Jim Varagona

The Afterbirth

I blogged regularly for about 3 years on the DiabetoBlog. The archives can still be seen here http://www.diabetoboy.com/diabetoblog.html

I slowed and eventually stopped around the time my son and first child, Dylan Matthew (named for Bob Dylan and my late brother Matt), was born a little over a year ago.  Work was bogging me down as well as settling into a new house, our first.

Days before my son turned 1, I was laid off from my job as a retail manager, which is a story in and of itself, but more on that later. Now I contemplate: What to do? Where do I go from here? How can I provide for my family?

I have a Bachelor’s degree in Media Communications, which has proven to be worthless for me. Since graduating and getting married several years ago, I have been in the retail trap. Once you have the skills and experience, those jobs are always there. The experience of dealing with all types of people is always entertaining for me. I enjoy helping people, even if it is finding what ink they need for their printer or explaining the differences of latex and lambskin condoms to a person much older than me (true story).

Given this economy we are in, who knows where I will end up? I’m enjoying spending time with my son and wife. I was seeing less and less of them with my previous job, so in a way, this is a great reset for me. This is a time to unwind from the stress of a bad situation, get to know my family again, and get to know myself for that matter.

>The Birth of DMV

>Blogging has not been my priority as of late. That seems to have bothered some folks.

Reading those comments on my previous posting wishing for my death and stating “WOW 2 blogs in 3 months. You are fucking pathetic. Fuck you.“, made me laugh and wonder who out there cares for me so much that they monitor my blog output. I appreciate it. I also encourage readers to check out “Anonymity opens up split personality zone”, a great article I recently read about how some can be so uncouth on the Information Superhighway, especially considering they do not have to identify themselves.

As the world’s economy crumbles and people lose themselves on the Internet, I am experiencing many new life events. As my wife and I moved into our new home this past week, our son, in the womb for over 35 weeks, decided it would be a swell time to get out into the world. As of yesterday morning, I am a home owner and a father. These are scary and exciting times.

We named our new family member Dylan Matthew after two of my heroes, Bob Dylan and my brother Matt. I don’t expect my son to love Bob Dylan as much as I do, but rather to respect his two namesakes as two unique individuals that spoke their mind through poetry, song, humor, and sheer bluntness. I hope to raise my son to be an honest and upfront individual. It may cause one trouble, but in the end, it is a more respectable approach to take.

I appreciate political discourse, as long as it is intelligent. Tell me your position, but give me some meat with it. Help me understand your views, even if I disagree with each and every bullet point. I think it is more honorable to be able to back yourself up rather than make blanket statements. Some say avoid political and religious conversation. Why avoid any kind of tension? Get it all out there as long as you can give a basis to your belief system. Don’t vote one way because your parents do or decide on a position based on a 30 second advertisement that may not have an ounce of truth. Don’t say you won’t be voting because of your options. There are more than left and right. There is more to a candidate than his or her position on gay marriage or abortion.

I’m not sure how many tangents I’m going on, but it all makes sense. As my son enters this world that is full of the most uncertainty I have seen in my life, I only hope that he can be strong, speak his mind, and make an impact. I don’t expect it to be anything huge, but I want my son to be true, no matter how others feel about it or react to it. I don’t see these as high expectations, but in this world of convenience and low expectations, who knows?

Dylan will grow up in changing times, whether we vote for it or not. We are at war on multiple fronts and our economy is entering a recession or depression or whatever label is convenient during tomorrow’s news cycle. I fear the future and where we could end up, but I am hopeful and excited about what my son will see and experience. I will do my best to do my part and hope that he will do his, even if that simply means feeding me pureed sweet potatoes in my old age.

>George Carlin 1937-2008

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I just saw that George Carlin, comedian extraordinaire has died. I must note that it is 1:15 AM CDT on June 23, 2008, and the N.Y. Times has his obit date on the 24th. How does that work if it already is published??

I find a quote on his web site fitting for the moment: “I’m always reassured when someone is delivering a eulogy and I realize I’m listening to it.”

You must respect someone that takes full advantage of free speech. He challenged our thoughts on language, politics, and religion to the extent that the U.S. Supreme Court had to get involved and that people continue to misquote him in forwarded emails, which I always reply (to all) back with links to his web site and Snopes’s section on him.

