Archives Pt. 5   Scoop's Annual  

sex & camping column! plus a new Jimmy Barnes Tale of Woe, and a bonus featurette!...The Girl with the World's Longest Tongue! All True, Always! 


   Scoop of the Month
    a new "Scoop Web-Exclusive!"


The Stinking Fountain of Love

TRUE ROMANCE…Annual Camping Sex Column!


Scoop Jackson: well-hung, and a hunk-a hunk-a burning love…

Plus: a new Jimmy Barnes Tale of Woe!

Note from the Editor: Scoop has been embarrassing other people for so long, I thought it only correct he reveal a few items that might otherwise go unnoticed…

There are so many things that make camping special, so for this column let’s pick one that might catch your libido’s interest…

OK…sex! Yes, you camp with your lovely family to enjoy the great outdoors, and to spend "quality time" together. Who can forget the time little Johnny dropped the freshly-caught bluegill down Mommy’s shirt? And the campfires, with marshmallows roasting on whittled sticks? But then the little tykes are asleep, and Daddy lets Mommy know the gentle evening is not over. He has a plan in mind…

So he drinks the rest of the beer getting into that "special" mood and winds up snoring outside on the ground until dawn. But the point here is that Mommy forgives him, because she loves him, and today he will get up and take a cold shower and spend "quality time" with the family again, and he and little Johnny will look for frogs and catch another bluegill and try to drop it down Mommy’s tube top, with Daddy getting a nice peek, at which point Daddy realizes he is going to be a good boy tonight, at least until little Johnny is asleep.

Love is a beautiful thing, ain’t it, and don’t I know it. Several incidents happened to me recently which only reinforced the depth of true love. You may find this depth of true love when you camp, and I hope you do, but don’t try this at home, because that’s where it happened to me…

Mrs. Scoop and I have an old, old, old house. In fact, the first settlers of Milton shot at Indians from the old, old, old bedroom window that I am going to talk about shortly. When I was cleaning out the attic a while ago, I found an old etc. hunk of hair. It made me think that one particular friend of this settler didn’t know about that old ‘Indian knocking on the rooftop’ trick. But the house still stands, which is good, because I live in it.

Anyway, I needed to put the window A/C unit in this room. The windows have those weights and pulleys and things on it. Plus, I had painted them shut during my annual ‘Spring Cleaning’ morning (my motto: "When the noon whistle blows, the tools get put away." Yet another reason I love Milton…they have a real noon whistle).

Despite all tugging and shoving, the lower window would not go up. I grabbed the top of the lower portion, took a deep breath, and gave it all my might. The window snapped free, shot up, and trapped both hands between the sills.

I now know what Medieval torture must have been like. I was on my tip-toes, all fingers wedged, caught like a rat in a trap. I tried to force the window down with my knee, then my foot, to no avail. I began yelling for help…

Go ahead, laugh at me. You can come over any time you want and I’ll be happy to slam your fingers between two windows. Maybe while you’re hanging there I’ll tell you a few jokes, see if I can’t lighten the moment…

Meanwhile, down below on the first floor, Mrs. Scoop was singing along with the blasting stereo as she vacuumed. What a happy home-maker she is! However, right then I would have settled for a lazy couch potato. Eventually (15 minutes later) Mrs. Scoop shut down the vacuum cleaner just as my fine neighbors Tom and Cherry came dashing into the house, having heard my pleas all the way across the street. All three of them came upstairs, whereupon Mrs. Scoop managed to pry my bloody fingers free, one digit at a time.

Then they all sort of chuckled, except for Mrs. Scoop, who wanted to know if I could still get that window A/C unit in with a bloody screwdriver…

I’M KIDDING! She was deeply concerned. And the point is, she could have had her way with me…in a bad way, I mean. She could have spanked me, throttled me, even tickled me. Instead, she set me free. That’s true love. And as long as I’m on this subject, let me rat myself out one more time…

Preparing for true romance, Mrs. Scoop always lights candles all over the bedroom. She also has a lot of wall-hangings, and a fan for background ("white") noise at night. Well, we were feeling frisky, as a lot of you campers do, although Mrs. Scoop did not have a bluegill down her nightie. She does not consider this foreplay, so guys…be advised! (Kids—‘foreplay’ is that thing in Golf where you practice getting to the hole. We golfers have to spend more time on this technique, so I’ve been told. Also, in Baseball terminology, we married guys get to ‘1st base’ anytime we want, unless you are trapped in an ancient window, so there…)

During our antics, somebody’s foot kicked the fan, which swiveled to blow on the candle, which immediately ignited the wall-hanging thing, which burst into flames. Deeply involved in passion, I faintly heard Mrs. Scoop yell: "It’s on fire!"

I grinned and said, "You bet it is, Baby," at which point she disentangled herself, gently slapped sense into my head, and pointed.

We did what any normal couple would do—we threw the burning wreath into the shower. There are only a few smudges remaining on the wall, and we have since resumed our game of ‘Golf’.

So that’s my Annual Sex Column, and I now feel quite comfortable in reporting all of your misdeeds. Feel free to contribute…omit candles, please.


Yes, a new Jimmy Barnes tale…

It’s been a while since that rascal Jimmy Barnes got in trouble. A retired Chicago Firefighter, he once almost burned his own Station down when he basted ribs in the alley with a kerosene-soaked brush. This Spring, he vowed never to appear in my column again. "My grandkids read about me on the Internet, and they say, ‘Grandpa, did you really do all those goofy things?’"

Well, yes he did. Jimmy is a prime source of news for me, with tales too numerous to recount here. You’ll have to check out my website, just like the grandkids. But this one happened just the other day…

Some of my favorite golfing buddies are the Italian-Irish-Polish mob. Jimmy Barnes is their consigliere, a man noted for his wit and charm. His alias is ‘Guido Stiletto’, a name chosen to bring respect and fear. Figuring a consigliore should be armed, the mob obliged, giving Jimmy a rubber knife and an empty water pistol. He carries these ‘tools of his trade’ with pride. It was smart thinking to give Jimmy these particular weapons, because, alas, he is apt to fall on his knife or shoot his own kneecap with the pistol. Here is his latest tale of woe:

The guys were having a few refreshing beverages at Frank the Enforcer’s trailer. Across the road is Lance’s trailer, with a small pond containing a fountain that has a naked cherub peeing into the pond. This, of course, is recycled water from the pond that comes out of the cherub’s thing-a-ma-jig. In the pond are also three or four dead fish, a dead turtle belly-up, and assorted pond scum of the usual variety. The pond hasn’t been cleaned for 2 years.

