South City Confessions: Parents shouldn’t force their kids to play sports

Know when to say “it’s okay to not play”


He was serious this time.

I walked up to the playground and the first words out of Vinny’s mouth on a hot and dry Monday afternoon were, “daddy, I don’t want to play tee-ball anymore.”

I didn’t argue. For two weeks, my son had slowly but surely lost interest in playing the sport. Six years old isn’t an age where a boy or girl should be forced to play a sport in order to satisfy some childlike urge from their parents or in order to feel like they belong. Vinny wasn’t having fun, so he was done.

As a matter of fact, I can’t fucking stand parents who force their kids to play sports at any age. There’s nothing worse than the dad with a very tight Under Armour t-shirt on screaming on their kid to keep their glove on the dirt or for a nine-year-old to perfect a pitching motion. I’ve seen all of it and felt like walking up to the parent and jamming the aluminum bat up their ass. For fucks sake, pick your battles and don’t be the overly oppressive parent. It doesn’t matter which sport, all the overbearing parents look the same. Continue reading “South City Confessions: Parents shouldn’t force their kids to play sports”

‘The Looming Tower’ holds no mercy in stirring your 9/11 emotions

Get a whole new perspective on 9/11 here.

Warning: The Looming Tower, a Hulu series based on a Lawrence Wright book, is going to make you very mad. An insightful blend of anger will rise up inside you as you watch this highly vivid account of the years leading up to 9/11 and the dysfunction in the United States Government that may-or may not have-led to the disaster.

Then, after you have calmed down and hit a punching bag twenty times with a glass of bourbon storming down your throat, let it settle into you, because Dan Futterman and Alex Gibney have created a dynamic show that should live on for decades. If you think you know what led to that Tuesday morning massacre, you are most likely wrong. While every living soul in the world knows what happened that day, few know why and the intricate background details that weren’t made public until Wright’s detailed account was released.

Wright, who assisted on the show’s creation, picked former FBI bureau New York chief, John O’Neill (a never-better Jeff Daniels), as the show’s moral center. In an interview with The Washington Post, Wright found it fascinating that in the end, “O’Neill didn’t get Bin Laden; Bin Laden got him.” O’Neill saw the power and danger of Osama Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda group mounting before many did, but his warnings fell on deaf ears. By choosing this intense individual as his centerpiece, Wright gives viewers the moral center of the tale. O’Neill is our champion throughout this event, all the way to the bitter end. Continue reading “‘The Looming Tower’ holds no mercy in stirring your 9/11 emotions”

St. Louis radio point man Eric Messersmith saves his heart for home life

The selfless 590 The Fan host spreads the love around

Eric Messersmith is living the dream. Well, sort of.

When Messersmith first thought about speaking into a microphone more than 20 years ago, he didn’t think it would be sports talk radio. The Penn State University alum wanted to be a play-by-play baseball announcer, calling the game he loved since a kid. He certainly has the voice for it. Instead, Messersmith got into a different kind of radio, landing gigs in Pennsylvania, Texas, and now Missouri.

He spends the days talking St. Louis sports with former University of Columbia, Missouri tight end, T.J. Moe, and former St. Louis Blues enforcer, Cam Janssen, during the afternoon drive on 590 The Fan KFNS. Playing the point for a couple hot takes dispensing former athletes doesn’t sound like an easy job. There are times where one could believe a referee jersey would fit Messersmith quite well. He makes it look easy, serving up points for his co-hosts to slam home before delivering the statistical analysis grounds the theories of his teammates. Continue reading “St. Louis radio point man Eric Messersmith saves his heart for home life”

‘A Quiet Place’ is the best movie I’ve seen this year

Stop what you are doing and watch this movie.

Lee (John Krasinski) and Evelyn (Emily Blunt) Abbott have one simple goal: keep their children safe. When the world is overtaken by predatory creatures who track their victims strictly through sound, this family has to rely on the most unique of survival instincts and methods to stay alive. Make a loud noise and these disgusting things will hunt you down like Liam Neeson.

A Quiet Place, directed and co-written by Krasinski, is easily the scariest film I’ve seen in years and an early candidate for best film of the year. What you have here is an emotionally-driven horror film with the most organic suspense that moviegoers have seen in the past decade. Alfred Hitchcock would have adored this film’s setup and follow-through.

Coming in at a lean 90 minutes, Krasinski and company don’t waste a minute of your time, grabbing your attention in the first five minutes with a gripping sequence that sets the tone for the rest of the experience. I dare you to check your phone or use the restroom during this movie. If you must leave the theater for an unforeseen reason, I hope you were a sprinter in high school, because you will miss something. Continue reading “‘A Quiet Place’ is the best movie I’ve seen this year”

A Birthday Party Gone Terribly Wrong: A few words about Corey Hall

When senseless gun violence takes a good life

If you ask me, I bet Corey Hall couldn’t wait to see his friends and family at Ballpark Village on Sunday night.

He was turning 38 years old, had a lawnmower business getting ready to hit its busy season, and was a newlywed. A hard-working father, Hall was going to kick back and enjoy in downtown St. Louis at an event perfectly titled, “Eat, drink, chill.”

