Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Rims

If Bi-State really wanted to attract young riders, they would put some nice rims, perhaps spinners, on the bus. That would be so pimperish.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Funny Ha Ha

So Todd, one of the kids on my crew, came in just now. He goes to school across the street and does work for me. He washes dishes on the weekend and he recieves deliveries on Wednesdays. He also boxes at the Panda. Well, he has just started boxing.

Anyway, he rolled into today and Jessica asked him, "is it cold out there?"

He responds.

"It is cold like on the other side of pillow."

And he just cooly strolls in without missing a beat. The kid is a natural.

I got a great crew with several that are just jonesin' to get on the job. I got a 19 year old, head guy, Joe. He is hitchiking to Mexico right now. I gave him a few things to help him out on his trip. Joe comes from a pack of seven kids over on Humphrey. And the family is a trip. They are quite cool. I whish I came from a family that size. I got his younger brother, eh, I can never remember his name. Peter. That is it. He is 16. I called him sh*t in the face for the longest time. I still do sometimes. He has all these piercings in his face. Some people would think that was mean, but honestly, if you met Peter it is funny. He thinks it is funny too. He is quite the smart ass himself. He is a funny kid. The kid busts his butt when he works. He is very good with tasks. His mother is thrilled that he is working for me. I take him to the gym too. I got another kid, Rich, he boxes at the gym. He lives over by Roberto in FPSE. He asked me for more shifts because he wants to buy his parents a nice gift for Christmas. What a nice kid. His parents are also very cool.

I got another two kids, Damon and Sam. They both call me about twice a week looking for shifts. I get occasional work for them, but I don't have enough quite yet. I have had them work on a couple of jobs for me.

Business

This is a very important issue effecting our region and city. Job loss and job growth. There was an interesting story by Eric Heisler about this in yesterday's Post. We really need to address jobs in our city and jobs in our region. We have been doing a much better job attracting residents and working on our living enviornment, but we still lack in terms of business. Our commmercial areas have long dried out, and the physical structures are aging, new construction is still difficult despite improvements and we still compete against ourselves regionally which does not benefit us as a people. And sadly enough we don't really think of more than one or two ways to restart growth in our commercial sectors. O, there is so much room and there is so much waiting...

The article delves into how we have population growth, yet job loss. The one thing it addresses is that people are moving into the city not for jobs, but for a lifestyle. How decadent. And true.

The story also has the optimistic end that jobs will increase where the people are. That is fine and dandy, but it still did not address that we need to compete as a region, and as a country. We need to start thinking about jobs, and we need to stop thinking as a city and we need to think as a region. We have a whole lot of tools and aspects which give us an advantage, it is just a matter if we decide to work together. Each time we think of the immediate condition of just our own backyard we lose another day, another step.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

The strike continues

We still don't carry anything delivered by Lohr. So that means we still don't serve AB products. I dropped the red handle when the strike began last May. I kept that empty tap open for a month. I thought the strike was going to be resolved. I hear now they wanted to break the union from the get go.

Lohr went and fired the drivers a while back. That seems to be an awful harsh thing to do, especially when profits are easy pickings delivering AB in Saint Louis. Management came by to see if I wanted to start carrying AB after they fired the drivers. Talk about reason to keep up the boycott. No way.

I have been looking forward to serving Budweiser when the strike gets settled. I don't think there is any good faith by AB to work out a solution. I was hoping to have a party to reintroduce Budweiser back to the Royale. I had it on tap before the strike and I plan on putting it back on when they settle. I would be proud to serve AB again. But only when the strike is settled and the drivers are back on the job.

But a disturbing thing has happened. I talk with the patrons and the employees. The patrons have been overwhelmingly supportive of the strike. My business has not taken much of a hit due to the strike because the of people that frequent my joint believe in the reasons behind the boycott. There is a lot of resentment from people behind the way that Lohr and AB have acted in this labor dispute. I have had now two managers request we should never carry AB again. I have had several customers express that we should not bother serving AB. That is awful harsh. I find it hard to believe that I may never serve Budweiser again. It is also disturbing that if I chose not to carry AB even after the labor dispute was resolved I would get support from both customers and staff. This doesn't seem right. I still hope to throw that party of AB's return someday soon. It is embarassing that I can't carry AB, and it is up to them to make that happen.

AB is an intergral part of this city. We all make mistakes. Hopefully they will recognize the mistakes they have made and make it right.

