Posts Tagged ‘#Hinshaw
The Mystery of the Filthy, Filthy Carpet — PART SIX: The Subtle Warning Signs of Impending Doom in YOUR Area
[ Click above to embiggen: Canaries in a Coal Mine, more relevant than ever today ]
NOTE to OUR READERS: This is PART SIX in a ten-part investigation into “The Mystery of the Filthy, Filthy Carpet” and its true meaning in the bigger picture of what’s happening in our nation’s economy here in 2013. A recap of the investigation so far can be found HERE...and the complete collected Mystery is archived in our special “Mysteries” page in the HillBuzz.org archive, where mysteries such as this will continue to be solved in the spirit of our “political action, analysis, and adventure” mission around here. As always, there is an easy-to-use Search Box located just to the right in the sidebar (as well as an archive of articles by month)…should you have any desire to look up absolutely everything I’ve written on any topic in the entire existence of this site.
I need to take a moment to thank all of you out there who are assisting our mystery solving efforts either in comments or through private emails…because it’s been a lifelong goal of mine to tackle the most important issues of our time via epistolary investigations such as this…which reach out to the great experts of our age (and retired cast members of tee-vee shows I always liked) for their own input. We’re living in a time when the national media has become a true Ministry of Truth that protects all of the Left’s secrets…leaving only amateur sleuths and armchair detectives like ourselves to expose everything that the Obama Regime doesn’t want the public to know. Through prayer, hard work, and determination I believe we can get to the bottom of a great many things…one mystery and letter-to-whomever at a time.
It’s become clear that the Left has indeed won the Culture War and we’re faced with the reality that everything set in motion in the public school system and the media ranks in the 70s, 80s, and 90s has at last come to fruition in the here and now…but if you believe, as I do, that the very concept of an “America” as we know it is still important to the world, then we must endeavor to do a little bit each day to undermine the Left’s current stranglehold on power. That means tackling one mystery at a time in a thoughtful and determined way that turns a lot of the Left’s favored tactics against them.
I am proud and delighted to have your help with mystery-solving and thank you in advance for all the ideas, intel, and information you will hopefully continue to provide as this series continues as a daily feature here. Before you know it, we’ll all emerge as mystery-solvers unlike any who have ever existed in the political world…with no ready counter to our work on the Left and limitless potential for what next we can focus on.
KD for HB, Chicago — 2/27/2013
Today marks the stage in concerted mystery-solving where everything starts to really heat up and happen rapid-fire…with lots of emails, calls, and messages pouring in from all over the country offering insight into our new economic theory that “dirty carpets in a big law firm” is an idiomatic 21st Century update of the old canard “canaries in a coal mine”. Since it takes a hot, shirtless miner with an iPhone to make coal shafts or canaries relevant to a lot of people today (particularly the self-obsesssed and difficult-to-focus “Millennials”, or those who were taught in public school that “coal is evil”), I think addressing the observable warning signs of an impending economic collapse in more relatable terms is crucial to getting the word out that we’re all in much greater danger than the Ministry of Truth that is our national media would ever have us believe.
If you’ve been following our investigation, you’ll know that the germ for this new economic theory originated with my exposure to the filthy carpeting I found in the lobby of the purportedly prestigious law firm Hinshaw & Culbertson in downtown Chicago on 2/20/2013…where I additionally discovered a men’s washroom that appeared neglected and not-cleaned for some time (with standing water on the floor, severely clogged toilets, and feces bobbing in urine under flickering, creepshow lighting). The shock of walking into a shiny, steel-and-glass high rent skyscraper in the middle of the Loop and encountering filthy and unsanitary conditions more predictable in the Third World inspired me to think about the general shabbiness I’d noticed in other unexpected places in recent years. In fact, staring at that filthy carpet on the waiting room couch at the Hinshaw firm made me realize that myriad establishments I’d visited since 2008 were similarly coming apart at their seams.
It just all can’t be a big coincidence…and I know this is not just happening here in Chicago; it must be part of something bigger that the Ministry of Truth just doesn’t want us to talk about and the Obama Regime is desperate to keep hidden at all costs. Dirty carpeting in a big law firm is one piece in a bigger puzzle that, when assembled with other clues YOU are picking up where you live, completes a larger picture of just how much 2008’s “Hope and Change” became “Misery and Ruin” by 2013.
[ Click above to embiggen: the actual filthy carpets at the Hinshaw & Culbertson offices that inspired the “dirty carpets in a big law firm” idiomatic meme ]
I took a walk around my neighborhood here in Boystown today and tried to keep aware enough of my surroundings to detect any oddities similar to the filthy lobby carpeting at Hinshaw & Culbertson downtown. It’s stunning how little time or effort it took to see that our emerging economic theory is right…and that all around us there are serious indicators that the Obama Regime’s impact on our economy has caused all sorts of “stress fractures” that are visible to anyone who cares to see them. And this, I remind you, is before the full blow of Obamacare hits business in January 2014 (with massive layoffs expected across the board in all industries where some of Obama’s mandates can be avoided by drastically shrinking an employer’s payroll).
This all makes me think of a very heavy, iron weight placed haphazardly atop a block of ice or a glass container…and the heaviness of that burden has caused chips and cracks in what’s trapped beneath it; it is now obvious to observers like us that a collapse is coming (though we still don’t have enough information on the system to determine precisely when total failure will occur). I don’t know very much about managing a law firm, but I at one time was a manager in a large hotel back in Cleveland and I can assure you that if we ever allowed our carpets to look like those photographed above that it would be a matter of just a few months before the hotel would have to close its doors. That’s because the very last thing we would ever cut back on before we could no longer stay in business would be shampooing the rugs and making sure the bathrooms were spotless. If whatever financial weight was upon our business that we felt pressured to stop cleaning the carpets and to turn the men’s rooms back over to nature just to save a few shekels, then Great Merciful Zeus our days as a business would have truly been numbered.
There is just no corner of my wildest imagination where our hotel would have ever been allowed to fall into the sort of ruin I observed in the Hinshaw & Culbertson offices last week.
On my walk around Boystown this morning, I thought about this…and about any hospitality venues in the city who clearly couldn’t survive in the current Obama economy…or who were forced to drastically cutback on goods or services. A great many restaurants and other small businesses have closed around Chicago in the last three or four years (which amounts to a very rapid die-off in a city where these sorts of establishments seemed fairly stable and secure up until 2008); interestingly for our purposes, all of these places that closed appeared shabby and evidenced “stress fractures” (like filthy carpets and uncleaned men’s rooms) in the months leading up to their closings.
