Friday, August 22, 2014

Vanishing Memphis: Goodbye WTF YMCA Mural

Posted By on Fri, Aug 22, 2014 at 12:17 PM

Apparently it's been gone for a few weeks. But I just noticed that the gloriously weird mural at the Downtown Fogelman YMCA has been painted over.

Hello wall.
  • Hello wall.

That means this delightful image of a little girl pulling something out of (or putting something into) a toddler's behind is lost forever. It will be missed.

And now for my next trick...
  • And now for my next trick...

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Howling Monkey Reads The Comics: 8/17/14

Posted By on Sun, Aug 17, 2014 at 7:49 PM

This post is super, man!
  • This post is super, man!

We do not know why we are still running this. But we are.

So with that in mind: Vikings face an obstacle! Campfire songs with Sarge! A trip to the ol’ fishing hole! All this and more in this episode of The Howling Monkey Reads The Comics!

All that and more on this episode of The Howling Monkey Reads The Comics.

The Howling Monkey Reads the Comics is a feature of TThe Howling Monkey blog. Joey Hack is a regular contributor to The Fly on the Wall blog, and is a member of The Wiseguys.

Friday, August 15, 2014

You Can Own the Key to the City of Memphis Presented to Phyllis Diller by Mayor W.W. Herenton

Posted By on Fri, Aug 15, 2014 at 3:08 PM

But you've got to act fast because, at posting time, there's only six hours left before the auction ends.

That's right. You can own a key to the city of Memphis.

Also cranks most Buicks
  • Also cranks most Buicks

And not just any key, but the one presented to Phyllis Diller by Willie Herenton. The Phyllis Diller. The Willie Herenton.

HAAAAAAAAA! -- Phyllis Diller
  • "HAAAAAAAAA!" — Phyllis Diller

Sorry, this next photo isn't actually the key that's for sale which may or may not come with a case. It's another key given to someone else at around the same time. But really, you've got to see this elegant ignition tickler as it was intended to be seen. No ribbons. No frills. Just one helluva damn key.

Hot
  • Hot


Also contained in this lot: a certificate of honorary citizenship of Shelby Co. presented to Diller. It's dated 1988, a few years before Herenton took office, so it's probably not related to the key in any way.

The Memphis Key is currently going for $81. That's $7 more than Diller's keys to Cheasaning, MI, and Havre De Grace, MD.

Memphis is #1 (when it comes to Keys to the City presented to Phyllis Diller)
  • Memphis is #1 (when it comes to Keys to the City presented to Phyllis Diller)

City Considering Swag-Based Incentive Model

Posted By on Fri, Aug 15, 2014 at 7:16 AM

Wingstop Rick!
  • Wingstop Rick!

Rick Ross was in town this week to open his 25th WIngstop restaurant, and his 5th in Memphis. Mayor Wharton, eager to encourage economic opportunity, was on hand to greet Ross and present him with a "key to the city." Fly on the Wall has since obtained a list of additional fringe benefits the City of Memphis is willing to offer "job creators" in order to stimulate growth.

As we already know, 5 Wingstops = Key to the City. But that's only the beginning.

Also available on ebay
  • Also available on ebay


10 BBQ joints = Mayor for the Day

The Mayor doing Mayor stuff
  • The Mayor doing Mayor stuff

3 Payday Loan Stores = 1 night stay in the Jungle Room at Graceland (sleeping bags not included)

5 Family Dollars = city council position


3 pawn shops = 2.5 Wingstops

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5 wig shops = 1 free wig shop

3 gun shops = Naming rights to a Mud Island monorail.

Rent one floor in One Commerce Square, get one free deed to One Commerce Square.

5 convenience stores = a 24 hour commission as a riverboat captain (captain's hat not included)

Snazzy
  • Snazzy

1 Bring a major film production crew to Memphis, get use of the Pyramid as personal tomb.

3 coffee shops = Lunch with the County Commissioner of you choice. At one of your coffee shops. On you. Hippie.

4 liquor stores = Shea Flinn will play Risk with you in City Council chambers.

Classic Risk only, no Transformers!
  • Classic Risk only, no Transformers!

Reopen Celebration Station— AC Wharton will hold a press conference to passionately kiss you.

3 pancake restaurants = a ballad about you sung by Amy LaVere

5 title loan stores: You are surgically attached to Janis Fullilove.

