Fly on the Wall tries to be many things for many people. In addition to posting real news so weird it seems fake and fake news so obvious it seems real, we also tell the occasional joke, trend spot cool things, and highlight bits of wonderful Memphisness that might otherwise fall between the cracks. Once in a while our bloggers like to spotlight the magnificent obsessions that drive our fellow Memphians to do the kinds of unusual things things that make our shining city on a bluff just a little more magnificent. And, of course, just a little more obsessed. This is one of those stories.
Meet Peter Ceren, author of historical fiction with fantastical twists. Ceren is currently raising funds in order to document an attempt by scholars and divers to find and explore the San Marcos, an ill-fated Spanish Galleon that sank off the coast of Ireland in 1588.
Ceren has been collecting information about the San Marcos since he heard his first folk stories about the ship while visiting Ireland 47 years ago. The San Marcos also featured prominently Ceren's novel Waking Remembering and he hopes the followup to that first book will be a work of non-fiction about academics, divers, and adventures on and under the sea.
Here's a video explaining the whole thing.
In the 16th-Century, anybody not betting on the Spanish Armada and its battle-hardened soldiers over Britain’s rag tag military and ratty, run down fortifications would have probably been accused of throwing away good money. The Spanish were an empire flush with New World gold, and able to claim God’s will as long as they at least pretended that the Armada was sailing north to win England back for Catholicism. But if the British weren't at the height of their powers, England's best sailors had at least learned a thing or two about how to fight the Spanish like pirates. Using those skills they managed win a major victory and spook Spain’s superior ships off mission and into an advancing storm off the coast of Ireland, where many troops were lost.
Previous searches for the San Marcos, a vessel with 60 bronze cannons, and 500 passengers, including royals, have proven futile.
Ceren sees the hand of fate in action. John Treacy a PhD. candidate in the final stages of his doctorate in Irish naval history isn’t so keen on the whole fate thing. But lately the two men, attracted to the San Marcos for different reasons, have been sharing information regarding the lost ship. Treacy is bringing 60 divers together for a search called Project San Marcos 2014. This is the expedition Ceren hopes to document.
The Internet is full of wonders. Take this lost bit of Memphis history, for example... Please!
This recording of Kallen Esperian getting her inner viking on isn't new, but I'm linking it anyway because it makes me happy.
Last night, while strolling along Main St. my daughter Lucy spotted this poster. Being the thoughtful child she is, she immediately brought it to my attention and was rewarded with all the fish tacos she could eat.
What a cutie.
"This is what real Latinos and Latinas eat," Dupp said, over pronouncing 'Latino' and 'Latina' while eating an order of pastor tacos. "It gets me in touch with other cultures and, at least for a little while, helps me forgive myself for my White privilege. Also, you know, it makes me feel like I'm doing better with the diversity."
Dupp explains there's an "ethnic hierarchy" behind his culinary choices. "We will eat authentic Latino/Latina food on an average White guilt day. But when things get really bad, I try to go deeper into the ethnic well."
Last week, after he was pulled over for a traffic stop without getting a ticket, Dupp invited several white co-workers out for authentic dim sum. Following a promotion at his job, the same "posse" went out to sample genuine Ethiopian fare. "It was an especially guilty day and I had to do something," Dupp said, adding that Injera, the stretchy bread served with Ethiopian stews, "really soaks in the guilt."
"There's so many kinds of ethnic food to choose from these days," Dupp says, listing ethnic food options ranging from hummus and falafel to palak paneer and Korean barbecue.
"I tell all my younger friends they don't know how good they have it," he says. "When I was a younger, guiltier man the choices were limited to fried rice or maybe a gyro. But nowadays, sky's the limit!"
Joey Hack is a regular contributor to Fly on the Wall, and is a member of The Wiseguys improv troupe.
As anyone who’s toured Graceland’s trophy room knows, Elvis Presley collected guns, including an ornate gold Beretta with a mother of pearl handle. But Beretta may have gone too far when they used the King’s image in an advertising campaign for a new line of shotguns. Billboard reports that Elvis Presley’s Estate is suing the company, which introduced the new sporting weapon at a Las Vegas trade show and hired tribute artists to perform and pose with the guns. As far as we know, no televisions were harmed in the process.
