Archive for February 21st, 2013
Like all of you out there, I was stunned to hear of Pope Benedict XV’s announced retirement (in what amounts to be just a week from today, on February 28th).
I’m Catholic and grew up with Pope John Paul the Great in the Vatican…and didn’t “know” another Pope until after the installation of his successor; JPII was always “pope” in the entirety of my memory…and he was also the embodiment of the very forces of good in my mind. As a kid, I watched him, Margaret Thatcher, and Ronald Reagan maneuver with expert skill to bring the Soviet Union to the ground and deal a powerful blow to Communism…liberating millions of oppressed souls in the process. I am very grateful that my childhood was spent with a real-life “Justice League” on the world stage…with Thatcher in London, Reagan in Washington, and JPII in Rome.
Honestly, I’ve always been torn regarding the election of a former member of the Hitler Youth to the papacy…regardless of however much pressure (and threat to life) he experienced back in Germany in his youth. I think a better and more modest man would have firmly told the College of Cardinals that it would be immensely inappropriate for someone who belonged to the Hitler Youth to lead the Church. This is the same sentiment I have always had towards people like Robert K. Byrd…who was a member of the Ku Klux Klan in his youth, but ran for the Senate anyway (claiming, “I had to do it” and “my life was in jeopardy and I had no choice”). That may very well have been true…but it doesn’t mean you should occupy a seat in the United States Senate. Replace Klan membership with “murdering a promising young woman” and you have the reason that I thought it was personally revolting that Ted Kennedy was a United States Senator…when that man belonged in self-imposed cloistered exile if not prison for the rest of his life. Instead, he too got to occupy a position of great power despite being party to great evil.
Years ago, I had a really terrific boyfriend name Joss who is Jewish (and lives in Israel now)…and I remember the absolute horror he felt when he heard that the Cardinal who was a former Hitler Youth had been elected the new Pope. It was, for him, an even worse feeling than November 3rd, 2008 and seeing a radical with deep ties to Marxism and anti-Americanism in general becoming the President of the United States. Nothing has felt right about this country since that happened…and I doubt it will be right again until 2017 when, at long last, the current President is out of office.
In March, however, this sense of unease and conflict I’ve had since 2005 will be over as Pope Benedict steps aside and enters cloistered retirement…in my own opinion, hopefully to never be seen or heard from again. I personally have felt that installing him as Pope was like choosing Emperor Palpatine from the Star Wars movies to follow John Paul the Great…and I don’t know for the life of me why they College of Cardinals made the decision they did.
In Catholic school, the nuns always taught us that there were many mysteries of the Church that were beyond our understanding and that we just had to have faith that the Holy Spirit saw to it that the right decisions were made, particularly when the new Pope was chosen. It’s a much more comforting and acceptable world when I convince myself to believe that…because otherwise the Vatican is just another political sea, with toothsome agendas whirling effortlessly below the surface.
With all my heart, I miss having a Pope in the Vatican who I love and respect and who it’s a joy to see waving from that balcony in the papal residence adjacent to St. Peter’s. My boyfriend Justin is aggressively Protestant…the kind that was taught growing up to mock Catholics and to revel in icon-toppling. His mother, CarolAnne, is vociferous about this sort of thing…which causes great strain in our relationship. Justin and his mother do the same thing to Queen Elizabeth II as well…and delight in mocking her too. I just don’t understand that, because it’s a pettiness and a negative energy that’s so out of place with who the two of them otherwise are. The net effect is that Justin always reminds me of one of those jawbreaker candies that’s sweet and adorable on the outside…but with this strangely sour center that comes out of nowhere.
When I was a senior in Catholic high school, I remember my religion teacher taking the last week of classes to teach all of us what to expect when we left for college…since most of us at my school had been educated in Catholic grade school since kindergarten, and then onto a Catholic high school as well. She told us that there would be those out there who’d take a weird delight in challenging us as Catholics…or in doing the mocking that Justin’s family from Arkansas gets into. I remember being specifically taught how to always remain the calm, collected, and even-keeled person when confronted this way…and I draw from those classes even now, twenty years later, when Justin and his mother decide it’s Catholic-bashing time.
