Probably Not The Headline He Would Have Chosen

St. Louis magazine has a promotional section called “Faces of St. Louis” where business people can have their portraits printed along with a blurb about what they do.

Based on this entry, I have to wonder if the business people wrote the headlines themselves or if it was the work of the magazine’s staff.

Because who would want to be the face of male infertility?

Word for the Day

Recrudescence:

Recrudescence is the revival of material or behavior that had previously been stabilized, settled, or diminished. In medicine, it is the recurrence of symptoms in a patient whose blood stream infection has previously been at such a low level as not to be clinically demonstrable or cause symptoms, or the reappearance of a disease after it has been quiescent.

I’ve run across this word in a couple of books lately (the most latest is The Plague by Albert Camus, and the previous occasion might have been The Undiscovered Self by C.G. Jung).

So maybe I should remember it since it’s very popular in the middle of the 20th century amongst intellectuals.

Don’t Leave Her Pocketless

An old gun ad:

No pocket for the pocket gun

The tagline for the gun is fits in a pocket.

The woman is wearing a sundress with no pockets.

Ergo, if she’s not going to put it into a pocket, she could opt for something larger or with a larger magazine.

Or, men, you could not leave her pocketless.

(Side note: I swiped this from a 2012 American Rifleman magazine that was in the bottom of my (relatively) recent magazines. Ah, the olden days. It also has stories on Chris Kyle and the 2012 elections which both have disappointing epilogues as we know in 2015.)

I’ve Always Said It’s An Aggressive Recessive Gene

My father had brown eyes. He had three blonde, blue-eyed boys between hazel-eyed and blue-eyed wives. Ergo, I was pretty sure the “recessive” blue eyed gene was awfully aggressive. At least in my line.

It’s in it’s nature, according to this scientific paper, or at least the news blurb on it:

New research shows that people with blue eyes have a single, common ancestor. A team at the University of Copenhagen have tracked down a genetic mutation which took place 6-10,000 years ago and is the cause of the eye colour of all blue-eyed humans alive on the planet today.

But, wait! This would fly in the face of high school presentation of Mendelian genetics, where both parents must have a recessive gene to pass it on to their children. THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED.

Which proves something about science and the natural world aside from what the news report about a study indicates:

  • All SCIENCE THAT IS SETTLED is subject to review and revision when more information becomes available.
  • The understanding most of us have from science stems from extremely watered down summary materials which might be decades out of date.
  • The material from which most of us draw information is second-hand information about whatever we’re being told, so it’s akin to hearsay or science gossip instead of actual science we could reproduce in our basement labs.

Honestly, I’m not sure what practical application this research has, and it’s not like it’s reproducible. I’m more a fan of engineering these days, where some knowledge is put to practical benefit. Unfortunately, it seems like most speculative science — at least what’s covered in newspapers and on Twitter– is put to social engineering uses. Which is not really engineering at all.

The story does give one room for a little meta-reflection of the nature of science, but most people will just see the story, post it on their Facebook walls or mention it to blue-eyed people, and go on. Or maybe, being a blogger, I’m just prone to meta-reflection to make a word count and to keep the Google beast happy so I can keep my ten dollars a year advertising revenue flowing.

(Link via Trey’s Facebook page.)

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Has It In For Competing Shopping Centers

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch posts another story, “Two more CEOs weigh in on proposed Chesterfield outlet malls“, about two shopping centers being built at the same time in Chesterfield.

The paper is aghast and shocked that two development companies would see the need for competing “outlet mall” style shopping centers in Chesterfield, which has become something of a retail destination for west St. Louis County (when I lived in Maryland Heights, we’d often cruise down Olive to get there ourselves to go to the strip malls along Highway 40).

This follows another piece, “Chesterfield may get two malls as rival developers refuse to budge“, which also decries the situation:

Two rival outlet mall developers are now betting that Chesterfield, already rich with retail, can indeed support both proposed malls, with about 200 stores between them, co-existing just a few miles apart.

That marks a change in the trajectory of the ongoing mall war between Taubman Centers and Simon Property Group, with the assumption up until recently being that only one would be built.