Just off the top of my head I can think of the “Orange” chain of breakfast-only eateries that I’ve written about before…which shrank from a four-restaurant chain in the city to just two locations in the last year or so; before Orange closed the Boystown and downtown stores, it seemed like all maintenance and upkeep stopped in those restaurants. Those now-shuttered Orange outlets just didn’t sparkle or seem as clean as they always used to be. I happen to love Orange, so it was heart-breaking to watch their standards decline so precipitously; in retrospect, I now understand that the heavy burden of our current economic woes just forced this company to skimp on essentials…until the Obama economy necessitated laying off half its staff and closing two locations.
A pattern’s emerging here, where first a place starts to look shabby…then the quality of its services drops…and finally it cuts its staff and eventually shuts its doors for good.
Other restaurants in the neighborhood have drastically shrank their portions and have stopped doing elaborate menu changes for the seasons (since it’s much cheaper not to change gears and do creative or special things for a limited time only). Nookie’s Tree, a favorite eatery on Halsted, was seemingly unable to afford a reprinting of their menus…so they just ran-off copies of a Word document for inserts and used a black Sharpie to cross out all the things they no longer offered their customers. Based on my understanding of the hospitality industry, I saw a direct correlation between expensive ingredients and the drastic cuts to the Nookie’s menu…since everything crossed out was either too costly to continue serving or was very labor-intensive (and, thus, a drain on the bottom line if perhaps the kitchen staff was sliced in a budget cut behind-the-scenes). You might not realize just how sensitive restaurants are to changes in food costs…or how little wiggle room for error there is in budgeting a restaurant to stay in business and remain worth the time and energy of keeping the doors open.
Charlie Trotter’s, a gourmet Chicago staple for over a quarter century, shuttered late last year…under a weird cloud of obfuscation that it was because the eponymous chef “wanted to do something else with his life and maybe study philosophy”. That sounds a lot like when a politician is forced from office but cites a sudden desire “to spend more time with his family” as his primary motivation for disappearing into obscurity. At one point prior to 2008, Trotter sat atop an empire of restaurants, publications, retail, and even a tee-vee show…but one by one his restaurants in other cities closed, he stopped putting out new books, his “Trotter’s to Go” epicurean shop boarded up, and then his signature Chicago restaurant folded. I just don’t see any of this as being voluntary, because the man loved what he did and was the sort who spared absolutely no expense to bring the world’s greatest ingredients to the platings on his degustation menu.
Seeing Charlie Trotter’s close and the entire Trotter’s gourmet brand essentially vanish in the last few years was shocking…because even in the Great Depression the fine-dining and luxury brands didn’t collapse, because people who had the money to afford the 1930s equivalent of Trotter’s never lost their ability to keep drinking champagne and enjoying 12-course “tasting menus”…even while everyone else around them wondered where their next meals would be had. We are in uncharted territory where it’s not just the places like Orange or Nookie’s that are evidencing economic “stress fractures” in service and staffing cuts…but the likes of Charlie Trotter lose empires they built painstakingly by hand over 25 years (and their collapse happens in just three or four years under Barack Obama’s stewardship of our country).
Honestly and truly wrap your heads around this, but Trotter is a man who lost an empire he built and successfully ran for 25 years…but it all crumbled to pieces and was then swept away by changes made to our country by Barack Obama and the Democrats currently in power. I know you see this happening where you live, too, with people always known in your community for building something wonderful from scratch that has just not been profitable since 2008 when our entire world was changed by the Left.
The grocery stores around here seem to lack a lot of the more exotic fruits and vegetables that were always so plentiful before 2008. Pomegranates and water chestnuts are just two ingredients that I used to enjoy including in various dishes that are suddenly difficult to find, even at Whole Foods. I put pomegranate seeds in salads and also enjoy making jelly and a Persian chicken dish with them, but I have not seen the giant baskets of pomegranates in any store in Chicago in the last three years; when I first moved here, every year during pomegranate season there would be enormous displays of this fruit (but now, there’s none to be found). Similarly, the fresh water chestnuts that I like using in kung pao or orange chicken are never in the produce section any longer…and the canned versions are about a dollar more costly since Obama took power. I’ve talked often on this site about the chicken itself being around two or three dollars more per pound than it was when George W. Bush was still president…and the same is true for every other meat I buy at the store. Even the once “cheap” meats like short ribs or pork belly are ridiculously expensive all of a sudden. So much so, in fact, that sometimes going to the grocery store I feel like those old pictures I remember in textbooks of life just after WWII in Germany, where it took barrels of marks just to buy bread and milk. This is, indeed, the “Change” we were delivered by Democrats.
All of this, I believe, is attributable to the Left’s desire to hike gasoline prices as high as possible…because I think it’s the fastest way they have come up with to tank our economy completely. Grocery stores and restaurants are uniquely impacted by hikes in gasoline because everything they sell is shipped on large trucks from farms, and then shipped two or three more times on various modes of transportation until it’s received at a loading dock and prepared for customer purchase. Each step in that supply chain adds a higher fuel charge that the shipping companies are passing onto consumers…and that ultimately results in me feeling like it’s now costing barrels full of cash just to keep dinner on the table for Justin and me.
I applaud and deeply respect all of you out there who are somehow managing to do this for large families, because I have a $300/month grocery budget that I need to be more creative each month to survive on for the two of us…and I couldn’t even imagine how I’d be able to stretch even double that to feed a household with children.
I think the restaurants that have gone out of business or have dramatically shrank their operations were victims of the gasoline hikes, since their purchasing costs are much higher than a family’s would be. The grocery stores are probably decreasing the number of shipments they receive, or just forgoing certain items because they’ve become too costly to order from their purveyors…and there’s no longer a justifiable profit margin in even carrying the pomegranates, water chestnuts, or whatever any more. Why spend limited resources bringing in things that aren’t helping the bottom line in a period of history where loss-leaders and exotics just aren’t worth the effort anymore because of the gasoline prices?