I find such a power and sense of peace and comfort in the stained glass and candles and incense and ornate gothic glory of Catholicism. I am so grateful for all the nuns who taught me in school, and for the steadying and reliable force that belonging to a church brought to my life growing up. Recently, I used Google Earth to travel down memory lane to look at satellite images of my old neighborhood back in Cleveland…and my heart stopped and blood ran cold when I looked for my old parish and could no longer find it. I hadn’t been back to Cleveland in years, and wasn’t aware that the church had been shuttered and demolished in a bizarre fiat of the rightfully despised current Bishop of Cleveland. Seeing a barren, vacant lot where my childhood church once stood was an absolute shock to my system…like the Millennium Falcon happening upon an asteroid field where they expected to find the planet Alderaan in Star Wars.
I remember Justin just staring at me blankly as I literally had to steady myself on my chair and the edge of my desk because my legs gave out from underneath me when I realized that my old church had been wiped from the face of the planet and erased from our reality. It still existed perfectly in my memory, but even looking for photos of it online turned up just a snapshot or two. I felt compelled that very night to spend hours and hours drawing every detail I could remember and writing down every memory I could about the place…before I forgot it and the place was lost again.
It’s fascinating that Justin has never felt that way about any church he went to. They were just buildings to him, and when his family would move they’d go to another one…or a congregation would sell the building and buy a bigger one, or move into an old Zayre’s or Gold Circle department store and make that a “church”. He takes a lot of pride in the fact that he’s “not Catholic” and doesn’t have an emotional connection to “a building or things”. Bless his heart.
I have no desire to change him, but I also have zero interest in becoming like him. The more he’d try to push me to say something negative about being Catholic or feel bad about being so connected to my old parish the more it made me look for Latin masses to attend…and the more I found myself doing things like watching Sister Act on Netflix or ordering DVDs like The Mighty Macs.
But the one sticking point for me these last few years has been Pope Benedict XV, because in my heart and I soul I just have never liked this man and I have resented his presence in the Vatican. I pray for wisdom and grace enough to one day understand why he was chosen to lead for five years, when his history in the uniform of the Third Reich made him unfit in my eyes to ever attain leadership of the Church.
I pray his successor is someone of immense personality who will shine brightly in his role and so eclipse Benedict that he’s ultimately forgotten from history. I hope the next Pope is of a personality more magnanimous, humble, and endearing than even that of John Paul the Great.
And, truthfully, I really do hope they chose an African Pope. I feel it would be a brilliant strategy move against Islam in Africa…and would also be an interesting way of blunting the fawning over Barack Obama on the world stage…since the first black Pope will enthusiastically trump the first half-black American President.
I am truly glad that wiser men than I are going to be making a decision like this, because I’m too immersed in the secular battles of the moment to be able to know what’s truly best for the eternal Church. But I know what my heart wants and I’ve expressed it…as I have a right to do as an individual. No doubt you’ll have an opinion too, even if it’s like Justin and his mother who are all about “Down with all Popes!” or “down with everything people care about” or whatever it is they are saying after I judiciously chose to tune them out and go about whatever it was I was doing before CarolAnne called again on the phone.
It’s a little surprising to me that I actually don’t respect Pope Benedict in the slightest for “retiring”. I think this sets a very bad precedent and that he should have occupied the office until his death. The abdication of the Duke of Windsor rattled Britain and the reverberations are still being felt today. I have no idea how much damage Pope Benedict will do to the world as we know ti by stepping down like this…but it certainly will make it much easier for various forces to pressure a future Pope out of office, now that Benedict’s set a precedent for “retiring”. Six hundred years of tradition wiped away in an instant by a man who once marched around in a brown shirt for the honor of a genocidal lunatic.
It all sort of underlines the fact that I always believed this man was the wrong person for this role, and that he was fatally flawed…much like Robert K. Byrd and Ted Kennedy. Their past actions really did do something to them that other people were far too willing to overlook…and if you look at the entirety of these people’s lives you can really see that, NO, they really shouldn’t have been made Senators or the Pope (respectively)…because there was something wrong with them inside that caused them to make bad decisions at crucial junctures later. No amount of saying “they had to do it!” or “they had no choice!” or whatever ever mitigated the reality that these made were defective as a result of choices they indeed did make.
