coach Doveed tole me he looked great. Willie has come along quite well since his first session outside of the gym a couple of months ago. He used to ball up and look at the ground, now he is smooth using his long arms to accurately and briskly assault his opponent. We are looking forward to Derron's return to the ring. Jordan should be debuting in the next few weeks, and the word on the street that Lorenzo "Technical" Taylor wants to return to the ring. Bruce has called me up five times in the past 12 hours to let me know about Lorenzo's decision. I certainly hope Lorenzo will come back to the gym and work for real if this report is indeed true.

I had the kids help me move last week. Montrelle, Derron, Willie, Demetrius, Chase and Bruce. They only broke one piece of furniture. GiGi helped me that afternoon. It was like Our Gang was hired out to move me. I tooke them to lunch at El Bronco and then to Ted Drewes for a reward. Montrelle asked the cop running secondary there if there were such things as bad cops. The cop had an interesting answer. We then headed over to Bastante to pick up some food for the Royale. It was a good time, although I picked the hottest day of the year to move.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Strike Progress

I don't know if there has been much progress on the strike with Lohr. I have heard things, but I have been unable to substantiate any of it. I heard that a fed mediator was going to be called in.

Hmm. I really hope to someday carry AB again. I hope they resolve this. Sooner would be better for everyone.

There is an odd occurence that is happening. I used to bartend at the SBAC right before opening the Royale. They ordered heavy when they heard the strike was going to happen. The night Montrelle from the Panda boxed at the South Broadway Athletic Club was the last of their supplies of AB. The SBAC carries only AB products. It is a heavy union place. The vast majority of their members are union guys. Their cleanup crew is union. All the work that is done on the place is union. From the last I heard they are holding the line and no longer have any bud, and I would expect the SBAC to hold strong on the union line.

The Junior Golden Gloves is set to be there on the 29th of June. This is sponsored by Budweiser. In fact it is known as the 2005 Budweiser/St. Louis Junior Golden Gloves according to the signup sheet that was sent to me by Steve Holley. Steve Holley is a good guy who works for AB on special projects. He organizes a lot of bouts every year and he also puts together the Golden Gloves with help from AB. This is a great thing. He does a lot of it on his own time. Now there are going to be fights sponsored by AB with no AB being served. Man, they really got to resolve this strike soon. This is absurd. We are in Saint Louis, home of AB and are having the Golden Gloves sponsored by AB with no AB being served. This is not right. They have got to settle this.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Good piece


There was an excellent piece on the private security contractors in Iraq on Frontline. You can watch it online. It is a great piece. There has been a lot of controversy over these modern day mercenaries. They are actually running security for a lot of top US officials instead of good ol' US military. It is rather shady for they report to no real authority in Iraq. It is a very sobering straight piece with a lot of straight documentation. This is a very different war than we have ever fought. Very different than WWII for certain.

I seriously considered signing up last summer to go drive trucks in Iraq. I have been hustling hard and money has been a serious issue. I have a CDL and I figured I could make some cash. I just had to get into the mindframe that Iraq is like living in the mentality of the movie Road Warrior. I know I could get by pretty well for myself over there in all sorts of ways, but that doesn't exactly make me feel good about myself or what is happening.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Bettah than Uzo!!

So I was doing some research for the drink menu. I took Tim and we went over to Saint Raymond's lunch a month or so ago. We are doing a drink after every ward. I wanted to do one in honor of Francis Slay Sr. Tim had some ideas, but I figured it would be best to go to the man himself and find out. We went over and had lunch. Saint Raymond's is the Lebanese Church in town and they have a huge lunch every Wednesday of authentic Lebanese food. All the connected people in town come from judges, to cops to hustlers. The priests walk around like they own the joint, and they pretty much do. They wear large gold crosses and one of them even wears an extra felty fedora. They are very cool. I have gotten a tour from Father Andre and hung out with him in his office. I really need to go to Mass there.

