Thursday, February 22, 2007

Street Ashes

Yesterday I was on my way down to a business lunch at Saint Ray's heading eastbound on Arsenal in my Caprice and I noticed a crew of cassocks at the corners on Grand. At first I thought it might be some sort of dance troupe or performance art for the crew had some pastel colors and women in the Clergy cloth. I don't usually see large crews of Clergy taking over street corners in the STL.

I took a closer look as I passed by and I noticed that they were handing out ashes. I circled the block. I had to check it out, for it was Ash Wednesday. I pulled into the bus lane on the northbound lanes of Grand to inquire of these drive by street ashes. I knew I had to do this quick for the bike officer on Grand strictly enforces the most minor of infractions, but this was definitely worth the risk of arrest.

As I scurried toward the lady Priest, she looked familiar. She was accompanied by another Priest guy. I had met the woman before at David Early's wedding. She married them. I remember briefly dancing w/ her at reception in David's house on Cherokee. Her name is Theresa. She is very down to earth and in touch. She is the head of the Episcopal Church on Arsenal. She is pretty cool. I am not sure what you call a female Priest, for the strict antiquated construct of my Catholic faith forbids such roles for women. So silly, for I don't even know if I should say Father, Miss, Mother or what. I am so out of tune.

I asked Theresa if it was okay to get an ashing from an Episcopal if I was Catholic. She seemed to indicate it was okay, and I am sure she knows more than me. Besides I know it can't hurt, but it might not "count". I can't even remember if Ash Wednesday is a Holy Day of Obligation. There are so many rules. She could tell I was in a hurry, and besides I was worried I might get locked up by the Grand bike cops if I got caught, so she gave a quick "ashes to ashes and dust to dust" to my large forehead. Then she smiled to me and requested/required a quick prayer- a fair trade for a proper Priestly ashing on such a massive frontal lobe. I looked around for the bike officer, and I was in the clear so I nodded in agreement. I was unfamiliar with the prayer, but we read it off quickly with the other Priest. We smiled and I thanked them and ran back to my car.

Later that night I asked my Mother, a devout Church every single Sunday Catholic, if what I did was okay. She said it was very "ecumenical" of me. I think I am okay if Mom approves.

I really appreciated this Street Ashing Crew. I wish we had more of it. It made me feel as if I were in Mexico. Very alive. Very in touch with people.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


"Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder."
-George Washington

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Ice cream on voting day

I will be driving people to the polls because I love driving, I love voting and I love ice cream.


I love driving. I always have. I got my permit the first day I could. I went to take my test on my birthday, but the weather was too bad so I couldn't take it. The Dept of Revenue had shut down the tests that day. I was bummed out, but went back the very next day to take the test.

I have had many jobs as a driver. I remember my first was delivering pizza. I had to get my chauffeur's license. That was pretty fun. I drove my 77 Datsun B210, my 84 Honda Civic, my 80 VW Rabbit and the Delta 88 Royale. That was fun. That was when I learned how to change my oil. My senior year of HS I worked as a courier for Coat and Tie Courier. That was a lot of fun. From downtown to West County to the East Side. All over and efficient. I drove a nice 83 Maxima and that Datsun. Very fun. After that I was a valet for Patty Long's 9th Street Abby when they first opened up. That was great. I got to drive all sorts of cars, and then I had to run back to the restaurant. I ran through people's yards. There was an arrangement. My favorite yard was the one where there was a tied up dog. It was always funny when it was someone's first day and you trained them. That was a great job. I got to be outside and move around and drive all sorts of cars, new, old, fast, big, luxury, trucks and more. And the big job that I would drive was for a place called the Fun Company. Honestly that was one of the worst jobs I had ever had. I drove a big truck and help set up big corporate picnics in rural Missouri, Iowa, Arkansas etc. That was about as unfun as you could get. I had to deal with uptight HR as they danced in front of their bosses while I had to direct a local Cub Scout Troop to run rather low grade carny games and giant blow up rides. Everyone was way uptight. The people I worked with like to yell at each other. It was pretty bad. The only fun part was working with the Cub Scout Troop, local Church Group or Youth Group. Other than that it sucked.