I bet you can think of all sorts of things like this that you notice where you live…and I invite you to add them in comments below, because one of the worst fears of those in the Ministry of Truth is that regular people on the ground will communicate amongst one another the things that they see happening where they live…and then start piecing it together that none of this is isolated or specific to one city or town. This is not just something that’s happening in Chicago because our sales tax is high or because Illinois is so messed up. It has nothing to do with winter here or other common excuses. It’s all part of a much bigger picture that indicates that, YES, we are currently in an economic Depression (and this is precisely where the Leftists want us to be, since they see a manufactured crisis like this to be the perfect opportunity to cease complete power).
People often feel powerless in the face of a reality like this and wonder, “Well, what can I do?”…and I think the first thing to do is to start talking openly about all of it. That’s one of the things that totalitarian and repressive regimes dread the most…when ordinary people start effectively communicating with one another and everyone can see that the same terrible things that are happening in Chicago are going on in Cleveland and Pittsburgh and Los Angeles and Houston too. Democrats gain and maintain power by carving everyone up into tiny fiefdoms and increasingly more specific buckets…but if communicate with each other and talk about all the warning signs we can detect that this really is a Depression and that things are indeed going to get worse before they get any better, then the Ministry of Truth will ultimately not be able to suppress the truth any longer.
“The Mystery of the Filthy, Filthy Carpets” might not have made sense to some of you when I first launched this important investigation last week, but I truly do believe the Holy Spirit pushed me to see a deeper meaning in those dirty stains at the Hinshaw & Culbertson offices (and their pigsty of a men’s room) that relates to this sort of thing happening all over the place…in businesses that before 2008 would have never dreamed they’d allow their offices to become so filthy or their store shelves to go bare. But, here in 2013 we’re all encountering surprise filth in places we used to take for granted would be immaculately clean…and I can honestly say I never experienced anything like this before in all of my life. It really is the sort of thing I only encountered in communist countries or dreadful places like Mexico or India…and I never thought skyscrapers in Chicago would fall into this sort of similar neglect and disrepair.
Several days ago, after my investigation was launched, Scott M. Gilbert (the young partner in the Hinshaw firm whom I was supposed to meet with the day I went there) asked a judge here in Chicago for a court order to silence me…because he claimed it was “harassment” for me to tell all of you about the filthy carpeting and the dirty men’s room at Hinshaw’s corporate headquarters. I think he was mad because I let the Senior Partners know that I was there because he was supposed to have a meeting with me and maybe they were upset with him for having me come to their offices when they all knew it was so dirty up there. The judge refused to give Mr. Gilbert such a gag order and told him that if he wanted to complain about me that he’d have to write a motion and present it to her (since apparently you have to do this sort of thing in writing and Mr. Gilbert wasn’t allowed to just blurt it aloud in open court because he was so upset at that moment). I personally think this was all kind of ridiculous of Mr. Gilbert to do, because if you really are embarrassed and don’t want anyone to know about how filthy the carpets were in your offices or how stinky your men’s room was then I don’t understand the strategy behind trying to get a court order to silence the guy who is talking about it. The net effect of that is really just the “Streisand Effect” of drawing more attention and interest to the story than ever would have existed if you hadn’t tried to make it a federal issue (literally…in a federal court, before a judge who is widely believed to be on the shortlist for a future Supreme Court nomination). This is totally the sort of embarrassing thing I’d pretend wasn’t even happening, instead of making it more interesting for everyone following the ongoing investigation into “The Mystery of the Filthy, Filthy Carpet”.
I haven’t heard anything more about any motion since, but I don’t see how it’s possible for a big law firm like Hinshaw & Culbertson to prevent a visitor like me from telling all of you about the filthy and unsanitary conditions I found when I came to their headquarters for a meeting (especially since I took pictures as proof of how bad it was). If a company really was able to order someone’s silence, then I don’t see how YELP! would still be in existence…since frequently people write on that site about filthy conditions in restaurants, bars, hotels, doctors offices, etc. and I don’t see how law firms have any sort of special privilege afforded to them that would prevent people from describing the dirty carpets they find in such big law firms.
Hinshaw & Culbertson might not like the fact that their filthy carpet and stinky men’s room inspired not only my investigation but a new Internet meme…but considering the First Amendment I don’t think there’s a whole lot that they can do about it (besides regret not keeping the carpets cleaned and the washroom tidied to begin with).
Mr. Gilbert was very upset, however, that I told people about what I’d seen…and he also seemed clearly very embarrassed by the condition of the place when I spoke with him the day of our meeting. He sheepishly admitted that he didn’t have a conference room available, but then gingerly danced around the fact that he couldn’t have our meeting in his own office on another floor. That was so strange, and felt a little like back in the days before I met Justin and I’d be on a date with a guy and he was embarrassed to ask me back up to his place because he knew it was too dirty for company. That’s one of the most tense and heartbreaking moments in gay dating…when you’re having a nice time and are inclined to head somewhere private, but the guy just knows that he’d be mortified if you saw how dirty and messy his place was. It’s totally apocryphal that gay guys are neat and clean…when in fact we’re all just like straight guys in this regard, only we like dudes (so a lot of times apartments get even messier because gay guys figure the other guy won’t really care). I felt really bad for Mr. Gilbert in that moment, actually, because he seemed like a nice man and was very polite to me…but I believe the filth in the lobby may have been nothing compared to what the rest of the behind-the-scenes Hinshaw offices must have been like if he couldn’t just meet with me in his office or elsewhere.
I almost wanted to tell him that it would be okay and that I wouldn’t tell anyone about it being dirty in his office and that we could really have our meeting there, but I didn’t want to embarrass him any further than he already was. He never asked me not to take pictures of the filthy carpet in the lobby or to not tell anyone about that or the stinky men’s room…so I didn’t even realize it would become a federal issue for the Hinshaw & Culbertson firm that I’d write about it all. They clearly know I’m a writer and that all of my work is based on my life experiences, so I don’t really know what they expected in having me come to their offices when anyone could clearly see that the place was so rundown and shabby.
It’s scary to think about just how much trouble the entire country’s in if this is what a corporate headquarters of a big law firm is now like in “The Golden Age of Hope and Change” delivered unto us by Barack Obama. Filthy carpets, not having a presentable location to meet, disaster areas in a washroom…these are the kinds of embarrassments that people had to cope with behind the Iron Curtain in states controlled by the Soviets (and their particular brand of resource management and wealth distribution). But the Chicago corporate offices of Hinshaw & Culbertson prove this is happening HERE with Barack Obama and his motley crew of Chicagoans in the White House.
