A Wicked Billy Goat in Chicago

March14/ 2008

If I wait on this Chicago column until all turmoil and strife is gone, it’ll never happen.   A week ago 98% of you would have guessed that Eve Carson was Kit’s wife. …. and Eliot Spitzer was simply another duplicitous lying sack o’crap politician.  Perhaps we all need to sit down with a box of Frango Mints.

I’m generally considered “a savvy guy”.  I know a lotta of the kinda stuff that qualifies me as an ideal dinner guest to aware people over 40.  At dinner at Squids last week a retired psychiatrist stopped me in mid-fascinating anecdote to ask how do you know so much stuff?  To which I replied I make up half of it, but you have to guess which half.  ….. But I had never heard of Frango Mints until last Friday.  I’m a better man for now knowing about Frango Mints.  We’ll discuss that and a few other incredible aspects of our recent Chicago trip …… but first.

Our column on Eve Carson’s murder went platinum.  I usually take 3-4 hours to compose and edit a column.  That one took less than two hours from first word to “Send”.  A subject a bit more substantive than the most recent silly game.  I was bringing up concerns you might have been thinking but were reluctant to verbalize.  That’s one of the purposes of these commentaries.

That column generated interesting dialogues and put me on the inside of the case.  That the perps turned out to be no-count black gang trash FROM DURHAM was a 99% certainty from the get-go.  4-5 people are killed by no-count black gang trash from Durham every week …. Ho humm.  But THIS ONE was different.  Indeed …. THIS ONE was different.  And what will happen now that those two no-count black gang trash from Durham are identified and “in the system” will be DIFFERENT.  Oh Yes …. Grabba hold and hang on cause it’s gonna get really wild and crazy from this point on.  A Perfect Storm is brewing along 15-501.

   For my Derm pals Mac and Albert and Gayle & Margie and Floyd and Bucky et al, I really hoped it wouldn’t be “Durham gang trash” …. but we all knew it would be.

If we thought Duke Lacrosse had all the elements to reveal the sordid hypocritical underbelly of our society, watch this socio-cultural stew boil over.

“She” was PERFECT ….. pretty, smart, blond, and totally innocent.  Demario James Atwater and Lawrence Alvin Lovett are PERFECT too.  Perfect examples of the absolute worst effluent to go thru our social sewer.  Yes, they both have lengthy criminal rap sheets.  A week ago Eve and Demario & Lawrence shared a “species” and that’s about all.  Now they will be forever linked.

  • Will Black Durham rally around their latest thugs-celebrities as it tends to do in similar cases?  …..
  • Will we hear from weepy grandmas and aunts and the usual cadre of sideshow geeks and freaks ala Victoria Peterson and her crowd of banshees?  ……
  • Will “the Justice Brothers – Jesse & Al” get involved?  I doubt that very much.  They are busy straddling the Cocoa Puff-Hilly fence.  …..
  • Will Demario & Lawrence be labeled some version of “honor student and single mother of two …”?  No.  Melanie Sill, thankfully, is long gone from The N&O and John Drescher and Orage Quarles are WAY too smart to go that route again.  …..
  • Will Barry “Sportin’ Life” Saunders ride in on his one-trick race pony on this one?  I bet no.   John and Orage will be proofreading every syllable that Ol’ Sportin’ Life will type about this.
  • What about a possible “UNC Gang of 88” I referred to in the first column?  That is a real possibility.  That pathetic ilk is so ideologically adrift from reality that anything is possible.  …..
  • Will there be some scary stuff from the duelin’ banjo Deliverance crowd that might involve “the L word”?  I expect so.

UPDATE:  Sportin’ Life DID have an N&O column Thurs AM.  The first half was his usual screed that anyone who disagrees w/ him is a redneck racist Klan member.  The second half he admitted the Carson killers are indeed “black” but he (Barry) was not one of the killers.

Mid-March is becoming a pretty gruesome time around these parts.  Today is March 12, 2008.  Anyone remember what happened on March 13, 2006?  And then there was March 26, 2007 …. near the Continental Arena in New Jersey.  Yeah, March has not been a good month around here the past few years.


