The Current at 50

Back row: Jeff Kuchno, Clint Zweifel, David Baugher, Wiley Price, Judi Burch Linville, Josh Renaud and Rick Jackoway Front row: Sharon Reus, Michelle McMurray, Kathleen Riddler
Back row: Jeff Kuchno, Clint Zweifel, David Baugher, Wiley Price, Judi Burch Linville, Josh Renaud and Rick Jackoway
Front row: Sharon Reus, Michelle McMurray, Kathleen Riddler

In November 1966, UMSL’s student newspaper published its first issue under the name “Current.” That means The Current turns 50 this year!

To celebrate, this year’s editor-in-chief, Kat Riddler, put together a fantastic banquet for the current Current staff, alumni and other interested folks.

Continue reading “The Current at 50”

Still thankful for the Rams

I’m definitely feeling all the outrage over the Rams leaving St. Louis to return to Los Angeles.

They were, overall, terrible for most of their years in St. Louis. They fleeced us to come here in 1995, and they fleeced us when they left, as we wasted millions hoping to keep them.

Joseph has a Rams jersey that he loves to wear. The older girls want to hate the Rams for going away. Hopefully I can get them all to embrace the Cowboys.

Still, I’d like to remember the bright spots. The “Greatest Show on Turf” years will remain amazing. For me, the Rams run to their second Super Bowl appearance is particularly meaningful.

Continue reading “Still thankful for the Rams”

Remembering Yolanda Salinas Hess

I was surprised this morning to see an obituary in the Post-Dispatch for Yolanda Salinas Hess. I wanted to share a little bit about her brief, but bright, impact on my life.
It started one morning late in Oct. 2002, when my dad told me to read an article in the Post-Dispatch about a new Hispanic bookstore that was opening in St. Ann. He said it had mentioned something about selling Bolivian music.

I read the story and headed over to “Librería Cultura Hispana” to see what sorts of Bolivian things they might have. I didn’t count on meeting a live, Bolivian person.

Continue reading “Remembering Yolanda Salinas Hess”

“Jerusalem”

israel3

This morning Yoli and I had a rare kid-free couple of hours. We thought it would be fun to to see the new film Jerusalem on the Imax screen at the St. Louis Science Center.

The film is very nicely done. Narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch, it tries to show the different facets of Jerusalem through the inhabitants. The film features three girls: one Jewish, one Christian, and one Muslim, who talk about their lives in the different quarters of the old city. The film also features beautiful visuals, and a good helping of archaeology and sightseeing to explain why different faiths care so deeply about particular places.

Watching the film with Yoli transported me back to the year 2000. As the editor of the student newspaper at UMSL, I received a flyer in the mail inviting me to apply for a seminar in Israel for college newspaper editors sponsored by the American Jewish Committee. It didn’t take me long to decide to apply.

Continue reading ““Jerusalem””

The best Christmas present of all time

Two things came up recently which spurred me to write a blog post one year sooner than I originally planned.

The first thing is that I created a new website called Break Into Chat, which hosts a wiki about the history of old BBS door games as well a blog about retro computing topics. You can visit the website to learn more about the reasons why I created it.

The second thing is that my mom has been scanning truckloads of photos from Christmases past, then sharing them on Facebook.

These two seemingly unrelated threads converge in 1993, the year my parents surprised me and my brothers with the greatest Christmas present ever: The Atari Jaguar.

Please take a minute to click the link above and relive the memory with me!

Love, baseball and losses

There’s something about that first love. Or maybe it’s that first loss.

I remember a girl I loved, and the spark of hope that burned in me until the day I found out there was no chance, that she would be with someone else. And I grieved the loss of something which had never come to pass.

It was a time of intense sadness and lament. But I suppose old hopes must die, so that new hopes might live — and be fulfilled.

New joys come, years pass, life transforms but in some long-forgotten place, that loss lingers. A sensitive place. A ticklish place that gets a reaction if you touch it.

In my case, music does it. I’m a sucker for really good break-up albums and songs. It’s not that they resurrect a memory. Rather, the raw pain of the songwriter resonates with me, taps into my own little vein of sadness. I empathize and feel their righteous anger.

Does it work that way with baseball, too? I guess that it does.