“Dirty carpets in a big law firm” really has become a fitting update of the “canaries in a coal mine” warning sign…and so it just remains to be seen how big of a disaster this alarm indicates. That’s what I’m now trying to determine, as our investigation continues and I attempt to collect everything I’m learning into one unified economic theory. Since none of this is good for the Left or the Obama Regime, I just know that nobody in the national media or academia will ever be inclined to investigate and study it. That means it’s just up to me and my friends and all of you out there reading this (which is kind of redundant, since I’ve come to regard all our regular readers as friends of the variety that “I just haven’t met yet”).
In thinking of who to reach out to next in our continuing investigation into what “dirty carpets in a big law firm” means for the country’s economic health as a whole, I remembered the story of The Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee and how it survived the Great Depression…but had to close down for a spell in the 1970s because of the urban decay and financial malaise of the Carter Administration. The Peabody is also famous for maintaining a collection of wild ducks in the hotel, and at one time housed alligators and other creatures…which no doubt all made all sorts of messes. Oprah Winfrey stayed there a few times, I think, which also couldn’t have been beneficial to the carpets.
Memphis is a city with a massive boondoggle of a public works project in its “Pyramid Arena”, that was built with plenty of taxpayer money under a grand delusion that it would save the city from ruin. Currently, the building’s scheduled for conversion into a Bass Pro Shop, but there’s a lot of squabbling between the company and the city about just how ugly it all will be. I figured writing to The Peabody might elicit some insights into any warning signs the staff could remember before the hotel shut down when Carter was president…and possibly could give us some scoop on if the staff’s seeing any augurs of another closure ahead during the Obama Regime. I have not heard back (yet) from the Senior Partners of Hinshaw & Culbertson, actress Ann B. Davis, Heloise the Household Hints lady, author John Grisham, or HRH Princess Caroline of Kennedy…but the mail here in Chicago is just dreadful and it often takes a while for things to reach people in different states (so I’m sure that’s the main reason for why I don’t have a response from any of them yet).
When letter-writing for assistance in solving important mysteries, I have found that the more people you write to then the greater chance you’ll receive a response from some of them. I also think it’s very helpful and quite nice when those of you reading this give me your take in comments or via email as well…since often hearing from you is much more enjoyable than getting a letter from a member of the “Kennedy Family” or whomever any day.
VIA US MAIL — 2/27/2013
The Peabody Hotel (Memphis)
149 Union Avenue
Memphis, Tennessee 38103
Dear Mr. Duckmaster,
As you’re aware, this week I’m hard at work putting the finishing touches on a groundbreaking new economic theory that my readers and I have been developing…which seeks to provide a warning sign for approaching economic collapse in much the same way that “canaries in coal mines” once warned miners of deadly toxic gas when they were deep in the bowels of the Earth. The inspiration for my sudden entry into the field of economics came from a foul experience I had in the law offices of Hinshaw & Culbertson here in Chicago; specifically, it was the filthy carpet in their lobby waiting area and the stinky mess that defiled their men’s washroom that made me think about places I expect to be spotlessly clean in any economy…but are noticeably disgusting here in 2013.
This leads me to believe that we’re currently in a global Depression, but the Ministry of Truth that is our national media just won’t admit it for political reasons…and that things are going to get much worse economically before they get even a little better.
I thought to seek your input into all of this because, obviously, as a “Duckmaster” you have experience with all things “fowl”…and must certainly have encountered all manner of stains and odors as a result of your unique position. I also think that from your perch at The Peabody you know a thing or two about buildings that might be closed in a bad economy, since The Peabody itself ceased operations and was boarded up for a period in the late-70s and into the early 80s (if memory serves, it seems like that overlapped quite perfectly with the Carter Administration in Washington and all the corresponding damage it caused to our country).
I originally wrote to the Senior Partners of Hinshaw & Culbertson about the neglected and shabby appearance of their offices…and told them at one point that I believed it looked like they rented their lobby out to a veterinary clinic or livestock auction house on the weekends to make extra money. I wonder if you could have a look at the photographs of their carpeting that I’ve attached and determine — once and for all — if you believe that animals of any kind were involved in making these stains. I know that might seem ridiculous to you, but I need this information for my important economic theory…because animals on the loose in a law office would skew the anecdotal and idiomatic value of my experience at the Hinshaw firm. For me to assert that “dirty carpets in a big law firm” is truly a warning sign of a major economic crash on the horizon I need to be 100% certain that the filthy carpeting in question was just the result of upkeep and maintenance failures…and not evidence of a Noah’s Ark-style parade of all God’s creatures through this lobby several times a day on (at least) the weekends.
Can you tell from photographs if the filth in the Hinshaw & Culbertson offices was caused exclusively by human foot traffic or if at least some sort of animals had to be involved? I know you’re a Duckmaster and not a zoologist, but I remember “Bones” from Star Trek always screaming about how he was a “doctor” and not a “engineer” or a “Duckmaster” and that guy always managed to come through in a pinch once he got all the drama out of his system.
I don’t know if all my readers know this, but The Peabody Hotel is famous for keeping a flock of ducks in its lobby fountain…and the hotel’s “Duckmaster” is responsible for training the ducks to be able to walk from their “Duck Palace” on the roof to an elevator and then along a red carpet to the fountain. Apparently, there’s a similar position in the current White House where someone more or less does the same thing with Michelle Obama (whom I imagine is not as easy to deal with and as fun to be around as the Peabody’s wild ducks). Glad I don’t have to worry about cleaning those carpets!
From what I can tell, the Peabody ducks are all female except for one green-headed drake…and they only live at your hotel for a few months before they are returned to a farm where children are told they “choose to head back into the wild”. I’m 36 years old and still like believing there’s a Santa Claus and that our votes actually are counted and mean something at election time, so I’ll also go along with the story that these ducks never, ever end up on anyone’s dinner plate after they’ve been entertaining the guests of The Peabody. I even want to believe there’s really a place called “Duckburg” and that the happiest and safest ducks of all live there, having endless adventures and having Duckmasters a plenty to care for their every need. Life is pretty bleak here in Chicago after what Barack Obama has done to our economy for five years now…so “Duckburg” might be a place that far too many others out there would dream of living now as well.