Although most know him for his HBO specials, he’ll always have a special place in my heart as Rufus in the Bill & Ted movies, as Cardinal Ignatius Glick in Kevin Smith’s Dogma, and his strangest role, that as the conductor and narrator of Shiny Time Station, the Thomas the Tank Engine program on PBS, a role he shared with Ringo Starr and Alec Baldwin. I’m not making that up.

Read and watch his stuff. You don’t have to agree with him, but he makes you think and laugh.

An excerpt from his Seven Dirty Words:

Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker, and Tits, wow. Tits doesn’t even belong on the list, you know. It’s such a friendly sounding word. It sounds like a nickname. ‘Hey, Tits, come here. Tits, meet Toots, Toots, Tits, Tits, Toots.’ It sounds like a snack doesn’t it? Yes, I know, it is, right. But I don’t mean the sexist snack, I mean, New Nabisco Tits. The new Cheese Tits, and Corn Tits and Pizza Tits, Sesame Tits Onion Tits, Tater Tits, Yeah. Betcha can’t eat just one. That’s true I usually switch off . But I mean that word does not belong on the list.

Actually, none of the words belong on the list, but you can understand why some of them are there. I am not completely insensitive to people’s feelings. You know, I can dig why some of those words got on the list…like cocksucker and motherfucker. Those are…those are heavy-weight words. There’s a lot going on there, man. Besides the literal translation and the emotional feeling. They’re just busy words. There’s a lot of syllables to contend with. And those K’s. Those are aggressive sounds, they jump out at you. Cocksucker Motherfucker Cocksucker. It’s like an assault, on you. So I can dig that.

And we mentioned shit earlier, of course. Two of the other 4-letter Anglo-Saxon words are Piss and Cunt, which go together of course. But forget about that. A little accidental humor there. Piss and Cunt. The reason Piss and
Cunt are on the list is that a long time ago certain ladies said ‘Those are the two I am not going to say. I don’t mind Fuck and Shit, but P and C are out. P and C are out.’ Which led to such stupid sentences as ‘OK, you fuckers, I am
going to tinkle now.’

And of course the word Fuck. The word Fuck, I don’t really…well, this is some more accidental humor, but I don’t really want to get into that now. Because I think it takes too long. But I do mean that. I mean, I think the word fuck is an important word. It’s the beginning of life, and, yet it’s a word we use to hurt one other, quite often. And uh, people much wiser than I have said, I’d rather have my son watch a film with two people making love than two people trying to kill one other. And I of course agree. I wish I know who said it first, and I agree with that. But I would like to take it a step further. I would like to substitute the word fuck, for the word kill in all those movie cliches we grew up with. ‘Okay Sheriff, we’re gonna fuck ya now. But we’re gonna fuck ya slow.’ So maybe next year I’ll have a whole fuckin’ rap on that word. I hope so.

Now that my friends, is genuinely American. And we’ve lost a hero.

>My Friend Joins the Ranks of Kidder, Downey, & Heche

>It used to be more commonplace to hear of celebrities found wandering in delusion like when Robert Downey Jr. was found asleep in a neighbor’s house that he wandered into under the influence in 1996. He was in a club with Anne Heche, Margot Kidder, and even Martin Lawrence for similar episodes.

The genius behind TV Funhouse on SNL, Robert Smigel, satirized this phenomenon well back in 2006 with the short “Kidder, Downey, & Heche–Private Trespassing Investigators” (try this link, but due to copyrights, it may not last long and you may have to seek it out). I’ve always wondered how people can get to such a point…until a couple of weeks ago.

My wife was working the graveyard shift and I hadn’t spent much time with my friend and best man, Dan, lately, so I invited him over for some beers. I only drank a few in a couple of hours. I thought the same for Dan, but he apparently had done some prepping for our low-key man night. I think I witnessed him drink three beers. He did however smoke a bit of the doobage, of which I did not partake in, but it really didn’t seem like enough to drive a man to what I would witness.

