kase says

readers bite back: letters to the editor for ‘screw the pooch’

Posted in riverfront times by kase on January 12, 2011

Cover photo by Jennifer Silverberg for The Riverfront Times.

Garnering more than 15,000 views within 12 hours of being published, and inspiring dozens of passionate-if-misspelled comments, there’s no doubt that my January 5 feature, “Screw the Pooch,” struck a nerve in readers of The Riverfront Times.

Here’s one of my favorite comments from the website, referring to cover dog Cowboy the Cocker Spaniel (by commenter pat):

That is a nice dog!!!!! this dirty dozen name doesnt seem to be working i saw the prop b ads and they held up a half dead dog. something doesnt float here.

RFT rounded up some of the reader responses for publication this week. Check them out at the paper’s website.

screw the pooch: in missouri, it’s one puppy mill down, and how many more to go?

Posted in journalism, riverfront times by kase on January 5, 2011

The road to what the Humane Society of the U.S. calls the largest puppy mill in Missouri. Photo by Kase Wickman.

The tents are up and the bleachers ready as hundreds of people mill in the cold morning sunshine. They chat with old friends while keeping an indulgent eye on their children, who chase each other over and under plastic tables and up spindly trees, squealing and tossing gravel. Despite the early hour, the air crackles with excitement.

With blue skies above, a homemade concession stand and boisterous children all around, the atmosphere in rural Mexico, Missouri, this morning feels like a harvest festival.

It’s a rare harvest festival, however, that features security like this: Just off the county road, vehicles streaming onto the property are stopped at a checkpoint. There, driver’s licenses are photocopied, plates are photographed, and a document is proffered for signing: It bans photography, audio or video recording and anything that could be construed as ill will toward the property owners. The threatened penalty for violations? $250,000.

And even beyond the security, there’s the noise. Beneath the children’s shouts is a cacophony of barking, yapping, howling and whimpering.

It’s the sound of more than 800 dogs — and it echoes unceasingly.

This late October gathering on the rural Missouri property of Bonnie and Herman Schindler isn’t a festival, and it isn’t a fair. It’s the end of what the Humane Society of the United States calls Missouri’s largest — and, arguably, its most notorious — puppy mill.

***

Read the rest of “Screw the Pooch” behind the cut, or at the Riverfront Times, where it appears as the cover story for January 5. (more…)

santa hates st. louis

Posted in riverfront times by kase on December 27, 2010

What’s a city gotta do to catch a break these days?

If you didn’t find exactly what you wanted under the Chrisma-Hannu-Kwanz-Festi-Solsti-Non-Denominational-Winter-Holiday tree last weekend, well, The New Yorker magazine can tell you why: Santa, well, just doesn’t feel too comfortable touching down in certain parts of St. Louis and its surrounding suburbs.

“They just give me the creeps,” he told one top elf.

Something we said? Or maybe just because we’re the most dangerous city in America? Either way, you can read the rest of the magazine’s “SantaLeaks” humor piece at their website.

This post originally appeared at Daily RFT, the news blog of The Riverfront Times.

war of words: refudiate v. austerity, which one is word of the year

Posted in riverfront times by kase on December 20, 2010

It’s that time of year again, the season where you can take two steps without stumbling over a year-end list, a this of the year or a that of the year.

Merriam-Webster announced today that “austerity” is the dictionary publishing house’s word of the year for 2010. This, a month after Oxford American Dictionary’s coronation of the Sarah Palin-elevated “refudiate” for the same honors.

Which is the winning Word of the Year? Read more behind the cut, or at Daily RFT, where this post originally appeared. (more…)

man throws dead squirrel through hardee’s window, orders ‘extra nuts’

Posted in riverfront times by kase on December 13, 2010

​Christopher Thompson, a 26-year-old from Pekin, Illinois, appears to have gone, well, a little nuts. (That’s a sleeper pun, just so you know. You’ll laugh later.)

Last Friday, a friend put a squirrel carcass on the dashboard of Thompson’s car as a joke. Like any normal person would, he decided to adopt the dead rodent as a kind of pet, a buddy to drive around with. He left it on the dash.

And that might have been OK, we guess, if he hadn’t decided to introduce his new squirrel friend around town.

Read more behind the cut or at Daily RFT, where this post was originally published. (more…)

’tis the season to have all our damn shows preempted by infomercials

Posted in riverfront times by kase on December 9, 2010

“Ho, ho, h– what the hell is this?”

Expect variations on that jolly-yet-pissy exclamation at 7 p.m. tonight, when fans of NBC’s half-hour comedy Community flip to Channel 5 KSDK and discover that instead of the series’ stop-motion claymation Christmas special, the station has instead opted to air a special of “holiday events” around St. Louis.

Say what?

Read more behind the cut or at Daily RFT, where this piece was originally published. (more…)

pokemon loose in crestwood: catch them!

Posted in journalism, riverfront times by kase on December 7, 2010

Rumor has it that there’s a herd of wild Pokémon loose in Crestwood.

You know what you need to do.

You gotta catch ‘em.

You gotta catch ‘em all.

In order to catch ‘em all, as the kids in the early aughts said, you’ll have to show up at 10 a.m. December 18, at Yeti Gaming in Crestwood Plaza. That’s where those rascals will be.

Coincidentally, that’s the same time and place the Play! Pokémon Championship Series will be holding its Crestwood event, a qualifier for the August 2011 World Championships.

Click behind the jump for a bonus video (not for “elipitics,” the info warns!) and the hilarious breakdown of age categories for the tournament, or read at Daily RFT, where this post originally appeared. (more…)

record-breaking kindness: goodwill aims for a million donations in 2010

Posted in journalism, riverfront times by kase on December 3, 2010

How charitable are you feeling today? If the answer to that question is “at least a tiny bit,” MERS/Goodwill is looking for YOU.

The local chapter of the charitable organization has collected 914,000 donations this year, and they’ve got their hearts set on crossing the million-donation milestone before 2011 rolls in.

Seriously, guys, it’s the third day of Hanukkah. You ate your third judgment-free chocolate from your Advent calendar this morning. Festivus is whenever you Seinfeld-worshiping dummies decide it should be. Let’s show a little holiday spirit, yeah?

Don’t be an asshole — pop behind the cut (or head to Daily RFT, where this post was originally published) to read a pretty convincing argument from MERS/Goodwill president and CEO Lewis Chartock about why you should part with some of your gently-used junk. (more…)

st. louis smoking ban still a work in progress four weeks to implementation

Posted in journalism, riverfront times by kase on December 2, 2010

​The clock is ticking, and there’s less than a month to go until the city and county-wide smoking bans go into effect. For any sticklers keeping track at home, that’s 29 days left for the joint boards of health and hospitals to clarify who, exactly, will be exempt from the ban.

For those same sticklers, yes, this is the same debate they were having in January 2010. Now, nearly a year later, who wants to place bets on how close to the wire the boards will go in defining the ordinance?

Read more behind the cut, or at Daily RFT, where this piece was originally published. (more…)

two politicians walk into an airport…

Posted in riverfront times by kase on November 29, 2010

​No, it’s not the start of a lame joke. Or, well, maybe it is. We’ll just have to wait almost two years to find out the punch line.

Sen. Claire McCaskill tweeted this morning that she ran into Jim Talent, the Republican whose one-time Senate seat she currently occupies. (McCaskill defeated Talent in the 2006 election.) The two politicos were both at Lambert International Airport this morning, according to McCaskill, and had a chance meeting.

Read more behind the cut, or at Daily RFT, where this post was originally published. (more…)

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