Lance likes to do one chore a day, a sensible plan, since he saves his vacation time so he is at the trailer all summer long. Today’s chore was cleaning the pond. He began with the cherub. The water from the boy was only a trickle, so Lance brought out a thin wire brush, which he used to carefully ‘rod’ out the source of the stream. A woman walking by was heard to use the word "pervert".

Figuring he shouldn’t overtax himself, Lance joined the guys for another beverage. Meanwhile, Mr. Barnes was feeling the heat. It was indeed a hot day, in the 90s, so Jimmy took a towel and decided to soak it and wrap it around his neck. This is where Jimmy Barnes made a bad mistake…

Instead of using a nearby water faucet, Jimmy walked across the road and leaned over to wet his towel from the newly-reamed cherub. In a statement he made later, Jimmy said: "I thought that was a fresh-water source. Nobody told me it came from the scummy pond."

It was mere moments after Jimmy rejoined the group that the guys began noticing a very bad odor. "It smelled like dead fish," said Ted Skora.

"Or a dead turtle," added Joe Augello. "We didn’t make the connection—we just thought it was something in the air."

Meanwhile, Jimmy Barnes nonchalantly sipped a beer, apparently impervious to the smelly onslaught. "I kind of noticed that the other guys were looking a tad ill, but I chalked that up to last night," said Jimmy. "We’d had a few."

Flies began to land on Jimmy’s neck and head. "I figured maybe a dog pooped on the lawn, or something," said Jimmy. "Besides, I was hot, even with the wet towel, so I drove my golf cart back to my trailer."

"We noticed an immediate change," said Frank. "As soon as Jimmy left, the smell went away. And the flies, too."

"They followed him," said Ted, "in a big swarm."

Jimmy Barnes was later seen on his deck swatting at a large black cloud of flies with his towel in one hand and a Miller Lite in the other. "They may outnumber me, but I’m well-stocked…I can go the distance," he was last heard saying.


Read more about Jimmy Barnes on his Tribute page and in The Bugle. Also, for every new hit on my site, I will donate one cent to Jimmy’s ‘Weapons’ fund. His rubber knife is bent, and the water pistol leaks. More importantly, he needs a new towel…


Jimmy Barnes refreshes his stinky towel

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And now...

An anonymous NewsHound (Karen Buntic) insisted I rush right over to a campfire, and I'm grateful! There was Nadine Tucker, who after several minutes of coaxing, revealed what we to believe is the record-holding 'World's Longest Tongue'. Her boyfriend merely smiled as she posed.

Nadine Tucker says her brother has an even longer tongue. We'll stick with Nadine's photo below...


Thank you, Nadine!


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Scoop of the Month Want to be the envy of every 'kid' in the Campground Park? Well... 

It’s time to meet…THE GOLF CART GUY!



The Golf Cart Guy with his 1997 EZ-Go TXT Fleet Electric 36 Volt


No mere golf cart will do for this guy! All winter long I heard rumors of some ‘improvements’ to the campground cart of ‘Gornoman (AKA ‘Gorno’). Little did I realize the extent to which he went, although I had suspicions last fall when I caught him taking clandestine undercover photos of the suspension on a nearby cart.

          Yes, with RVers adding satellite dishes and demanding WI-FI at every destination, why not have all that you can? And if this includes your handy golf cart, this may be the man to see. Below is a list of what Gornoman did in the way of alterations to his cart. I’m certainly impressed.

When we first toyed with the idea of Gorno doing an occasional sidebar golf cart Q & A thing, I wanted to call him ‘Dr. Golf Cart’, for his wisdom. But Gorno put the quick six-nix on that name: “I’m just your average guy having fun with my cart,” he said. “I know cart-things that maybe other owners don’t, but let’s keep it down to earth, except for a six-inch lift kit, OK?

          So be it, Golf Cart Guy! Gorno has been dispensing advice for years now, and it’s time you shared in his wealth of knowledge. After our Legal Thing, here are a few recent questions The Golf Cart Guy fielded from admirers. And he wants to hear from you! Just send any reasonable golf cart question to The ‘Doctor’ will be in from time to time, and there are magazines in the waiting room.

  NOTICE: BIG-TIME LEGAL STUFF!!! The Golf Cart Guy does not recommend nor even think you should ever exceed the speed limit at your favorite campground, or anywhere else for that matter, nor behave in a reckless manner that is a nuisance or a hazard. Excessive speed etc. may result in loss of cart privileges, or worse (which would really tick you off after spending all that time and money on your favorite toy!) So we hereby state that this advice is solely for discussion purposes, and we are not responsible for anything you do after reading this “discussion advice”. Also, any modifications on your part are your own responsibility. And check your insurance policy!

You’re on your own, pal!



 Says Gorno: "The cart started as a course cart and I am its first owner since then. It is a 1997 EZ-Go TXT Fleet Electric 36 Volt. It was EZ-Go Green when I got it.

 Upgrade history:

Folding Windshield

Rear Flip-Flop Seat

Factory Taillights

Factory Sport Steering Wheel

Halogen Driving Lights

5-Panel Rear View Mirror

Blue Neon Undercarriage Lighting

Roof Mounted Dome Light

Custom Roof Console houses Pioneer Super Tuner/CD 180 watt Stereo with two 5.25" Sony XPlode Speakers

Custom Sunbrella Faux Convertible Top with Shaping Bows

Complete Frame-Off Restoration Winter 2004-05

400 Amp Alltrax Laptop Programmable Speed Controller (stock is a static 275 amp)

4 Gauge Wiring with Soldered Copper Lugs

All other Control and Circuit Wiring Replaced

Authentic Corvette Z06 Millenium Yellow Paint

Authentic Corvette Badgeing and Graphics

ITP 2-Tone Evador Alloy Wheels with Carlisle Tour Max 205/50-10 Street Tires

Heavy Duty Springs all 4 Corners

Body Color Shocks

AND IT IS ALWAYS VERY CLEAN! (See license plate—Scoop)



Dear Golf Cart Guy:

What possessed you to do this?