In many years past, the hotel apparently had alligators and other creatures in the lobby fountain…which is a fun and interesting tradition that survived even the worst economic collapses that hobbled just about everything else around the hotel at various points through the years. I’m wondering if there’s any pressure to eliminate the ducks or the “Duckmaster” position at The Peabody in these depressing economic times. Here in Chicago, it feels like every day some longstanding tradition or spark of local color’s being mothballed…because there just isn’t any money left to keep these marvelous things going in the age of Obama-induced austerity.
I know you weren’t around when The Peabody closed its doors due to the Carter-provoked economic ruin of the 70s, but I wonder if you have any historians at your hotel who have ever given you insight into what cutbacks management made to the building that in retrospect could have been seen as signs that The Peabody just couldn’t stay in business any longer. I used to work in the hotel business while I was in college and graduate school…and 9/11 occurred during the time I was head of security of a major hotel in downtown Cleveland. The penny-wise but pound-foolish General Manager we had at the time decided to scrap a lot of the maintenance and upkeep programs that he felt were “too expensive” at time when his quarterly bonus depended on slashing hotel costs. One of the stupidest things he did was to fire both the marble cleaning company and the sprinkler system inspectors…because he felt they just cost too much and that the hotel’s own housekeeping and engineering staff could just work a little harder and take care of these things.
Well, the housekeepers (who were never trained to clean marble properly) ended up damaging the very expensive flooring in parts of the lobby…because they used the wrong solutions and equipment when trying to clean that marble. Engineering just didn’t understand the sprinkler system well enough to detect any problems that the professional inspectors would have quickly found…and about five months after the General Manager fired those guys a sprinkler line burst and flooded several floors of the hotel. That ruined carpets, wall paper, bed linens, and caused us to lose those hotels to paying guests for several months while it all had to be remodeled. Not surprisingly, the General Manager soon “early retired” from the company…and now works at a small bed and breakfast somewhere in Montana that few people ever visit.
It’s been a long time since I worked in a hotel, but I wonder if your staff is under pressure to keep cutting back on cleaning and maintenance in this depressed Obama economy. I also wonder if you could show the photographs of Hinshaw & Culbertson’s filthy carpeting to the housekeepers where you work and see if they can either identify what caused all those stains or offer advice on how Hinshaw can remove them. I am very much inclined to believe that budget cuts at this big firm resulted in the carpeting becoming so filthy…in much the same way that the foolish General Manager at my old hotel believed saving a few bucks on marble cleaning and sprinkler upkeep would make him look good to the accountants (who surely stopped patting him on the back when they processed the enormous bills for marble replacement and the renovation of three entire floors that those cutbacks to maintenance ultimately caused).
I am sure that taking care of five ducks in a very large building must keep you endlessly busy…but I appreciate any information you can provide us in the matters of stain identification and possible removal, as well as anything you can find out about what The Peabody was like immediately before it was closed for that spell in the 70s during the worst of the Carter-induced economic malaise Americans suffered back then.
Best of luck with all of whatever it is you do in this most unique and interesting position,
As those of you who’ve been closely following the unfolding “Mystery of the Filthy, Filthy Carpet” well know, a chance encounter with a dirty (and some would say downright filthy) carpet in a big law firm here in downtown Chicago has evolved in the last few days into an important economic theory I’m developing…which involves measuring and interpreting the neglect and accumulating filth in big city office buildings as a 21st Century version of the old “canaries in a coal mine” that previously warned miners of approaching disaster in other centuries; in our case, my theory is that filthy carpets and poorly-maintained washrooms in the offices of something like a major law firm in a shiny skyscraper are a clarion call that the nation’s on the verge of a major economic collapse (since firms that are doing well financially would not slash their cleaning and maintenance budgets like this, at least not in the areas of their offices that are reserved for clients, guests, and other visitors).
My main contention in all of this is that a big law firm with a prestigious address in Chicago is expected to be immaculately clean at all times, and up until just recently these places would have spent whatever it took to maintain that expected image of cleanliness…so we are in uncharted territory in this country if big law firms and other businesses that Chicago depends on to survive can no longer afford to keep up those appearances.
At first I was just startled by the filthy and unsanitary conditions of the Hinshaw & Culbertson’s Chicago offices…and as a professional courtesy I wrote to the Senior Partners of the firm to make sure they knew just how bad things had been allowed to get in their lobby and men’s room. I just thought it was the polite thing to do as a visitor, since I’d certainly want someone to tell me my carpet was unacceptably filthy or that my bathroom resembled a space that would be more commonly found in an abandoned bus station…in Mexico. One of my friends suggested that perhaps the partners of the Hinshaw firm all have some degree of autism (or even Asperger’s Syndrome) and are, thus, unaware of their surroundings to the point where they’d never realize how poor everything looked to a client or visitor. “They could just be a bunch of eccentrics and not care,” one friend in particular advised. I’ve never met Donald L. Mrozek or J. William Rogers (the big cheeses at the firm), but I did see Mrozek walk through the lobby wearing a long black coat, a red scarf, and (I believe) a black hat while I was sitting on the couch staring at that filthy carpet (and photographing it in an obvious way). Mr. Mrozek is an older man who looked grandfatherly and is the kind of guy who would have been played by Andy Griffith in the movie that will no doubt eventually be made of all this (but since “Matlock” and “Sheriff Taylor” passed away last year, I don’t know who they’ll get for the part…Wilford Brimley, maybe?). The man in charge of the Hinshaw firm was coming back from something he had to do outside when I saw him, unless he just keeps his coat and scarf on him at all times during the day (in case there’s an emergency or something…or maybe it just costs too much to heat the parts of the offices that visitors don’t step into).
I haven’t heard back from Mr. Mrozek or anyone else at the Hinshaw firm about my letter to them, but I didn’t really ask them for any kind of response. My email just more or less informed the Senior Partners that their carpets were filthy and that their men’s washroom was the dirtiest and creepiest I had ever encountered this side of a horror movie. I honestly don’t even know what sort of response a company can give to that, besides admitting “Yah, we know” or saying “Sorry everything was so gross and dirty while you were here”. This is one situation in which Hallmark most certainly does not stock a selection of cards.
