Cool Things

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

New Chemical Element Named For Tennessee

Posted By on Wed, Jun 15, 2016 at 4:33 PM

Turning the Table
  • Turning the Table

The periodic table of elements has four new entries, and one of them bears the name of the Volunteer State. Element 117 was discovered in 2010 by the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR), a collaboration between Russian and American scientists who are trying to create ever-heavier elements. 117 was tentatively named “ununseptium”, but today the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry announced that its official name will henceforth be “Tennessine”. Since the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research discovered two different elements at the same time, the Russian team was allowed to name element 115 “Moscovium”, and the American team, based in Oak Ridge, was given rights to name 117 Tennessine. Its chemical symbol is Ts. The “-ine” suffix indicates it is a part of the group of elements known as halogens. 
Like most elements that far down the periodic table, Tennessine is extremely unstable, with a half-life of less than one second. Nevertheless, the JINR researchers believe its existence proves the longstanding theoretical concept of the “island of stability”, a predicted set of superheavy atomic nuclei whose configurations would lead to much longer-lived elements.

The two other elements named today are 113 Nihonium, which was named for Japan where it was discovered, and 118 Oganesson, which was named for its discoverer Yuri Oganessian.

Here’s a delightful video with more information on this late breaking chemistry news. 


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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Tony Stark Visits Memphis, Brings Iron Man Armor

Posted By on Tue, Jun 14, 2016 at 3:56 PM

He is Iron Man.
Memphis looms large in American pop culture history, and your pesky Fly on the Wall likes to keep readers informed when the Bluff City’s notably name-checked in movies, TV shows, comic books and other media. For example, the rooftops of Uptown were showcased in Invincible Iron Man #4, which was originally published last December, but just became available to digital Marvel Unlimited subscribers last week.

Here's the shot: Billionaire industrialist/Golden Avenger Tony Stark was supposed to visit sick kids at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital but, in typical Stark fashion, he forgot about the appointment and tried to bail.
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Always the futurist Stark anticipated this craven moment and pre-recorded a video of himself shaming his future self for being such predictable dick. So, of course he goes to St. Jude, brings his Iron Man armor, and has a great time with all the kids. Well, until Dr. Doom shows up and things get weird.

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So yeah, the images aren't all the Memphis-y. Even the rooftop conversation with Doc. Doom is pretty generic. Nevertheless, that happened. 

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Kickstarting a Documentary About the Memphis Country Blues Society

Or, The Best Rolling Stones Concert that Never Happened

Posted By on Tue, May 24, 2016 at 11:23 AM

Dang
  • Dang

Why does there need to be a documentary about the Memphis Country Blues Society, and the Country Blues Festivals of 1967, ‘68, and ‘69? So director Augusta Palmer can get local treasure Jimmy Crosthwait to tell stories like this one about scolding the Rolling Stones, convincing them to play in Memphis for free, and how the whole thing gets screwed up in the end. That's why.

Jimmy Crosthwait: 
See, the Rolling Stones had recorded Reverend Robert Wilkins song, “Prodigal Son” without giving him credit as a writer. Well, at some point, while organizing the ‘69 festival, [Insect Trust Guitarist] Bill Barth and Chris Wimmer went over to Reverend Wilkins’ house and was able to get in touch with the Rolling Stones from Wilkins’ phone. I think they probably called Stanley Booth who was writing his story on the stones, “Dance with the Devil.” And that’s how they got the number. So, in the end they're talking to Mick Jagger who's apologizing, and wanting to make it all right with the reverend Robert Wilkins. Well, Barth asks, “How would you like to play the ‘69 Memphis Country Blues Festival?” And they said, “Fine." If the city can come up with some plane tickets, and put them up, they’d be more than happy to do that gratis. So then they asked the Reverend Robert Wilkins if he would like to talk to Mick Jagger. And Robert, he says, “No, you tell that boy I'll talk to him in person.” 

Money for plane tickets and lodging never materialized so the concert never happened. But even if it had, a Stones appearance would have just been icing on a big, bluesy cake.