 ‘Curious In Wisconsin’

Most folks around here end up with a golf cart because of their seasonal campsite, as did I. And like any man, my first reaction was "Man, can't this thing go any faster?" The rest, as they say, is history. Stock is just not good enough, everything must be modified! There is no good reason for this, it's just fun. And sometimes the results can be astounding! I have seen a golf cart travel beyond its 12 mph designed speed to 60+ mph. All it takes is money (sometimes A LOT of money!), and it's even better if you do it yourself!

      So the next time you see my legs protruding from underneath a golf cart, do not despair, for I have not been run over. I am merely participating in the silly world of Golf Cart Modification. And no, I don't know how to golf. I'm not even willing to learn. But I can get you to your ball faster than the other guy!


The Golf Cart Guy


Dear Golf Cart Guy:

Which brand of cart should I buy?

 Yogi ‘Yamaha’ Gomez

 The "Big 3" in the golf cart world are Club Car, EZ-Go, and Yamaha, presented in alphabetical order of course. If you stay with one of these you will be in good company. Other brands are OK, but your parts supply will be a little more challenging, as well as any customization plans.

     My favorite is the late model EZ-Go TXT. Good solid cart, easy to work on. Parts are cheap (a relative term believe me!) and the upgrade path is incredible. Club Cars and Yamahas are usually longer lasting, but with proper care any cart will provide a great service life.


The Golf Cart Guy


Dear Golf Cart Guy:

I recently painted my golf cart Chevelle Blue. I think you saw it, and I was wondering what you thought of the job I did. Please give me your honest opinion.

 Brian W.

 Brian, I think it sucked. OK, just kidding! But here’s the crux of the matter: You had your paint job done at MAACO, whereas I, more personally attuned to the owner-karma aura of my cart, did it painstakingly in my own garage at home. I wish your paint job well.


The Golf Cart Guy  


And now, the emails are flooding in! I have selected one question, a challenge!

Hey Golf Cart Guy: I'm really sorry for starting all this stuff. I think it was the campground owner's fault by letting my daughter drive that beautiful lifted cart (that I eventually bought). I felt bad having such a superior cart to everyone else. But lately I feel a little left behind. You have given me no choice! Upgrades are coming, and I will surely look down upon you again. Stay with me...if you can.


We eagerly await The Golf Cart Guy's response!

KEEP THOSE EMAILS COMING, FOLKS!, attention Golf Cart Guy. As many questions as time and space permits will be answered on the web site. NOTE: Some questions will be used in the ‘Scoop’ newspaper column, but only with your email permission, so mention that, eh?


COMING SOON: The Golf Cart Guy’s wife and some friends toss in a few comments on his project.


BONUS FEATURE: The Golf Cart Guy gets published! Folks, it’s not often your cart gets some prominent attention. This is from the premier issue of Cartwheelin' Magazine, with Gorno's cart in the first row, third down ( ):



Get ready for summer with The Golf Cart Guy! 

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Scoop Invades Chicago: Secret Two-Year Mission Accomplished, but..."I need your help!" pleads Scoop. Plus King Tut and more...a brief travelogue.

Update!    Update #2     Update #3

The Picture, not yet hung.

SCOOP INVADES CHICAGO! Top-Secret 2 Year Mission is Accomplished!

Next time you’re in the Gold Coast area of downtown Chicago, please stop in at The Pump Room and see if my picture is still on the wall. I’d really appreciate it, because now I’m afraid to go back…

Almost two years ago my Uncle Hank and I and our respective spouses stayed at the Ambassador East Hotel in Chicago’s Gold Coast district. Aunt Katie took a picture of Hank and me, and we’ve been trying all this time for one of us to get our picture hung on the Pump Room wall, along with those of hundreds of celebrities who have visited this famed restaurant and bar. You can read the full story below, but since it may seem like a semi-boring travelogue to you, let me get to the quick: After all this time, our picture was finally on the wall!

Is it still there after nearly two months? Or did it fall off, or get removed by an alert bartender? Are the police waiting for me to show up for a look, like a criminal returning to the scene of the crime?

I need to know! So if you’re in the neighborhood, stop in at The Ambassador East on State Parkway. To the left of the lobby is the Pump Room. Climb the stairway filled with pictures, go around the bar, and head for the alcove straight ahead. If we’re still there, Uncle Hank and I are bottom row center on the west wall. It is a fitting location…we’re right next to Bozo The Clown.


     Entering the Pump Room (not the alcove)                              The alcove afterwards.


A group of us journeyed to Chicago to watch the 1st Bears-Packers game of the 2004 season. We didn’t have tickets, but we had the next best thing: a private room at Mike Ditka’s Restaurant, with a big-screen TV and our own bartender. (This is a story unto itself, but for now, it must remain classified). As a Chicago native, I enjoyed watching the game with other transplants like Jimmy Barnes, Ted Skora, and Uncle Hank, especially since the Bears won and noted Packer fan John Van Horn had to pay me $5.

Uncle Hank and I were staying at The Ambassador East, in Chicago’s Gold Coast district, two blocks from Rush Street. Later that night we met downstairs at The Pump Room, an establishment noted for attracting celebrities since the late 1930’s. The Frank Sinatra booth is cordoned off, but on a slow night you can sit at Booth #1 and feel like a star. The walls are lined with black and white photographs of famous actors, actresses, athletes, and politicians who visited The Pump Room throughout the decades. (Just for fun, go to The Pump Room website and read the history at, especially about a young drummer/singer who was denied entry because he didn’t have a dinner jacket. He later named an album after the incident: ‘No Jacket Required’).

We didn’t spot any celebrities that night, but we did have a few martinis while ensconced in an alcove tucked behind the small stage that featured a 3-piece band and a marvelous singer. It was after another martini or two that Aunt Katie took a picture of Uncle Hank and me, dressed like dapper gents. I think it was Uncle Hank who said with the last sip of his martini, "Our picture should be on this wall!"