Great Pieces by General Odom

Retired General William Odom wrote an excellent piece for the Nieman Watchdog, an online pub funded by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University.

In his last piece for NiemanWatchdog.org, retired Gen. William Odom argued that all the terrible things the Bush administration says would happen if we pulled our troops out of Iraq are happening already. In a new postscript, Odom writes that the converse is true as well: Bush says he wants to bring democracy and stability to the greater Middle East -- but in fact the only way to achieve that goal is to get out of Iraq now.

General Odom wrote another piece a couple of months ago addressing some very important questions:

Here are some of the arguments against pulling out:
1) We would leave behind a civil war.
2) We would lose credibility on the world stage.
3) It would embolden the insurgency and cripple the move toward democracy.
4) Iraq would become a haven for terrorists.
5) Iranian influence in Iraq would increase.
6) Unrest might spread in the region and/or draw in Iraq's neighbors.
7) Shiite-Sunni clashes would worsen.
8) We haven't fully trained the Iraqi military and police forces yet.
9) Talk of deadlines would undercut the morale of our troops.


He then outlines question by question how each one is a faulty argument against leaving, and how by staying these problems will persist.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Party


I had the big Ted Koppel Nightline Party on Tuesday. It was his final night hosting the show. It was pretty fun. We rolled up from the bar, about twelve of us.

In his closing thought, Ted warned that the viewers need to continue to give the show a shot.

If you don't, I promise you the network will just put another comedy show in this time slot. Then you'll be sorry.


The man is a stud. Smart.

Monday, November 21, 2005

This is The Nicest + Cleanest Bar Bathroom I've Ever Pissed In!!!


I am even getting compliments in the form of graffiti in the bathroom. Of course I am now going to paint over it.

Tim O'Connell held court at the Royale Monday night. The man can bring in a crew.

We are also going to be open Thanksgiving night at 8pm. Business is popping this week.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Hot Documentary Tuesday Night and Ted Koppel

Frontline has produced a documentary on the damage and response of Hurrican Katrina. Frontline makes the best documentaries.

The Storm
coming Nov. 22, 2005 at 9pm (check local listings)


(60 minutes) In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, FRONTLINE will produce a documentary special that investigates the political storm surrounding the devastation of America's Gulf Coast. Veteran FRONTLINE producer/reporter Martin Smith will lead a team to ask hard questions about the decisions leading up to the disaster and beyond.


Also- Ted Koppel is hosting his final episode of Nightline on Tuesday night. It looks like it will be an evening of news for me. I think I may host a party upstairs in my joint to watch his final episode. I remember the Iran hostage crisis as a budding street urchin. I wasn't exactly sure what was going on, but I started to understand young. I remember Mayor Byrne being elected. That was a big deal. She moved into the projects. I wasn't exactly sure what that meant either, but I remember that. I remember quite a few things from when I was a kid.

addendum: I just looked up and the History Channel was showing Mayor Byrne and when she ran for mayor in 79. There was a huge snowstorm, I remember this, and there was a big stink that the streets didn't get plowed. I remember everyone bitching that Mayor Daley would have gotten the streets plowed. People were pissed.

sold my house and notes

I sold my house, the Macklind Estate yesterday. Yay. It took me a little extra while. The market is softening up. Fred Hessel really did an amazing job getting it sold though. He went several extra steps to ensure a proper closing.

I sold the house to a Vietnamese family. I briefly met the guy hours before my closing. I was putting the final touches so I would pass the FHA inspection. This time it was the interior handle on a window. I was also told I needed to remove my Saint Francis and Virgin Mary from my lawn because the new owners "were not Catholics". Funny.

The father spoke no English and I had to speak to him through his daughter who appeared to be about nine or ten years old. I was trying to communicate to him how the furnace was working properly. I remember when I was a kid my family helped a Vietnamese boat family when we lived in Chicago. I wasn't exactly sure what was happening, but I do remember these people had nothing, but they had their families. I heard stories of how they braved the seas trying to avoid pirates and hold together. It sounded awful. They would cover the women with human waste so they would not be taken by the pirates. My mother would help them get bank accounts, social security numbers, enroll in school and figure out the system. We would eat over at their house. I remember the smell. It smelled way different than the house of all the other kids. The family of uncles, aunts, grandparents and kids were all crammed into an apartment by the park and then they moved closer over to the El. They are now all engineers, doctors and productive residents of the USA. It is sad to see how they were driven out of their homeland by the communists and victimized by so many, but I am glad to see they were able to come to the US and pursue the American Dream. My mother stays somewhat in touch with them. We are lucky people want to come to our country to pursue their dreams. We should continue being that country.

and...

