Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Big City

Things are cooking in this town. My friend made this observation as we experienced this inconvenience of bustle.

We just got blocked in a parking spot on Cherokee Street. We parked in the small lot at Vellasano, the old custard stand. I was picking up some fresh handmade ice cream that I am having made for the Royale.

I pull in and we come out just a few minutes later and we got blocked in. The parking has gotten tight! And we got blocked in with several other people, none of whom spoke English. Everybody was waiting quite patiently. I think I am the only one that was in pursuit to find this parking scofflaw. It took about ten or fifteen minutes, and another non-English speaker strolled up to this blockading pickup and moved it.

What a wonderful feeling. Of course, most people would bitch about this. We didn't mind it at all, nor did the other people involved. I think it is a great sign of things to come. Little comforting growing pains. I enjoy, even savor these pains.

Monday, August 29, 2005


The Daily Show had a great take on Pat Robertson's call to whack Hugo Chavez, the Prez of Venezuala.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

RIP John H. Johnson

He passed away a bout a week and a half ago. I wasn't even aware until today. There hasn't been much pub on it. Johnson was a pioneering publisher for his time, publishing Jet and Ebony magazines.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Good piece

This series was in the Post last month. It was a great series on the Bosnian massacre in Srebrenica. I would love to see more stories like it. It makes me think I am reading a real newspaper.

I meant to put something on the blog about this a while ago when the story was published. I didn't, but these stories are the kind of thing that linger in the head and make me think as I criss cross the southside and am reminded of the result of this war half way around the world. I can look around at people who have been driven out of their homes, families killed and dignity removed. We are still a great country when I see that we accept people like this and welcome them to become our neighbors and pursue this American dream in which we live.

Pieces like this one in the Post are sobering, straight and relevant. I fear that the new owners will ease out of these features citing cost or some excuse. I hope they understand that stories like this spotlight the greatness and depth of a true great American newspaper enhancing the overall image and credibility. This is how to continue and enhance the stature of the paper. I hope they stop worrying about trying to appeal to the youth and work continue concentrating on being a newspaper.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Formal Statement

I am not, nor have I ever been a member of the Communist Party. I do not employ nor do I sponsor any members of the Communist Party.

Saturday, August 20, 2005


This has been getting funny.

There is a kid at the taco stand named Daniel. El Velasano. Something like that. My Spanish is terrible. The old custard stand on California. This kid, the son of the owners, is the only English speaker. He is very helpful and resourceful.

I stopped in today to grab a quick taco and he recognized me. He told me he saw that picture of me in the paper.


Finally, a good peach this season. I am a big fan of peaches. I have been buying Missouri and Illinois peaches for the past couple of weeks. They haven't been all that good. But I finally scored some good peaches this weekend, and they are from Calhoun County too. Sweet, potent flavor, ripe and definitely not mealy.

STL Streets

This is too much. The city is fixing the sidewalk in front of my joint on Kingshighway. I just took a pic of it. The small hazard blockades have STL streets printed on them, and they were just outside.

The week has been busy. We are still adjusting to lunch. It is quite a trick living above where you work. There really is no privacy, but I am actually quite used to it now. I stopped by the gym today. Both Roberto and Doveed were there. I talked with Roberto on how to fix up the ring a bit. We got some padding for the flooring. Some of the problems around the gym have been fixed. Doveed is in need of a car badly. We are having to cancel some classes due to his car's death. I am going to try to help him locate something. We are going to have a spaghetti dinner fundraiser for the gym sometime in the next month. I need to get rent for October.
Please note that the sign is not fully operating. The neon broke at the tip. They are replacing it when the bling bling light up crown is put on top.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


This looks very interesting. I am a big fan of the more corporate Frontline. It is very crisp and straight documentary. There was a great one on mental health and how cutting out mental health facilities are clogging up police stations, prisons and the streets with crazy people. I often like to watch these kind of movies in the theater, although a few that came out this past year were a bit much and not as good as Frontline. But there were some really interesting ones. And those are the ones to watch for.

These looked interesting:

The Committee Against US Empire (CAU$E), Two Rivers Greens and Veterans for Peace have created a new monthly "film" series at the Carpenter Branch Library. Here's the first program:

Progressive Films

"The OIL Factor"
Behind the War on Terror
Narrated by Ed Asner

Filled with solid fact and figures, original footage shot in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as interviews with Noam Chomsky, "Taliban" author Ahmad Rashid, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and the Pentagon's own Karen Kwiatkowski.
St. Louis Public Library

Carpenter Branch Library
3309 S. Grand Ave.
Saturday September, 10th
2:00 PM

More Information:
Call (314) 892-2006 or go to www.progressivefilms.blogspot.com

Monday, August 15, 2005

Way cool

I was up in my front room and I heard some racket outside my window. Often I don't check, for I live right on Kingshighway and it is just a flat out noisy place. I don't mind the noise at all, in fact I find it comforting. I feel more comfortable amid activity. But this noise was a bit closer. I looked out my window and found a guy up on a cherry picker just outside the window. He was installing the neon for the sign.