Opening a facility that employs more than 209 people means you may assert primae noctis rights throughout Shelby County for one year.

Open a Farm to table local green fork restaurant = Taylor Berger personally takes care of any "issues" you may have.

Avoid indictment for one year while a city official and get a free Jerry's Sno Cone (Supreme not included).


Open 3 Low Credit No Credit style car dealerships = Automatically become Superintendent of the Unified School District.

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Fly on the Wall is compiled by Chris Davis with funniness provided by The Wiseguys.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Elvis Trivia Nobody Has Ever Heard Before

Posted By on Tue, Aug 12, 2014 at 12:52 PM

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In honor of Elvis Week the Fly on the Wall staff has assembled a list of 73 heavily researched trivia items that have never been printed anywhere else. Enjoy.

1. Elvis' favorite small appliance manufacturer was Sunbeam. It is rumored "Burning Love" was originally written as a jingle for the toaster manufacturer.


2. Elvis hated the comic strip Alley Oop, and would draw a fake mustache on the title character out of spite each week.

3. Elvis was considered for the lead role in The Godfather.

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4. Elvis loved funny hats.

5. Elvis' favorite flavor of Laffy Taffy was banana.

6. The name Elvis contains five letters including two vowels.

7. Elvis's favorite band was Winger.


Elvis first encountered 80's band Winger in a meditative vision of the future.

8. Elvis' middle name is commonly misspelled. It is actually "Aronn"

9. Elvis wrote To Kill A Mockingbird under the pseudonym of Harper Lee.

Elvis first and only novel.
  • Elvis' first and only novel.

10. Elvis was an honorary member of the National Sociey of Quail Enthusiasts.

11. Elvis' favorite Mexican food? Tacos.

12. Designers presented Elvis with more than 170 shades of white and off white before manufacturing the first iconic jumpsuit.

13. Elvis gave all of his close friends unusual nicknames. He affectionately referred to Col. Tom Parker as “Turd Blossom.”

14. Elvis often wore a disguise consisting of a top hat, monocle, and false mustache to go out in public as Lord Jiggleton. He would greet people by simply shouting "Blimey!" at them in a loud, fake British accent.

15. Elvis often engaged in jelly bean eating contests with Red West. Red always let him win.

16. Elvis' favorite sexual position was abstinence. His second favorite: missionary. His third favorite: The bearded bugler.

17. Elvis and George Klein would often do puppet shows for Dutch children, which delighted the youth to no end!

18. The hit song "Return to Sender" was inspired by the true story of a man who mailed a letter only to have it returned.

New Zealand
  • New Zealand

19. Elvis was the first person to have contact with New Zealanders.

20. Elvis preferred black shoelaces.

21. Elvis called Vegas "Las Nashville."

22. Elvis owned a hound dog named Butta. It was surprisingly quiet.

23. Elvis had a giraffe named Becky that he kept in his jungle room.

24. Elvis’ favorite female vocalist was Roy Orbison.

25. Elvis regarded the Jungle Room as a vast improvement over the original Tundra Room.

26. Elvis’ favorite Halloween costume: Julia Child.

Halloween, 1976
  • Halloween, 1976

27. After discovering he was too tall to be an astronaut Elvis started his own space program.

28. The most rare Elvis recording is of his live "The King's Klezemer Kavalcade" recorded in 1971 in the Catskills.

29. Elvis once used his karate skills to defeat an entire ax gang.

30. For Elvis, no day was complete without prank calling Robert Goulet. Elvis pretended to be a DJ calling from a local radio station. He told Goulet he was giving away a fabulous prize and the first lucky listener to drop by the station would collect. As a result, employees at KXPT Las Vegas thought Goulet was “nutty as a sack of pecans.”

31. Given a choice, Elvis preferred several tiny marshmallows to one large one in a mug of hot chocolate.

32. Elvis beat Chuck Norris so badly in a karate fight.

33. Elvis hated the word smudge. He would punch anybody who said it.

34. Elvis loved a good knock knock joke.

35. Elvis' favorite American inventor: George Washington Carver

36. When asked about Ann Margaret, Elvis would often smile and say "Yeah, she is pretty!"

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37. Elvis invented the roomba.

38. When in Vegas, Elvis would often call Sammy Davis, Jr. and demand he bring him a Clark Bar. When Sammy refused, Elvis would yell "Well, you don't seem like much of a candy man to me!"