I am getting the wood floors refinished at the Royale. They have been taking a beating all summer and I need to get them in shape for the assault this winter. Thurman Stubblefield has been doing a great job getting it done. The whole place has dust and I am now going to clean up tomorrow morning.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Tension Head opening on Cherokee


My good friend Sheri Ford just opened up a record store, Tension Head, on Cherokee Street, just a half block west of Jefferson. The grand opening was today. We catered the food. It is quite exciting. She is pursuing her dream. They got an interesting selection of music and shirts. Sheri had quite a task opening her place. She stopped down at the Royale about a month ago in tears. She had been trying so hard, so hard to get her place open. She was running into roadblock after roadblock. She was bordering on the financial edge. I gave her some encouragement. She did manage to get it open and things seemed to be going well.

It was quite a nice day. I walked up and down Cherokee. There are a lot of chewed up store fronts. You can still see the former splendor with the custom made tile work in the entrances for many of the old stores. Jewelry stores. Shoe stores. Clock stores. So much potential it is just teeming. There is still a lot of sh*t going on. I talk to people. I see things. There are still plenty of gang bangers pulling deals. I talked to Sheri. There was some meth rolling down by my favorite taqueria. There are still the occasional hookers. That seems to have moved up to Pestalozzi. Oh, but the ghetto barriers will stop all of this!

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Gaslight Square Compliment

So I received a compliment on the Royale. I get a lot of comments across the board about the place. Some resonate more than others.

An older gentleman was in with his wife and friends. They were a friendly bunch and sat at the end booth and had a full meal. I chatted with them for a few minutes and later on I went back to the table. The one guy told me the place reminded him of a place that could be in Gaslight Square. This is the second time I have heard this comment.

I take that as quite a compliment. I am far too young to have experienced Gaslight. I was born in another city in December of 1972, after the heyday and far away from Gaslight Square. I didn't think of Gaslight as a guide on how or what to open. From what I have heard from old timers and what I have read this is only a good thing.

In the location I am in now, a true Gaslight Square situation is not really possible. I don't have enough neighboring businesses to grow with. I have a greater neighborhood to grow with, but nothing pedestrian that can create an energy. That is why it breaks my heart to be an outlaw on Cherokee street. I would love to be a part of a growing street, a tight neighborhood. I don't want to have just a lone place. I want to be a part of a growing community that depends and thrives off of each other.

I see this possibility happening on Manchester in FPSE right now. But I don't think that is quite my hood though. It is a great hood, but not quite my speed. I hope to see a multitude of areas that foster this organic growth to make a stronger overall city. We are not just a few hip little areas and sleepy/abandoned areas, we can be greater city with a wide range of different strengths.

Catholicism, Republicans and politics

There were some interesting elections last week. I think the Democratic party would be well served in observing and learning how to retool the strategy to combat the "moral superiority" touted by the Republican party. I think part of it is tempering the anti-religious extremism which is often condoned by many in the party. I still get steamed when I think of how some guy just treated me like crap when he saw my scapular at a Dean meetup. It helped me understand the motivation of violent response to religious/sectarian persecution/discrimation.

Commonweal magazine had a very interesting academic and statistical piece on the development of current day Republican party politics and the targeting of religious voters. It breaks it down to the blue/red state internal politics.

I just think of what an amazing job Clinton did in terms of this balance, but few in the party recognizes this importance and relevance. He was flawed, that is for sure, but he knew his sh*t.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Street Report

In the fight game:

So I got a new coach at the Gym. His name is Jasper. He is a really cool cat. A good friend Justin introduced me to him. He goes way back to the early 70s from law school at SLU. He has been living in Maryland near DC since he graduated. He has been working with kids and boxing for decades. He knows more about boxing than all of us combined at the Panda. I saw him work with the kids and it has been rather impressive. I hope it works out.

And on the scene:

Also- Blake has been hanging out at the Royale. Yes, that Blake.

It has been quite the hangout for all the industry types. It was ridiculous tonight. There are about a half dozen restaurant owners here tonight. Busy business. Business is going well. It has been actually pretty good not having a 3am, for we get a nice pop starting all the way from happy hour, dinner, healthy after dinner drinks and then usually it tapers down after midnight making for a calm close.