Operating in the capacity of a concerned citizen, Good Samaritan, and “local busybody”, I next asked actress Ann B. Davis (of Brady Bunch fame) if she could remember any really excellent (and inexpensive) cleaning tips that I could perhaps pass-on to the folks at Hinshaw & Culbertson the next time I am there for a meeting. I was raised in the Catholic Church and attended all the Bazaars, roast beef dinners, Christmas parties, and other things the parish organized…and I always remembered my grandmother Emma, in particular, having an eagle’s eyes when it came to spotting someone in the throng who maybe didn’t have enough money to buy a ticket for the dinner or couldn’t afford another spin on one of the carnival rides in the church parking lot (but she could tell the person really wanted to twirl around for a while). There’s just something about the filthy carpeting in this law firm and its disaster of a men’s room that has brought the “Grandma Emma” out in my DNA, and so I wanted to help them help themselves by finding household hints they could maybe use to tidy up a bit; this is just the sort of thing that Emma would have done…though she probably would have even offered to clean up their mess herself, since she was just an awesome and loving church lady like that. I am not that nice and don’t aspire to be, but I do like to help people who’ve made a complete mess of things.
Grandma Emma’s been gone for some years now, but the Holy Spirit moved me to think of her and my childhood in Cleveland and compelled me to find someone else who could help the hapless Hinshaw firm with their filthy carpet and stinky men’s room when I didn’t receive an immediate response from the woman who once played housekeeper “Alice Nelson” on an old tee-vee show I watched in reruns. So, naturally, I thought next to ask lifestyle expert “Heloise” what she would do about these carpets and the mess in the men’s room…but I am still waiting to hear back from her as well. Since I didn’t tell her this was an emergency or anything, it could be a while.
In the meantime, scores of readers here on this site offered their own handy solutions to Hinshaw & Culbertson’s cleaning woes…to the point where I think we now have all of that covered. If this firm continues to have filthy carpets and a dirty men’s room after reading all of your loving and thoughtful cleaning tips, then these people just want to be dirty and there’s nothing much we can do about that. Or — which is kind of depressing — a firm like this just can’t afford to stay clean any longer…and can’t even find room in the budget to hire someone to use common lemon juice and elbow grease to make their offices sparkle (in addition to having Stanley Steamer or someone with a Rug Doctor come in and shampoo the carpeting).
It was at this point in my letter-writing that I realized the Holy Spirit had deposited me inside those Hinshaw offices for a reason last week…and that “The Mystery of the Filthy, Filthy Carpet” was deeper than even the most stubborn of stains in their lobby. Yesterday I wrote to author and legal expert John Grisham to see if he could give me any insight into what compels a large firm like Hinshaw & Culbertson to neglect their lobby and men’s room like this…and in writing to him I realized that I might have accidentally stumbled upon a major new economic theory where dirty carpet in a big law firm is actually an indicator of approaching economic doom for our entire country. This, to me at least, was sort of like “Doc Brown” hitting his head on his toilet and accidentally inventing the time-traveling “Flux Capacitor” in the Back to the Future movies of the 1980s. The inspiration for this new economic indicactor, thus, partially came from Grisham’s many books set in big law firms…where the firms he described were always immaculate and sparkling (with a fortune spent on upkeep and maintenance, no doubt). Since I’m a fan of his books (and have read all of them, except for the junky ones) and my expectation for a big law firm like Hinshaw & Culbertson was for it to be spotlessly clean like in those books…the fact that I arrived for an appointment with one of their partners and instead found the place filthy convinced me that something bigger than just poor office management was at play.
[ Click above to embiggen: the latest Internet meme to sweep the nation ]
Meanwhile, the Internet (as it so often does) took my “dirty carpets in a big law firm” turn of phrase and ran with it (which is something that would happen in one of the exciting John Grisham legal adventures)…and apparently it’s now been featured on UrbanDictionary as a newly-coined idiom that updates the “canaries in a coal mine” warning sign for the 21st Century. Clearly, there’s something to the fact that a big law firm just doesn’t normally allow its carpets to become so filthy (or its men’s room to resemble something even Stephen King would be scared to dream about) unless there was a serious problem behind the scenes that we just might not know about. I’m surprised by how quickly people have been making up mouse pads and tee shirts with the meme “dirty carpets in a big law firm”, but this idiom must really resonate with people who clearly feel a “heaviness” or a “malaise” hovering over our economy since 2008…despite the Ministry of Truth that is our national media’s best efforts to pretend “We’re in recovery!” or “Everything’s just fine now!”. I know that young people in their 20s and 30s are intensely fond of mouse pads and love wearing the coolest new tee shirt, so no doubt you’ll soon be seeing all of this paraphernalia wherever you live too. I’m still not entirely sure what “Tumblr” is, but I bet in the next few days there will be a “Tumblr” collection of hipsters photographing themselves wearing “dirty carpets in a big law firm” gear while doing cart wheels or shaking their butts in front of large office buildings coast to coast. It’s just how the Internet works when a new theory on economic indicators captures the public’s imagination this way.
I think this is because when people see filthy carpeting in a fancy office building while visiting a purportedly prestigious law firm, they know there’s a serious economic problem in our country right now…and,when they stumble into the men’s room at that firm and find stagnant water on the floor, clogged toilets with all manner of YUCK! floating everywhere, and the general appearance that the place hadn’t been cleaned in a great while, they become even more convinced that the Democrats’ economic policies have pushed our nation onto the precipice of absolute and catastrophic ruin. The simple truth is that if we really were “recovering” then the seams wouldn’t be so glaringly showing in offices like Hinshaw & Culbertson…which give the impression that the firm is months away from some sort of institutional collapse. I think after Barack Obama’s reelection most of us realize there is nothing that can be done any longer to prevent this ruin…but I for one cling to the prayer that after the Democrats are done inflicting all this damage that we’ll ultimately be able to rebuild (though it will be from the ground up, at essentially Square One).
I think the reason the “dirty carpets in a big law firm” meme has caught on so fast is because people can see this wherever they go, even if there isn’t a branch of Hinshaw & Culbertson in their town. Malls that were once glittering showplaces are now dingy and unkempt, with stores shuttered and quite often all the fountains long ago turned off to save money. Here in Chicago, the once bustling “vertical malls” along Michigan Avenue were all mostly long ago abandoned…with at least one of them more closely resembling a mausoleum than a shopping center on my last visit. Readers have emailed me over the last few days of my investigation into “The Mystery of the Filthy, Filthy Carpet” to talk about restaurants, bars, grocery stores, and other places they frequent becoming noticeably dirtier the last few years…as if cleaning crews had been dismissed, or there was a general cutback in in hours for the people who once maintained these establishments as veritable showplaces. I can think of dozens of places I used to love going to that seem to be skimping on ingredients or embracing a more generic or cheaper way of doing things…all seemingly to save money. There’s a tangible sadness everywhere…and just a general sense that there’s just not enough money flowing to properly maintain anything.