And thus the Secret Plan was formed!

Upon returning home, I changed the picture to B&W, printed it out on glossy photo paper, and bought a frame that matched as closely as I remembered to the original Pump Room frames—black with gold inlay. Uncle Hank and I autographed the photo, and then we waited…

Almost a year went by. Then Uncle Hank and Aunt Katie journeyed to Chicago to stay at the Ambassador East, bringing the picture along. A phone call would be made when the picture was on the wall. Alas, Uncle Hank returned with picture in hand. In a weird coincidental foo-fah, The Pump Room had been booked for a wedding reception. It was filled with Texans, and no outsiders were allowed in. "They were wearing ten-gallon hats and big cowboy boots, and probably six-shooters!" explained Uncle Hank. "I had to take a pass on the Secret Mission." This was Thwart # 1 to our plan

Mrs. Scoop and I then planned a February Secret Mission, but we were thwarted again when illness intervened. So it was not until mid-September that we had another shot at the clandestine caper…

About to go in for a concert and my annual ‘culture’ treatment (see details below at The Concert and King Tut), I booked a room at the Ambassador East. Checking in early, we waited in The Pump Room for our room to be readied. A good sign awaited me: as I casually meandered about, I saw that there was now a perfect open wall-spot in the alcove. But I wasn’t prepared; the picture was still in our luggage. Perhaps tonight…

After the concert, The Pump Room was full, and I stayed the mission until tomorrow. Plus, this was no dive where you nonchalantly planted a picture with no repercussions. Everything was ultra-elegant, with fluted glasses and signature china, staff all in crisp fashionable uniforms. Besides, a well-dressed couple was in the alcove. I was relieved…

See, I had about lost my nerve. Talk is cheap when you’re 150 miles away, and you brag you will complete the Mission. But here I was, and the plastic shopping bag holding the picture was getting a bit wet from my sweating hand.

I had experimented with various methods of hanging the picture. I certainly didn’t want to do any damage to the elegant, historical Pump Room walls, and had finally settled on 3M Command Mini-Hooks, with adhesive backing that can be safely removed without tearing off wall panel coating. This was important, and I had experimented at home on various textures. But this was for real.

That night I used a Mini-Hook to adhere the picture to the closet wall in our suite, also practicing my hanging technique. The Secret Mission would have to be done quickly and accurately, as I suspected there would be no time for fumbling or bumbling in The Pump Room. After two attempts, I was satisfied with the hanging procedure I would use. The frame stuck tight, and it was still there two hours later. I took it down to make sure I could peel the adhesive tape off, and then went to bed after some excellent room service, albeit expensive ($20 burger plus I had to give Mrs. Scoop $100 shopping money).

Next day was the ‘culture’ day, which I did indeed enjoy. Afterwards, we hit some saloons, with our goal to cruise the Blues clubs. It was the Guinness and Miller Lites that done us in. We heard some good piano, but were too worn out for any clubs. Back at the suite, tired, we forced ourselves to get prepared for the Pump Room. Picture frame ready, we headed down…

DISCLAIMER!!! OK, Mrs. Scoop didn’t want to go, so I made her go. It was 9:45 PM, and the Pump Room closes at 10 during the week, so it was a scurry. The staff was gracious, but all the stuff we had seen on the elevator menu was not currently available for late-comers. We declined the dinner offer and left, but not before I took one more look at the alcove. It was empty and inviting, but I would be too conspicuous.

Now it was the day to check out of The Ambassador East; the Pump Room would be out of reach for at least another six months. So I made the move…

With baggage ready for the valet, I reclaimed the suitcase momentarily and got the picture. Mrs. Scoop and I snooped about the Pump Room, saw a moment, and asked the bartender if we could take some pictures. Of course, she said, and I’m sure it’s a common question. Even so, we glanced carefully before heading to the alcove.

It took two tries to get the hook right, and I leaned casually against the wall for almost a minute to make sure the hook held. Mrs. Scoop is not a noted photographer, but she did well for the brief moment we had. Then we headed back.

Once home, I phoned Uncle Hank and Aunt Katie to report success. I then sent them pictures via email, and got this response from Aunt Katie: "Scoop, you are the man!!!  It looks faaabulous, Darling.  I think it's most appropriate that you two are side by side with BOZO.  Can't wait to hear all the details!"

Yes, Uncle Hank and I are right next to Bozo The Clown on the wall. And it is indeed apropos. So thank you, Aunt Katie, but here’s the rub: I am a worry-wart. What if the picture fell and shattered just as a red-headed Irish Dancing Gal took another shot of Tequila and slipped off her spiked heels to do a jig? Or a portly politician was about to delve into a thick steak and the force of a behind-the-head falling picture lodged a large portion of Porterhouse into his proboscis, fork included?

So you can see I am worried. Then again, perhaps it is a cruel trick by the Pump Room: leaving that one spot open for the next fool who wants to be famous.

Only you can help me. Go to the Pump Room and find out.

But don’t tell them why…please!


It was a trade-off: Mrs. Scoop and I go to Chicago and we get to have fun, but I must also get some ‘culture’. For my pleading, I got to go see Jeff Beck at the Chicago Theater. Yes, for you younger dudes, he is 62. And he is not ‘Beck’. Nor, as young Guy asked: "Is that the comedian guy?"

If you know who he is and care to read on, please do so. If you don’t and do, check out All I can say is that the concert was special. The Chicago Theater is a small, intimate theater, and even though we were at the back, the sound was great. There was no opening group, just Jeff Beck for more than two hours and two encores. Beth Hart was fantastic, a singer compared to Janis Joplin in some reviews. Weird Note: I was hoping to hear some particular songs, but since Jeff Beck doesn’t sing, I figured it was a long-odds deal. Maybe Rod Stewart would show up impromptu and do a couple of oldies with him from the old band days. Of course, that would never happen. And that morning, before we drove down, I was humming ‘Somewhere (Over The Rainbow)’ in the shower. Don’t know why that song came into my head…

So Beth comes out for a song here and there, and then belts out ‘Ain’t Superstitious’, the song I figured I wouldn’t get to hear, and I’m in heaven. She sang some more oldies and some new JB material. In between were solos so sweet that even Mrs. Scoop said later: "How did he do that guitar stuff? I felt it all over, and that one song brought tears to my eyes."