Just as someone can remember their first love, I can remember when I first followed the St. Louis Cardinals of my own accord. When I began to collect and trade baseball cards, clip out newspaper articles, memorize stats. It was the early 1990s, and the Cardinals were not very good — but that never matters.

Then came 1996. The year the Cardinals hired Tony La Russa as their manager. The year they got back into the playoffs. The year they were one win away from reaching the World Series.

But then the unthinkable happened. The team unraveled with successive losses — 14-0, 3-1, 15-0 — and missed their opportunity.

As a kid, you grieve. But with baseball hope arises again each spring. There would be false starts along the way, but ultimately the Cardinals did get back into the World Series. Three times. They won it twice, including last year’s mind-blowing comebacks.

This year, the magic somehow seemed to be continuing. A miraculous Game 5 comeback in the division series made me believe it was meant to be. I was excited because my kids were getting into it. Jadzia was beginning to get the arcane rules of the game; Joseph was swinging any bat-like object he could find. Ludi was drawing circles on papers and pretending to keep score.

So when the Cardinals went up 3-1 in the NLCS, just one win away from reaching the World Series again, my heart soared. This was my team, on the verge of winning it all. Destiny.

But tonight it came crashing down. The Cardinals lost their third straight game to the Giants, and their opportunity is gone. It was painful, physically painful to watch. The churning in my stomach would not stop.

I had seen it, lived it before. It was 1996 again, and I mourned the loss of something that never happened. The loss of a dream. It was listening to a breakup album, feeling a resonance with past pain.

A girl. A team. Young loves. Young losses. You get over them, even forget them.

“It’s just a game.” “She’s just a girl.” “There’s always next year.” “There’s plenty of fish in the sea.”

Yes, yes, yes, and yes. My heart has already moved on to next spring.

But there’s something about loss. “I need my pain,” a wise fictional character once said.

Maybe we do, Captain. Maybe we do.

Geese attack

Ten years and two days ago, while I was the editor-in-chief of The Current, I published the following issue of The Stagnant (our annual April Fool’s Day insert).

There is a lot of goose-related humor throughout. Geese have always been a mainstay of UMSL, a problem shared by many other business and school campuses … including McCluer High School.

Today the geese had their revenge on me for poking fun at their expense. As I was returning to McCluer to pick up Jadzia from her preschool class, two geese loomed ahead of me on the sidewalk. I tried to give them a wide berth, but one began hissing. I moved farther away, but I guess it wasn’t enough space. One of the geese ran at me, and then began flying after me.

I high-pedaled it out of there, and took a circuitous route through the muddy grass to go around them. All the teachers and people inside were wondering what was going on.

Thankfully no harm came to either me or the geese.

Yoli told me later I should have used a slingshot and fought back ala Angry Birds (our latest iPad craze).

The Current passes swiftly

Ten years ago I was swept away by the current.

Make that The Current.

Time’s swift flow always catches me off-guard. Was it that long ago that I was using a wax machine to paste strips of paper onto pageboards? “Coffee and donuts with your paper” at the MSC? Zip disks? Blanche? The bowling nights? The Ecchers? Coming in second at College Bowl? Was it all that long ago?

Well, yes. It really has been a decade since perhaps the pivotal year of my life. During the 2000-01 academic year, I was editor-in-chief of UMSL’s student newspaper, The Current.

I remember a time in my office at The Current when I was looking at the “editor’s mug.” It was a metal drinking vessel inscribed with the names of editors of The Current, going back to Michelle McMurray, who had been editor exactly 10 years before me. I thought at the time, “Wow. Ten years. That’s really long.”

And now it’s been ten years for me!

Continue reading “The Current passes swiftly”

Cub reporter

From the vaults of the Renaud Empire, I bring you a recently-unearthed journalistic gem.

What is it? It’s Josh Renaud interviewing his father, Joe Renaud, sometime in the early 1990s for a school project. You’ve GOT to give it a listen. Josh is a pretty smooth interviewer, I have to say. And Joe was a pretty good interview. His anecdotes are top-notch!

I think it lasts roughly 20 minutes, which may be a little long for some of you. But the first 5-10 minutes are definitely worth it.