I can honestly go on about this for hours because it gets me so worked up…but I just realize that all of this negative energy and bad feelings will at last go far, far away at the end of this very month. One week from now, Benedict will leave the Vatican for obscurity…and someone else will be the pontiff.
I hope and pray it’s someone truly remarkable…but at the very least I hope it’s someone I can respect and come to love as a fighter for true good in the world and a person I can admire without reservation. It’s been eight years now since I’ve had that…and on a personal level I just can’t wait until the white smoke over the Vatican officially opens a new chapter for the world’s Catholics now that this difficult one is closing.
*** NOTE: I truly do respect all of your individual opinions on Pope Benedict XV. I know he has supporters who feel passionately about him. My intent is never to denigrate the man or the people who do feel inspired by him…but it really does boil down to me feeling towards him what I felt about Robert K. Byrd. I think that’s the best analogy, more so than Ted Kennedy (who was a murderer, and not just someone who joined the KKK to survive in the South or the Hitler Youth to stay alive in wartime Germany). I just have so much more respect for all the men and women who refused to have anything to do with the Klan or the Hitler Youth and who used their smarts and courage to find a way to live without having to surrender to evil like that. No one can ever say what they would have done in whatever period of history we’re talking about…but I just find it hard to believe I’d ever willingly be part of an organization of evil just because I was afraid of losing my own life if I didn’t join up. I just can’t be bullied like that…and I have trouble respecting those who allowed themselves to be.
I really don’t like talking about my personal health issues because I am loathe to give the trolls and cyberstalkers out there new avenues of personal attack…and allowing them details about my health battle would really be a boon for these people. In the five years that I’ve been running this site and writing political essays I’ve discovered the Internet to be a largely vile and toxic place. That’s mainly because people are allowed to post anonymously and to say and do things under screen names that they’d never in a million years do “in real life”.
Back in Catholic school in Cleveland, the nuns always taught me to never put in writing anything that you wouldn’t publish to the entire world under your real name…because anything you’d be ashamed of following you around forever is probably something you shouldn’t write to begin with…or even allow into your heart.
Last February, one of my favorite people in the entire world died suddenly…though I can’t say altogether “unexpectedly”. In the gay world, most guys have a patron diva…a larger-than-life female singer or actress who is a lifelong personal favorite. Older guys had Cher or Barbra Streisand or Liza Minnelli/Judy Garland or whoever…and I have Whitney Houston. When I was younger, I was lucky enough to see her in concert a handful of times and I even had the extremely rare chance of not just meeting her but actually spending a few hours hanging out with her when I worked at a hotel she stayed in. She was sweet, charming, funny, classy, and so incredibly kind that afternoon I spent with her…and that’s how she’s always remained in my memory.
But, when Whitney died last February the full evil of the Internet hate machine revved up against her…and maybe I was foolish for being so surprised by that. The entertainment site EW.com was the absolute worst, with no spam or troll filter on the articles about Whitney…which resulted in just a nonstop barrage of hateful and even legitimately racist things said about this woman because of her various life issues and problems. It breaks my heart that someone so talented and sweet fell so far because of drugs…and that she just couldn’t turn her life around. There aren’t even words to express how horrific it feels to realize just how evil the Internet can be…remembering all the things that anonymous posters said about Whitney in those first hours and days after her death. Hell, the trolls and haters are STILL at it even today. Just go to any video of hers on YouTube and you’ll see this garbage.
Anonymity and the act of sitting down in front of a computer where no one can see you allows far too many out there license to manifest pure evil into the world…and I’ve come to realize that there is just no stopping that and putting the genie back into the bottle.
I used to think it was just political sites that attract these kinds of trolls and stalkers…but seeing this stuff at play on entertainment sites made me realize it is a much bigger problem than that. My boyfriend Justin is really into video games and graphic design and other interests like that…and even on the forums and sites he visits for his work or hobbies this same kind of anonymous hate permeates everything. And it comes flying out of nowhere too, with anonymous people hiding behind screen names constantly attacking people who are famous or known in any way. And the attacks are merciless too. They even happen on sites that are supposedly for fans of Disney, which is probably the biggest shock of my lifetime; there actually are websites out there are purport to be about a love of Disney theme parks…but the people who anonymously post there actually do nothing but gripe about or malign the thing they claim interests them most. It’s dumb(o)founding.