I look for a familiar face so I talk with George, the guy who has a stall over at Soulard Market. George handles the carry out orders for lunch. I have actually met Slay a few times before. He told me once he liked my style when I went to go vote a few years ago over at Saint Joan of Arc when he was out electioneering. I didn't think the Boss would have time to talk to a young punk like me, and I knew George so I figured he knew what Slay's favorite drink was.

George smiles and looks at me and says "Adaik."

"What is that?"

He describes the liquor. A potent white liquor that clouds up on ice. It is made in Lebanon.

George shouts out to Francis from across the room, "Hay Francis!! Francis!!"

Francis is talking to some important looking suits. George has no problem interupting the conversation.

"Do we have any Adaik in the bar? These young men want to know about the Adaik."

Francis comes on over. He is a large older man, yet not tall, who clearly commands the presence and is the boss in the room. There is no doubt. He is wearing a tailored suit and chomping on an unlit cigar. He is the man with the answers.

"Eh?"

He looks us up and down. He pauses. I am nervous.

Tim says "So it is like Uzo?"

He looks him in the eye and says "Its bettah than Uzo!"

He invites us to go back to his office. He has a great swagger about him. He is quite sure of his step. I have seen him try to wrestle my friend Byron in the hallway once. Something else.

Slay introduces us to his secretary and then heaps compliments on her. She rolls her eyes and smiles. We go into his office and I have my hat in my hand. I look around at pictures of dignitaries and priests. He goes into his file cabinet and pulls out a bottle of Arak. It is spelled very differently than it had been pronounced.

"We call it Adaik. That is how we pronounce it."

I ask him a few questions and tell him what I am doing. I told him he would have a bottle of the Arak waiting for him at the bar the next time he would come in. He smiled.

We now have two bottles of the booze on reserve at the Royale waiting to be ordered. Hopefully he may come in. Until then, all the junior lawyers, cops and hustlers will congregate at my joint. I hope to cross the generational lines soon.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Grandma took us to lunch


My Grandma took me to lunch a few weeks ago. She wanted to take me out with my staff at the Royale. I picked her up at her apartment.


Grandma turns 93 next week. She is the best. She moved to STL soon after we moved here from Chicago. She raised me along with my folks. She is very, very, very cool. She is the best. She took us to Bastante for lunch. GiGi, Rose, Rocky and Tim went. Katie Clency also went. She took pix. Great pix!!


The meal at Bastante was amazing!!


The group pic got lost on a hard drive. It was a great one. This is of Rocky and Tim. We all went to Levine later on and all bought hats.

Friday, June 17, 2005

I can now bitch

I pledged to KETC last week. It was the second week in a row and the fifth time since March programming has been interupted to beg for money. I know that public television is in trouble, but this is out of hand. The money hasn't been cut yet.

The president of KETC was on telling how the feds are planning on hacking away funding for public broadcasting.

I think it is rather amusing that some people think that public broadcasting is liberal. It is all sponsored by banks, chemical companies, oil companies and medical research. It is really dry at best. I think the people that think it is liberal are the kind that march lockstep.

Either way they want to hack away at such liberal shows like the McLaughlin Group which is full of liberals like Pat Buchanan and such.

But we can try a bit to stop this by signing a petition at
this link.

But this pledge drive has gotta stop. I am sick and tired of this motivational crap along with financial hustlers.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

I need to calm down

I just went outside the Royale and had a talking to with someone in a car. They were honking their horn repeatedly. In the middle of the day. On Kingshighway. I have no idea what they were honking at. Honestly, I don't care. They shouldn't be honking, but I got all upset by it. They were kids. A bunch of kids who were screwing around, got me all upset. I don't really care to the point of getting myself bent out of shape. It is the middle of the day, and Kingshighway is just that. A highway. And they are kids. Now I got all upset. I am not like that. I wasn't like that before I got involved with development of the neighborhoods. Going to neighborhood meetings listening to all these old folks complain make me think that things are far worse than reality. They sound so convincing. I have to take a step back. I can't see what getting all this crazy upset is about. I can't live that kind of stressful life.