How so very exciting.

I had to get the sign without neon for I needed it up by grand opening and I was short a bit. Now I am able to get it on. I can't wait to see it in the dark. I am also getting a new crown with jewels that will light up.

Notes from the southside

Jenna emailed me a link to her podcast on the Mayor Slay site. She kept telling me I needed to hear it. It is pretty funny. I wonder who is producing and writing these podcasts. It says it is paid by the Slay for Mayor. Hmmm. Funny. It seems that Slay has some sort of blog too. It talks about how he is off his diet. And it talks about mayor stuff. It is very organized. His blog has bullet points, dates and specifics. Kind of like a funny personal press release. Strange. Amusing.

I have been quite busy this past week. We opened for lunch, but unfortunately I have been finding it absolutely necessary to focus on what really should be a hilarious situation but most unfortunately is not. It has to do with just keeping the place open. I am at a loss of what to do. I may write about it at some point, but it is for the best I don't right now.

Lunch is going okay, but I really got to focus on it more. There are a few simple things I just need to work out.

The power went out Saturday night. We had to cancel dinner. We took a big hit in loss of revenue. I was fortunate enough to find enough dry ice, 20 lbs of it, on a Saturday night to keep my inventory safe. Say what you want about Ted, but he runs a very considerate business with tasty treat.

I did open up later that evening after I got a call from Jennifer Grey from Annata's. It is a mighty fine clothes shop in the Maplehood. Jennifer has been in a few times and was out with her crew and wanted to come by for a drink. We closed around 8 or so. It was nearly ten and I told her the power was out, but she insisted on coming down. It doesn't take much to convince me to open up, especially when prompted by a customer. I closed up earlier for I had just a ton of staff on and all of them wanted to bail. I feel a bit bad cuz I did turn down a few customers early on, but that didn't happen later on.

I am glad I reopened. I called up Burt to stop down, and he made it down to help out. We actually had quite a few in the house. A woman from the neighborhood came down with a couple of Bosnian friends. A fella came in who owned some buildings up in Shaw. Karl from A&M came in with a friend from Europe. They walked over and were not afraid to imbibe. Seth, a rehabber who just took a big position for a developer in Kirkwood, showed up with his crew that had walked up too from down the street. Tom Lally and John Wynne came in with their wives. Damn, I wish I could remember their names. Patrick came in with Luke and his friends. Gary rolled in and was loving it. Angela showed up a bit later to bartend the last little bit. Everyone was enjoying the candlelit party. I still have to go down and clean up a bit. The lights came on a little after midnight. It was rather fun while it lasted. Seth played music on his MP3 from his phone. One of Jen's crew went and got a radio. It was an interesting site and interesting time. I shoulda taken a pic.

I have got a very busy week ahead of me. I may not be blogging much. Today was my day off and I was still catching up on work.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

RIP Peter Jennings

Peter Jennings has passed. He died of lung cancer. I have watched him for decades. I watch the news. He was on the air up until recently. This cancer really took him. It is really too bad.

That nicotine is some really nasty sh*t. I am so relieved I have never really smoked. It really is a sh*tty habit. Those accessories are beautiful- lighters, packs, being an outcast, social connection- but that is where it starts and ends. It stinks in practice. Now that I am getting older it is yet even more evident how it takes the toll on health. Jennings was a young man and he went quickly. I have seen others who are just not in the best of health and are starting to become ill afflicted. These are young people too, late 20s and 30s. General unhealthy presentation, raspy voice, hacking. I would very much be inspired to quit now if I had smoked. There is no reason.

Sunday, August 07, 2005


The Royale is now open for lunch.

We start Monday at 11:30am and we will be open all the way through the day. Monday through Saturday. Should be interesting.

Things are going relatively well. We have been addressing the issues at hand. Every body and their brother has been making suggestions, compliments and criticisms. It is interesting what people say. I appreciate the sincere compliments, but the suggestions and the criticisms are the interesting parts of the project. Trying to figure out how to adjust and address. Sometimes the solutions are very very simple. Other situations call for a more lengthy resolution through repeated efforts to fix. Some times that is not good enough for everyone, but all we can do is try.

Business is good. We have a lot of repeat customers. That is something I have personally tried to develop and the staff has been on this very much. A lot of people have been rolling through, and it can be tough at times to do as much as I would like. Needless to say, there has been some interesting people rolling through the doors. And for the most part, people like it.

Now I have heard again from some of the old crew that an old bartender has been telling people that this is a gay wine bar. That is funny. And for the record if anyone is that concerned about this news, it is absolutely a gay wine bar. My staff and I have gone through quite a bit of abuse over the course of the transition. It is still lingering. Most of it is rather silly actually, but there have been some very serious situations I have had to deal with that have had to deal with the survival of the place.

There have been some interesting stories that have come along since we opened the place. Some that I guess I shouldn't write about, but they are interesting. One that I will write about is a guy, a regular from the old place, who I put on a suspension. I told him he would need to write a letter of apology in order to be even be considered to be let back in. He had said some nasty things that "one does not say to a lady" and also said some off color black jokes. He had been also asked to leave before for similar and many other situations in which a customer needed to leave. And there was a nasty incident involving him off site too.