There are times when I really wonder if the Left has completely won and if hatred and evil control our world completely at this point. Many of the patriotic people I’ve gotten to know over the last five years have thrown in the towel and no longer want anything to do with politics or what’s happening to our country. They cede victory to the Left and have resolved to just ride out the approaching storm as best they can…in an Aesop’s fable kind of way, where they are the ants who see the writing on the wall and the Left is the triumphant grasshoppers who’ve taken over…but are too stupid to see that their actions are inviting doom.
I think we are at a very serious crossroads for our country but that our future is not at all uncertain.
I truly believe that America will survive…will persevere….and will emerge stronger than ever. I believe this for the simple fact that for the last 200 years every evil that’s manifest in the world has declared war upon America…and America has won. It’s just unfortunate for all of us to be here at this particular time in history…or, weirdly fortunate if you’re someone who takes personal satisfaction in being one of the people alive today who are able to do something — anything at all — to turn things around.
We’re very much in the Empire Strikes Back phase of things, with the Left feeling secure in its victories and gleeful in pummeling those who want Americans to be free to chart their own destiny. I’ve had a lot of time on bed rest and in recuperation to think about life and what I want to do with the precious days I have in me. Having your health collapse and not being able to do anything about it is a very scary thing…up to a point…until that day that you just let go and “let God”.
It is immensely difficult, physically and emotionally exhausting, and financially devastating to do so…but I love and take immense pride in standing up to the Left in whatever little way I can. When I was too sick to sit at a computer or too weak to be able to type I’d long to be here at the controls of HB smacking back at the Left and resisting the Ministry of Truth that is our national media in any way that I could. More than anything, I wanted to be here putting out content that is positive and determined and that doesn’t succumb to the fatalist belief that there’s absolutely nothing that can be done about the Left’s triumph over our beloved country.
I know it’s breaking Godwin’s Law, but I can’t help feeling weird echoes of the 1930s and 1940s….the last time evil seemed so triumphant in its march…but in the end the 1000-year reign of America’s enemies collapsed much sooner than its orchestrators ever imagined. And that was because good people…of perhaps the Greatest Generation…took a stand and made the sacrifices necessary to stand up to the evil of their time.
Without suffering and struggle joy and happiness disappear into the commonplace. It seems that every so many decades our world needs to be embroiled in some great civilizational conflict, where the forces of good battle the manifestation of true evil…where one shall stand and one shall fall and so many heroes rise to their call of duty (some so unexpectedly).
I feel so blessed to have encountered a vast pantheon of heroes through the running of this site over the last five years. Most of these people will never be famous, but they are truly the most wonderful souls I ever imagined I’d meet. Almost all of them are regular readers of this site and dear friends I wish I had time and energy to be in better contact with. But they all remain in my heart and in my thoughts because I know they all have a role to play in the years ahead as we move into the third act of the current drama plaguing our nation…and segue from the Empire Strikes Back to the Return of the Jedi of things.
I really love being a child of the 80s and mining idioms from Star Wars movies. It’s a little disconcerting being 36 now and realizing that my cultural touchstones are often lost on the Millenials and the generations coming behind them. It’s downright scary to appreciate that all of these kids raised in public schools and subjected to anti-American nonsense and “global citizens” brainwashing are becoming adults and will soon be running things…just as the gray-haired-ponytailed radicals of the 60s are finally entering their 70s and 80s and dropping into their graves.
It’s a harsh reality, this fact that the Millennials have been so indoctrinated that in many ways they are WORSE than the “Weather Underground” types that orchestrated the Left’s surge to power back in 2008.
I know people who focus on all of this and become so overwhelmed with grief for lost freedom and angst for our predicament and they just shut down. They surrender all hope and resign themselves to a bleak and meager existence, just waiting for the Left to finish the deal and come for them…like those lumbering and monstrous walking tanks the Empire sent at the rebels on that bleak ice planet when it “stuck back”. I just can’t imagine being someone who’d ever give up, though, no matter how badly the odds are stacked against us.