Monday, June 13, 2005

I shouldn't bitch

It was the second week in a row and no Sunday morning shows. No Washington Week. No McLaughlin Group. I haven't signed up to be a member, so my bitching is really just that. I have been watching them online. I am tempted to join up, but I really can't stand that blonde lady being on so much. Okay, okay, I'll stop bitching. No mas.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Montrelle scores a win

Montrelle Washington scored a victory tonight at the SBAC for a show that Jesse Finney put on. He puts on pretty good shows. He does a lot of kickboxing, but this was straight boxing. He runs a gym out in the county. It was a great moral victory for the Panda Athletic Club. Demetrius was there as was Derron. Demetrius was very excited as were in the corner. I had to tell him to quiet down for the officials are a sensitive bunch. Montrelle stopped the kid in the second round.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Fight pix

These pix are from the last Hoosierweight fights at JackSons' in Dogtown.


Here is a pic of Willie Little and Montrelle Washington, two of the fighters at the Panda AC. Willie is one of our new fighters. He is only 12 years old(seriously), and lives over by Johnnies on North Market. His family rents from Johnny and sometimes he mows grass for him. Willie won his first fight. Okay, it was a walkover, but a win is a win. The kid has really come along since his first sparring session. His first session over in Venice he wound up covering up and looking at the mat. Now he moves his head and hands. Much, much smoother. He and Benard, one of the other fighters go to school up at Webster Middle along with several of the other fighters. They are being followed and threatened by some punks that claim gang affiliation with the Crips. Willie's Dad has been picking them up from school. They are smart enough to stay away from those punks. I am glad they are not trying to tangle with those kind of stooges. It is not worth their time.

Here is a shot of Demetrius Johnson before his fight. His hands are being wrapped by Coach Roberto Martinez and that is Steven Yu in the background.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Mayor Slay sent me an email



I am on an email blast from Mayor Slay's office. He usually sends relatively formal emails about policy decisions and asks for input.

The following is an email he sent out today. The return address was "Mayor Slay". It seems a bit different. I wonder if he wrote it? It is for real. Did I miss something?

Plan Mayor Slay's Summer Schedule

Yup, that was Memorial Day last week. It's now officially too late for Plan A, which was to get in shape for summer because summer has already started. And, Plan B, which was to have a list of great things to do this summer, is also probably shot because the kids' summer schedule of sports and camps has already started.

But, it's not too late to implement Plan C, which is to offer some gratuitous suggestions for someone else's summer. And, that's the topic of this week's Mini-Poll:

How should Mayor Slay spend his summer?

Be sure to tell Mayor Slay why you think your suggestions are good advice for him. Who knows? If he likes your advice best, he may bring you along!
Click here to cast your vote


This is from the official Mayor Slay website:

Which local concert would be the best one for Mayor Slay to hear this summer?

The Killers at the Pageant
Lyle Lovett at the Roberts Orpheum
Black Eyed Peas at Fair St. Louis
Celtic Woman at the Fox


Which new movie would be the best one for Mayor Slay to see this summer?

Cinderella Man
Lords of Dogtown
Batman Begins
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada


Which new book would be the best one for Mayor Slay to read this summer?

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explains the Hidden Side of Everything
Memory and Identity: Conversations at the Dawn of a Millennium
Three Nights in August: Strategy, Heartbreak, and Joy Inside the Mind of a Manager
Refusing Heaven


Which Cardinals series would be the best one for Mayor Slay to attend this summer?

Cards vs. Red Sox
Cards vs. Yankees
Cards vs. Astros
Cards vs. Cubs


If you are feeling particularly creative, tell Mayor Slay why you think your choice of concert, movie, book, or Cardinals series is good advice for him. Who knows? If he likes your advice best, he may bring you along!