Yet analysts and industry observers have reacted to the prospect of these dueling outlet malls so close to one another with skepticism, noting that the malls would cut into the sales of the other.

Frankly, I’m not sure why the paper is so worried about the free market system, and I’ll leave it to you, gentle reader, to speculate as to why the paper is spending so many pixel inches on it.

But here are some random ideas to get you started, none or more of which might be true:

  • The paper doesn’t like that the two independent developers are going ahead on their own. Instead, in a reasoned, well-engineered system, government officials would pick one developer and lavish tax credits and so on upon that developer, and be left holding the bag if the thing worked out.
     
  • The city dwellers from the paper are envious that Chesterfield gets all the retail development while downtown St. Louis cannot, for some reason, manage to hold onto a major retail development in the downtown area or gets left holding the bag for strip malls in other parts of the city when their developers walk away from loans co-signed by the city.
     
  • The St. Louis Post-Dispatch just has trouble with suburban bourgeois consumer culture in general.

I’ll leave it up to you. But they’re certainly tarting up this story with a lot of drama, intrigue, and disproval.

Book Report: Urban Affairs by Elaine Viets (1988)

Book coverMan, I lament that the St. Louis paper doesn’t have a real metro/lifestyle columnist, what with Bill McClellan and his “Here’s a bad guy who’s in a bad situation, don’t you feel bad for him” schtick and the black guy. But when it did, I didn’t pay too much attention. Aw, heck, I was just a kid.

This book collects a hundred or so columns from Viets’s tenure at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and she covers the South Side of the city with an eye for amusing anecdotes and St. Louisisms. As I’ve now spent more time in St. Louis than my home town, unfortunately, I enjoy these stories way too much.

So I should go forth and look for more of Viets’s collections or try some of her fiction. I shall.

Aside, tying in books I’ve read. The cover shot for this book, unavailable from Amazon, was taken at the Coral Courts motel; the first couple of columns talk about its preservation attempt, and Viets wrote about it in the forward to the book Tales from the Coral Court, which I reported about previously.

Books mentioned in this review:

Head of Fox News Uses St. Louis As Insult

Asked by the Hollywood Reporter if someone would hire fired Current TV commentator Keith Olbermann, Fox News head Roger Ailes said:

You talk about burning bridges. This guy really burns ‘em. Now, I feel sorry for anybody who’s out of work, so I don’t want to trash him or say anything negative about him. He was great at sports, I thought. And everybody has some redeeming quality, so people find a job again. But it’ll be, you know. A pet show in St. Louis, or something.

What, has Detroit fallen below the minimum threshold to be the punchline these days?

Frankly, I’ll talk down the city of St. Louis as a pit any day of the week, but when Ailes is speaking, he’s speaking as someone on the coast referring to a backwater, and the entirety of the St. Louis area is not that at all.

Alternate quip: If only St. Louis spent millions of dollars procuring/keeping a professional sports team of some sort. Then it would be considered a big league city by people who matter to people who think people on the coasts matter.

(Link via Hot Air. I wonder what Breitbart’s Dana Loesch thinks about Roger Ailes trashing her hometown.)

Suburban St. Louis Candidates Oppose TIF Financing

I find it an encouraging sign that candidates running for mayor of Ellisville oppose a TIF proposal designed to give a land developer buckets of money:

Sansone has asked for an $11 million in tax-increment financing assistance and $4 million other tax subsidies. The city’s TIF proposal would let Sansone keep 100 percent of new property taxes and 50 percent of new sales taxes generated at the site to use for development-related costs. It would last for up to 23 years but is expected to be retired in 14 years.

Two of the four candidates oppose the TIF outright, although one is against it because it would include a Walmart, and the candidate says:

He also opposes Walmart moving to the site and says it would hurt local businesses. He added that Walmart often moves on in seven to 10 years to another city offering tax assistance.

The candidate apparently opposes inexpensive consumer goods for Ellisville residents. As to his assertion that Walmart moves on, I have to ask: Have you ever known a Walmart to move like this? The Walmarts of my youth out in Jefferson and St. Louis County are still in their original spots after 30 years, but they were built before free government money was the norm.