Talk of the Towns: 3.10.21
the metro | We’re halfway there! (Yes, despite the anti-science brouhaha and lamentable anti-vaccine frenzy, we hold with Dr. Anthony Fauci and believe there’s plenty of ‘there’ there.) So, on March 2 my wife and I got our first of two shots to protect us from COVID-19. We’re both scheduled for our second and final dose of the Moderna vaccine in 28 days—March 30. The contorted selfie is of yours truly, who, while trying to hold the camera ‘just so’ as not to grimace, as well as shed some light on the Band-Aid, didn’t realize one of our three scientist portraits snuck into the frame. Happy accident. That fellow is none other than Louis Pasteur: Pasteur, who died in 1895, developed the first vaccines for rabies and anthrax—both nasty, if not the wildly contagious coronaviruses of their day. Pasteur’s research made many 20th-century medical advances possible, from Alexander Fleming’s penicillin breakthrough to the polio vaccines developed by Mssrs. Salk and Sabin. We of a certain age remember taking the first polio vaccine on a sugar cube. (My younger brother Jim was very unfortunate; in between vaccine rollouts, polio paralyzed his right leg from the hip down and he’s worn a leg brace since age 4.) While my bride and I are still on a half-dozen waiting lists, I got a call from a woman who ‘knows a guy’—she’s the Vaccine Whisperer—and we got in at the Maryland Heights Community Center. As luck would have it, right when we got home that day, President Joseph R. Biden made the stunning announcement that everyone should be vaccinated by May 30. Cate and I, who’ve quarantined for a year, already had a spring in our half step, which should be a full step by spring! We’ve heard we may not feel so hot for a spell after shot No. 2, but we’ll survive. Tragically, at this writing, more than a half million have not … and who knows what the long-term syndrome for 20% of survivors will involve? Pounding headaches? Kidney and liver damage? Worse?
Is it too soon to speak ill of the dead? When it comes to Rush Limbaugh, who passed away from lung cancer on Feb. 17, it might be for some. It certainly is for KMOX Radio, which has had to scramble to find another unsuitable replacement. But for many of us, Limbaugh satire can’t come soon enough. He ‘joked’ about women and the Black community and once ran an ‘AIDS Update’ segment that mocked the deaths of gay men. How droll. I like to imagine he’s somewhere spending eternity wrapping a Surgeon General’s warning on an endless supply of cigars. How’s that for karmic retribution?
When did squeaky-clean electronics gear become an environmental hazard? As far as I know, much of the manufacturing process occurs in a so-called ‘clean room.’ Nobody’s in danger of contracting tuberculosis, salmonella or (insert name of deadly disease here). I remember as a teen stealing into the woods with my dad with our dearly departed TV set’s cathode-ray tube and a sledgehammer in tow. After a few throws, he managed to hit it. It imploded and made the coolest sound! Of course, we left the mess right there. We’re both male and could be forgiven for that accident of birth. You see, our not-completely evolved gender just enjoys blowing stuff up, from lighting firecrackers and destroying model airplanes as kids to using tons of dynamite to bring down big buildings like the Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, as adults. I mean, it’s just cool. Maybe it’s something in our unique DNA sequence? OK, full stop. Electronic waste, ‘E-waste,’ refers to any unwanted electronic device and usually contains hazardous materials, predominantly lead and mercury. Most citizens, even some men, know by now that a worn-out, busted or obsolete electronic device cannot simply be thrown in the garbage or left at the curb for pickup on big-trash day. That’s why most any area municipality has an electronics recycling event every so often, and one’s coming right up in U. City. We’d recommend you mark your calendar, but it’s this weekend, so just set your iPhone alarm for Saturday morning (March 13) to make sure you’re up in time for the event, 9 a.m. to noon at the U. City Community Center, 975 Pennsylvania Ave. (And if you’ve got the latest iPhone, what did you plan to do with the old one, huh?) Thanks to a grant, the first 100 TV sets and computer monitors will be accepted free of charge. After that, applicable fees will apply. Last time, we paid $5 to recycle a small flat-screen TV. For more info, visit ucitymo.org and click on City News.
On any given night at a concert (you remember those, don’t you?), dozens if not hundreds of men and women take care of things behind the scenes. All kinds of things. Professionals have to set the stage, from taping down zillions of cables to making sure the lighting and sound are just so to making sure your ticket isn’t counterfeit to helping you find your seats in the dark. There’s hella security, of course, bartenders, lot attendants, cocktail servers, maintenance people … and on and on. Well, metro radio veteran, nationally syndicated comedian and producer Ron Stevens is on a mission—from God, if you will. The people who typically cater to the needs and whims of rock stars (above and beyond verboten M&M colors) and the thousands of fans who clamor for rehydration, those lovers and makers of music have had pretty much nothing to do and nowhere to do it since last March. And they’re hurting, badly. But Stevens, a personality hometowners have known for decades over the airwaves—especially as half of a duo, his lovely wife Joy Grdnic being the other 50% (at least, of course)—is here to help, and he needs our help, too. Retirement, schmetirement! Stevens is spearheading ‘Keep Live Alive Saint Louis,’ a campaign to help idled musicians, engineers, road managers, crew—etcetera, etcetera—as the deadly pandemic grinds on. He’s parlayed his contacts at all levels of the music industry to produce a unique, free, live-stream benefit premiering this Friday (March 12) at 7 p.m. to encourage donations to our music-making brothers and sisters, because if they can’t roll, nobody can rock! ‘The Red Rocker’ himself, Sammy Hagar, and REO Speedwagon’s Kevin Cronin appear—as do rock radio royalty, older and youngish, from veteran metro DJ Mark Klose to KSHE-95’s Lern, along with familiar voices (if not faces) like Randy Raley, John Ulett, et al. “There will be surprises,” Stevens notes. A l’il from an Ozark Mountain Daredevil here, and a serving of Mama’s Pride there. But, like, what else? Your faithful scribe has thoroughly enjoyed the drum solo by Klose. And Hagar? Cabo Wabo, indeed! Donations will go toward $1,000 grants to the people and places playing the music we love. So don’t miss the show, which will be available through May at keeplivealivestl.org. Grants will be disbursed “for as long as we have checks,” says Stevens, who slums it with Grdnic on Westmoreland Place in the CWE. For ‘interlopers’—or any St. Louisans who can barely remember where they went to high school for any number of reasons—Stevens and Grdnic have roots as deep as the Gateway Arch. As well as spinning classic tunes in the 1970s heyday of ‘Real Rock Radio’ and hosting radio shows on the east and ‘left’ coasts—the couple co-hosted a morning radio show on NYC’s HOT 97—they released two comedy albums as Stevens & Grdnic. Stevens, a former KSHE-95 program director, also wrote from life on the job for network television. (WKRP in Cincinnati, anyone?) Grdnic, ‘Renaissance-y’ in her own right, owns the Fountain on Locust. Yummy. For even more info, visit St. Louis Classic Rock Preservation Society at stlouisclassicrock.com.