39. Elvis was pretty adamant in his position that Submariner was superior to Aquaman.

40. Whenever Elvis played Monopoly, he insisted on being the thimble, and he refused to utilize that house rule where you put fees in Free Parking and then whoever lands there gets them. "That's just too much, luck, Jack!"


41. If you play In the Ghetto Backwards you can hear somebody saying what sounds like, "Ottehg eht ni."


42. During Gandhi's hunger strike, Elvis would call daily to offer him a peanut butter banana and bacon sandwich. He genuinely wanted to be helpful.

43. Elvis gave away more El Caminos than Cadillacs

El Camino: Comfort of a car, convenience of a truck
  • El Camino: Comfort of a car, convenience of a truck

44. Elvis's unfinished last movie "King-Fu" was described as "Blue Hawaii" meets "Enter the Dragon".

45. Elvis had the bomb even before the British.

46. Richard Nixon made Elvis an honorary commissioner of the Federal Reserve, complete with voting rights.

47. Elvis made most of his money as a striker for Manchester United.

48. In addition to his love of gospel, Elvis also studied Qawwali,the devotional music of Sufis, which is credited with helping him maintain his voice.

49. Elvis’s Memphis Mafia accidentally invented Frisbee Golf while doing dishes one day.

50. While serving in the army Elvis met and befriended a young Andre the Giant. The 1959 single “Big Hunk of Love” was inspired by their friendship.

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51. Elvis was allergic to his own hair color, which is why he dyed it black.

52. Elvis once got into a Scimitar duel with the Sultan of Brunei.

53. In order to save on maintenance costs, Elvis and Charlie Hodge became certified TV Repairmen.

54. Elvis had a private subway that ran from Graceland to the basement of Godfather's in Overton Square

55. Elvis had a beloved pet Vietnamese Potbelly Pig, he called Pig E

56. Elvis was once offered the role of the zeppelin pilot in a film called "HindenBoogie"

57. Elvis once threw an urn at Slim Whitman's head.

58. While in the army, Elvis was used as a subject in the MK-Ultra experiments.

59. Elvis would often rent out the Memphian theater to enjoy private showings of the films of Ingmar Bergman.

60. Elvis used to rent out Libertyland for parties, and would amuse guests by playing "Whack-A-George-Klein"

61. Vernon Presley's favorite meal was Cream of Spaghettios.

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62. Gladys Presley's favorite meal was regular Spaghettios.

63. Elvis Presley bought Graceland because he thought it was cool that it was on a street that had his name on it.

64. Elvis sometimes felt that cucumbers were spying on him.

65. When he was not performing, Elvis would often wear a beard of bees for days at a time.

66. Elvis only discovered his musical powers after he watched a robber shoot his wealthy parents in an alleyway.

67. Elvis would often leave pies cooling on a window sill only to have them stolen by lovable neighborhood scamps.

68. Portrayed Avery Schreiber in three episodes of Chico and the Man.

Elvis with Jack Albertson and Freddy Prinze
  • Elvis with Jack Albertson and Freddy Prinze

69. Elvis once fought alongside the armies of man and dwarf to put down the Dark Lord Sauron and save Middle Earth.

70. Elvis created a chain of yogurt shops called "Taking Care of Business Yogurt". This was later shortened to YOLO.

71. Elvis' final thoughts were of Rosebud, a sled he had as a child which symbolized lost innocence, youth and the love of his mother. We think. It's up to interpretation.

72. Priscilla was replaced by a wax figure in 1972.

73. Elvis played bass for a few months in KISS in 1976. His face makeup theme was "The Catfish"

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Fly on the Wall is compiled by Chris Davis with funniness provided by The Wiseguys.

A Memphis Comic Remembers Robin Williams

Posted By on Tue, Aug 12, 2014 at 8:38 AM

Robin WIlliams
  • Robin WIlliams
I hope you’ll indulge me for a bit here.

Robin Williams is dead, and all our lives will be a little poorer for it. Particularly those of us in the comedy community.

I am a child of the 70’s . There are three comics who set me on a path to doing standup and improve comedy. Bill Murray’s film critic on SNL was an early influence in my writing style and my understanding of the mechanics of character based comedy. Steve Martin taught me the syntax of standup, and showed me that comedy can be stupid and brilliant at the same time.

And then there was Robin Williams. His frantic energy and rapid fire brain showed the pure adrenalin fueled side of performance and improv that few have ever or could ever match.