Here in Boystown, I know of a bar that used to go all-out for its holiday and festival decorations…with lavish flower arrangements that could have easily time-traveled from the heady days at Versailles (or been flown in from Washington after the latest of Michelle Antoinette Obama’s extravagant soirees), but this place now seemingly has its staff amateurishly decorate for events, instead of hiring expensive professionals (AND they are having the staff dance in speedos and jocks for their parties now too, instead of bringing in some of Boystown’s professional go-go boys…which is just sad, and kind of like when a movie studio replaces the talented actress you liked in a film with a much cheaper and weirder-looking one for the less expensive TV series spinoff).
Simultaneously (and its a weird converse of all this descent into shabbiness), I’ve also noticed the guys getting increasingly hotter in menial jobs and service positions at drug stores, fast food restaurants, car washes, etc. There are a lot of buff, Abercrombie-looking guys working as receptionists wherever I go too (and that was not the case when I first moved to Chicago eight years ago, believe me…I was single then and I’d definitely have noticed and would remember). That makes me think that the job market is just so bad that people who wouldn’t have been caught dead flipping burgers (and never had to, because they were so good looking that those kind of jobs were always “beneath them”) now apply for those minimum-wage jobs because they are the only positions available. Hope! Change!
I’ve noticed the crime rate in Chicago skyrocketing since Barack Obama took office, too…which could be a result of the people who used to fill all those menial jobs (the ones now being staffed by recently-graduated-from-college hotties) being pushed out, since what manager WOULDN’T want to hire the handsome gay guy desperate for work instead of the thug with a criminal record or the Spanish-speaker who still refuses to learn English (even after living here for many years)?
A big law firm cutting back on cleaning expenses and allowing its office carpets and men’s room to become filthy and unsanitary is happening in the same economy where a bar across town is drastically chopping its flower and decorating budget…and across the street the place that used to hire buff male strippers is no longer paying those guys…and so they’re forced to take work doing things they never had to do because the easy money and glamorous gigs were always so plentiful (until 2008 or so, when the Depression started)…which makes it impossible for people on the very bottom rungs of society to get the unskilled and menial jobs they count on…pushing those guys into committing more crimes…which has its own effect on the downward spiral of our country.
It really is all interconnected and related…and so the “Mystery of the Filthy, Filthy Carpet” has much more relevance to you than you might have thought when I first launched this investigation a few days ago. I’m not an economist, but I also think “dirty carpets in a big law firm” could end up being the defining indicator that we’re truly in an economic Depression right now…but the Ministry of Truth that serves as our national media refuses to admit it. I’ll be working on fleshing this out in the next few days as my investigation continues…and hope you contribute your own thoughts to this in comments below (or in private emails to me on the topic). As all of us professional mystery-solvers say, “The investigation continues!”.
While I was looking for a major economist to write to for help with my “dirty carpets in a big law firm” theory, I started thinking about the people who are really responsible for setting the stage for life as we know it to collapse with Barack Obama at the helm. One of the most glaring groups of these people are the Kennedys…and the de facto carrier of that “dynastic” torch these days is really HRH Princess Caroline of Kennedy, now that her murderer uncle Ted resides deep down below (where all the goblins go), as my Grandma Emma would have put it. You might not be aware of this (though you’re about to be), but Princess’s mother, St. Jackie of Kennedy (to the press, at least), once stood idly by and allowed relatives of hers to descend into squalor (with filthy carpets and stinky bathrooms of their own)…until she and her sister Lee Ratsiwell (sp?) were publicly shamed for what they allowed to happen at “Grey Gardens”….which had a lot more wrong with it than just stained carpets like those at Hinshaw & Culbertson.
I believe Princess Caroline deserves an earful about what I’m uncovering in “The Mystery of the Filthy, Filthy Carpet” because all of us kind of live in Grey Gardens now, with the Kennedys being as responsible for what’s happened to our economy as Jackie was for the ruin of her aunt and cousins.
VIA US MAIL — 2/25/2013
Mrs. Caroline Kennedy
c/o Josh Isay
594 Broadway – Suite 805
New York, New York 10012
I write to you this morning despite the two of us not ever having the best working relationship (in that I find you to be our country’s continued answer to Roald Dahl’s loathsome creation “Veruca Salt”…and you by all accounts seem unaware I exist) because I hold you at least somewhat personally responsible for the prolonged economic mess our nation’s endured since you and your “Uncle Teddy” (who I remind you was a drunk serial abuser of women and also a murderer) anointed Barack Obama as “The Lightbringer” and “The One” back in the winter of 2008. And thus foisted this man and his agenda on our country.
I think your Uncle also gave Obama a dog we never see anymore…and then Obama named it after his own initials, which is only slightly less revolting than the dog being a “Portuguese water dog” formerly owned by the porcine Kennedy who had drowned a women. Honestly, your kin and the Obamas are 90% of why I can just never vote Democrat ever again…especially after appreciating what Democrats do to the country when in the White House.
While you seem to have suffered along with the rest of us these last five years, that’s largely a result of poor decisions you personally made and the inept handling of your public image by Mr. Isay and the SKD Knickerbocker firm. I do (sort of) feel obliged to thank you for making such an ass of yourself in December of 2008 when you brattily tried to grab Hillary Clinton’s soon-to-be-vacated Senate seat…because that was a hilarious spectacle to behold (and just about the only levity us Hillary 2008 supporters had after your family’s betrayal of the Clintons). Your tantrums of “I wants it, I wants it, I wants it!” remain legendary…and just about the only good times had by so many of us in that horrible, horrible year.
Then, when Obama was officially president and followed Governor David Paterson’s lead and himself humiliated you by picking other people to be his ambassadors to the Court of St. James or France…and after the Vatican specifically said it would refuse your credentials if you’d be sent over there…it really seemed like nobody at all wanted a damn thing to do with you, which is how I suspect a majority of people in this country (outside the media ranks, of course) feel about your entire “Kennedy Family”. That was funny too, so thank you for whatever you did behind the scenes to cost yourself the ambassadorships you seem to feel entitled to for helping Obama so much.
