Empire Carpet should seriously consider retiring 588-2300 as tribute

April 29, 2011

I can't believe local media organizations aren't putting together round-the-clock weekend coverage of the death of the Empire Carpet guy. Now he was royalty. Chicago royalty. I've seen a few articles in the paper and probably missed some small items on the local news. Chicagoist has the best post, with his best commercials. But very little chatter online and now that it has been a few days, almost nothing in the newspapers/media. That's a shame. The Empire Carpet guy is a symbol of what broadcasting used to be: independent & local. And what a throwback. National advertising used to live and breathe off the jingle. Locally, Empire took the phone number and made it a memory game.  And several Chicago companies have followed suit. But no phone number will ever come close to the traction that 588-2300 had. 588-2300 should be retired. Without the sell-out (773) attached. Let's start a petition. My suggestion would be to make the phone number a living tribute to the man. Oh wait, it kind of is. They haven't changed their voice-over (maybe they never will). Have you ever actually called Empire?

empirecarpet.mp3

B story: Today was the royal wedding. It's a wedding of Prince William, who is Prince Charles' oldest son. See, Prince Charles is the son of the Queen Elizabeth. And the Queen is the daughter of an old King. And so on and so forth and so on and so forth, until you trace it back to the dude that invented the sandwich. And furthermore, I would bet you that there were 19 'royal weddings' around the world yesterday. But whatever, we have to love the Brits.

WBEZ's Tony Arnold got up (like 15 minutes before he usually does) to go over to the Globe Pub in Chicago's North Center neighoborhood.

Tony did a nice piece about it, but here's the DVD extras.

Some of the bar patrons were partying all night long - didn't even stop (aren't there drinking laws?) to put on PJs. Instead, they went all formal, including Kentucky Derby-type hats and tiaras. The rest of the people were there eating breakfast, drinking coffee before they went to work. 

The bar owner said this isn't his normal crowd. People only go in there for soccer and most of the gathering crowd were women.

They had several TVs all over the bar - each on the same BBC coverage of the royal wedding. In a regular bar, you have eight TVs but different channels. Sort of surreal, like a low-rent mission control.

I started to complain about the whole hype surrounding this event and Tony told me it was just like the Oscars or the Super Bowl to some people. Okay, I'll buy that. But unlike the bar sporting event, you just watch BBC and never talk. Seriously, this tape is spooky. Mind you, the bar is packed - standing room only:

C story: Highlight of my week? Getting to talk to the Yes Men on the phone. They hold workshops for local activism groups and they did one earlier this month in Chicago. The group struck with their first 'prank' by protesting a coal plant proposal in the South Loop. The NIMBY (Not in my backyard) art project was all a hoax, to trick media and get a dialogue started in the community about clean energy. Unfortunately, I'm not sure the South Loop bit on the prank. They were too busy celebrating the return of their royalty, King Jerry Kleiner

D story: The jurors are almost ready for the Blagojevich Trial: Port of call New Orleans. The opening statements for the trial should start early next week. One juror was dismissed because of Oprah tickets, and another was accepted - even though he had the Blagojevich "I've got this thing...and it's f**** golden" sound bite as his ring tone. Come on. You would think that might work in his favor (irony, love that guy!) but the juror actually said he thought Blagojevich was guilty. Riiiiigggghht.

Weather: I dropped off my son at school today and every time a student walked in the door, he would yell "NO RAIN!!!!" My sentiments exactly. 

Sports: The Bears got their man last night in the draft. Gabe Carimi will slot right into the starting lineup (and into Billy Dec nightlife). But they almost didn't and almost screwed over the Baltimore Ravens. The Bears wanted to move up a couple spots to get Carimi before the KC Chiefs were thought to pick him. So they dealt with the Ravens, trading picks and giving them a 4th rounder to round out the deal. But the Bears didn't follow procedure and the NFL didn't reward the trade. The Ravens ran out of time on their pick, forfeiting one spot. The Chiefs moved up and took a different player and then the Ravens still wanted the deal but now that the Bears weren't in danger of losing their guy, they bailed on the trade. WOW. 

And this will kill you Bears fans...who will Carimi likely replace on the line? That's right, former 1st rounder and Guard/Tackle Chris Williams. Ouch.

In other news: Bulls get the Atlanta Hawks in the second round. Crawford, Hinrich - this is going to be sweet revenge for the time you wasted here in Chicago.

Kicker: Plans have been introduced to redesign the intersection of Fullerton/Elston and Damen. What? You do realize that is the HEART of the 53rd Ward. 32nd Alderman Scott Waguespack threw out the proposal this week, while Alderman Ed Bus was on vacation at the Dells (off-season discounts).  But I got a weird call from Bus last night who wants to be heard on this issue. He was really miffed. He says this is personal and another way that the new guard is trying to destroy the old machine. Do I smell a protest? Bus ran on the platform, "Keep it Like it Was." He said he's going to call me after he and his family visit the Future house and have me transcribe an editorial. Man, I feel bad for Alderman Waguespack.