Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Editorial: Short Takes on Heroes, Wrestlers, Veiled Prophets and Banned Cat Eaters

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Editorial: Short Takes on Heroes, Wrestlers, Veiled Prophets and Banned Cat Eaters

Article excerpt

Death of a 'face' (thumbs up)

Before Vince McMahon Jr. formed what is now called World Wrestling Entertainment and nationalized professional wrestling, St. Louis was home to the National Wrestling Alliance. One of promoter Sam Muchnick's biggest draws in the 1960s and 1970s was Bruno Sammartino, an Italian immigrant whose career spanned the era of regional promoters and McMahon's enormously successful and flashy national product.

Sammartino worked "Wrestling at the Chase" Hotel and held court at the old Kiel Auditorium. He was always the good guy, an Italian immigrant who embodied lunch-bucket American values against the evil "heels" who tried to claim his championship belt.

Sammartino died Wednesday in Pittsburgh at 82. McMahon tried to claim him as one of the WWE's own, but for many years Sammartino stayed loyal to the regional promoters who made him a star. He eventually made peace with the WWE, even though he couldn't stand the steroid- and hype-infested modern wrestling culture.

By always being the good guy (the "babyface," as they're called today) in wrestling's perpetual face-vs.-heel morality play, Sammartino showed the WWE how the act should work. Whatever integrity the WWE has today, it learned from Bruno Sammartino.

Heroes amid the chaos (thumbs up)

Tammie Jo Shults is made of the right stuff. The Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 pilot kept a cool head when chaos was erupting behind her at 32,000 feet on a New York to Dallas route. A broken turbine blade had caused her plane's left engine to explode. Shrapnel shattered a passenger window, leading to rapid loss of pressure that nearly sucked passenger Jennifer Riordan through the gaping hole.

As the plane veered sharply while plummeting thousands of feet, with the sound of rushing air and screaming passengers filling the plane, Shults calmly explained the problem to air traffic controllers as she requested an emergency landing, which she and her co-pilot executed with one working engine.

She wasn't the only hero. A woman sitting next to Riordan told CNN she had to hold onto Riordan to keep her from slipping further out of the window gap while holding onto a child who also was in danger of being sucked out. A firefighter exited his seat and pulled Riordan back into the plane, after which other passengers worked unsuccessfully to revive her.

Absent artifacts (thumbs down)

The last time a theft from the Missouri History Museum made headlines was in the mid-1980s, when authorities tied then-Director Raymond Pisney to more than a dozen missing American Indian artifacts. With far more checks and balances in place these days, a routine sweep recently revealed that a pair of jewel-encrusted Veiled Prophet Ball tiaras are missing. The ball, formed in 1878 as a secret society of prominent St. Louis men, is presided over by the "Veiled Prophet of Khorassan. …

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