Jeff Beck came out for an encore, and then we headed out to beat the crowd. Mrs. Scoop and I were just outside the theater door when we heard more applause. We came back in time to hear Jeff Beck and his piano player doing a very sweet duet of ‘Somewhere (Over The Rainbow)’. A very strange choice for an encore, and an utterly eerie one to me.

Eric Clapton played in Chicago the next night, at a much larger venue. Who’s better? Don’t know, but I’m glad I got to see Jeff Beck up close.


This is what Mrs. Scoop had wanted to see the last time, when we had to cancel. The Field Museum is always impressive, and I also wanted to see Sue, the largest intact T-Rex skeleton. 

The Tut exhibit was fascinating, although The Boy King was not officially there to greet us. Somebody said he was up in Nova Scotia on a tour, but we did get to see a lot of his stuff, plus some real hieroglyphics. Everything is just like you see in the movies, and I had to constantly remind myself that this was all from 1325 BC. He was pretty rich, judging from the gold headdresses and amulets, and his furniture beats the heck out of most of what I’ve got at home now, 3331 years later. There were also X-rays of King Tut. Apparently he had a big head and long, sharp teeth. Here's a picture...


        Wait--that's Sue the T-Rex!


After the Pump Room picture-hanging, and lunch in Chinatown, we headed home happy. I would also like to thank the Ambassador East, now under new management. Mrs. Scoop is the Queen of Hotel Upgrades, especially in Vegas, but this was special. I made the reservations, but since I have been known to seriously screw up on these types of matters, Mrs. Scoop called back to inform the front desk that we were coming in for our 22nd wedding anniversary. Now, technically, it’s not until December, and this was September, but the real date (12/30) gets hectic with Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and the welcome arrival of Scoop Jr., the California Kid. So, it was just a little white lie, right?

Anyway, I had requested a room with a view. What we got was a master suite with a great view, and shortly after we set the luggage in place we were greeted with a serious cheese tray and a bottle of wine in an ice bucket. We still have the wine, and it will be opened on December 30th, with a salute to the Ambassador East.


A few weeks ago I ran into Mike Davids, a publisher near Chicago who loves to camp. He gets around, so I mentioned the Pump Room picture, wondering if he might be near it soon. He said he would check it out. I mentioned it was right next to Bozo, and that’s when the conversation got into ‘The Twilight Zone’, sort of…

"I knew Bozo," Mike said, referring to Bob Bell. "At first (through a magazine he publishes) a customer introduced me to Cookie the Clown. I went to some of Cookie’s parties and had a great time. But you have to realize that Cookie, while a big part of The Bozo Show, was in a lower ‘clown’ circle than Bozo himself. The clown circles didn’t often intersect. It was a clown-status thing. But then I did get invited to a Bozo party, and for a brief moment I was inside the uppermost clown circle."

I didn’t ask what ‘proper attire’ would be for one of these parties.


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Update!  Scoop and Uncle Hank Temporarily Famous But Still Relatively Unknown!

Ha! Success and Fame await! Or maybe not...see for yourself:

     In mid-September of 2006 I hung the infamous picture of Uncle Hank and me on the Pump Room wall in the alcove. I used 3M tape with a picture-hanging hook. I figured the photo would drop or get knocked off eventually. But in my daydreams, I envisioned a well-meaning maintenance worker coming along, seeing the dropped or even just-loose photo, and conscientiously fastening it permanently to the wall. Yes, a pipe-dream indeed...

     No NewsHounds ventured to The Pump Room to investigate and let me know the fate of the photo. But on Saturday, 12/9/06, Uncle Hank and Aunt Katie went to Chicago, Katie with camera in hand. She was there for another reason, in that, in a major coincidence, the Chicago chapter of The League of American Pen Women was meeting at the Pump Room for a luncheon. Katie is an esteemed member, and knows a good story when she sees it...which I hoped was the picture still on the wall! The League was formed in 1897 in Washington DC when three women journalists were refused membership in the all-male Press Club. And thus history was made, and even more so when Katie Witek hit the Pump Room. Now, in her own spy-like words, she tells what occurred:

     "After the luncheon I tried to secretly check out the alcove, but I couldn't get too close. I hung back with my friend Maureen and sipped some wine. I mosied into the alcove again, but the bartender was milling about, eyeing us, since there were plenty of better tables available elsewhere. We had to be discreet and not call attention to ourselves. I felt like a moll with a gat in her glove, but this time it was a camera ready to chew up the scenery if necessary."

     OK, Professor Katherine Witek did not actually say that last line. But the Pump Room evokes that era of pomp and Tommy-guns. It makes you talk that way, especially after some of their fine wine, or a couple of smooth martinis. So what Katie did was have Maureen 'stand guard' while Katie, as she put it, "slunk in to see if the picture was still there."

     Uncle Hank had promised he would call as soon as he knew, but no call came. And I didn't want to call him because I feared the answer. I was headed back to work after lunch Sunday when I saw his van in the rearview mirror. He was about fifty feet away when he stopped at his driveway to get his mail and saw me waiting. I gestured "what?!" And then Uncle Hank raised his hands in a victory pose. "It's still there!" he yelled. "And Katie says it looks like it's screwed into the wall!"

     I had to get back to work pronto, so it was left at that. Uncle Hank wouldn't straight-up lie to me, but he's a prankster, so the worm of doubt was in my head. I held out for an hour and then called him. In his most serious tone he said, "I'm not lying. The picture is on the wall, Katie says it's flat against the wall, like it's screwed in, and, get this--there's only one other autographed picture in the alcove, and that's of one of the Presidents--Carter, I think. I'll print off copies of the pictures Katie took."

     I had them in my hands a short time later, and here they are. Uncle Hank did some computer stuff to get the sunray from the window off Picture #1, but in Picture #2 it sure looks like screws holding the picture to the wall. God Bless that maintenance person!


     Picture #1...there we are, for now and forever...we hope.