The first Memphis Country Blues festival was assembled with almost no money. According to legend it was kickstarted with $50 from Jim Dickinson’s paycheck and a chunk of hashish that ranges from baseball to softball size depending on who’s telling the story.

“I think all the old blues players were paid money, but everybody got paid in red Lebanese hash,” Crosthwait confirms. Barth, he says, wanted to make sure everybody was happy with their compensation.

The festival showcased artists like Slim Harpo, Bukka White, Fred McDowell, Moloch, Johnny Winter, Joe Callicott, Furry Lewis, Albert King and Canned Heat. It attracted huge crowds and was the subject of a 2-hour PBS special hosted by Steve Allen in ‘69.

“Somebody told me [Last Train to Memphis/Sweet Soul Music author] Peter Guralnick and his brother drove in from Philadelphia in a VW bus. That the ‘69 festival really ignited the spark of his love for Memphis music. Robert Gordon shared the clip of Guralnick in my trailer. I didn't shoot that, but hope to interview him.

“I feel like all these people involved in the festival were really seekers,” Palmer says. “Some of that was just following along with the party, of course. It was a very psychedelic time and the tendency is to think that's all just about having a great time and getting really messed up. But I think there was also the sense that they were really seeing the world in a new way and trying to remake the world.”

Palmer tells the story of young white musicians going to older black artists for mentorship. Crosthwait illustrates the point by recalling the 1968 festival, which was held in what is now the Levitt Shell on July 20, 3-months after Martin Luther King was assassinated at the nearby Lorraine Motel.


“We had a complete roster of black and white musicians, and a complete audience of black-and-white people there at the show,” Crosthwait says. Nationally there was division and unrest, but not at the Memphis Country Blues Festival. “I didn't really think about it until until years later. In its own way, that was a very special event, and an interesting unification of black and white participants on both sides of the stage.”

“[The Shell] was a place to create this community that hadn't really existed before,” Palmer says. “It still feels aspirational to have people of all races together celebrating American culture. It happens sometimes, but it doesn't happen all the time.”

If you’re interested in the Memphis Country Blues Society you can read more in this week’s Memphis Flyer cover story. The Levitt Shell has been given another extraordinary (and necessary) facelift. Instead of just cataloging all the fantastic improvements I wanted to present them on the context of an amazing cultural resource that we almost lost more than once. Not to take anything away from the Levitt Foundation — the heroic cavalry of this story. But the Shell’s decline is closely related to a story of shifting cultural attitudes, and we owe a lot to folks who kept it standing when others wanted to turn it into a parking lot.

Also, if you’d also like to help Palmer make her documentary about the Memphis Country Blues Festival, there’s still time to donate to her Kickstarter campaign.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Remembering Rufus Thomas and Prince at the New Daisy

Thank you for a funky time.

Posted By on Fri, Apr 22, 2016 at 2:39 PM

Prince, not at the New Daisy
  • Prince, not at the New Daisy
Pictures or it didn't happen. Isn't that what they say these days? But mobile phones didn't have cameras in 1997. And even if they did have cameras back then, I didn't own a mobile, and wouldn't for another five years. I didn't own a camera either, and the phone I answered that sweaty August morning was attached to the wall of my townhouse in the Greenlaw neighborhood, which was three years away from its rechristening as Uptown. My friend Kelly was calling because she had news she thought I'd want to know. 

"PRINCE IS PLAYING A SECRET CONCERT AT THE NEW DAISY TONIGHT OMG!," she said. Well, she didn't say "OMG." Nobody said OMG back then. But that was the gist.

Kelly didn't have details. She didn't know when it would happen, or how much it would cost. She wasn't  100% sure it was even happening, or if Prince was really playing a second show or just hanging out while someone else played. But she was 99% sure something involving Prince was happening, which was good enough for me since he was definitely playing a concert at the Bass Pro Shop formerly known as the Pyramid, and the last time Kelly was 99% sure about something the two of us went to the Peabody Hotel, called the front desk from a pay phone, asked for Tom Waits' room, and Tom answered. So, as far as I was concerned, Prince was absolutely playing the New Daisy at some point in the next 24-hours, and I was going to go stand in front of the theater so I could be the first person in the door. There was only one problem: My mom was in town for a rare visit. 
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Time for an aside: There will be plenty of tributes in the days and weeks to come, where people attest to the genius of Prince Rodgers Nelson, who changed ideas about music, sex, and masculinity every bit as much David Bowie, and brought race, and sonic segregation to the mix. I'm not going to do that here, because if you're reading this, you already know. But "Sexy Motherfucker," was playing on the jukebox at Wolf's Corner (now American Apparel) the night the 500 lb woman fell down. She'd been having a good time (like the rest of us) and shaking that ass (like the rest of us), and then that ass shook (and cleared) the dance floor. This is that kind of story. 

