Thursday, September 07, 2006

Cooking with Rodent

The SJ-R's Chris Britt recently inked a cartoon that lampooned the rodent infestation at Franny’s Tavern. It was in response to a recent health inspection where suspicious mice activity was reportedly detected in food preparation areas. The cartoon shows a Franny’s patron ordering a bowl of Chili Sans Itchy amid a bar-full of mice. It has gotten some play on talk radio and I have to say that I was a bit taken aback by it when I first saw it.

My first reaction was that it seems a little harsh to go after an otherwise upstanding local establishment in such a ruthless manner. It’s one thing for an editorial cartoonist to be merciless when going after politicians, since some consider them to be lower than mice on the food chain anyway, but quite another to skewer the proprietor of a blue collar bar, a gentleman who is apparently so kind-hearted that he also runs a shelter for wayward rodents.

Rather than depicting Franny’s as a spot still overrun with mice, Britt could have chosen to draw a pipe-playing leprechaun leading the horde out of the Irish pub towards the Lincoln Park lagoon where they would meet their demise. It is, after all, better to light a candle than curse someone’s darkness. But that's just me.

On the other hand, anyone serving food that had previously served as lodging for mice is deserving of a harsh rebuke. If I had been one of the people who had eaten at Franny’s in the weeks preceding the health inspection, I probably wouldn’t have laughed a vengeful laugh upon seeing the cartoon, if only to keep from swallowing the chlorine I’d been gargling with. So in that respect, I suppose you could say that Britt struck a blow for every Franny's customer who was served a crap sandwich.

I do have somewhat of a history with Franny’s and perhaps that is responsible for my initial compassionate reaction. For a few years, I lived across the street from the venerable drinking hole that was once a popular political hangout.* Although I was never a regular**, and I don’t know the owner or any of the patrons, I do harbor a minor affinity for the place.

The day after I became engaged to my future wife, we met some friends at Franny’s to share the good news. What I remember most about that evening, even more than the inappropriate condolences directed towards my wife, was a minor incident that involved one of the patrons.

As my wife-to-be left our table to powder her nose, she caught the eye of a 50ish bloke who had apparently been soaking there in place for some time. He watched her as she passed and again on her return. This was not the admiring stare of a chap harkening back to his halcyon days spent a-courtin’, but the hard glare of someone who either harbored a misogynic attraction to cute brunettes or had just eaten a pork tenderloin breaded with mouse droppings. I now have reason to believe that it may have been the latter.

I don’t blog much about golf, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t congratulate Annika Sorenstam on winning the Brass Rail Award. She must have scored a lot of points on that last day because I think she was in 10th place earlier in the week. I’m not sure if this is the first time the fairer sex has won a golfing match, but her victory struck a blow for women everywhere. Take that Bobby Riggs. Annika has also helped restore some pride in our country in a time when we can really use it. USA! USA!

*Dan Rutherford hosted a gathering at Franny’s during the fair which provided me a glimpse of why I’ll probably never become involved in a political campaign. In addition to being made to hoot and holler like an audience member at a Let’s Make a Deal taping, apparently you’re also required to “get happy” upon hearing some of the dregs of popular music (Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll, YMCA.) Maybe it’s just a Republican thing, but I can’t imagine that a Blago shindig is any more happening.

**A BFS t-shirt, should they become available, to the first person to identify the song that laments the “regulars” who haunt taverns. The NGR is in effect and it has to be the song I’m thinking of and not some other song that I don’t know. Also, no making up your own lyrics, Ms. What.


Russ said...

Piano Man would fit, I suppose.

Or is it "Forever Young", by Alphaville? :)

monkey boy said...

Russ beat me to it. If it is not "Piano Man," then Russ still deserves a BFS foam visor.

Laura said...

Its not Piano Man...its Here Comes a Regular by the Replacements. A great tune when you are down in the dumps and even when you're not.

BlogFreeSpringfield said...

Russ and Monkey Boy,

Please! Would I ask a question that had a Billy Joel song for an answer? Even though your answer is technically a correct one, there will be no foam visor because you failed to consider the tastes of the blogger asking the question. I'm sorry. I'd ask you to try again, but . . .