After what seemed like a few tokes, he lost his bag and began searching my yard in the dark for it. It certainly was a bummer. Days later, I realized my puppy found the bag, which didn’t have much besides stems left in it anyway. I convinced Dan to give up, that maybe he smoked it all and the celophane evaporated.

We came inside and listened to some music, but within a half hour he was asking to crash on my couch. I obliged and hit the hay shortly after around 1 AM.

Around 8 AM, my wife arrived home asking what happened to Dan.

“Well, he had a bit too much and passed out on the couch.”

“His shoes are on the floor and his phones on the table, but he’s not on the couch,” she told me.

“Maybe he’s outside smoking.”

“But both doors are locked.”

Puzzled, I looked around. Knowing this was my friend that wandered onto the field after the Cardinals won the Series in ’06, I considered every possibility. I looked in closets and under the bed. No Dan.

I saw that the basement door was open, so I thought maybe he escaped through there, but the doors to the outside were locked as well. And why would he go far without his shoes? I looked around every nook and cranny of our dingy city basement to no avail.

We sat in our front room to ponder the situation. I then heard footsteps above me in my landlady’s unit. It was a tad early for them. Half jokingly, I suggested that he got upstairs and they discovered him.

The footsteps got faster and went back and forth. My wife and I followed the commotion with our eyes and heads like curious puppy dogs. There was some fast running down the stairs and then Dan appeared at my front door.

In disbelief, I could only keep saying “What the fuck?!” and “You have to leave.”

He claimed that they were cool about it, but also thought we were involved with this as some sort of joke. I thought the same of him, but I know better.

He left after we kept pushing, then we frantically thought about how to handle our neighbors. Do I call? Do I text? Do I play it off or consider this a serious problem that will be taken care of? What were they thinking at the time after discovering a strange yet unassuming hippy asleep on their couch?

I texted her to meet me on the porch to chat. I walked out back where they have a screened in porch and looked up at my landlady and her boyfriend. They looked like two pissed off parents after you get home late from a night of partying. Then the busted into laughing. I nervously joined in.

When he awoke, seeing their faces, he asked “Where am I?” Luckily they were nice and explained what they figured was going on. They considered lying to him and making him believe he was states away…Laramie, Wyoming…yeah, that’s the ticket. Around 3 that morning, our boxer, Sadie was at their door to the basement and it got the attention of their dog who began wimpering. The landlady simply told Sadie to go back to bed, but didn’t realize that my dog was there to tell her that a hippy had wandered into her unit. He must’ve quietly sleptwalked onto their couch, unnoticed until their 8 AM discovery.

My wife and I laughed with them for awhile about this, which was strange enough, but even moreso considering how early it was for us. I couldn’t go back to sleep, so we walked the dogs and avoided the homeless.

Dan’s been calling, but I am without words. How did Robert Downey Jr.’s friends handle him after he was found asleep in some kid’s bed that he wandered into?

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>Riding in Cars with Diabolical Rapists

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Before tossing out an unread newspaper a week or two ago, I browsed through, making sure I didn’t miss out on a celebrity scandal, a relative’s death, or a new way that the President has devised to screw this country. While I didn’t find anything like that, one headline did catch my eye: Rapist Gets Life Plus 25 Years. Granted, it is kind of vague but you wonder what kind of brutality could lead to such a sentence, so I read on.

Rapist gets life plus 25 years
By
Robert Patrick
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
02/10/2008

St. Louis — A man who brutally raped a woman in her Dogtown home and beat her with a baseball bat — then called her boyfriend to gloat— was sentenced Friday evening to life plus 25 years in prison.

James Thomas Fujimoto, 26, broke into the home of the woman, then 23, in the 6300 block of Berthold Avenue on Sept. 1, 2002, struck her repeatedly in the head with a bat, then sodomized and raped her for three hours. At one point he said, “Tell me you love me,” Assistant Circuit Attorney Mary Pat Benninger told St. Louis Circuit Judge Philip Heagney.

After Fujimoto left the woman’s apartment, he called her boyfriend. “He wanted him to see it,” Benninger said. “He wanted him to know what he’d done.”

Fujimoto pleaded guilty last month to forcible rape, forcible sodomy, assault and robbery charges on the day his trial was supposed to begin.