Even with my health gone and my body a complete, falling-apart mess at the moment I don’t want to give up…or stop being a thorn in the Left’s side. Enough little thorns working together become a forest…and a large enough forest of thorns can swallow up the fiercest and most Leftist of would-be empires.
I think all of the struggle is ultimately indeed worth it because in the end we will win…as others like us have won in the past…and America’s future will ultimately be safeguarded for another 30 or 40 years for the generations behind us. I wish I could say that this will be the last time that an anti-American evil is ascendant…but no doubt in the decades ahead some other force will rise up to oppose America, like a Hydra that just keeps growing another head. It’s especially challenging that the forces that want America destroyed this time around aren’t headquartered in Berlin or Moscow or London or even Mecca…but are in Washington, DC itself.
Perhaps our generation will ultimately prove to be the greatest of them all…because if we don’t surrender and we don’t give up and if we find a way to keep going in defense of the country we love then we’ll overcome obstacles that no generation before us has ever faced.
Like, the Internet…which can be a remarkable force for good when used properly and by responsible people who seek to shine light on wrong-doing and to ring the alarm when needed…or it can be a tool of great evil when employed by anonymous trolls and other villains to seek, destroy, and annihilate those who stand in the Left’s way.
It’s tough being in the middle of all of this and trying to gain perspective on how all of this will shakeout…but it’s comforting to take refuge in my faith and to know that my God is an awesome and loving God who truly set America up as a City on a Hill to lead the world toward light…a bastion of good in a world often roiled by evil.
I have that faith, and in many ways I feel it’s stronger than ever.
Just like one day when my body is healed and my strength is returned and my health is back to where it once was (and I have faith it will be), I will be so grateful for and appreciative of what I have in ways I never thought to be before I had this taken from me. It’s sad but true that too many of us have to come precariously close to losing something value before we appreciate its value.
I think America…and what it stands for…is one of those things that so many took for granted until 2008. The five years since have been our struggle as we watched the Left claim victory after victory and do more harm to what we loved, leaving everything in a weakened and ruined state.
But the future is about us reclaiming what was lost and stolen and never again in our lifetimes forgetting how much it all means or how precious it really is.
I really thank the good friends of this site who’ve sent so many wonderful prayers and words of concern and encouragement our way while I’ve struggled with my health. It really means the absolute world to me and I am so grateful to have so many people out there care about me on a personal level like that. I never expected something like that, so it’s an unexpected blessing that is intensely humbling.
I am happy to be back to work and in command here at Buzzquarters again…and though it might take a while for me to get back to full steam, I do hope we can take the road ahead as friends together. It will no doubt be a trying and difficult road…but such is the nature of anything and everything worthwhile.
GREAT MERCIFUL ZEUS! Look at the Filthy and Unsanitary Conditions Found in Offices of Chicago Law Firm Hinshaw & Culbertson!
[ Great Merciful Zeus! Lookit that abject filth! It looks like a crime scene! ]
I was recently subpoenaed as a witness in a case making its way through federal court involving a gay bar here in Chicago that’s been accused of harassing a Christian employee…which is a shocking display of hypocrisy, if you think about it, because the “Ministry of Truth” that is our national media constantly berates you with talking points that claim Christians are forever the ones victimizing gays…and no indication is given to the public that in reality it’s the gays who are the victimizers and not necessarily the victims in a lot of cases.
I’ve written about this before, while coining the term “Gaystapo” to refer to militant gays who serve as goon squads for the Left…and who are specifically charged with accusing Christians of all manner of hatred and bigotry (while simultaneously being the ones who actually rev up hatred and bigotry themselves against Christians at just about any gay-related public event held in cities like Chicago).
Well, I’m openly gay and can tell you that I’ve seen, firsthand, Christian men harassed and persecuted in the very prominent Chicago bar currently a Defendant in a major discrimination suit. I witnessed atheist or agnostic gays deliberately targeting gay Christians for harassment as “traitors” because of their faith…and I am looking forward to the day in the near future where I can take the witness stand in federal court and put on record everything I’ve seen self-styled “leaders of the gay community” do to men in Chicago who are both gay and Christian (but who refuse to denounce Christ or turn their backs on their families because the “gay community leaders” tell them that’s what they need to do). Honestly, this case is one of the most explosive I’ve ever encountered and has the potential to completely obliterate the Left’s ability to ever use gays as a weapon against Christians in the future…because it exposes the reality that whenever the Left accuses other people of doing something evil, it’s because subgroups of the Left are actually doing those exact same things to someone else.