Pink Sistas



I went with my folks to Mass at the Mount Grace Convent in north Saint Louis. This is a convent for what most people know as the Pink Sisters. My mother is a big fan of the Pink Sisters. My parents are practicing Catholics and my mom often gets prayers said by the Pink Sisters. Something might be going on in the family and she will make a donation and the Pink Sisters will say some prayers for you. It is a pretty good deal. They do a whole year of prayers for a very modest amount. I have gotten a few myself.

About once a year as a family we go up there for the open house Mass. My mother chose to go when Raymond Burke was not saying Mass. Usually about once a year he goes there to say Mass. Mom is not to happy with Burke, and she hasn't been happy about who has been in since O'Donnell.

The Church is tiny with the sisters on the other side of the gate. They are a cloistered order. They have a gate separating them from the common folk. Afterwards you can talk to them but they are on the side of window glass or bars. It is a bit odd to say the least. The crowd was equally interesting for it was packed. There was even an old school middle aged woman wearing a hankie on her head just like before Vatican II.

The Mass was alright, but nothing was said that was earth shaking. Honestly I wasn't listening that close. I have trouble paying attention in church. I have probably spent 6 months of my life in church if you added it all up. I think it was that priest who has a church on North Kingshighway. His name wasn't in the program but he looked familiar. The atmosphere was thick and the mood overwhelming.

I was sort of tired before going for I have been busy, but I am not actually energized from the experience. They are amazing women. It is sort of sad, but inspiring too. It is hard to understand.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Life has become so troublesome

I finally get a few minutes to myself and I get all comfortable and watch the McLaughlin Group. But it wasn't on. That freaky looking blonde lady with funky outfits was on again pimping her tapes on Roth IRAs as they were doing pledge drive. I guess Channel 9 is now doing monthly pledge drives. It is making me insane. I worked in public broadcasting and we pre-empted regular programming twice a year. This is too much. Not once, not twice but three times in three months. Channel 9 has got to think twice.

I should put money back into my IRA. I been riding tight and fast the past few years and haven't been proper on that, but I don't work for a corporation either. It is not like I am going to be able to collect on my Social Security when I am an old man. It will be long broke or completely corrupted with no real benefits by the time I get ready to collect. All those old boomers are going to squeeze us as they age in so we will have nothing at all as all of our nation's resources go to cater to them. So long education and health care for children and young adults, instead we will have plenty of programs for older adults and healthcare for them. We could do both, but we live in a tough world and market economy. Everyman for himself. Yeah right.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Strike!!

Delivery workers are currently striking Lohr Distributing Co., the exclusive distributor of Anheuser-Busch products in the city of St. Louis. The management of The Royale Food and Spirits has decided not to carry products distributed by Lohr Distributing.

This is what is posted in the bar right now. I cancelled deliveries from Lohr a couple weeks ago when I found out the strike was indeed on. I know some union guys, while some are cool, others are some serious dirtbags. I didn't stock up ahead of time either. It didn't even occur to me to do that.

I asked my bartenders how the customers were reacting to the lack of AB products. I got some pretty cool and interesting bartenders. They are well rounded, conscious, fun, educated and sharp. They come from varied backrounds and all of them have experience and are not haters.

The bartenders told me the vast majority of the people were both impressed and supportive of our choice to refuse deliveries from Lohr. There have only been a handful of people that walked out because we are not serving AB. And honestly, I am not that sure that is our kind of crowd. One of the most experienced bartenders commented for we may want to drop carrying AB altogether. I found this extremely odd, for she was the one that wanted to keep Bud Lite on draft while I wanted to switch it out. She has quite a bit of experience in the industry and has spoken only positively about AB before. She had told me that we needed to keep the Bud Lite for certain. I kept the Bud Lite on draft for her. Now after experiencing what it has been like without any AB products, her tune has changed. She suggested that we might want to drop AB products in general. I am not so sure about that.