   Chicago is one of those “big cities” I just have never spent much time in.  A few quick in/outs over the years but never long enough to “experience Chicago”.  One of our big time radio talk show buddies, Jerry Agar, is now the morning guy for WLS 890 AM so that was reason enough for a BobLee & Mizzus Road Trip.

We rode in from O’Hare with a Duke grad with Bank of America.  A fine fellow with absolutely no interest in the big game.  I liked that about him.

Mizzus decided she wanted to stay at The Drake.  Now I spent 15+ discontented years in the “luxury hotel” bizness so I know a sorbet from a soufflé and how much to tip a bellman but I’m not used to actually paying for the freakin’ room.  Yea Haaa …. The nightly room rate at The Drake costs more than my first car (A Nash Rambler)!  If it’s possible, it was worth it.  We splurged for a King w/ a lakefront view.  Every single guest service staffer we encountered spoke decipherable English.  Try finding that for under $200/night anywhere in America.

We spent Friday AM with Jerry in his WLS studio.  Despite being one of America’s legendary major market stations, WLS’ studio is simply “a radio studio” just that there are mucho-million ears on the other end of Jerry’s microphone.

Have I mentioned that during the three days we were in Chicago, the temperature never got to double digits!  Lesson #1 – it’s called the “Windy City” for several reasons.  Walk down a north-south street in sub-zero wind chill and experience one reason.  Jerry took us to lunch at The Billy Goat Tavern.  He said it was “just down the street”.  The Donner Party was not as frozen as we were when we finally made it “just down the street” to The Billy Goat.

That night we did another Broadway show – Wicked – The Untold Story of Oz.  It is not an old favorite like Annie Get Your Gun but it was GREAT.  We strongly recommend it to any of you theater going types.  The difference between a theater production in New York or Chicago versus a “road show” is the elaborate sets, lighting, and special effects.  This was at The Oriental Theater which is quite cool.

WLS is located across State Street from Marshall Fields which is now Macy’s much to the chagrin of Chicagoans.  Macy’s is “New York” – Marshall Fields WAS “Chicago”.  Cities used to have as much pride in “their” big downtown department store as they do in their baseball teams.  Then the giant retail conglomerates started buying them up and ripping out their “specialness”.  

Despite the Macy’s logo, the wonderful Marshall Fields full city block building is still there with its eight-story atrium ….. and those Frango Mints.  Not being a Midwest guy I was not aware of Frango Mints.  As a confection there are “OK” but as a special part of Chicago they are the Harry Caray of candy.

Frango Mints are to Chicagoans what Miller & Rhoads seven-layer chocolate cakes were to a boy from eastern NC visiting Richmond each November for the family’s annual “Christmas shopping” trip.  Every visit HAS to include a take home box.

Taking special civic pride in one’s department store is “a good thing”.  In the good old days St Louis had Famous-Barr and Stix Baer Fuller.  Atlanta had Rich’s.  Dallas has Neiman Marcus.  Houston had Foley’s.  Seattle had Nordstrom’s.  Kansas City had Hall’s.  Now most of those have been bastardized via mergers.  If not, be sure to take your family to see their “Christmas windows” while you still can.  “Christmas windows” and Frango Mints will hopefully last at least one day longer than I will.


   I didn’t know much about Eliot Spitzer four days ago.  Some mover/shaker pals of mine had had some of their Wall Street pals targeted for harassment by him but I was out-of-the-loop on Eliot.  I have all I can handle dealing with the rasher of rogues we have around here.  From what I’ve learned about Eliot, he reminds me of several slimeballs I’ve known along the way.  My “Eliots” were not quite on the Governor of New York strata but on the slimeball scale they were similar.

   Mizzus best described Eliot but her quite colorful phraseology exceeds the civil bounds of this website.

   Silda, the faithful wife by his side in this one, is from Concord NC and a Meredith graduate.

Enough about this slimey weasel …. Oh, and for those of you who just get your “news” from CBS, NBC, ABC or CNN you don’t know this but ….. Eliot Spitzer is “a Democrat”. 


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