"Go," my mom said, without hesitation or even a hint of mom guilt. She already had a 20-dollar bill rolled up, and was sneaking it in my hand. See, my mom stalked Bob Dylan in New York in the 1960's. She says she wasn't stalking anybody, she just knew all the coffee houses where Dylan hung out to stare at his boots, and sometimes she'd go stare at him. I say "semantics." Either way, when it comes to musically cool moms, she makes Starlord's look like a poser. She grew up in Motown, collected records, and met musicians. She's got stories about Freddy and the Dreamers and introduced me to the Nashville Teens and tons of great garage bands. When other moms were using the TV as a baby sitter, she gave me a stack of Federal singles and a record player and didn't say, "sit still." Now she was giving me Prince — and a little spending money just in case I needed something. "Here you go, honey. Have a good time."

All that remains is the memory of a grin so big it threatened to crack my face. And a similar memory of so many other people wearing the same dopy expression.
And so it came to pass, my wife Charlotte, (who was still my girlfriend Charlotte) and I, left mom at home and headed toward Beale St. where we stood and waited for hours for something that might not happen. We weren't the first to arrive, but we were among the first. We certainly weren't the last, and over the course of the day the crowd outside the Daisy swelled into a mob. Then the mob grew into an impatient crush, pushing at times against the theater doors. It was pretty clear everybody wasn't getting in.

I'd never "camped out" for tickets before. But this was different. It was important. Charlotte and I had both grown up in small towns in the 1980's, without a lot of access to any new music other than what was being played on increasingly corporate radio stations. It's almost impossible to explain to anybody who's grown up with the internet, and instant access to everything, just how fresh the opening guitar lick of "When Doves Cry" sounded, as it squalled through the speakers of my cheap SoundDesign boom box. 

Lots of songs have stopped me in my tracks. But only twice in my life has a new song I heard on a top 40 radio station made me stop everything I was doing and give it my full attention. "When Doves Cry," is the least interesting story, but it's the only one I'm telling. I was in my bedroom doing homework when it played on KQ101, a station out of Russellville, KY. The other song was, "Little Red Corvette."

It was late when the line outside the New Daisy finally started moving.  I don't remember what time it was, but the sun was down. People who were tired of standing cheered because it was really happening. We were all about to see Prince tear a club to pieces.

Rufus
  • Rufus
Words like "magic" are overused, but there was alchemy involved in what happened next. Miracles were wrought. Wearing shiny lavender jammies Prince owned the stage, running through songs like "The Ballad of Dorothy Parker," "Baby I'm a Star," and "1999." He covered James Brown, Parliament, and the Staples singers. The highlight of the show, however, was when Prince — always the biggest star in the room— introduced his special guest: 80-year-old Stax royalty, Rufus Thomas, who made his supremely groovy appearance in shorts and knee socks. Then the unflappable Purple one proceeded to nerd the hell out, saying he didn't want his time on stage with Rufus to end.