The attack was so violent that the woman had to have about one-third of her face reconstructed. She still suffers vertigo from crushed ear canals, officials said, and has since moved.

Benninger called Fujimoto a predator and a sadist and said he was excited by violence and fueled by control. He had stalked the victim and was also stalking other women, she said, and was “beyond rehabilitation.”

Fujimoto apologized for the “horrible thing” he’d done and told Heagney that he had broken into the woman’s apartment to burglarize it, not to rape her.

Fujimoto was arrested in 2005 after a DNA sample from the crime scene matched a sample collected from him as he was being paroled from prison on other charges.

I immediately recognized the name. I went to high school with this nut job for 3 years. I sat at the same lunch table as this cocky S.O.B. with this the chess team and computer club, neither of which I was a member of, yet they were one of the few groups I felt comfortable around. He didn’t fit in with them either, but if how I felt about him was any indication, he was too annoying for any others to deal with him. He wasn’t complete reject though. He tried to have his way with the ladies, and I’m sure he did at times.

Did anyone see this coming though? I certainly didn’t think too much of him, but hardly ever do you consider people around you to be capable of such psychotic episodes. I mean, I now know of someone that is in prison for life for some heinous things.

When I saw Jim’s name though, I thought back to around 2005, when I was working as a fertilizer merchandiser, such a respectable profession. I was having lunch at a nearby Burger King with a coworker. As we left, I noticed Jim on a pay phone outside, so I mumbled “Hey Jim” as I passed him. He screamed back some name that wasn’t my own, but that got us talking about high school.

Now I try not to hold how folks were in high school against him, so I was congenial with the guy. He told me that he didn’t have a car and that his sick grandmother was not answering the phone. He proceeded to ask me for a ride home, which was about 15 minutes away. Since my job didn’t necessarily require my presence, I agreed. He told me he’d give me some gas money once we got there. My coworker didn’t have much of a choice and tagged along.

I don’t remember too much of the conversation. I’m sure it was your typical small talk about the good ol’ days. Who do you still talk to? Have you heard about or have you seen so-and-so? And of course, he still rubbed me the wrong way.

When we arrived at his destination, he left his orange windbreaker in my car and ran inside. He left the front entrance open and left us waiting. We proceeded to wait for at least 10 minutes. After some discussion with my coworker, we decided to take off. We couldn’t figure out what was going on. He obviously wasn’t in a hurry to give me gas money and if something was wrong with grandma, I would assume he would run back out to us for assistance.

After reading the article, which deals with an incident that happened before this occassion, I wonder if that was his house, if there was a grandma, and even if that windbreaker was his, which I gave away to a friend of mine.

I researched further on his crime.

Man pleads guilty to brutal rape in Dogtown
By
Robert Patrick
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
01/08/2008

St. Louis — James Thomas Fujimoto, 26, admitted Monday that he was responsible for the violent rape and baseball-bat beating of a woman in her Dogtown neighborhood home in 2002.

Fujimoto, of St. Louis County, acknowledged that he broke into her home in the 6300 block of Berthold Avenue on Sept. 1, 2002.

He beat the then-23-year-old woman in the head with an aluminum baseball bat, then sodomized and repeatedly raped her for three hours.

Fujimoto’s trial was supposed to begin Monday, but he pleaded guilty of forcible rape, forcible sodomy, first-degree assault and first-degree robbery rather than face a jury.

Assistant Circuit Attorney Mary Pat Benninger told Circuit Judge Philip Heagney that she plans to ask for two consecutive life terms for the crime.

Fujimoto had the victim try to bathe away any physical evidence and then raped her again, Benninger said in court. He stole money from her piggy bank and took the keys to her car before leaving.

Fujimoto was not the first man arrested in connection with the crime. A drifter found near the crime scene confessed to the attack but was released after his DNA did not match semen found at the scene.

Fujimoto was arrested in 2005 based on a DNA match. His DNA was in the Missouri database because of a recently changed state law that expanded DNA taking to all convicted felons in Missouri, not just the violent ones.

He was serving time on second-degree burglary and attempted burglary convictions from 1999. He also has been convicted of tampering with a motor vehicle in Franklin County, and fraudulent use of a credit device in St. Louis County.

