Thursday, June 23, 2005

Death, Taxes, a Bad Column from Lou Henry...

There are certain things in life you can count on. One of them seems to be the relative quality of Lou Henry's once-a-week column, What's On Tap.

As I've noted in the past, Lou's columns generally are more lists of the people he meets at bars that turn out to be related to him than about the quality of any of the bars he's "reviewing." This week's edition reads like a parody of a real column -- I'd quote it all, but I might get sued by Knight Ridder, so here are a few choice cuts:
You know, some bars treat you like family.

Well, at the Green Frog Inn (also known as simply “The Frog”) they have to treat me like family because they are my family.

Thursday night (also known as Cousins’ Night to the Henrys) started at just the right time, around 9:30 p.m. I was driving down Spring Street toward the Sherman Boulevard stoplight, and I noticed all of the familiar cars and SUVs parked outside The Frog. To no surprise, all the regular cousins were at our regular table drinking their regular drinks. And just like they do when any of us walk in, they yell the individual’s name and follow it up with a drawn-out “Hey!”

My aunt, Cindy Henry, was working the bar and making sure that we all had our proper drinks. When she couldn’t keep up with us, her sister Angie Schmidt would keep us well served.

Aaron Bentley was feeding the jukebox as I entered, and we all knew there would be some excellent music to set the tone.

It had been a while since we successfully pulled off a good Cousins’ Night. All of us were present this particular evening; Jim Todoran, Chris (Chico) Navarro, Ramon Navarro, Aaron Bentley, Ben Henry and Steve Warnick. We were even joined by my two friends who are practically related now, Mike (Ostie) Ostermeyer and Andy Choka.
That's the opening, and I'm sorry, but I don't care about any of it. (Full disclosure: as I've mentioned before, I know -- and love -- Lou, but that's not keeping me from discussing the quality of his column. No sacred cows here. Also, Ostie and Andy Choka -- who made an appearance in last week's What's On Tap as well -- are two of my best friends from high school.)

The problem with Lou's column is that he doesn't even review the bars. The one interesting tidbit about the Green Frog Inn in the column came from one of his dining companions, not him.
Ostie has mentioned to me that the Green Frog feels like a ski lodge, minus the hot chocolate. There is a little bit of a ski lodge feel, though, you guessed it, there are frogs everywhere!
Maybe Ostie should be the one with the bar-hopping column. A bar that feels like a ski lodge, minus the hot chocolate? That's actually pretty descriptive. (It's as close as Lou gets to discussing the atmosphere of the bar or the quality of the libations it offers.)

Here's the rousing conclusion:
I would recommend you make your way down to the Frog. Not only because it is a Henry-owned establishment, but it’s what you’re looking for when you need a quiet night with some great company.

If nothing else, come down to hear my Aunt Cindy laugh. If that doesn’t cheer you up, nothing will.
When the end of a "review" column sounds an awful lot like an advertisement for the very establishment your reviewer is supposed to be writing about, then you've got a problem. And the N-S has a problem. Unless they've changed their rule that non-professional narcissistic/nepotistic writing without a point can only be published as a Guest Column...

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