This case will expose the Gaystapo for the evil it does to Christians…and it will also show the self-styled “gay community leaders” to be the real hatemongers at work in our society today.
There’s a lot more to come on this in the months ahead as the case moves through discovery and approaches trial…so be sure to stay tuned because I intend to tell you everything I am allowed to publicly reveal about the most shameless act of hypocrisy the “gay community” of Chicago has ever committed in its effort to destroy “the enemies of the gay community”.
[ Filthy conditions in the Hinshaw & Culbertson Chicago offices...but they aren't even bothering to clean the carpet for a catered event/party? So trashy!]
The firm that’s representing the prominent gay bar at the center of this hypocrisy is Hinshaw & Culbertson, which is a national firm that claims to employ over 500 lawyers coast to coast in various cities…with its headquarters in an opulent skyscraper in downtown Chicago right on LaSalle just before you’d hit the Chicago river. Yesterday, I was asked to meet with Scott M. Gilbert, who is the lawyer representing the Defendants in the case, because he wanted me to teach him to use the search function here on HillBuzz.org to find various articles I’ve written about both the bar and the gay community’s persecution of Christians…and Mr. Gilbert, despite his law degree, was unable to find and properly use the clearly-marked search function on this site (Quick: as a test, try to find the search function yourself and pull up articles about gay bars and/or religion on the site and let me know in comments if you are able to easily do so).
I went to Hinshaw’s corporate offices yesterday afternoon at the invitation of Mr. Gilbert thinking I’d be showing him how to better use this website’s archives, but it seems that the day had gotten away from Mr. Gilbert and he hadn’t booked a conference room so the meeting never happened (as you’ll read in my letter below, all the conference space was booked for some big, elaborate party the firm was hosting for a “Don Bozo”…who could very well be a circus clown highly connected in the mob…in which case, I fully understand the firm’s zeal to placate “Don Bozo” with such a large party whenever he wants because clowns are scary enough on their own…but become particularly terrifying when they’ve mobbed-up). I waited and waited for Mr. Gilbert to find space for us to meet, but he never succeeded…and the entire time I was left in the reception area to stare at the filthiest carpet I’ve ever seen in my entire life.
Mind you, when I was in high school I traveled through Europe and into countries that were still Communist at the time…and I never saw filthy carpets like this in the Eastern Bloc. Here in Chicago, I’ve been to all sorts of oddball places in the various adventures I have in this city chasing down stories…and I honestly can’t think of any Cook County or City of Chicago office that was as filthy as Suite 300 of Hinshaw & Culbertson’s corporate offices at 222 N. LaSalle. I have been behind-the-scenes in zoos and have seen cleaner floors in the service areas of the primate and pachyderm buildings.
Waiting in Hinshaw & Culbertson’s reception area yesterday reminded me of that episode of Friends where Ross starts dating some hot girl…and she invites him up to her place for the first time. Based on the fact that the girl was pretty and affable and seemed to be completely normal, Ross expected to head upstairs and find a well-kept apartment free of filth and other unsanitary conditions. Perhaps he even expected it to smell like strawberries and be as orderly and attractive as a page ripped out of the Pottery Barn catalog. Instead, he walked into a pigsty…with stains upon stains and a mysterious creature burrowing through the detritus.
I can’t say that Hinshaw & Culbertson’s offices are THAT bad…but they do rank as the filthiest offices I’ve ever stepped foot in…in any country and at any time in my entire life.
[ Just in case you are wondering, these offices are on the third floor of a very large office building that has a massive atrium and entrance hallways. To reach this reception area in Suite 300, people need to enter off LaSalle and walk for many hundred feet through a little arcade of shops...and then take an elevator...and after that proceed down another hallway. So, if you're thinking that this filth is just from Chicago winter salt/snow, think again. We haven't had a lot of snow this winter and people's shoes should be pretty clean by the time they make their way up here. I have no idea at all how this carpet got this filthy, save for live animals being loosed here on weekends to defecate and roll around in their own muck up here. It's horrifying! ]
Whenever I encounter anything that’s so bad it makes me sit down and write a company a letter like this, I like to share it with all of you because I think more people out there should take the time to write letters.
