This Weak in Charlotte: So Much Stuff We Don't Even Know Where to Start, So Just Read It

Most Fridays, I turn the blog over to Jeremy Markovich for his recap of This Weak in Charlotte. Yes, we spell it that way on purpose. —R.T.


I was last at an Olive Garden in 2001, when I won a bet with an intern and forced her to take me there to enjoy soup and salad and unlimited bread sticks. It was a fantastic day.

I’ve been missing out since then. The Olive Garden has picked up some ironic cachet lately. It’s all thanks to a newspaper review from 85-year-old Marilyn Hagerty of North Dakota. Last week, she dryly called the Olive Garden the largest and most impressive restaurant operating in Grand Forks. She asked her waitress what to order. “She suggested chicken Alfredo, and I went with that,” she wrote. “Instead of the raspberry lemonade she suggested, I drank water.”

Hagerty’s review got more than 300,000 hits online. Since this is America, Hagerty up and appeared on the network morning shows and was flown to New York City, where she reviewed a hot dog from a street vendor. In the process, she also managed to give the Olive Garden a sort of hipster chic. As in: I ate there before it wasn’t cool.

This week, Charlotte Observer columnist Tommy Tomlinson bested me by not only announcing that he hadn’t been to an Olive Garden in 25 years, but then by ACTUALLY GOING THERE AND EATING. He then wondered aloud, is Charlotte the Olive Garden of cities? (For the record: I’d say we have a distinct Carrabba’s-like quality).

So allow me to wonder aloud: does Charlotte have a Marilyn Hagerty? Someone who looks at us without an ounce of snark? Who sees us as a lovely community with lovely people instead of SUV-driving Ballantyne-dwelling history-ignoring public-money-flaunting Starbucks-swilling bank-cheerleading bless-your-heart-saying Luddites? (NOTE: Oh no, we’re not talking about you, just those other people). Do we have someone like that?

I now present to you: John J. Hopkins of the Tonawanda (N.Y.) News. Earlier this week, he wrote a glowing review of our fair city, entitled “Charlotte Abounds in Family-Friendly Fun.” He described us as a place to go if you’re “seeking adventure, sports, thrills or just looking for something cool and a little different.”

Go on.

“You can visit racing immortals…”

Oh my dear God. Richard Petty is The Highlander.

“…have a conversation with a magpie…”

Language barrier.

“…take a ride with Flying Ace Snoopy…”

One time Snoopy, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police helicopter, circled over my condo.

“… or experience science.”

I think about entomology every time I step on a palmetto bug.

That’s one take from a guy in suburban Buffalo. I believe him. I’m not sure I believe this take from Gov. Bev Perdue. On Monday, she declared Charlotte to be just as exciting as, say, Times Square or the Vegas Strip.

Go on.

"Anybody in the country who hasn't visited Charlotte is making a mistake if they think New York is better,” said Perdue. Hold on there. New York is the city that never sleeps. A study released earlier this week shows Charlotte is, in fact, the city that sleeps quite well.

Charlotte doesn’t have have casinos. It doesn’t have pushy cabbies on every street. It has a whole lot of nice. Sure, we can mock nice (Garrison Keillor does it every week). But sometimes we take nice for granted.  We have to try and find something to complain about. Maybe, sometimes, we shouldn’t try so hard. I mean, the guy from Buffalo seems to like us. And the rest of his city is already here.

Also, Marilyn Hagerty needs to try Bojangles. The biscuits are a delight.

Panthers tight end Jeremy Shockey is now a free agent. Don’t make him angry on Twitter. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry on Twitter

Inane Charlotte business news: Some guy in Korea bought, thinking a merger between Delta and US Airways is REALLY going to happen. Delta’s response to premature merger cybersquatting? “That’s cute.”

Waka Flocka Lame.

COYOTES ARE EVERYWHERE: To find them, there are now ten coyote cams set up around Mecklenburg County. So far, they keep seeing stuff like this.

Poor Davidson. They lost to Louisville. But at least they got in a few good rounds of Hangman before the game.

Also, at least one Wildcat knows how to pick a winner

Count the number of rifles in this pic of Jim Pendergraph's endorsement from a gun shop owner. I see 40.

This week weak in public official butt-tweets: Sen. Kay Hagan accidentally says something German.

This guy moved from Charlotte to Austin. He's homeless. His job now? Human 4G hotspot at South by Southwest.

Next time you’re uptown, watch out for the 14 people drinking beer and pedaling a vehicle that just has to be in the remake of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

In which we’re reminded that the lights on the Duke Energy Center are actually controlled by a boring-ass laptop.

This will be the greatest underpass you’ve ever seen. It’s like a highway glitterbomb.

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