You are a woman who had (almost) everything handed to her and until 2008 was considered our “American Princess”, but you’ve really never amounted to much in this life. Every now and then you have someone gather up notecards or grocery lists your mother, Jackie Kennedy, scribbled in her later years and you repackage them as “Edited by Caroline Kennedy” and sell them at craft fairs or wherever…but these are hardly accomplishments and I suspect you know that. You’ve been so quiet the last few years I’ve vacillated between thinking you are plotting your comeback and wondering if you were just being lazy, but I don’t think the jury’s still out on that anymore.
You are lazy…and also very much like your mother in relation to her role in allowing your cousins, the Bouvier Beales, to degenerate into squalor in their home, Grey Gardens, back in the 1970s. The Ministry of Truth that is our national media has always protected and advocated for “The Kennedy Family” (in ways in which the British papers have never served the actual royals in “The House of Windsor”), so most Americans don’t even realize that your grandfather “Black Jack Bouvier” stole the rightful inheritance of your great-aunt “Big Edie” Bouvier Beale…and that your grandfather then absconded with that money for the benefit of your mother Jackie and her sister (which was your aunt Lee). The amount of money your grandfather stole from his sister and her daughter would be around $800,000 today, adjusted for inflation. That’s a fortune that would have prevented the Beales from falling into poverty and losing their home to abject squalor and ruin.
Jackie Kennedy, your mother and our former First Lady, knew full well what horrible conditions your cousin and great-aunt were living in at Grey Gardens…but she chose to do nothing about it for many years, despite no longer needing any of the fortune your grandfather had stolen for her when she was just a girl. But, after a documentary film crew discovered “Big Edie” and her daughter “Little Edie” surrounded by filth and terrorized by raccoons in the falling-down-around-them ramshackle that had become their home, your mother was publicly shamed into paying for Grey Gardens to be cleaned and “Big Edie” to have a few dented scheckles to live off-of for the last few years of her life.
Your mother is considered a saint in our national media…and I grew up in a household where she was forever revered for her “grace” and her style. She was, however, clearly not someone who did the right thing unless she was called onto the carpet with a public shaming and forced to right a wrong she was personally responsible for. I don’t know how “graceful” or “stylish” that ultimately is, but I’ve never looked at “St. Jackie” the same since I watched Grey Gardens.
I feel that you, as the caretaker of the “Kennedy legacy”, have a responsibility to all Americans in much the way your mother owed your relatives at Grey Gardens…because your selfishness, stupidity, and lack of situational awareness at a critical juncture of our nation’s history had a detrimental impact on us all.
With so much falling down around and the whole country feeling like there’s a heavy cloud over our heads, I feel like we’re all sort of living at Grey Gardens now…and that’s because of the actions of your Uncle Ted and you back in 2008 that pushed Barack Obama towards the Democrats’ nomination and into the presidency. That intervention in the process on your part prevented Hillary Clinton from becoming the 2008 nominee…and I think it altered the course of our nation’s history because I don’t believe she would have allowed everything to collapse into economic ruin around us the way that Obama has. In fact, I do believe without reservation that Obama is enjoying seeing the country degenerate into squalor…because that’s part of his “social justice” and “redistribute the wealth” outlook on life in a global sense.
As you are no doubt aware, I’m working this week on a major theory that ties observable phenomena to the real state of our economy, with things like the disrepair and abandoned maintenance of office buildings being a major indicator that we’re currently in a Depression that was caused by the actions of Barack Obama. You’ve read how I discovered this connection when I sat in the waiting area of the law firm Hinshaw & Culbertson and was shocked by how filthy they had allowed their carpeting to become and how stinky and vile they kept their men’s washroom. I believe I have seen pictures of you online standing with Robert K. Shannon, one of the partners in the Hinshaw firm, so perhaps you are personally aware of how filthy the carpeting and washrooms are in his Chicago offices. I’m not accusing you of having anything to do with their carpets becoming so filthy, but based on what I know about you from observing your behavior all these years I would not be surprised to find out you at the very least threw the toilet paper around in the restroom. It’s just something you seem like you would do, just because you could, and then you’d deny it later.
I draw your attention to the fact that the phrase “We All Live at Grey Gardens Now” looks to resonate with so many in the days and months ahead, especially as the approaching onslaught of Obamacare regulations and burdens obliterate many small businesses and result in millions of Americans losing their jobs and falling into poverty soon. I hope the public holds you at least in part personally responsible for this…and I suspect your handlers sense this possibility, because you really have been keeping an uncharacteristically low-profile lately. Not even fresh shipments of faberge eggs to Bergdorf-Goodman’s have been able to coax you out of reclusivity.
It’s almost exactly the way your mother behaved right before the “Look at what Jackie allowed to happen at Grey Gardens!” outrage erupted in the mid-70s.
Like mother, like daughter, I suppose.
Only your mother just allowed her aunt and cousin to suffer in squalor caused by the greed of her father…while you stand in the ruins of “Camelot” and watch the entire country before you collapse into a “Grey Gardens” state of neglect, forfeited prosperity, and dirty carpets (in big law firms and everywhere else) because people in all levels of our society truly are suffering greatly in this Depression that the state media won’t acknowledge. This is, of course, all thanks to your family’s maneuverings five years ago that put us collectively on this course.
This is the part in letters like this where I would normally ask someone to do something or another to help…or to solicit their advice on where we can go from here to make things better…but, who am I kidding? You are Caroline Kennedy and are not especially of much use or worth to anyone…but even if you were at least a decent enough person as your mother and you could be publicly shamed into action under the right circumstances, the mess you helped push our country into is so much bigger than the one “St. Jackie” allowed to manifest at Grey Gardens. I guess the only thing I can ask of you is to just not do anything to make it worse and to just remain in cloistered exile the way you have been lately.
I guess you could always start shopping again…because that would help some merchants in New York, at least. So, yah, do that, Caroline. While everyone else tries to claw out of the heap you and your family pushed the country into.
QUESTION for COMMENTS: Have you seen Grey Gardens and do you also find a connection between the state of that mansion’s decay and the Kennedy Family’s responsibility for the nation’s current economic condition?
Read the rest of “The Mystery of the Filthy, Filthy Carpet” HERE.