Martin’s 1977 Let’s Get Small and Williams’ Reality…What a Concept a couple of years later were among the first albums I ever owned. And I listened to both endlessly.

And, though I didn’t realize it at the time, all three of these guys proved to be so much more than comedians. All proved themselves to be brilliant actors — serious and comedic- and all showed great depth in their various work.

Sure, I’d later come to appreciate the brilliance of George Carlin and the importance of Richard Pryor. But in the mid to late 70’s Bill, Steve and Robin planted the seeds in my head that would eventually lead me to perform.

I can’t even guess how many times I saw Robin Williams’ various stand up specials on HBO. The man was a force of nature. The jokes and characters and voices were rapid fire (maybe fueled by a little more than brain power at times). And the act was more than jokes. It had heart and soul.

He proved himself to have the capacity to truly act. Not just be silly on camera, but to open himself up and serve raw emotion, humor and wit. No, not all his movies were good. But when they were, they were amazing.

Robin Williams faced his demons over the years. Sometimes he’d beat them down for a while. Ultimately, they won.

The shameful question here is could Robin Williams have been Robin Williams if he hadn’t had that darkness within him? Could he have bared his soul on stage and screen without that thing inside him that ultimately killed him?

I don’t know.

Comedians are often damaged people. It’s a cliché to say it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. Performers in general, and comedians specifically, all to varying degrees have some demon they are trying to feed or keep at bay. Performance as therapy is pretty common. Unfortunately, a lot of performers also choose to medicate themselves to stave off whatever it is that eats at them. Drugs and alcohol are the all too common medications of choice. And they take their toll.

Society, and even comics themselves, forget how important their work is. Those of us who can get up on stage and make people really, truly laugh are working magic of a sort. I have had many people over the years personally thank me after an improv show because they had gotten through a terrible day and “just needed to laugh”. It’s not a rare message.

Do you comics understand how important that is? Do you understand that you really are honest to goodness HELPING people when you perform. The ability to ease peoples’ burdens, even if it’s for a few minutes is a gift. Take it seriously and own the fact that you are doing some good out there.

There’s a wonderful thing about comedy. Stand ups and improvisers are part of extended families of fellow performers. Dysfunctional families at times, to be sure. We fight. We talk bad about each other. We take vicious shots at each other constantly. We all think we are better than the next performer.

But, when it comes down to it , we actually do tend to care about each other.

Comics, use your family to help deal with the monsters. Watch each others’ backs. Turn to each other just to freaking talk when you need to. You probably aren’t going to slay anyone’s dragons, but maybe you can help them do it.

Comics, just know that there’s a real good chance that you have a group of fellow performers who actually give a damn about you. Use that to help yourselves tread water.

Robin Williams was a giant. A flawed giant, to be sure, but he gave a lot to all of us. Comics who grew up in the 70’s-90’s would cite him as an important influence. Even if the sadness behind the comedy was obviously intense.

Comics, keep the magic and your fellow performers alive. You are all too important to this world to do otherwise.

Joey Hack is a member of the Wiseguys and a regular contributor to Fly on the Wall. This story originally appeared at The Howling Monkey blog.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Humans of the Commercial Appeal: Bad Photoshop Edition

Posted By on Thu, Aug 7, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Not to pile on or sound like a broken record, but what the heck is going on with the CA's art department?

As if the new digital formatting errors weren't weird enough, check out the photoshop job on this picture illustrating a story that's supposed to be about window ordinances, I think, but is mostly about how Otherlands has big awesome windows that you can look into and out of and see things like customers gazing into their laptops or pedestrians designed by M.C. Escher.

Here's a detail of the full image.

Screen_Shot_2014-08-07_at_12.09.14_PM.png

Here's a larger detail.

Screen_Shot_2014-08-07_at_12.13.46_PM.png

And an even bigger detail. It looks like the window line has been warped too.

Screen_Shot_2014-08-07_at_12.14.24_PM.png

An excerpt from the story:

"Customers inside Otherlands on a recent morning could observe through the coffee shop's eight-foot-tall front windows a young mother in a white Nissan SUV stopped in a no-parking spot at the front curb. She wore sunglasses and a wedding ring as she twisted behind her gray-cloth seat to tend to a young child and baby. The little episode was an insignificant but mildly entertaining distraction for shop patrons gazing out onto Cooper."