You are correct in your response and your assessment of the song.


In case you're wondering, that little bit on the Rail Classic is my tribute to Jackie Harvey, the clueless gossip columnist from the Onion.

Thanks for commenting,

King of the Britons said...

I'm quite sure the Franny's mice were just looking for another bar. The Prisms mice made them all dress up like the village people and do a pageant. Seriously, didn't Franny's get a high rating just a few years ago? I remember being surprised by that when I saw it on the news.

nancy said...

Geesh! Those of us slower to the keyboards in the morning don't stand a chance of ever winning a BFS t-shirt! Congratulations Laura. I remember that fine Replacements song on a mix tape called "Descend", a fitting companion to its upper-beat "Ascend" tape, both ably produced by none other than Dan himself. Can I just make a preemptive guess that the next trivia answer will be Mazzy Star?

BlogFreeSpringfield said...


My Mazzy Star phase came right before I made the transition from casette to CD, so unfortunately, I don’t have the wonderful “She Hangs Brightly” album on my iPod. I did download a couple of the singles (Halah and Be My Angel), but that’s an album that should be listened to start-to-finish, preferably in a dark room.

I’m trying to get K-Tel to reissue the Ascend and Descend compilations in time for Christmas. We seemed to have hit a bit of a snag, however, because even though I purchased every song on the tapes, I technically don’t have reproduction rights. What a crock.

Thanks for commenting,

BlogFreeSpringfield said...

Your Majesty,

Interesting hypothesis. I wonder if mice do take on the characteristics and sexual orientations of those whose abodes they infest. Well, maybe not that interesting, but definitely worthy of a study by a taxpayer-funded university.

Thanks for commenting,

ThirtyWhat said...

Dan ... you wound me! Make up lyrics? I have never made up lyrics ... except to songs I sing as I load and unload the dishwasher. Those songs usually revolve around my dogs or cartoon characters. It's best not to ask ... any example would cause you to go spontaneously deaf.

I wouldn't have won anyway ... my guess would've been "Where Everybody Knows Your Name" from Cheers. Whose new lyrics, in this case, would be:

Making your way
As a mouse today
Takes everything you've got
Sangamon County's
Cracking down
And laying traps a lot
But I always get away

Franny's is where we wanna go

It's where a mouse will feel no shame
Cause they don't care that you came
We wanna hang in basements dark
And cutting boards and drains
We wanna go
Where a mouse will feel no shame

monkey boy said...


I was indeed shocked that you would think about Billy Joel in any fashion, however, it does fit. If you won't buy Russ a foam visor I will!

This is tantamount to the old "bait & switch" routine. You rapscallion!

BlogFreeSpringfield said...

Ms. What,

Parody songs are always welcome as I feel that Weird Al is a national treasure and anybody who can carry on his fine tradition is okay by me.

Monkey Boy,

I made it clear when asking the question that the correct answer had to be the one I was thinking of. If you want to give Russ a foam visor, be my guest. I should warn you that any unauthorized reproduction of the BFS logo is strictly prohibited.

Thanks for commenting,

Russ said...

Too late. I've already made myself a BFS foam visor, and I will be wearing it proudly at the next James Blunt concert.

BlogFreeSpringfield said...

Have fun at the concert, Russ. I thought you might find this interesting:

James Blunt has polled fourth in a list of the "most annoying things".

The survey was carried out by Lactofree, makers of health drinks. According to the adults interviewed, the singer is more annoying than traffic wardens and hangovers.

The Top 20 Most Annoying Things:

1. Cold callers
2. Caravans
3. Queue jumpers
4. James Blunt
5. Traffic wardens
6. Tailgaters
7. Brown nosers
8. Chantelle and Preston
9. Ex-smokers
10. Noisy neighbours
11. Hangovers
12. Carol Vorderman
13. Loud mobile users
14. Men in flip-flops
15. Paper cuts
16. Bad hair days
17. Breaking wind
18. Abi Titmuss
19. Off milk
20. Being put on hold

Russ said...

See, less annoying than Queue Jumpers!

Actually, yes - the music is pretty grating...but when it comes up at a trivia night, I'll be ready.