Hall never left Ballpark Village. He was an innocent bystander caught in the crossfire of a scuffle between two other people, resulting in gunshots being fired his way. Corey Hall was shot in the head and died at 2 a.m. early Monday morning. A birthday party gone terribly wrong.

Quite frankly, I’m beside myself right now. I’m angry. Pissed off in the worst way.

Let me get this out of the way before you jump to assumptions or roll your eyes: I didn’t know Corey or any of his family members. We were two regular dudes abiding the law in a city that is getting ripped to shreds by senseless violence. There’s no cure or simple way to stop it either. I didn’t know Corey, but I feel I like do today sadly.

I am father, husband. and 36 years old. I spend way too much time around Ballpark Village driving for Uber. Last Tuesday, I was a matter of yards away from where Hall was, watching a game in the AT&T Rooftop Deck. It could have been me if those two people had ran into each other a different night.

You see, that’s what you do when tragedy happens to someone that you don’t know. The first thing you do is attach it to your own life and wonder what if. It’s too scary to focus on for too long, so you shift your focus to the family and friends torn apart by the tragedy. I can’t imagine Hall’s parents or his wife. The idea of his kid growing up without a dad, not knowing the reason why his dad was taken so soon.

A father shouldn’t bury his kid, but the kid shouldn’t bury his old man without knowing why he died. Hall died for no reason other than someone feeling tough and protected by carrying a gun on their person. I wonder why you can’t get into a baseball game across the street with a gun, but you can walk into a place of business right across the street. A simple metal detector would have stopped this. Well, maybe.

I don’t have answers. I’m simply mad and sad about an innocent man dying. In September, an innocent family man died in Philadelphia, and I wrote about it here. It pissed me off and I made a comment on Facebook that I regretted. I won’t do that here because there are no real answers.

I won’t say ban guns. That doesn’t work. Taking away guns doesn’t help hard-working people who like to own a weapon to protect their own or just feel safe. A gun in the right hands isn’t a bad thing.

I also don’t think it should be incredibly easy to acquire a gun. A tighter more complex protocol wouldn’t be too invasive and may weed out some of the mad souls who shouldn’t own a weapon. Such as, if you get an assault charge or domestic battery or anything having to do with violence, your ability to carry should be restricted. Start somewhere and go from there.

Honestly, I don’t know what the true answer is. The Ballpark Village shooting is a sad occurrence that places another black eye on the city of St. Louis, and that’s a shame, because most nights, the venue lights up like a Christmas tree, bringing revenue and good times to the city.

One would think it was a safe place to enjoy a birthday. Corey Hall thought it would be on Sunday. He was 38 years old, married, a father to two kids, and had a good local business. Anytime a proud STL native dies in the name of senseless violence, it’s a tragedy.

This violence isn’t limited to St. Louis though. It’s a common event all over the globe. Everywhere. People shoot others for no reason other than rage, jealousy, and ignorance. How can you stop something that’s spreading every single day? When the higher-up authority decides to truly take a look and alter old rules.

I wouldn’t want their job. It surely won’t be easy to figure out.

I’m just a writer who took to the keyboard to write about a good soul lost too soon. A proud South City native who hates seeing violence rip his city apart.

I’m not at a loss for words, but I sit here without a solution. I’m powerless.

That’s all I got.

‘Beirut’ is an audacious thriller with a star-making performance from Jon Hamm

Espionage supports the political poker game and thrills here

Mason Skiles (Jon Hamm) embraces the gutter. A former United States diplomat who suffered tragedy in the Middle East many years ago and abandoned everything that made him whole, Skiles spends the better part of his days drinking himself into a stupor with no care in the world for whether the night is old or young. When a former colleague and friend, Cal (Mark Pellegrino) is kidnapped, Skiles is requested to broker the exchange, thus bringing back all the trauma and bad blood of his past to the forefront.

As Mason would say, welcome to Beirut, an audacious and insightful thriller that holds your attention due to the star-making performance from Hamm. Continue reading “‘Beirut’ is an audacious thriller with a star-making performance from Jon Hamm”

‘Rampage’ is a big bucket of buttered cinematic popcorn

Wildly ridiculous and also kind of fun.

In order to properly introduce Brad Peyton’s Rampage to you, I feel like I need to do it in a “movie trailer voice guy” tone. Are you ready? Let’s go.

“In a world where evil rich corporations are testing chemicals on lab rats in outer space with the hopes of selling wild government contracts, something goes terribly wrong. The chemicals smash into the Earth and infect other animals, which is bad news. How bad? I’m talking about a ten-foot gorilla who smashes everything. A 30-foot wolf who can fly and devour ten men at once! An alligator mixed with a giant lizard who got a Godzilla makeover. It’s bad, baby! Who do you call? Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Davis Okoye. A special forces operative turned primatologist who is friends with the gorilla, named George. Can Davis rescue his friend, and in the process, save the world?!?!?  Continue reading “‘Rampage’ is a big bucket of buttered cinematic popcorn”