:: On this date in 1981, near the end of his third term, City Councilman John Rondo tearfully admitted at a press conference that he was illiterate. This came as quite a shock to most people, particularly his constituents. He revealed how he had faked it for much of his life and had relied for eighteen years in Council on a “really good memory” and aides briefing him extensively, as well as top assistant/campaign manager/co-head of the Plumber’s Union Harlan Meeks doing most of the reading for him. The confession helped to tamp swirling accusations of impropriety and gain election for another term, partially due to the ever-popular pity vote. But, in early 1984, the discovery of a long-closed library account and a series of photos in the News of Rondo browsing the mystery section at the downtown Brentano’s (headline: “WHY, JOHNNY CAN READ!”) made the fourth term his last. His death in 1985 also played a part. An ex-wife later revealed that the entire episode was a hoax.
:: Friday is Groundhog Day, which means the Tiphorn Family Restaurant in Lower Factoryville will be having their annual “Groundhog Sandwich Feast Fest Day.” Don’t worry, no cute furry animals are processed and eaten, just pigs, in the form of a ground pork BBQ sandwich. The special includes chips and a small ginger ale for $3, with a portion of the proceeds going to the American Lung Association. It’s a promotion that started about twenty years ago and is guaranteed to get one or two local news stations to show up for b-roll of folks chowing down on what ends up looking like sloppy joes on television. But, it gives them that vital local news hook after showing the Punxsutawney Phil footage for the umpteenth year in a row, while the anchor says, “And now, our own Groundhog Day (pause) of a different sort!” Also, the Tiphorn gets to keep putting “As seen on TV!” on their menus. The circle of life continues, one hand washes while the other watches wisely, etc, etc.
:: Hot ticket Thursday night- guest lecture at George Easterburg State College, “The Semiotics of Dandyism.” Pocket squares required, bespoke preferred but not necessary. Terrell Hall, 7:30 pm.
:: As always, we’d love to receive your letters or questions about the City. Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
– R. White