Fujimoto, who dropped out of school in the 11th grade but later got his high school equivalency certificate and attended some college classes, still faces a stealing charge in St. Louis County.

The victim sat about 10 feet from him during Monday’s plea hearing, at times staring at him and at times crying. The attack was so violent that she had to have about one-third of her face reconstructed, and she still suffers vertigo from crushed ear canals, officials said.

She has since moved.

So to make it creepier, he was originally arrested for this incident the year I gave him that ride and probably not too long after, considering that was during the summer that I did him the favor. You never know with people, but you should probably follow that intuition. I didn’t have the intuition that he was a brutal rapist, but that he was generally a loser, and perhaps that should have been good enough.

When I broke this story to those I went to school with, I received quite a few messages from shocked females, some even stating that they had crushes on him back in the day. It’s fortunate that they left it at that, but makes me wonder what else he may have done out there.

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>In Memoriam

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8 years ago on this day, my brother Matt passed away.

Remember to cherish those you have while they’re here and even when they’re gone.

Facebook member? Join our cause.

>Are We Going Mad?

>I’ve been out of comission for the past several days with the flu, so I’ve taken to catching up on some movie watching. Meanwhile, another school shooting has occured, this time only one state away from me in Illinois at Northern Illinois University. Yawn. We’re so used to this in America.

Another thingthat I’m sadly used to is the argument that more guns would solve this problem. The police had record response time in this recent incident, yet Second Amendment advocates say if students could have concealed weapons on campus, they could have ended it sooner. So because people go insane and do these dispicable acts, we are to justify arming others and provoke further incidents?

Why do we have gun rights in America anyway? The second Amendment in the Bill of Rights states: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

So let every white man that owns property have firearms then. What’s that? Woman and other races must have equal rights as well. I suppose so. As time goes on, we do have the freedom to change things as we see fit for the betterment of our people, which is why we as Americans slowly did away with slavery, segregation, and keeping anyone that wasn’t white or a man from voting. That’s progress–and genuinely American!

I live in a city that year after year is in the top ten for violent crime which helped us win the tops for America’s Most Dangerous City in 2002 and 2006. To keep us up there, we need more guns. And we need them in the hands of more people, including desperate individuals that could slip through a background check or into the decent folks hands that pass them along through the black market to those that cannot get them legally on their own. I hope you sense my sarcasm here, but I doubt that for you hard core 2nd Amendment kids.

There’s a time and a place for that kids, and it’s called College.

What is the Wild Wild West, Alex?

I realize we have the right to defend ourselves and those that died didn’t have the opportunity, or the glock, to. Say you let the other student carry concealed weapons. What about all of those high school shootings? Or even the grade school shootings? They may be underage, but don’t they have a right to be defended. So let’s arm the teachers! Try explaining that to the parents when something goes wrong. And that’s saying everything’s a-okay on those college campuses, which I scoff at.

Here’s a novel concept. Do away with handguns and automatic weapons altogether. Hell, I’d want to do away with firearms altogether, but we’ll take baby steps, you “hunters” you. In a place where 67.9% of murders were caused by firearms, think of the dramatic drop. Granted some will stash theirs away. It will be another Prohibition of sorts, but with strict penalties, we shall overcome. In 2006, 14,990 were murdered in the U.S. More than half of that number is from handguns (7,795), which could be deemed completely unnecessary. What’s the point of handguns again? Ah yes, to defend ourselves–from others that are defending themselves? Total firearm deaths in the U.S. reached 10,177, which we can hopefully beat in the coming years. We are the land of opportunity and dreams.

The only civilized country that is in our league, and in fact can beat our numbers, is Brazil. They do however have better alternative fuel sources there, so I think it balances out. While Brazilians won’t agree to banning gun sales outright, mainly due to fear of others still armed, stricter gun control laws and buyback programs have lowered their firearm murder rate by at least 8%.

Unfortunately, money speaks in our country, especially through the gun lobbyists. Fear works well here too, which may forever make folks feel like they need to be armed. Maybe we can work to eliminate that need instead of snowballing one of the more primitive aspects of our society.

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>Lead Me Not Into Temptation

>I’ve been pushing ink lately. It certainly beats baby photography. It keeps me closer to home and doesn’t involve monotonous driving.