When I was in college and graduate school I worked in hotels and was always happy to receive something in the mail from a guest letting us know about a bad experience. I can remember quite a few letters from guests complaining about unmade beds or improperly cleaned bathrooms…but in all the years I worked in hospitality I never received a letter describing conditions as filthy as the ones I found yesterday at one of Chicago’s biggest law firms. I am absolutely flabbergasted that no one has ever called these people on the carpet for their filthy carpet.
And I won’t even get into what the men’s room was like…you can read the letter below for yourself. I need another shower just thinking about being in there.
But maybe a good, old-fashioned public-shaming will cause these people to rent a Rug Doctor steamer or buy a carpet cleaner on Amazon or something…and hopefully a little shaming will cause them to clean their men’s room.
QUESTION FOR COMMENTS: Have you ever encountered anything this filthy and unsanitary in any law firm or large company you’ve ever been to?
[ Donald L. Mrozek, Chairman of Hinshaw & Culbertson...the Chicago law firm with the filthiest reception area and bathroom I've ever seen ]
VIA FAX & EMAIL 2/20/2013
Donald L. Mrozek
Chairman, Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP
222 N. LaSalle – Suite 300
Chicago, IL 60601
Dear Mr. Mrozek,
I’m writing as a professional courtesy to ensure you are aware of the filthy and unsanitary conditions of your offices, located in Suite 300 of 222 N. LaSalle in Chicago, Illinois. According to your firm’s website, you are actually based out of this office…and should thus already be aware of the problem.
On Wednesday 2/20/2013, I came to Suite 300 for a 4pm meeting requested by Scott Gilbert, a partner in your employment law division. Mr. Gilbert was not prepared for the meeting, so your receptionist in Suite 300 showed me to a couch in the reception area while I waited for Mr. Gilbert to find an available conference room. At the time, Blue Plate Catering was setting up for a large party to be held in honor of “Don Bozo” (according to the receptionist); I’m assuming Mr. Bozo is another member of your firm (and not the famous ginger-haired children’s show clown, embarked on a second career as a Mafioso).
Mr. Gilbert kept me waiting for a good 25 minutes, during which time I was shocked to observe the condition of the carpeting in your offices (see attached photos, taken 2/20/2013 from a couch in your waiting area). Frankly, I have not seen filth like this outside of a loading dock or “backstage” maintenance room at an industrial site or a poorly-run zoo.
As you can well see, there are enormous stains on the floor of your reception area that could rival those photographed at crime scenes or garbage dumps. Other mysterious stains make me believe the Hinshaw offices are rented out to a veterinary clinic or livestock auction house on the weekends…because the surreal presence of assorted incontinent ungulates is the only possible explanation for how carpeting could be stained this badly in a suite of offices in downtown Chicago in what purports to be a major law firm with over 500 partners in multiple cities.
Since you have no magazines in your waiting area and I could not get WiFi service in your office on my phone, I suppose I had nothing else to occupy my attention besides your firm’s filthy carpeting while I waited and waited for Mr. Gilbert (who ended up not even meeting with me today because he never could find an available room and seemed distracted by the big party happening for Don Bozo).
When I later needed to use your men’s room, I was horrified to find those facilities even dirtier than the reception area. All three stalls had clogged toilets filled with un-flushed feces and urine, with toilet paper clumped in standing water on the floor or dangling in long streams from their dispensers (as if the washroom was hit by a devastating combination of severely early Halloween “T.P.” tricksters and men with extremely high-fiber diets). The mirror was splashed with water and streaked with fingerprints and grime. Overhead, the lights flickered due to expiring bulbs needing replacing. One of the Blue Plate caterers was changing clothes in the washroom as well, so upon entering I literally bumped into a half-naked, robust Hispanic man standing gingerly on tip-toe in stagnant water…which is something I don’t expect to happen in a law firm in downtown Chicago.
Frankly, your firm’s washroom was filthier than ones I’ve seen in truck stops, football stadiums, or Greyhound bus stations…in Mexico. On a surprise bright side, at least there’s no stagnant water and feces floating in urine in the reception area. I almost forgot about the filthy carpets after experiencing your washroom.