There was conflict too. And drama! Thomas, who was grooving along with the band, didn't seem to be clear as to what was expected from him. When Prince encouraged him to cut loose and freestyle, he balked: "Oh no." There was a back and forth. Something was said about "nursery rhymes," and then, with increasing confidence, the two men started improvising together. I wish I could tell you what was said and sung, but the details have slipped (or were possibly sipped) away. All that remains is the memory of a grin so big it threatened to crack my face. And a similar memory of so many other people wearing the same dopy expression.
So, about "
Caption story: I was not quite 16 when Purple Rain hit movie theaters. That meant I was unable to see an R-rated film without my parents. So I bought a ticket for Meatballs 2 and snuck in. To this day I've still never seen Meatballs 2.
  • Caption story: I was not quite 16 when Purple Rain hit movie theaters. That meant I was unable to see an R-rated film without my parents. So I bought a ticket for Meatballs 2 and snuck in. To this day I've still never seen Meatballs 2.
Little Red Corvette." I heard it for the first time on my first ever "parking" date with an older woman (she was 16). Now that sounds like a lie because "Little Red Corvette" is a song about  riding around and "parking" with an experienced (ahem) driver. This isn't a teen bragging story though, because nothing happened. Some kissing almost happened, I guess, but before it could really happen I turned up the radio, and said I wanted to listen. To the whole song. In silence. And that's when I learned  you're not supposed to ignore your date, especially if she has the drivers license and the car. Cue Floyd Cramer.

I really wasn't going to tell the parking story because it sounds too perfect to be true. But I needed a way to wrap this memory up, and sometimes the universe gives you weird little gifts. Sometimes it's "Little Red Corvette" on a first date. Sometimes you find yourself front and center for something amazing nobody else will ever get to see. Like the night the 500 lb woman fell down while dancing to the jukebox at Wolf's Corner. Or the time Prince and Rufus Thomas got funky together on Beale St.

I've got no pictures, but I swear to God, Wendy, and Lisa too, it happened. You'll just have to believe me, and and the few hundred other people lucky enough to be there. 

And that's really all I have to say about that. Goodnight, sweet Prince. Rest in Purple. And if you think about it, say hey to Rufus.  
 
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Monday, April 11, 2016

Vintage Radio Ad for Green Beetle & Frank's Liquor Store: "Old Crow Boogie"

Posted By on Mon, Apr 11, 2016 at 3:31 PM

"Now looka-here, here's what you got to do. Do me this personal little favor. Stop by Frank's cut-rate liquor store, and get you a fifth of Old Crow, and go right next door to The Green Beetle, sit down and relax yourself, take plenty of time, and drink that fifth of Old Crow."
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These vintage radio spots from the days before liquor-by-the-drink was legal in Memphis, aren't newly discovered. But they're new to me so I thought I'd share.
Both encourage folks to visit a jumping little joint called the Green Beetle, which is still going strong on South Main. 

While visiting Memphis in the 1970's musician and record collector Walter Salwitz found an acetate recording labeled, "The Old Crow Boogie" in a thrift store. It only cost a dime so he bought it and took it home but didn't listen to it for years. When he finally gave the disc a spin he was inspired and both recordings are included on Shake That Mess, a 1999 CD released by Salwitz's band the Dynatones

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The radio spot embedded above appeared at the end of "Memphis Women & Fried Chicken."

A second spot, "Green Beetle Lounge," got its own track. And for good reasons too. Apparently the Beetle jumped so hard it could ruin your career as a preacher!


Enjoy. 

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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Memphis Heat Soundtrack is Hot Stuff

Posted By on Tue, Mar 8, 2016 at 5:33 PM

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I suppose the Flyer's other Chrises — film editor McCoy and music editor Shaw — will be writing about this in the days and weeks to come. But since FOTW works the local wrestling beat, it seemed appropriate to break the news here. The creative team behind Memphis Heat: The True Story of Memphis Wrasslin' is celebrating the documentary's 5-year anniversary with a March 24th screening at MALCO's Cinema Paradiso that doubles as an official release party for the film's previously unavailable soundtrack. Serious vinyl nerds will want to know that the handsome blood red platter was the first disc cut on Phillips Recording's newly refurbished record lathe. But that's just trivia. The Doug Easley-produced tracks — often introduced with sound bytes from the movie — are all pretty fantastic too.

The record opens with a clip of Superstar Bill Dundee explaining the meaning of heat: "Heat is when they don't like ya." The Superstar's definition transitions perfectly into "Black Knight," a full throttle scorcher by River City Tanlines. It's an excellent start to a disc as offbeat and entertaining as the film that inspired it.  


"Black Knight," is also the only track on the entire record that wasn't created expressly for Memphis Heat. What follows is a series of punchy instrumentals that will do the same thing for your ass they do for the film: Make it move. 