And then there was the bus I drove when I was in college. I had to get a CDL for that. I drove for SLU. I usually drove the students around on campus, which was fun, but a bit boring if you got the late shift. One of the more interesting jobs was over the summer when I drove for a bunch of Korean Businessmen. In their honor I wore a Killbilly band T-Shirt that had a banjo sticking through the head of Kim il Sung with blood coming out of it. It was kind of gross and honestly I am not sure if the guys really cared for all they could think about was how they were away from home and on the loose. Now I had very crude communication with these guys as I drove them around to local sites like the Meramec Caves and the Arch. While they enjoyed themselves, these Korean Businessmen would make fart noises mostly and giggle. And then they would look at their Korean to English books and say in broken English "Where... to do... we see... penetration?"


While I like to drive, I really love voting. I remember I registered to vote when I was 18. I went down the street to the Post Office when it was on Taylor. I also registered for the Selective Service- the draft. It was a bit odd to register for the draft, for the first time in my life I had been hearing talk of a draft. I turned 18 in 1990. In December of 1990 we were just about to go to war in the Gulf. The operation was called Desert Shield. It was right before we called it the Desert Sword and invaded. It was a bit of an odd feeling to register to vote and put yourself in the pool to get drafted on the same day we were about to enter into what many had agonized was going to be a protracted and uncertain war.

I do love to vote.

So I will be driving anyone who is voting to the polls on election day in the city of Saint Louis, Tuesday March 6th. Mark it in your calendar. I have the detectives car, the Caprice Classic, running all day along with the Federal Agent Vehicle, the Suburban. Both are on undercover duty that day for the great glory of the democracy in which we live. I will be driving in probably the Caprice Classic along with Don "the Pride of the Southside" Beasely in the Suburban.

Now we will be making frequent stops to get ice cream. There are some mighty fine joints that serve ice cream made with fresh fruit along Cherokee, so if you happen to be in that area the ice cream stop is quick. Now we do stop at other ice cream stops anywhere else in the city. This offer is open to all registered citizens. The registration deadline has already happened, so if you haven't updated your registration then unfortunately, it is too late. But fill out a registration form behind the bar and you get your Schlafly beer at happy hour price so next time you will be prepared. The Post Office is another great place to register to vote, but unfortunately that place is as dry as a bone.

Please email me now to reserve a time. theroyale at gmail dot com. We start the driving at 6am. If you do not know where your polling place is, just shoot me your address and I will make sure you are delivered properly to your polling station. Now you do get on a priority list if you bring a friend along. And you get bonus points if you get your grandparents out to vote. So contact now to get in on the voting ice cream party.

Now we will be also having specials all day at the Royale. We really honor the most important right we have as Americans, the right to vote. So just as we had last election, we will provide a free drink to any election judge on election day, regardless of the party. You must bring in your current badge in order to redeem the drink.

Feel free to pass this along to any registered city voters.

Power to the people.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Mmmmm. Pie.

These are the kinds of gifts I get. This was a good one. I like apologies that are accompanied by pie. I will follow up w/ a story later. JFK and Tommy J covered the embarassed party.


I have a good story on tough love and pain that I have been meaning to write for a long time. My apologies for not writing regularly enough, but, hey it happens.

I just got back from Jeff City and had an amazing tour. I have been up several times on business since the beginning of the year and had not gotten a full tour until yesterday. We are planning a mural in the back at the Royale on the brick wall. I went down yesterday w/ some of the artists that I work with to check out the Thomas Hart Benton Mural in the House Lounge. We also rolled with a crew of youthful southsiders, two of whom are members of the PAC soccer team. It was breathtaking. The whole tour was amazing, but the House Lounge was the single most extraordinary item we had seen that day. I could sit in that lounge for hours easily. We are now planning on a mural for the back and have been properly inspired. I don't think we will come even close to this level, but we have a pretty well connected theme going for our wall. We still have a lot to figure out on this.

I will write more on my trips to Jeff City soon as well. Big ups to Maria Chappelle-Nadal for her help in making this an amazing trip.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Fundraiser on Saturday

Word on the street:
are invited to

Galen Gondolfi's
Aldermanic Campaign Fundraiser

Saturday, February 3

8 to 11 PM
@ La Tortuga
2817 Cherokee Street
$10 Suggested Door Donation
Includes Mexican Buffet & Music
Individual campaign donations may be made payable to

Citizens for Gondolfi
P.O. Box 19082
St. Louis, MO 63118

For more info, please call 314.772.3628

Thursday, February 01, 2007

second paw

Voluntary doesn't always work. We need to be forced. Please. In the long run it won't make a difference dollarwise if we are on an even playing field.