We drag the river for stuff you didn't know you were missing.

Backwash 

We drag the river for stuff you didn't know you were missing.

Hip-hop MC Priceless Diamonds describes herself as a "boss bitch" who grew up boosting clothes and turning the occasional trick. She swears that she's leading a straighter life now, but we figure she's still learned lots of good life lessons. So listen up, y'all.

Is accepting copious gifts in exchange for sex the same thing as taking cash?

It depends on what the gift is. It's like the dinner-for-sex thing or the cat who buys you the $10 drink at Niecie's lounge and thinks you gonna be hugged up with him the rest of the night. Oh, no, I don't play that. When a man buys me a drink, he'll get a smile and a little conversation. If his conversation is exciting, then I'm inviting. If it's not, he should get lost.

I bought a pair of secondhand Manolo Blahniks at Arizona Trading Company ($30, come on!), but they are made of real fur and leather. I'm a big PETA supporter. Is it wrong to wear them? It's not like I paid the $400 they originally cost, so shouldn't the animal-slaughtering guilt fall on the first owner?

First of all, you got a hell of a steal. If I could have found a $30 pair of Manolos, I would have snatched them up, too. I love mink — not the animal, the coat. And they are raised for their fur, just like the cow is raised to become a McDonald's hamburger. It ain't no different. We need clothing, just like we need food. I don't think the guilt should fall back on you. You're not the one slaughtered the poor little mink. The guilt should go to Mr. Blahnik. And he's just giving people what they want.

Got a question only Priceless can answer? E-mail her at bossbitch@pitch.com.

What's the Rush?
In the service of promoting a healthier city, it's our duty to tell you about our recent trip to St. Luke's emergency room.

After all, it seems to us that in an emergency, the ER ought to be at least somewhat easy to get to. We don't blame St. Luke's for all the construction chaos that has surrounded its midtown hospital since the winter of 2003; that's all part of a $75 million "New St. Luke's" effort to revamp a dreary-looking institution, whose design hasn't been updated since the 1980s.

But, well, just hear us out.

New federal privacy regulations prevent us from telling you exactly what was medically wrong with us. But just to verify that it was an emergency, we'll include every fifth word or phrase of the official note we sent our boss: "expelling ... bad fish ... gas-station coffee ... 8-year-old peanut butter ... five hours ... hyperventilating ... tingle ... numb ... T-rex ... bowel ... crawled ... bile."

Fearing for our life, our lady friend shoved us in her car, and we began what we thought would be a short ride to the hospital from our Plaza apartment.

We headed north on Wornall Road to an emergency entrance that was blocked by two barricades with "Road Closed" signs in front of a chain-link fence. We flipped a U-ee, then followed an orange detour sign west along 45th Terrace and then another north on Broadway. At 45th Street, we passed another "Road Closed" plus a detour sign with an arrow pointing the opposite direction, and then encountered an "End Detour" sign about a half-block up. That dimly lighted strip of road would have led us to help if we'd seen the blue "Emergency Room" sign attached to a flashing beacon — both were obscured by a tree.

We admit that we were driving too fast to notice two other blue directional signs, but they weren't especially well-lighted either, and we were increasingly desperate. (Did we mention the boss-memo words "both ends"?)

There's more, but by now we were close enough to figure it out.

Inside, while we waited in agony, a clerk behind the desk told us that other patients had been groaning about the same problem.

We began to suspect that the obstacle course's confusing signs were no accident. Perhaps the hospital was purposely making it hard to find the ER? Was it a sneaky effort, perhaps, to dissuade doped-up midtown transients and others — say, all of the locals whom Gov. Matt Blunt was kicking off Medicaid? — from making expensive, uninsured visits to the ER for trivial little cuts and sneezes?

Hospital spokeswoman Kerry O'Connor told us to calm down with the conspiracy theories. "We're making a lot of improvements ... that force us to make detours that are inconvenient for a while, but this is not permanent by any means," O'Connor said. She added that the roadwork will create a much more "user-friendly" campus.

By then, though, there might be fewer people around to use it.

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