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This is probably my favorite (mostly) original Memphis movie soundtrack since Impala scored Mike McCarthy's Teenage Tupelo. The tracks, recorded by a clutch of Memphis' finest players, have a vintage feel and walk such a fine line between joyous and sleazy they may remind some listeners of the Las Vegas Grind series. 

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Good stuff. 


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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

When "Whole Oats" Opened for Bowie in Memphis

Posted By on Tue, Jan 12, 2016 at 1:17 PM

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There's an old adage stating that the three hardest dates for a musician are, in order, "Christmas, Easter, and Memphis." Few things illustrate the point like this review of David Bowie's first Bluff City concert. Commercial Appeal reporter Joe M. Dove wasn't merely unimpressed by the Spiders from Mars. He described Bowie's 1972 concert at Ellis Auditorium's North Hall as, "mostly noise."

And get off my lawn!
  • And get off my lawn!

"David Bowie probably could be a talented musician," Dove wrote in a merciless review of the concert. "But his show is not selling music. He has substituted noise for music, freaky stage gimmicks for talent, and covers it all up with volume." The writer had been led to believe The Spiders were, "a ballad group," and was surprised to discover an artist capable of "out-freaking Alice Cooper on stage." His harshest lines, however, were reserved for an opening act identified as Whole Oats:

At the least, Bowie's show can objectively be called better than that of his warm-up group, "Whole Oats", a country rock quartet.

Playing all of their eight numbers in a simple four-four time, the group could not even keep the attention of the crowd which spent much time milling up and down the aisles and tossing several plastic Frisbees.

One of "Whole Oats" final numbers was titled "I'm sorry." It should have been dedicated to the audience.

So, whatever happened to this forgettable straight time-obsessed country rock quartet slammed by critics and ignored by frisbee crazed Memphians? Nothing happened to them. Because the quartet never existed. The detestable act was, in fact, Daryl Hall & John Oates who went on to become the most successful pop duo in history.

"Whole Oats" isn't a typo. Dove didn't get available facts wrong, exactly. Daryl & John were new on the scene and preparing to release their first Atlantic Records LP. 

"We'd like to dedicate this song to the audience," said Daryl Hall never. 

Before the duo signed with Atlantic they'd also named their partnership "Whole Oats." So, when the label released a promotional single for the forthcoming album,"Whole Oats" is the name the company went with. The group was identified as Daryl Hall & John Oates when their debut album Whole Oats was released in November, 1972, only two months after the Bowie concert. For the period between the promotional release and the official release, "Whole Oats" it was. 

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WHOLE OATS!
  • Ladies and gentlemen, Whole Oats!

Memphis was apparently one of H&O's first stops on the way up. Nobody noticed. Even Ron Hall's fantastic concert history Memphis Rocks doesn't clarify the listing, identifying Bowie's opening act only as Whole Oats. 

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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Celebrate the 38th Anniversary of the Sex Pistols in Memphis with a Taco, a Concert Bootleg, and Anarchy

Posted By on Wed, Jan 6, 2016 at 11:08 AM

via GIPHY

On Jan. 6, 1978 the Sex Pistols, a boy band assembled by Malcolm McLaren to perform punk rock music and look good doing it, played Memphis' Taliesyn Ballroom. It was one of only seven successful stops on the influential band's disastrous U.S. tour.  The defunct venue was located at 1447 Union Ave. It has since been torn down and replaced by a Taco Bell that was subsequently torn down and replaced by a different Taco Bell

As we do every year at this time, Fly on the Wall encourages fans to visit the concert site to enjoy a taco, or a burrito, or an enchirito, and play the following video as loudly as their mobile devices will allow. 

You may also want to read Chris Shaw's interview with Peabody Hotel enthusiast, John Lydon (AKA Johnny Rotten).


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Futurepoop: Memphians Celebrate Arrival of Robot Toilet with Bratwurst & Barbecue

Posted By on Wed, Dec 9, 2015 at 6:14 PM

No, it's not as exciting as a personal  jetpack or as obvious as a flying car, but the astonishing automated future we were promised has to start somewhere. Why not the crapper?
  • No, it's not as exciting as a personal jetpack or as obvious as a flying car, but the astonishing automated future we were promised has to start somewhere. Why not the crapper?