      Picture #2...with what we hope are screws!

     Uncle Hank is headed back to the Pump Room New Year's Eve day. He'll watch the Bears/Packers game at Ditka's, but then journey over to get another picture, one with a date-stamp on it. Stay tuned!

     Almost-Discouraging Note: Uncle Hank called me today, just about a week later, and said he had another Update. I stopped up and what he told me was at first saddening. My cousin 'D' was at an office party at the Pump Room Friday night, and called Hank because she had heard about the picture but couldn't find it. Uncle Hank tried to direct her via cell phone, telling her we were by Bozo, but apparently there is another picture of Bozo, which completely confused her. He then told her it was by the window in the alcove, at which point she said there were no pictures by the window area. This means either the Pump Room is undergoing extensive remodeling, or 'D' had too many Gin Fizzes and was lost in the main dining area, which has windows but no pictures. Uncle Hank and I think it's the latter. Office parties make you get that way...     

       UPDATE #2

     Well, it's now way after New Year's Eve, and still no further confirmation on our Pump Room photo. Blame it on NBC. See, the entire expedition was based on the Bears/Packers game. Noted Packer-Backer John Van Horn had a large group with game tickets in hand. Uncle Hank and his desperadoes, ticket-less, would watch the game at Ditka's. Uncle Hank couldn't get the same private room as he had the time the picture was hung, but he did have a table for ten reserved for noon. Both bands of fans would rendezvous later, and sometime before, or maybe the next day, Hank would taxi over to the Pump Room for more evidence.

     That was before NBC in all its infinite greed changed the game time from noon to 7:15. They can do this one time, per the NFL agreement, and this was it. Obviously NBC figured it could pump up the advertising revenue by making it an evening game, not only because of the notorious Bears/Packers rivalry, but also because the Packers had one chance in hell of making it to the Playoffs. This involved a convoluted set of factors, with certain teams winning and other teams losing during the Thursday, Friday, and Saturday games, and the Sunday noon game. One other slim factor was the Packers beating the Bears.

     The game-time change hit the news Tuesday am, the day after Christmas. A bunch of fans from both ticket and non-ticket holders met later that day to see 'Rocky Balboa', a guys' afternoon out. They then hit a saloon HQ to confer with more from both camps. I was there, and it was a sad and angry meeting. First, the game day was New Year's Eve. A game time of noon would give the lucky ticket-holders time to regroup and get ready for the evening festivities. But now they would be lucky to just get out of Soldier Field by midnight, especially since most of the Chicago partying and fireworks would be right there along Lake Shore Drive. Secondly, repeated attempts by Uncle Hank to change his table time at Ditka's to 7pm were unsuccessful. The people at Ditka's tried their best and were very apologetic, but Ditka's tables for the evening of New Year's Eve had been booked solid for months. They even confided to Uncle Hank that those with evening reserved seating would probably be given a time-frame for dining--no staying at the dinner table for the entire game. To add to Ditka's nightmare, they would have to contend with the usual overflow bar crowd of late-night partiers plus the New Year's Eve incomers plus before-and-after diners wanting to see the game.    

     The end result was that those from the planned expedition with tickets sold their tickets, and Uncle Hank was forced to cancel his Ditka's reservations. Everyone stayed home.

     Lo and Behold, the Packers won the game, but it didn't hurt the Bears, as they had already clinched home field advantage and a Playoff berth. As for the Packers, they had already lost any chance at getting into the Playoffs by Saturday am. NBC had screwed with a whole lot of people's plans for naught. We all hope they got screwed in the advertising-revenue department, then, and forever!

     So still we wait for another confirmed sighting of our Pump Room picture. Won't you please help?


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Pump Room Update #3: Movin' On Up!
Yes, it's time for another self-aggrandizing Pump Room Update! I'll make the back story brief, because you have either read the history above, or you don't care (or if you're too lazy to scroll up, click here).

     It's been more than two years since Uncle Hank and I planned The Pump Room Photo caper. For the hoi polloi who don't get over to The Ambassador East Hotel in Chicago's Gold Coast, near infamous Rush Street, The Pump Room has been a hangout for martini-swigging stars since 1938. It's the home of Booth #1 and the Frank Sinatra booth (check out the interesting Pump Room history at ). Photos of visiting movie and TV stars and other celebrities adorn the dark-paneled walls. It was in the small alcove behind the piano stage that I hung the black and white photo of Uncle Hank and I that Professor Aunt Katie had taken six months before in the same spot. At that time the wall seemed full, but when I returned six months later, there was a perfect blank spot just waiting for me, and I used special 3M picture-hanging tape so as not to damage the revered wall. I didn't notice then that I had put Uncle Hank and me right next to Bozo the Clown. As Aunt Katie later said, it was 'apropos'.

     I couldn't get back for quite a while to see if the photo remained. My niece Donna called Uncle Hank on her cell phone to report that there were no pictures anywhere on any wall at the Pump Room, but it was an office party, so we dismissed that potential sighting. Aunt Katie finally made it there, and we were thrilled to find that Uncle Hank and I were still on the wall, this time apparently screwed tight. Scoop Jr. was in Chicago last July, and for exercise rode a friend's bicycle ten miles to verify. Yes, we were still there! Noted insurance executive Steve Wright and his beautiful wife Cindy, Realtor Extraordinaire, also made an attempt, but according to Steve's phone message from The Pump Room, the photos on the walls were "too martini and too much black & white" for them to find us. So now I had to see for myself...

     Mrs. Scoop and I came in for the John Fogerty concert Wednesday, 11/29, and stayed at the Ambassador East (see my Rants & Raves below). We checked in, I had a nervous cocktail in the room, and then we checked out The Pump Room. Alas, as soon as we passed the bar I could tell Uncle Hank and I were gone. Bozo no longer had us for a photo buddy. Instead, we had been replaced by another center picture, and another row of photos below that. We had been thrown out of the alcove.