Anyway, Blake had a heart attack last week. Uh... He was laid up in the hospital for five days. And for some reason he apologized for not coming in sooner. Uh.... Okay. Uhhhh... What? Whats that? I feel like I should be taking it easy just by hearing about this.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Need Space

I am having to look into a location on the southside for the Panda AC in addition to the northside location.

Somewhere preferably in Forest Park Southeast. The space can definitely be rough. It would need to be somewhere about 800-1500 square feet. We need access to running water, windows or doors for the outside, toilet and some form of heat or ability to heat- I guess we can procure a heater. The cheaper the better for sure. We don't really make much money at this thing, but it is a good incubator for business. Please contact me at ironskillet5@yahoo.com if you have something.

Roller Derby, Blogtime and Fights

I have to deal with drama at the gym. It sucks. I have started coaching and tutoring on Mondays to help out, but it can't fix it.

I haven't had much time to blog. The situation at the gym is causing undue stress. Work is kicking my ass. But I always have enjoyed that. That is why I was a halfway decent boxer. I sort of enjoy getting my ass kicked. That overwhelming feeling, the pain, and then cracking a smile in the midst of the chaos, assault and uncertainty.

So I look to the good news is that both Derron and Demetrius won the Silver Gloves.

And also I think a Roller Derby team may do a demonstration at the next fights. There was a first general meeting for the Arch Rival Rollers. Anyway, it was a large group of kick ass girls who want to start a real roller derby team. It sounded great. I think I may try to get the Soulard Market Gym again for this around the Mardi Gras time of year. It may be quite interesting.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Jeff Smith fundraiser on Thursday

From the desk of Jeff Smith:

Jeff Smith
Democrat for Missouri Senate 2006

Welcome Home Jeff!

Thursday, November 10th, 2005
5:30-7pm
at the Royale
3132 South Kingshighway

Guest $25
Friend $75
Sponsor $250
Host $600

Please RSVP to:
Colleen Ragan at 288-9029
www.jeffsmith2006.com

Communism on Cherokee

I looked at another space on Cherokee for a potential spot. I looked at about twenty or so spots on or around Cherokee, but I picked something way out here on Kingshighway instead for a multitude of reasons.

I am hesitant about this space on Cherokee and optimistic at the same time. There are many hurdles right now, most of them financial, but it just grates me that it is illegal for me to open a place. It is hard to even consider it, for it is illegal. It feels like a communist state, which is funny because that is where all the commie and anarchists run. There are patriarchal absolutist tendencies in the politics down there, and I don't really want to deal with that deal killer on top of the multiple expected hurdles.

You see, it is illegal to open a place in several parts of this city. They use the excuse that you need to serve 50% food to qualify. I didn't serve much food at all for the first four months of my place, and now that I am serving both lunch and dinner, I still wouldn't qualify at the Royale. I just sell too much booze. I have too much success. My server checks are only about 50% food. People who sit down and order appetizers, salads and entrees. Our drinks are expensive and people like to order them and drink. I can't complain, but with this model I can't open a business in the part of the city that I would love to open a business. Besides I can't afford to really do food in a place right now. This is one of the parts of the city with the most potential and needs the most development is one of the most hostile.

I have heard far too much by people in authority of "this part of the city is not ready for that" or the even worse "those people are not ready for that." That sounds like patriarchy or communism mixed with elitism at best. That does not sound like America. America is a place where you can make your bit work. Bust your ass, innovate and create. No worries about detractors just make your thing work. But the legal order in our city has nipped this in the bud in a part of the city where people are really trying to pursue the American Dream. And it already has become and will likely become even more complicated if I continue. I don't think it is worth it.

It is sad, for it is not really a business that I may potentially open, but it hurts the current businesses and business climate. There are business down there that are at economic disadvantage in terms of licensing only because they are new, and with the current laws they will continue to have this strike against them. Globe Drug can sell big cans, but El Torito can't help support the full service food market/clothes shop/butcher/ice cream store/taqueria/kitchenware store with the profitable beer sale. Sad. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

France

give me a break.

I would like to say that the moral authority of France is flawed as evidence by the riots over the past twelve nights, but that is not true. The flaws were painfully apparent long ago when France supported the Rwandan government during the movement of mass genocide in Rwanda. It was only until is was painfully obvious that hundreds of thousands of people were being hacked to death by machete did France come out in opposition.

Torture

Here is great piece on John McCain by Richard Cohen of the Washington Post. Good for John. It shouldn't be this hard.