Interrogative: Who needs humans when there are modern miracle robots to help you gas-up, pee, and buy a bag of chips?

Declarative: Me, apparently. 

This morning I dropped by the all (sorta) new Quick Fuel station at 4589 Old Lamar Ave., which was celebrating its grand-reopening by handing out free barbecue sandwiches, brats, and dewy cans of ice cold soda pop in Quick Fuel koozies. It was a lovely affair, as gas station grand reopenings go, but to bend an old cliche toward the literal, I'm getting too old for this crap. 
No card reader? Or anything else I can recognize? "Affirmative, Davis. I read you."
  • No card reader? Or anything else I can recognize? "Affirmative, Davis. I read you."



 According to the lady handing out enormous piles of pulled shoulder with slaw and all the trimmings, the station was celebrating the arrival of a, "fancy" new sign, some "fancy" new gas pumps, and a "fancy" new, fully automated unisex bathroom that cleans itself top to bottom after every use. That seems a little excessive to me, but I'm not the one giving away barbecue sandwiches. (And it's probably welcome news throughout Memphis' OCD community). Did I mention that it's fancy? So fancy, in fact, I never would have figured out the multi-step gas pumping procedure without the aid of three humans hovering around me explaining how I didn't pay at the gas pump, but at a nearby card-reading station where one first enters the pump number, then dips a credit card. In order to get a receipt — with a 4-digit PIN required for anybody wanting to use the customers-only bathroom — one has to return to the pay station after pumping, re-enter the pump number and swipe his or her card a second time.

I haven't felt this lost since Apple stopped using Google-based maps on the iPhone.
 
Not your pappy's hook & eye.
  • Not your pappy's hook & eye.

The important question— and the one I'm sure you're all asking right now — is whether or not this mechanized convenience stop exists in accordance with Isaac Asimov's three laws of robotics. The short answer: I'm not sure. 

1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

I don't really have enough information to address the question at this time, and all answers certainly hinge upon one's definition of harm. Following contemporary political rhetoric, we can forego any notions of indirect economic injury and assume that these robots are only doing the jobs Americans don't want, and don't want to hire illegal immigrants to do for them. But customers who are already dancing and pinching their parts because they need to go to the bathroom really, really badly may experience discomfort and/or embarrassment while going through all the steps required for a potty PIN. As for cars with multiple passengers who all need to use the restroom —- I don't know what to tell you other than we all have to make hard choices sometimes. 

Not recommended for long poopers.
2. A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. 

The automated bathroom was in cleaning mode when I went to use it, but as soon as I got the go-ahead light everything responded to my push-button commands. While urinating I was momentarily overcome by fearful memories of suicide booths in the animated TV show Futurama. But I finished my business unharmed. Before leaving I commanded, "Toilet, destroy all humans!" It was a reckless move on my part, I admit. Thankfully, no humans were hurt as a result of my bathroom visit. 

Quick Fuel: Pride of Memphis' robot and boxcar stacking district.
  • Quick Fuel: Pride of Memphis' robot and boxcar stacking district.



3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
It's difficult to tell how the robot toilet I used might defend itself from advanced physical or electronic attacks, but it's clear that the Quick Fuel automated filling (and emptying) station was at least designed to minimize opportunities for specific kinds of abuse. While waiting for the bathroom to finish cleaning itself I was approached by a middle-aged gentleman in a nice paisley shirt and wool coat. "There's not a urinal in there," he said, giving me a quick rundown of what to expect once I was inside. "We didn't install urinals because people shit in them."

Fair enough.


KOOZIE!
  • KOOZIE!

Automated self-cleaning restrooms are fairly common in parts of Europe, but this robot toilet, located in the heart of Lamar Avenue's boxcar-stacking district, is allegedly the first of its kind in the U.S. Even if you're a world traveler, intuitive and tech savvy, you'll want to pay careful attention to the instructions.  

To access these instructions one must first enter the restroom. (They can be found elsewhere).
  • To access these instructions one must first enter the restroom. (They can be found elsewhere).