I have a soft spot for AB. It is the big hometown brew. I worked at the ballpark so I could sell Busch Beer. I thought it was cool that old man Gussie wanted to be the namesake of Busch to be that kind of beer. It just felt warm when he was at the ballpark. He was a generous old man. He would often buy drinks for the house, and he did not differentiate what kind of drinks the lucky people could order. He would often get a whiskey himself. I had warm feelings for AB, although I think they have fallen way out of touch over the past fifteen years. They have a lot to lose if they don't change up.

But another bartender, one of the very hip younger ones, also had an indifferent feeling on the AB since the strike. She originally made it clear to make sure we kept Busch beer in stock. I agreed with her, despite the protests by others to drop the Busch. I have always liked the mountain man and I felt it was an honor to carry it. Things have changed, now my hip young bartender honestly could care less about carrying any AB after she even wanted to keep the Busch.

I want to carry AB. I would be proud to carry it again, just as I was proud to call out "who here is a mountain man, raise your hand!" at the ballpark. But I do want to make sure that people get covered for health. The white collar guys at the brewery get stellar benefits. If the drivers don't get decent benefits then we all get fewer benefits. Big companies like AB and Lohr sets the standards for the rest of our nation. If they feel the pinch on health care, then hopefully they will support a more universal health care for Americans. It would be a positive thing that would move us all toward a healthier and more responsible citizenry.

Strong and Free


A journalist Samir Kassir, a critic of Syria wound up getting whacked last week. He had harsh words for Syria and the cooperating Lebanese authorities during their occupation in Lebanon and started vilifying the Syrian government. A group of protesters from academics, politicians, writers and reporters stood in Martyr's Square to hold strong and refused to be intimidated and silenced by holding pens up in the air for an hour. It was an eerie, but positive sight. This is a very positive development. I just hope the US will support a stable and free elements in Lebanon, instead of tolerating a fractured and unstable dictatorship.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Enforcers



Yes. I do run a gang. Here is the girl gang from the Panda AC that ran security at the last Hoosierweight Fights. As the fighters of the youth team had just competed and the Panda Athletic Club Ladie's Auxillary enforced order outside the ring. I should have some fight pix soon.





My crush teases me

So Gwen Ifill was wearing that necklace again. She filled in for Jim Leher again on the News Hour and she wore the punk rock barb wire necklace. Upon closer examination it might be metal shark teeth. It is hot.

Yesterday she was interviewing some scholars and this one conservative flunky PR flak who worked for prez Nixon named Herbert Klein about the fallout of the deep throat identity being revealed. It was an interesting conversation and you really can see the streak of naive cantankerous reactionary stubbornness of the right wing manifested in Klein. He thought it was all a setup for Nixon. Funny.

Gwen was going very straight on the interview despite his firm lack of grasp on reality, and she is cold blooded in her composure.

Klein said "So, understand, he says he's(Mark Felt-Deepthroat) a hero. I don't regard him as that. And I think another thing to -- we talked about is the word "Deep Throat" was added to the fact when they wrote a book, when they used it for the movie. I wonder if people would really be as excited about it if (Bob) Woodward and (Carl) Bernstein had not attached that sexy term "Deep Throat."

Then Gwen promptly responded: "I'm not sure all these years later anyone knows what's sexy about that term(there is chuckling off screen by the academics also being interviewed), but let me ask you another question to follow on that, Herb Klein, which is: If it's true that he did the wrong thing and that he shouldn't have revealed his secret, is there any justification in it if he brought down a government that was later seen to be corrupt?"

That Gwen is so unflappable, focused and calculated. And clever funny composed. And she wears a barb wire/shark tooth necklace? My stars!! Gwen! My knees are a gettin' weak!

We are all allowed a TV crush.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Alan Simpson