Nearby my place of work is a massive Wally Mart, which I recently stopped at to grab some gear to fight the winter weather. While looking for the supplies, I passed someone that looked eerily familiar. He was a bit worn since the last time I saw him about ten years ago, but I knew who it was. It was none other than Michael McGrath, my favorite molester priest, “the most sued former priest in St. Louis”, and also considered “the most dangerous St. Louis priest”. Needless to say I was in the presence of a local celebrity.

It felt good to see that he looked pretty rough. It is safe to say he’s packed on a few and his sneer looks more crooked than ever.

that sneer

After I passed the sick excuse for a human being, I thought about going back and confronting him. It actually made me recall the homeless man that molested my dogter. Are worthless people like these even worth confronting? He certainly hasn’t suffered much because of his behavior. He may be the most sued former priest here, but he’s yet to serve time or pay up as far as I know. That’s where the Catholic Church comes in to save the day.

I only wish he’d suffer a worse fate than obesity and aging. And I’m not even a victim or related to a victim of his. I only came close and that was close enough to piss me off. May his ills grow worse in the new year.

In other news dealing with abusive priests, the San Diego diocese is asking priests to donate a month’s salary to go towards the recent $198.1 million sexual abuse settlement. That dwarfs in comparison to the $600+ million settlement the Los Angeles diocese made in July, the largest ever by a diocese so far. The sad thing is that the San Diego Diocese is reaching out to its church goers and asking them to contribute to righting their wrongs.

The donation request is part of a new campaign called “Embracing Our Mission”
and will be used to help “cover the expense involved in compassionate outreach
to our brothers and sisters who suffered sexual abuse within the family of the
church,” the memo said.

They could at least have their own Bingo Night in America or something to rile up the troops.

The priests have also been taking things out on the nuns. I’m the last guy to stand up for the nuns, but the L.A. Archdiocese sold a convent that was still being occupied and had been for 40 years in order to raise funds for their record settlement.

Sister Angela has it right when she said “what hurts the most is what the money will be used for, to help pay for the pedophile priests. We have to sacrifice our home for that?”

How can Catholics support this nonsense? I know the priests must accept responsibility and make these settlements, but their methods are a bit ridiculous. Then again, I’m not sure how I’d raise hundreds of millions of dollars either…except for making a blockbuster motion picture. That may be their next move. Pay close attention to the producer credits of the movies you see at the multiplex in the future. It might include a Father or two.

>Happy Birthday Pete Parisi (an update)

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When I took up the cause to get Pete Parisi a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame, I intended to do what I set out to do. Some said it wouldn’t be possible considering Parisi doesn’t have much of a following or an influence outside of the St. Louis area. When Thomas Crone, a former professor of mine at Webster University, brought this up on the 52nd City blog, I responded with this:

Yes, I realize this is a stretch, but as I have mentioned in various other forums, the idea of a star for P.E.P. was brought up a while back by Jeff Daniel of the Post. I’ll put up that article by tomorrow in the links section of my WWM site. He also stated that some other honor could be bestowed upon Pete, such as an exhibit through the MO Historical Society. I think a petition drive is necessary to show the recognition and influence of the man.

Since I posted some vids on YouTube that I obtained while working on my documentary about Parisi, I have gotten quite a response from people from St. Louis, formerly from St. Louis, or those that have simply stumbled upon the mad genius of Pete. His national influence may not be there, but by comparing him to other known names like Michael Moore, Tom Green, and the Jerry Springer show, you cannot argue with him being ahead of his time. People across St. Louis and beyond watched this spectacle which later became a mainstream style and sense of humor.

So even if this doesn’t work, it reminds people about a common ground they all shared on Friday and Saturday nights for 15 years in our area. And maybe we could push our efforts towards a P.E.P. statue, complete with cigar.

Jeff Daniel made some important points in his piece. He compares the mix of humorous and frightening elements of WWM to that of David Lynch, the director of Eraserhead, Mulholland Drive, and TV’s Twin Peaks. He says that unfortunately, as Parisi drifted into the afterlife in January of 2002, he was drifting into irrelevance.