Replaced! (middle, 2nd row up, left of Bozo)

     Mrs. Scoop patted my arm gently, and then suggested we look around. "Maybe they moved it," she said, the optimistic, caring lady that she is. We scanned the rest of the alcove in vain and stepped on out. Walls of photos laughed at Scoop, no Uncle Hank. And then, despondent, ready to drown my sorrows with glass upon glass of martinis filled with very sharp plastic toothpicks that would blind me well before the gin, Mrs. Scoop grabbed my sleeve. "Look!" she exclaimed. "Look, Scoop...that''s...Tony Danza!" 

     OK, I lied for dramatic effect. There was our photo, on the adjoining alcove partition, hung way up high. Only a maintenance person with a ladder could have put it there. True, some damage had occurred: the glass had fallen out of the frame, and now a corner of the photo had curled up, probably from hot air caused by cigars and politicians. Two days later, before leaving the Ambassador East, I took photos of the evidence that our parking meter o' fame had not expired.


                   Movin' on up! (2nd up on left)                              Left, 2nd from top

     I emailed the new pix to Uncle Hank and Aunt Katie. Again, I had not really looked closely at the surroundings, since I had, using the guise of a gawking tourist, surreptitiously asked the bar manager for permission to take pictures. It was Aunt Katie's email reply that put it in perspective: "Scoop, the photo has been moved to a more prominent location, easier to see, right? Not only that, but you two have ditched Bozo and now have top billing over Fred MacMurray and June Haver!! Next, who knows, you could move right on up until you'll be topping Frank Sinatra or maybe even Marilyn Monroe..."

     We'll see. Meanwhile, still at the Ambassador East, Mrs. Scoop decided one of us should nonchalantly inform Upper Management that one of The Pump Room photos needed repair. But fearful of losing this new high-profile location, we let it go. Upon further review, Uncle Hank is convinced that the photo glass will be replaced and our picture will remain safe. "After all," he said, "that maintenance guy (or gal) isn't going to climb that ladder more than he/she has to. Just unscrew one picture, replace the glass while you're on the ladder, and screw it back in."

     We are sure we will remain semi-famous. But just in case, will you check it out for us? Email me at And just in case you're like Steve Wright and the photos all seem to blend together, here is a secret map...

PS: Remember, there are two Bozo pictures in The Pump Room!


Scoop's Tirade! Scoop Bitches ( and Raves!) About The Latest Trip To Chicago...Ambassador East, John Fogerty, House of Blues, and The Second City ('Between Barack And A Hard Place'). Just skip it...unless you're going there...
     I had missed out on John Fogerty by one day, when he played Madison last year. So when I got an email from the Chicago Theater that Fogerty tickets would go on sale this very day, I jumped right in, and got what looked like good seats, right of main floor, pretty close. Then came the trials of getting a hotel room. Since I am obligated to do a 'culture' night in addition to a 'fun' night, I, at Mrs. Scoop's behest, also ordered tickets to The Second City the following night to see the new review "Between Barack And A Hard Place" (I'm not complaining--last time it was the Art Museum, which was fine but cannot be mixed with alcohol). But when Mrs. Scoop, the very best at getting great hotel deals, tried to get into the Ambassador East (close to both events, and the Pump Room right there), she was thwarted by three big conventions booking the city of Chicago solid. She could get one night only, and so she called Hot Rooms. They too could only get us one night. I did another 'Net search, printed off more hotels, willing to move the next night if we had to, and she called Hot Rooms again. I was sitting in a dismal state, thinking of packing and unpacking all that luggage twice--we do not travel light--when Mrs. Scoop came bounding back in the room.

     OK, she merely gave out a high-pitched cry of joy, and I did the bounding. Upon calling back, Hot Rooms had informed her that they had just had a last-minute cancellation. We took the two nights with a devilish grin. But then came the downward spiral...

     First, I got lost using MapQuest. It got me downtown all right, but the exit directions and the actual ramp sign didn't jive. I still had a sort of sense of destination, and headed that way. The Ambassador East is on State Parkway, which goes on after State Street and Rush Street, and lots of one-way streets converge in chaos to an out-of-towner. We were stopped next to a cab driver, and Mrs. Scoop asked him if we were heading in the right direction, but since we only speak English, it was useless. But then came a knight in a shining Caddy. We were stopped next to him at the next light when he motioned for us to put down the window.

     "Where do you want to go?" he asked, and then gave us simple directions. Mister, whoever you are, thank you! As it turned out, my old instincts had me going the right way. We checked in, and entered the room from Hell.

     In that scary hotel movie we watched on DVD, John Cusack was in Room 1408. We were in Room 1344. Yes, the thirteenth floor, in a room obviously sectioned off from a former suite that maybe Frank Sinatra had once stayed in decades ago, but now apparently used to handle overflow Hot Room guests who had no other choice but to take anything but a Dumpster. I was warned: when I hit the elevator button for Floor 13 the lady next to me said: "You better change that room, man!" Just to be fair, I want to say that last time there, Mrs. Scoop mentioned during her reservation phone call that we would be coming in to celebrate our wedding anniversary, and the Ambassador upgraded us to a luxury suite at no additional charge (still an old suite, of course, but elegant), and immediately brought up a complimentary cheese tray and bottle of wine. After being spoiled last year, we were now in a cramped room with a loud, low-seated toilet, a tub that never seemed to drain, filthy drapes that opened up to a brownstone being sandblasted early in the morning, carpet that had who knows what kind of stains all over it, and, just to make our first night more memorable, a doorknob that fell off as the room service person attempted to leave with a surcharge almost as much as the real bill. Maintenance did arrive within fifteen minutes of our complaint call, and did speedy work, so thank you for that. As a final reference, this room was costing us $309 per night plus $41 more for parking per night, plus city & state taxes. Our bill, minus the overtaxed room service food, was $795.18. Last year, our suite had been about $175 plus $38 parking/nite + taxes.

     In the meantime, we went to the John Fogerty concert...

     The Chicago Theater is newly-restored and quite elegant. Anticipating main floor seats over there, we were instead led to seats in the center area. These were fine, until a guy seven feet tall with a head shaped like an upended shoebox (and that large, no exaggerating!) sat down right in front of my view. With him was his midget lackey, whose job appeared to be to laugh at his jokes and get noogies every five minutes. This meant that even when I leaned as far over as possible to get a view, it was inevitably interrupted by back-slapping or headlocks (as a noogie was performed). I finally stood in the aisle by the exit door, until Mrs. Scoop spotted two empty seats over there, right where we were supposed to be. Here we were beset by another giant, this one lurching about in the aisle, attempting to dance with his girlfriend. But several of us took turns yelling at him to sit down, and we got to be pretty good at the timing, one of us usually yelling before his ass even left the chair.