In other Elvis- related news, this May dentists across the UK will promote mouth cancer awareness with an event called 'Elvis Day.' Participating dentists will display life models of the King’s teeth. Also on display: Authentic Elvis dental crowns.
Greendeer, who describes himself variously as the “Superstar Bill Dundee of grass management" and “Mayor AC Wharton’s unofficial lawncare czar,” says he’s been counseling the Memphis Mayor by way of unsolicited emails since the two men were seated next to one another at an Alan Jackson concert. Greendeer's emails have emphasized the city’s need to develop better mowing strategies for Beale St. and it’s the long-time landscaping specialist’s strong belief that any new city-appointed board overseeing Memphis’ historic entertainment district, will focus primarily on grass mowing and secondarily on grass re-mowing.
“Historically speaking. Grass strategizing is what the city does best,” Greendeer said, acknowledging that there is bound to be some public backlash.
“I’ve been unofficially advising mayors all over the country for years and it’s always the same,” Greendeer continued, showing off his barber-like skills with the F-15. “People don’t take time to understand the math involved when you break land into mowable and re-mowable parcels, so they try to make it into a political issue. They call it all a ‘scandal’ and say, ‘What about the lots all over my street where the grass is six-feet high?' It's like nobody remembers the great Oklahoma dust bowl, a crisis created in part by the general public’s poor understanding of sustainable lawn management and re-management."
What will make the new Beale Street Management team's mowing strategy controversial? Greendeer says the answer is obvious: People don't know why anybody in their right mind would ever need to mow a street.
Greendeer finished his edging in short order, and put aside his heavy gear. Then he produced an Android phone, pulled up a high-tech interactive lawn map of Downtown Memphis, and zoomed in on Beale,. “People think mowing a street is no big deal, but the fact is, it’s a very big deal.
“Look,” Greendeer said pinching the air above his phone, launching a touch-sensitive 3-D projector. “Beale St. is maybe 20-acres total.”
“Beale Street is 27-acres,” the phone interrupted robotically.
“Doesn’t matter,” Greendeer barked. “When you divide the street into a hundred mowable and re-mowable lots, you instantly quadruple the number of landscape technicians required to achieve maximum coverage, with minimum damage to historic properties, and no accidental shredding of trees or shrubberies that can easily be mistaken for exotic grasses and weeds, especially after a couple of beers.”
As compelling as the light show may be, a bigger question remains: Is Greendeer the expert he says he is, or just another crank with an internet connection? Only time, and future investigations will tell.
“We wanted to send a clear message that the government of Tennessee firmly supports our constitutional right to bear and discharge arms,” said Senate sponsor Mae Beavers, as she postured with twin M-16s. “As I see it, there is no better way to ensure your personal safety than with an unyielding stream of suppressive fire.”
Beavers then knelt down on the capitol steps and unloaded both assault rifles into the afternoon sky, letting loose a cry of anguish and victory which scattered wildlife and shattered nearby car windows.
Independent analysis of the legislation has indicated that the average Tennessee gun owner will spend approximately $50,000 per year on ammunition as a result of the bill. When reached for comment, NRA spokesman Terrence O’Kane refused to stop operating a .50 caliber mounted machine gun long enough to be understood.
The Firearms and Ammunition Committee, known colloquially as the F’n A, has been unusually prolific this year, passing bills giving guns the right to vote, naming the Desert Eagle the official state bird and legalizing concealed carry for death rays. F’n A is scheduled to meet next Wednesday for a hostile takeover of the milquetoast Education Committee.
Robert Callahan is a Wise Guy and regular contributor to Fly on the Wall
The CVB may never adopt it as an official slogan, but it's possible that the message emblazoned across these cotton wearables may actually accomplish their creator's stated goal to bring Memphis together "one t-shirt at a time."
It's nice to scroll the M.A.F. Facebook page just to see who shows up.