[lit-ideas] A True American Hero

  • From: "Mike Geary" <atlas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "LIT-IDEAS" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 10 Jun 2004 23:30:15 -0500

To those despairing over the adulations being heaped on Ronald Reagan's
Presidency, I offer as a palliative several Googled glimpses of a true
American Hero, Memphian Robert Hodges, better known as Prince Mongo, .



NO ZAMBODIANS, PLEASE: Judge Rules Out Prince Mongo's Costume

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - A judge has ruled that a defendant can't show up for trial
wearing fur, bones, goggles and pale green body paint, even if he is from
the planet Zambodia.

But an attorney for the man who calls himself Prince Mongo wants to make a
federal case out of his client's 10-day jail sentence for contempt of court.
Slug PM-Prince Mongo. New, may stand. Federal court hearing starts at 1 p.m.


In September 2002, Tennessee politician Robert Hodges appeared in court to
fight a trial against the city of Memphis over his front-yard collection of
lawn chairs, beach umbrellas, mannequin heads and toilet seats. Hodges
called it art; the city, apparently, disagreed.
Hodges, who claimed to be Prince Mongo from the planet Zambodia in another
solar system, appeared for his hearing in Environment Court wearing a green
overcoat, grey wig, goggles and a rubber chicken.

I had a crush on a guy who worked at Soundwarehouse when I was 14. It's too
incriminating to say his name. I met him at Prince Mongo's one night. By the
way Rev Vince Anderson told some great Prince Mongo Stories, he stayed with
him when he played Memphis. It started with breakfast, Mongo said "Do you
like 8 eggs or 9?" and he took crushed nuts outta his dirty pockets and
sprinkled it all over the food, including the Flintstones-sized steak. Mongo
recently got "bought out" of his house by all the neighbors in his east
Memphis hood, thinking they would purify their street once and for all. They
thought they were soo smart and he would be gone forever. Little did they
know he bought a house 3 lots down the street, and he moved everything in a
wooden cart to taunt his neighbors even more.


It's been years since I stopped by, but there used to be a pizza place down
the river, Price Mongo's Planet. You can't miss it if it's still in
an intergalactic pantheon was painted on the side of the building, and there
were often robed droids in the street drumming up business.

Prince Mongo was a local who believed he had been sent to Earth as
for the planet Zambodia. He spent a good deal of time annoying the local
government, utilities, and his neighbors in the high rent district, and made
regular court appearances wearing nothing but diapers and a cape. The
were mind-bending. I have a photo of his front yard and its slackful
coffins, stacks of tires, dismembered mannequins, etc. I was told he made
millions by taking out an insurance policy against going insane, and then
going insane, though I've never been able to verify this....


Memphis. Stayed with local legend and perpetual mayoral canidate, PRINCE
MONGO. He fixed me a breakfast of 7 eggs, steak, grits, garlic, all
sprinkled with pistachio nuts. Mongo is a real universal spirit who claims,
and I believe, is from the planet Zambodia.
Did 2 radio spots, thanks to WEGR and WEVL for there support. Show went
great, Had special Guests Jack Oblivian on guitar and Suzzy Sax on the
tenor. My dream band. Ate ribs at COSI corner, and visited the STAX museum
and Willie Mitchell's Royal Studios. Reall vibes.


Memphis, TN - Shelby County General Sessions Court Judge Larry Potter today
held Robert Hodges, also known as "Prince Mongo," in contempt of court for
not complying with a court order to remove personal property from in front
of his home at 925 Colonial.
Judge Potter immediately ordered Hodges be taken into custody, and fined him
$13,875.  Hodges posted the ten percent assurance bond, but was taken to the
Shelby County Jail to be processed.
City of Memphis code enforcement officers first cited Hodges on July 16,
2002 for leaving personal property including lawn furniture, mannequin
heads, golf bags, signs, lampshades, Christmas decorations, cloth material
on trees and bushes, and traffic cones, in his front yard.
Judge Potter found Hodges guilty on September 30, 2002 of violating Memphis
City Ordinance Chapter 48 Section 38, Failure to Remove Personal Property,
and issued a court order that Hodges remove the items in his front yard.  On
October 21, 2002, Judge Potter ruled that Hodges was in contempt of court
for not obeying the court order, at the request of Assistant District
Attorney Randy Nevels.
Although Judge Potter today ruled that Hodges could appeal the decision, he
placed him into custody saying the treatment of his neighbors and the court
were "unconscionable, reprehensible, and intentional."  He also told Hodges
that the "meter is ticking," and that each day that he does not comply with
the court order he will be fined more money.
Another hearing has been scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on December 16, 2002 in
Criminal Court Division 14.

Club in Mongo's Old Joint Has Neighbors Squawking
A new Downtown jazz club slated to open this month on Front Street is
running into opposition from nearby neighbors who have employed State Sen.
Steve Cohen to derail the club owner's application for a permit from the
city Beer Board.
The club owner, Latrice Gardner, wants to open C.H.A.O.S. next door to the
We're Nuts Pecan Co., located at 62 S. Front, but residents and officials of
the Shrine Apartment Building, located at 66 Monroe, fear that the new club
is actually Prince Mongo's latest venture.
Gardner says she's leasing the 5,000-square-foot space from "some
corporation" and the new venture has nothing to do with the occupant
formally known as Prince.


I found Memphis fascinating. I'd just come from straight-laced Dubuque,
Iowa, to a town with a colorful cast of characters. I met Muddy Waters, B.B.
King, more of Elvis' aunts and uncles than I could keep track of. Local
elections featured a cast of characters that made even me feel normal. My
favorite was Prince Mongo, a pizza parlor owner who campaigned for mayor
wearing a loin cloth and body paint, claimed to be from another planet, and
acted like it.


I did vote for Mongo for mayor once.  At least he was a funny joke, I
thought.  I think I'd vote for him for President too.

Mike Geary

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