While I am not a client of Hinshaw & Culbertson and most likely never will be, I do hope you take this letter to heart and think of the effect your filthy reception area and unsanitary washroom would have on an actual client. Is this the sort of branding you want your firm to have under your leadership as Chairman?
Because it’s my understanding that the reception area in Suite 300 is where your actual clients also arrive to wait to speak with your attorneys…and this is the impression you are giving to the people who step off the elevator and into the Chicago offices of Hinshaw & Culbertson, which are supposedly your national headquarters. You clearly don’t even clean your offices when you’re having a high-profile, catered function…which is just bizarre to me.
I must note in closing that all of your staff members whom I encountered were very polite and friendly (including Mr. Gilbert, who seems like a very nice man)…but when they saw me staring at the stains in the carpeting a few of them shook their heads as they walked by and mouthed “Isn’t it terrible?” or “It’s so embarrassing”. One woman candidly remarked that your firm is not doing very well financially these days and that a decision was made to cutback on things like carpet cleaning (and, clearly, washroom sanitizing and upkeep).
I sincerely hope that if you were the one who purposefully chose to allow your reception area and washroom to become so filthy just to save a few bucks that you reconsider that decision. A “Rug Doctor” carpet steam-cleaner rents for around $50 per day from local Dominick’s grocery stores and it could have your reception area looking markedly better in just a few hours. Alternatively, I’ve heard great things about the “Stanley Steamer” cleaning service that’s advertised on television (though I’ve never hired them personally). As for your washroom, the only advice I can think to give you is “Clorox bleach”…and to perhaps send around a memo asking your partners and associates to flush the toilets after use and to not splash water or throw toilet paper around everywhere like unsanitary zoo animals.
Best of luck to you with all of this,
CC: J. William Roberts (Managing Partner), Kevin Joseph Burke (Vice Chairman), Bradford R. Carver, John W. Dubbs III, Laurie S. Randolph, Robert J. Romero
[ Seriously. An affordable carpet-cleaner costs about $135 on Amazon with FREE shipping. The one above is the model that I personally own. Why on Earth a big law firm like Hinshaw & Culbertson can't afford a $135 carpet-cleaner and some soapy water is just beyond me. ]
UPDATE: 2/21/2013 10am CST — I’ve gotten a surprising number of emails asking me what the young man in black is doing kneeling in front of what looks like some sort of “cult altar” in the lobby of Hinshaw & Culbertson…and what the white tables with the black band are for…and what the magenta-colored things in fishbowls are. Someone actually asked if those were “octopi” or some other sea creature.
I thought it was obvious in the original post, but those tables are there for the big fancy party that Hinshaw was going to have that night. The catering company, Blue Plate Catering, draped white tablecloths over the round bar tables and then let the cloth cascade down to the ground. While I was waiting and waiting for Mr. Gilbert to return to speak to me, I watched the young man dressed in all black (and a nice young female server) bunch the tablecloth together around the central pole that keeps the table upright. Then they tied ribbons around the middle to keep the cloth in place (that’s the black that you see).
On top the tables they had these little fish bowls with some sort of exotic flower inside. Despite being gay, I cannot identify all flowers…but it’s obviously some sort of tropical thing that’s magenta in color. It kind of reminded me of a giant raspberry…or like one of those “snow balls” flowers that used to pop up on bushes back in Ohio each spring.
You can (clearly) pick up decorating and entertaining ideas in the weirdest places. If I could give you one piece of advice today, it would be to never, ever miss up a chance to watch waiters or other servers setting up for an event if you can observe them. You will always get some little tip to show you how to turn a bar table into an elegant-looking “cult altar”, the way Blue Plate did with these tables and the “octopi” bowls.
I’m totally going to use this table setup and flower arrangement for something in the future. It would even work for having friends over if you want to setup a little snack or drink station.
UPDATE: 2/22/2013 900am CST — Read Part Two in “The Mystery of the Filthy, Filthy Carpet” HERE where we enlist the expert advice of actress Ann B. Davis of “Alice from the Brady Bunch” fame to uncover cleaning tips that might possibly be used by Hinshaw & Culbertson in the future to clean their filthy reception area carpet.