My, that does sound mildly entertaining, doesn't it. Go windows!

UPDATE: It gets even weirder.

The CA's print edition doesn't just feature this crazy photo. Someone's biographical Facebook update appears to be embedded in the middle of the story. Here's a photo of the copy in question. The weirdness begins about halfway through the sixth full paragraph.

Somebodys got some splainin to do.
  • Somebody's got some 'splainin' to do.

Everything's fine until you get to the line, "Long status update."

Wowzers.

MORE UPDATE:

Romenesko also noticed.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

What's Your Favorite Thing About The Commercial Appeal's Digital Redesign? Part 2

Posted By on Wed, Aug 6, 2014 at 11:51 AM

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As I pointed out the last time I posted under this headline, the CA's new digital rollout hasn't been glitch free. The good folks at 495 Union Ave. seem to be having an especially hard time with the headshots that accompany most stories. More often than not they look like this.

Cut half his face clean off
  • Cut half his face clean off

Thankfully not every single photo is cropped to look like "Kilroy was here" graffiti.

Happens to the best of us
  • Happens to the best of us

Sometimes they even get it right twice in a row. More or less.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Local Man Seeks PILOT for 12-Pack

Posted By on Tue, Aug 5, 2014 at 4:47 PM

Ted Flanagan says he would be equally happy with two 6-packs
  • Ted Flanagan says he would be equally happy with two 6-packs
Memphis transplant Ted Flanagan, originally of Clinton, Iowa, has officially announced that he’s poised to significantly increase the amount of beer in his refrigerator. He may even acquire an additional Igloo cooler, pending a favorable response to his application for PILOT incentives.

Prior to leaving for the corner convenience store Flanagan stopped by an ATM to get cash for lottery scratch cards and, while doing, he also applied for Memphis’ Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) program. According to his application Flanagan was at least buying a twelve pack and potentially as much as a case of cheap domestic beer. “Look,” he said, “I’m a big fan of Memphis. And given the chance, I’d like to make this next beer purchase in Memphis too. But the fact is, I’m already considering a trip to Walmart in West Memphis, which is just like Memphis but further west. And if this doesn’t work out I can always buy and possibly even drink the beer while I’m in Arkansas.”

Business leader Eddie Joe of EJ’s Kwikie Shoppe in Marion, AR, met Flanagan while the two men were waiting to use a RedBox outside of the Union Ave. Walgreens. He has since used social media to encourage his new friend to bring both his money and his astonishing thirst over the bridge to play.

“Ted’s a badass dude,” Joe says. “And I told him I’d totally hook him up with a killer price on some imports.”

Flanagan has a long history of successfully purchasing beers and other adult beverages in Memphis. He had even purchased a craft beer Growler from the Madison Ave. Cash Saver earlier in the day but quickly realized it wasn’t enough. “I’m ready to move on this right now,” he says. “I’m just hoping the city recognizes the value of what I'm trying to do here, and what I'm likely to do if I get really tanked and start throwing my cash around. And I hope they can see fit to meet me halfway.”

Do-It-Downtown President Chelsea Lamar believes that, while PILOTs for beer are unprecedented, Memphians should keep an open mind. “I think this is a really exciting moment for the urban core,” Lamar says. “We’ve lost a lot of alcohol sales to surrounding counties, but now we have a chance to reverse the momentum. We already know that every twelve pack Flanagan buys typically creates three to five new drinking opportunities. If he winds up needing that extra cooler, I think we’re gonna have a real party tonight.”

Although it’s still too early to tell whether or not Flanagan’s beer party will attract the kind of strippers that attract sketchy guys who are free with their cocaine, there are several reasons to be optimistic.

“Hey, I’ve got a bunch of Pancho’s cheese dip in the fridge,” Flanagan says. “And that’s coming out no matter what.”

Watch New Yorkers React to News of Elvis' Death

Posted By on Tue, Aug 5, 2014 at 11:30 AM

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With Death Week looming on the horizon more and more Elvis-related content is pouring into my news feeds. This post at The Gothamist includes one of the most soulless Elvis-related interviews ever and conversations with New Yorkers who seem less sad about Elvis' passing than disappointed by "the waste" of all the people who'd waited in line to buy Elvis concert tickets. My favorite part is just how much the older male anchor doesn't seem to care. Following the man-on-the-street interviews he says, "Well, I think we've done that."

You can check out the whole post here.

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