He came back to me and told me how much he liked my place and wanted to know if he could come back in. I asked him for the letter and he threw a fit.

"How many words does it have to be!!!? You mean I got to write a 200 word letter?! Thats bullsh*t!"

"There are no length requirements. Just outline explaining why you said what you said, and you may want to reflect upon those statements now that you have had some time to think about it."

"I will give you $100 right now if I can come in!!"

He pulls out a wad of bills and tries to hand it to me.

"Now now, we need to write that letter. That is all I require. But remember, this letter needs to be accepted by the staff before I can let you back in."

"Here take this!!"

He tries to force a twenty spot into my hand.

"What is that for?"

"It is a tip!! Give it to the bartender!!"

"Chuck, you tip the bartender for service when you are served. Are you going to write that letter?"

"I am going over to Courtesy right now and write that letter!!"

"Great! Now remember to outline explaining the incident."

He came back about ten minutes later and shoved two pieces of small torn notepad paper into my hand.

Please forgive me. I am so sorry. PLEASE forive me me! PLEASE
I'm Sorry for Every Thing I Ever Did. I'm An An Idiot. I Apologize. I'm So sorry. I Lck This Bar. Please Live me a CHANCE.

I showed it to the staff. We are not letting him back in. I honestly believe that he is capable of writing a proper letter. I don't think it is likely due to his pattern of behavior, but I think it is possible.

My house is for sale

I am selling my house.

This is the descrip from the website:
Charming home with super convenient city location-just minutes from downtown, Forest Park, and the Central West End. This home boasts an updated, eat-in kitchen, hardwood floors, living-dining room combo, and new carpeting in the bedrooms. Loaded with urban charm, this sturdy, brick home has a new roof. On a pleasant, tree-lined street with a real "neighborhood" feel!
Listed By:
Fred Hessel

Remember This!!!

I bought this box of tricks in outstate Missouri in the fireworks room at a nick nack shop at a highway stop as I was on my way to Kansas City. I couldn't help myself.

I enthralled by outrageous acts of jingoism. Look at that face painters expression. I am sure he is screaming "f*ck yeah!!" and "freedom!! woohooo!!" during the national anthem. And that woman has broken down in tears. And these dark days, with the trade towers burning serves as inspiration to blow sh*t up in the form of a 500 gram firework display. This display of patriotism to sell fireworks is... er... interesting. But I am fascinated by such a display of patriotism.

Freedom. We will prevail. United we stand.

Saturday, August 06, 2005


Demetrius Johnson has won in his division at the Ringside Championship. He now holds a belt.

Derron lost a narrow split decision in the Championship bout.

This is amazing. This is the top amateur boxing tournament for this class of boxers in the world. This is very very cool.

Roberto drove to Kansas City to pick up Doveed and the kids. They are driving back as I write this. These coaches deserve some sort of award. I got to give my biggest props to these amazingly dedicated coaches.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Racking up the wins

I just got back from Kansas City. The kids are doing great. Doveed is doing well. Now his car blew up and has been declared dead. Despite this, the news is good.

Demetrius Johnson is fighting for the Championship. This is the largest tournament in the world. There are fighters from Mexico to Ireland. One of the kids from Ireland had a tattoo of a leprechaun with boxing gloves. Way back I thought Americans were only capable of such absurd behavior. Then I visited Europe. I saw entire plump Brit families wearing neon sweatsuits. It reminded me when was in the tattoo shop in Dublin seeing a whole panel full of cartoon leprechaun sitting on a Cadillac giving a thumbs up. Anyway...

Derron has advanced through so far and has two fights to win to take it all. We are all quite proud.

There are a lot of fighters from Saint Louis. Cherokee Rec brought in thirty fighters. Kids came in from Gamble, 12th and Park, Body Shots and West End. I think there might be others, but there were just so many people. All the best coaches in the world are there.

I talked to John Brown, the owner of Ringside. He does quite a job putting together this tournament. It is quite a service. Money is not made on this tournament. He does it for the love of the sport. There are six rings going all on at once over five days. It is amazing. I wasn't able to meet up with John for dinner, but he plans on coming down to the new joint when he comes to town.

I am getting reports about every couple of hours from the kids and Doveed. They are quite excited. It is exciting.

Honor Roll

Have you checked out the honor roll lately? It is still going on every day. We don't have to pay attention, but it is best to make yourself look at it.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Report from Ringside

Three of the kids are at the Ringside Tournament in Kansas City. It is the largest tournament in the world. Doveed took them up there yesterday. His car broke down and they are getting around on foot. I am headed up there tomorrow morning to check out the fights.

Demetrius won his fight today. I am told he fought a cautious fight against a kid from Mexico. Doveed told me he needs to open up his hands. He must be nervous. Demetrius called me twice yesterday from Doveed's phone.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Sad news

Freddy Friction and some people from around town were here tonight. Bad news. Apparently Hunter Brumfield committed suicide earlier today.