Fancy pooping everybody!

Fancy.
  • Fancy.

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Monday, August 31, 2015

When Dave Brown Met Batman.

Posted By on Mon, Aug 31, 2015 at 11:00 AM

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It's WMC weatherman  and wrestling host Dave Brown's last day on the job. He'll be missed for many reasons. In addition to weather reporting he was a disc jockey, and hosted local TV shows like Dialing for Dollars. But this is how your Pesky Fly chooses to remember him— moderating a squabble between Jerry Lawler and Adam West.   


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Thursday, June 11, 2015

Take One More Ride on the Zippin Pippin!

Posted By on Thu, Jun 11, 2015 at 11:54 AM

A kingly thrill
  • A kingly thrill

Libertyland is long gone and the Zippin Pippin was relocated to Bay Beach Amusement Park in Wisconsin in 2010. But you can still buy a t-shirt, and now, thanks to this video by Theme Park Review, you can ride Elvis Presley's favorite roller coaster without having to visit Scott Walker country. 

Elvis Presley's Favorite Roller Coaster! The Zippin Pippin originally built in 1912 at Libertyland in Memphis was been re-built at Bay Beach Amusement Park in Wisconsin in 2010! The legend lives on!

Posted by Theme Park Review on Monday, June 8, 2015

Friday, June 5, 2015

Digital Masters: The Brooks Museum Turns its Canaletto into an Interactive Minecraft World

Posted By on Fri, Jun 5, 2015 at 11:05 PM

The Grand Canal.
  • The Grand Canal.

Memphis' Brooks Museum of Art has out-Smithsonianed the Smithsonian. Instead of installing the Art of Video Games touring exhibit as-is, the museum used the show as an opportunity to do something incredibly cool.

They took this fine Canaletto landscape from the museum's permanent collection. 
Also the Grand Canal.
  • Also the Grand Canal.
And partnered with the VoxelBox to transform it into a fully dimensional, fully populated, fully explorable Minecraft world with a soundtrack courtesy of Vivaldi. 

Several historical characters (including the composer) have been built into the game. What happens next in Virtual 18th-Century Venice is up to whoever's holding the controller.

Badass.  


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Why Do Memphis Police Streams and Ambient Music Sound So Good Together?

Posted By on Wed, May 27, 2015 at 6:12 PM

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Have you ever wished that you could relax while feeding your crippling paranoia? If so, then you need to tune into You Are Listening to Memphis. Seriously, click that link.

The "You Are Listening to" project mixes live police streams, from a variety of North American cities, with nature sounds and moody new age music. 

"You Are Listening To" has been around for about four years, but I thought I'd share anyway for the uninitiated. It's weirdness worth knowing about. 


Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Play Pac Man on the Streets of Memphis

Posted By on Wed, Apr 1, 2015 at 9:15 AM

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You can play Pac Man on a map of Memphis (or anywhere you like) right now.

Just point your browser to Google Maps and look for the Pac Man box at the lower left-hand corner. Click it. Follow the simple instructions and you’re ready to munch those Pac-Man pellets.

In the video below, Pac-Man’s doing what Pac-Man does on the Downtown streets around Union and Riverside Drive.


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Graceland Too in the Paris Review

Posted By on Tue, Feb 3, 2015 at 3:10 PM

DETAIL FROM A PHOTO BY EILEEN TOWNSEND
  • Detail from a photo by Eileen Townsend



"Ordinary estate sales are like pop-up museums of our lives as unremarkable consumers." 



Yeah, that's the kind of great "I wish I'd written that" line that gets you noticed by the Paris Review.



If you haven't seen it yet, this short essay about the recent, appropriately weird Graceland Too  estate auction, by Memphis Flyer art writer Eileen Townsend is a heckuva good read. In not very many words I think she gets to the heart of a strange, not very happy story. Townsend's to-the-point encounter with Holly Springs librarian Robert Patterson is just devastating. 



“I feel that [Graceland Too owner Paul MacLeod] considered me a friend,” Patterson wrote in a Facebook post that he printed and gave to Townsend. “I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to know him better.”



Good stuff. 



 

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