As for the afterlife, may St. Louie Pete and St. Peter have a good conversation at the pearly gates. As for irrelevance, we owe it to Parisi to eliminate that possibility.

“The appreciation I get from people is the only pay I’ve ever received for this show,” the king of cable access once said. That appreciation should continue even if Parisi cannot.

Is it too much to suggest that the Missouri Historical Society acquire the entire “World Wide Magazine” catalog? Under president Robert Archibald, the Forest Park-based institution espouses a philosophy that history be more than just the famous names and important events of our recorded
past.

I agree wholeheartedly with most of what Mr. Daniel wrote in his article. He goes on to say that WWM was reality television before reality television. Parisi was giving his own version of our history, what was current at the time, such as the episode entirely revolving around the Pope’s visit to St. Louis in January of 1999, or revisiting our past; I remember one of the first episodes of WWM I saw was with Pete driving around in his cab and he pointed out where the old Sportsmans Park once stood at the corner of Grand Boulevard and Dodier Street on the north side of the city.

People that were national figures or were on their way to becoming just that appeared on WWM, such as Jerry Mathers of Leave it to Beaver fame, Rudy Ray More AKA Dolemite, and then Governor of Missouri John Ashcroft, who went on to be U.S. Attorney General. That also includes Fred Willard, famous for various television roles and appearances in Christopher Guest’s films, such as Best in Show, who in 1990 hosted a program called “Access America”, which profiled the country’s more notable public access programs. Needless to say, a WWM clip made it onto the show, which lead to Willard visiting St. Louis and appearing on WWM. Parisi received a television for his show making it on there, eventhough it didn’t win best in show (heh heh). The TV became a prized posession of Pete’s.

Back when Pete was program director at KADI-FM 96.3 in St. Louis in 1979, Elvis Costello came to the Kiel Opera House to perform. Billboard magazine credits Parisi with informing the Costello camp that KSHE, the station sponsoring the concert, had just started playing Elvis shortly before the concert date, while their station had been playing him faithfully during his career. To this, Costello shot back at the concert by dedicating his newer single “Radio, Radio” to the promoting station, K-SHE 95. I’m sure they were pleased with lines like “And the radio is in the hands of such a lot of fools; tryin’ to anaesthetise the way that you feel.” This helped add fuel to an ongoing fued between the two stations and gave credence to the lyrics of that powerful song.

So I stand by Parisi definitely having a local impact, and at least a minimal national one. Take a look at the comments of folks that have signed the petition to get him a star. Too bad Nielsen doesn’t track public access viewers. Pete may not have had a great impact outside of our area, but I think what he did preceded a lot of what became popular after him, yet he was considered so alternative. He deserves enormous respect for that. I will send a letter to the nominations committee of the St. Louis Walk of Fame, but I will still leave up the petition to drum up more support.

One more note…if the show is to be preserved, the master tapes must be acquired from Parisi’s then girlfriend Linda Vaughan. She has posession of them, and since I have heard nothing to the contrary, I can only assume they are collecting dust and degrading instead of being transferred to a digital format. Maybe the MO Historical Society or someone with clout could pony up to her.

If you enjoyed World Wide Magazine, Pete announcing at the SBAC wrestling matches before his show, or his time at KADI, make sure he doesn’t drift into irrelevance. Trade videos with others, post them on YouTube, contact the MO Historical Society, or whatever you see fit. P.E.P. deserves that.

So Happy 60th Birthday Peter Elias Parisi, from one of your 50,000 hoosiers.

>Where a Kid Can Be a Kid

>

I don’t like to rip off others’ blogs, but this Pope made a nice discovery.

Oh how I miss my youth spent at Showbiz Pizza Place with Billy Bob and the rest of the Rockafire gang. Why, oh why did the evil cousin Chuck E. Cheese overthrow this great haven for the children??

Anyway, I came upon this local blogger that came upon a YouTuber that apparently owns the old animatronics from ShowBiz and programs them to new music. Fantastico!

The Beatles’ “Free As a Bird”

Oasis’ “Champagne Supernova”

“Ms. New Booty” and more vids to select from…

An interesting history of ShowBiz and the Rockafire Explosion on WikiPedia.

YouTube user Chris Thrash’s full selection of videos.

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