May 2013 - Page 2

Serpentine Belt Guy and Poem Lady to be keynote speakers at 2013 Southern Creative Panhandling Convention

Organizers of the Chattanooga-based annual 2013 Southern Creative Panhandling Convention have announced its final lineup of speakers, workshops and discussion forums, for this year’s event, featuring veteran downtown panhandlers Serpentine Belt Guy and Poem Lady being the keynote speakers.

The compelling, award-winning storyteller Serpentine Belt Guy will speak about the challenges of keeping the same story he has told for over a decade fresh.

panhandlerAn estimated 18,000 Chattanoogans and tourists have heard Serpentine Belt Guy’s tale, about being from out-of-town and needing the remaining funds to pay for an emergency serpentine belt replacement for his car; it is learned that, unfortunately, he has left his wallet on the dresser of his hotel room, but he offers a faded, dog-eared handwritten receipt as evidence for the veracity of his story.

Poem Lady’s lecture, entitled “Shiny Change for Shoddy Product” will educate and enlighten about the technique of being so annoying that people will pay you to shut up.

A venerable downtown mainstay, Poem Lady offers, in exchange for a modest payment, the spontaneous creation of poetry, which is of consistently poor quality.

The convention, which typically draws two-thousand panhandlers from across the nation and Canada, will be held at the Electric Shuttle stop in front of the downtown Buffalo Wild Wings.

Panhandler (Used under the CC-BY-ND-2.0 license. Source:


Warehouse Row announces addition of Wal-Mart Supercenter.

With hopes to increase traffic and customer base to the upscale shopping mall, Warehouse Row owners announced a deal has been made to bring retail giant Wal-Mart to its famous downtown Chattanooga location.

In recent years, Warehouse Row has suffered a decrease in business and customer visits. Critics attribute this to the lack of variety that the high-class shopping mall has to offer.

“We believe the coming Tupelo Honey Café will bring in an abundance of new customers, but it will not be enough to keep Warehouse Row fully sustainable,” said Warehouse Row spokeswoman Shirley Thompson. “We believe Wal-Mart will largely fill the void that our customer base lacks. No pun intended.”

Construction is planned to begin this August, in which a majority of current Warehouse Row tenants will be ejected to make room for the new Wal-Mart.

“We have planned for the whole building to undergo renovation for the new addition,” said chief project engineer Earl Hoggart. “Walkways will have to be widened and larger parking spaces for accessible vans will be added for our new customers.


Other charges to the campus with the planned Wal-Mart include: the Public House Restaurant to be transformed into a Taco Bell/Pizza Hut combination restaurant, the first in this area, all stairwells will be   transformed into escalators, and Southern Burger Co. will begin to offer Big-Macs.

“We’re really excited about the possibilities that will arise from the Wal-Mart addition,” said Warehouse House manager Flora Tucker. “Where else can you purchase a two-hundred dollar pair of Rhinoceros    pants, along with dropping fifteen bucks on some camouflage printed skinny jeans?”




Warehouse Row. Photo courtesy of CB staff. 

Coolidge Park fountains to spray guacamole for Cinco de Mayo

Coolidge Park fountain (Used under the CC-BY-ND-2.0 license. Source:
Coolidge Park fountain (Used under the CC-BY-ND-2.0 license. Source:
To promote multi-culturalism, the Chattanooga Department of Parks and Recreation announced yesterday afternoon at a press conference that this Sunday, the 5th of May, celebrated as the holiday Cinco de Mayo, the fountains at Coolidge Park on the North Shore would spray guacamole instead of the usual water.

“Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of freedom and democracy for both Mexicans and Americans, and what better way to commemorate this occasion than by showering our frolicking children with this delicious, verdant green foodstuff,” said Cassie Pellingham, the director of the Department of Parks and Recreation.

Pellingham explained that this idea was partially inspired by the decades-old Chicago tradition of dyeing the Chicago River green in observance of St. Patrick’s Day, and in 2009, even the First Lady Michelle Obama suggested that the water in the White House fountains be dyed green for that holiday.

“When people think of Cinco de Mayo, most folks think of obnoxious party-goers over-indulging in nachos with questionable white cheese dip and cheaply made sangria. But when I think of Cinco de Mayo, I think about freedom, tolerance and abundance, in addition to chihuahua races and novelty sombreros,” said Pellingham.

To symbolize abundance, it was decided to use some sort of liquid foodstuff in the fountains, and there was much debate over what substance to use, Pellingham said.

“First, we thought of using mayo, until someone pointed out that the ‘Mayo’ in ‘Cinco de Mayo’ means the month of May, and not mayonnaise, like most of us had thought,” said Pellingham. “Someone else suggested using salsa, but that was just a ridiculous idea.”