     This, by the way, is why we will never go to another Billy Joel concert. We know that once again there will be four or five teenyboppers right in front of us who must stand and dance to any song Billy sings, as if they were seeing The Beatles for the first time. This especially holds true for 'Only The Good Die Young', or whatever it's called. But I digress...

     The rest of the concert was thoroughly enjoyed, the new songs were good, and there were lots of oldies. The encore included 'Proud Mary', which seemed almost surreal after hearing it at so many wedding receptions. Yes, everybody sang along and rolled their forearms like paddlewheels.

     There was another cab-incident going back to the hotel, in which the driver, in his ozone-scented deathtrap, did not understand the phrase "please put down the rear passenger window" and instead jabbered on his cell phone with Jhala or Jabba the Hut or somebody, but we made it back safely.

     The next day, I prepared for 'culture night' by not drinking any martinis. We walked about, remembering the sites, and wound up at House Of Blues for lunch. It's next to Marina Towers, and it's a funky place with good and often exciting food. I had the Voodoo Shrimp--fantastic--and the large Gumbo. Important Dining Tip: Unless you are seven feet tall with a shoebox-shaped head and appropriately-sized stomach, just get the 1/2 order of Gumbo. Our friendly waitress fussed at me for not finishing my bowl; I told her I could get the same harassment at home for free...

     We fiddled around for a while with a group of visiting violinists (sorry!), took The Pump Room pix, and headed to Rush Street, which Mrs. Scoop had fond memories of from her hippie years. It's still cool, and you can chow down at Gibson's (steaks & martinis--$$$$!) or just people-watch. We went further and had a few beers at a bar across from The Second City, and went in as soon as the doors opened. Here, it's first come, first seated, so you don't want to linger across the street too long. It's mutual seating, and we opted for a different empty table so we could pick the best view. We were still only two tables from the stage, center aisle. Once ensconced, we alternated drink orders between the waitress and going to the convenient bar just outside the bathrooms. Note To Handicapped Or Drunken People: Mrs. Scoop needs back surgery, so I investigated the elevators. Coming in the main door, you need to walk up three flights of stairs. It can be fun, because there are the pictures of John Belushi and all the alumni, including Eugene Levy, my favorite, but if you need an easier way, go out the doors to the left of the stage, along the short hallway, and out those other doors. Now you're in Piper's Alley, with shops and an escalator and an elevator. Just don't get lost coming back in, as I did...twice.

     The show was great, we met some good people at our table, and afterwards some recent alumni came onstage for some improv. I haven't watched the show Curb Your Enthusiasm, but I will now, because Jeff Garlin was damn funny right along with the rest of the regulars, fielding improv topics flung out from the audience and laughing at himself and with the rest of the crew as they tried to do a quick comedy bit with whatever you challenged them with. And big kudos to Molly Erdman, who played Hillary Clinton in several sketches and was funny throughout, and who has moved on to LA for a TV and movie career (Scoop thanks The Chicago Tribune for info). The rest of the cast remains, but you should check it out ASAP (1616 N. Wells; 'Barack' was $19 11/29/07).

     It was a good time and I recommend it. On the way home, we searched desperately for a White Castle, hoping one was available on Gov. Rod's new highway system, but I guess higher tolls mean fancier fast-food joints, so we settled for a Big Mac and flung ourselves into our own bedroom, where the view is excellent and we know where the stains are from.     



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Help! We Need Somebody!

Did you meet The Beatles at Midway Airport in 1964? If so, read on, and maybe you can help in our search for the past!

Years ago I wrote a story about meeting The Beatles at Midway Airport in 1964. This was when their arrival at O'Hare was changed suddenly to Midway. I met Ringo Starr (briefly!) because my Uncle Jim worked for the fuel company at Midway, and he snuck me in under a tarp in the back of the Butler Aviation van. Other fortunate fans heard about it through a PR leak, and were waiting at the fences bordering the airport. It was my first experience at a mob scene. Anyway, every now and then I wonder if a picture of that moment of my childhood exists. I was at the the airplane ramp when the Fab Four descended; Ringo was last, and he stopped to sign my little notepad. All I got was a scrawled 'R', because the security guys grabbed Ringo to shove him and the others into the limo as the fence fell over from the weight of fans on Cicero Avenue and the frenzied crowd rushed the limo.

  I've wondered if a picture of The Beatles coming down the ramp exists. For my story, I asked for and got permission from the publishers of the book 'Beatles '64...A Hard Day's Night In America', by Curt Gunther and A.J.S. Rayl. I think I wrote later to ask if any such photo was taken during the formation of the book, but if so, did not get an answer. Time moved on, and I put the story on an obscure page on my site. But I always wondered...

About three months ago I ordered the DVD 'The Beatles...The First U.S. Visit'. Alas, it was mostly Ed Sullivan, and no Chicago. I then tried Ringo's website, but there is no direct email to him I could find (just the webmaster). So I sort of gave up. But then!!!!

Just the other day this email arrived (address & last name withheld):

"Scoop, I was pleased to hear you were the boy who met Ringo at Midway Airport. I was one of the first of the mighty 300 that made it over the cyclone fence to greet Ringo in person. Actually, we were hanging on the fence to get a better look when the fence simply collapsed. Once it fell, well, we just headed out to see The Beatles close up. I was the first to reach the limo. The window was still down and I recognized Ringo by his rings. I called his name, he waved as the window was rolled up, and they drove into history. I often hoped someone would have taken a picture of the crowd heading toward the limo. Do you know of any photos of the event? Thanks for your help.' PS: If I get the photo, I'll give you a really big 'scoop'.' Signed Bruce B.

So, now there are two of us asking: Do you have or have advice on how to get a photo from that moment?  Were you there? Let us know! (Read my story 'Meet The Beatles' here:  Scoop Rambles On

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