Friday, June 23, 2006

Urine Nation

Posted on Fri, Jun 23, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Judging from this marquee, the clever folks at Playhouse on the Square scored big on the multiple-entendre front when International Paper agreed to sponsor Urinetown, a satirical musical about a city where you’re forced to pay for every leak you take.

I.P. Get it?

Get Urinetown showtimes and ticket information from the Flyer’s online calendar here.

On God and Eating Habits

Posted on Fri, Jun 23, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Since he founded the Church Health Center in 1987 to provide medical care to the working poor, Dr. Scott Morris has emphasized the importance of a healthy eating habits. Now he extends that advice to the United Methodist clergy (of which he is a member), who are 20 percent heavier than the general population. “The church ought to lead the way, not bring up the rear,” he said. “If the church has to serve fried chicken in order to draw a crowd, then there is something wrong with the message.

Morris also elaborated on a Time magazine blog titled “God Does Not Want You To Be Sick,” in which the writer described Morris’ work with patients who believe that sickness is a part of God’s will. The writer calls it fatalism, and it’s a viewpoint Morris battles every day. “God wants us to be healthy and live long and vital lives,” says Morris. Otherwise, he adds, why would Jesus have spent so much of his time healing? For more go here.

M.E.M.P.H.I.S.

Posted on Fri, Jun 23, 2006 at 4:00 AM

In honor of Bring Your Dog to Work Day, we turn your attention to this MySpace page from a dog — yes, the four-legged kind — whose name just happens to be “M.E.M.P.H.I.S.”

The dog’s blog entries include “Bow wow to me” and “Woof woof what what.” A bit more interesting are the comments from the many friends of M.E.M.P.H.I.S, such as one from a young woman who writes, “I can’t wait to be licked by your velvety tongue.”

Read more — lots more — about this crazy bitch here.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Sweaty Memphis

Posted on Thu, Jun 22, 2006 at 4:00 AM

In a recent Proctor & Gamble survey of the top 20 sweatiest cities in America, Memphis was ranked 18th. More here.

Well, It’s About Time!

Posted on Thu, Jun 22, 2006 at 4:00 AM

The Waco, Texas, City Council — a group with either a lot of time on its hands, or so busy it takes them 90 years to enact legislation — has passed a resolution condemning the lynchings that took place in the 19th and 20th centuries.

According to an AP story, the action was probably inspired by distant memories of the lynching of 17-year-old Jesse Washington, a crime that took place in 1916, and became known as the “Waco Horror.”

And since the National Civil Rights Museum In our city has a photo of the Washington lynching in their collection, the Waco City Council plans to send Memphis a copy of the anti-lynching resolution too.

Well, now we can all rest easy.

Read all about it here.

Maynard for Senate

Posted on Thu, Jun 22, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Jim Maynard, the local gay atheist/humanist/Democratic socialist, has just been certified by the State Office of Elections as a write-in candidate for the U.S. Senate state and federal primary election on August 3rd. This isn’t the first time Maynard’s battled against incumbent Ford. He received 166 votes when he ran as a write-in candidate in the 2004 election. For more, go here:.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Tri-State Defender Names New Publisher

Posted By on Wed, Jun 21, 2006 at 4:00 AM

The Tri-State Defender, the oldest black newspaper in Memphis, has a new interim publisher – Melvin Jones. He replaces Marzie Thomas.

The announcement was made by Real Times Inc., the parent company of the weekly Tri-State Defender and other publications.

“In order to build on the current brand of the Tri-State Defender, increase readership and community investment we needed new leadership,” said Real Times CEO Hiram Jackson. “With Melvin’s business acumen and sense of community, I feel that he is the right person to help chart a new course for the Tri-State Defender.”

Jones is the founder of The Black Business Directory and Proud Magazine. He has lived in Memphis for more than 20 years, according to the announcement.

There was no immediate word whether the “new course” will include a formal explanation of a plagiarism scandal at the Tri-State Defender that was exposed in 2003. A “freelance writer” named Larry Reeves supposedly wrote 140 articles for the newspaper, most of which turned out to be crude revisions of stories that had previously appeared in other newspapers. The true identity of “Larry Reeves” was never revealed, and Thomas and Real Times chairman Tom Picou insisted they were the victims of a scam.

Three Six Mafia Draws a Crowd

Posted on Wed, Jun 21, 2006 at 4:00 AM

On Father’s Day weekend, at an event called Family Day in the Park, Memphis’ own Three Six Mafia drew a record 22,000 to the annual event in Columbus, Georgia. While “It’s Hard Out There for a Pimp” ain’t exactly a ditty some of us would associate with small-town moms, dads, and kids, fans of various ages loved rapping along to the Oscar-winning song. They screamed, sweated, and a few teens swooned, requiring treatment for heat exhaustion. No arrests were reported. As one fan said, You have . . . lots of nice people and you don’t have to worry about people shooting because of police.” Read all about it here.

Everything Must Go?

Posted on Wed, Jun 21, 2006 at 4:00 AM

The Mid-South Fair sold most of Libertyland’s rides and equipment in an auction earlier today. One notable exception was the Grand Carousel, which the city, at the urging of activist group Save Libertyland, laid claim to. Another exception — though we don’t know why — was this restroom sign. Seriously.

We could make a joke about the fair wanting to keep its assets covered, but it’s just too easy.

Read more about the roller coaster of a battle over Libertyland here.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Posted on Wed, Jun 21, 2006 at 4:00 AM

On Wednesday, shortly before arresting Binh Lam Ho, the man suspected of abducting teenager Thuy Dung Cao, the Memphis Police Department sent out an update on Ho's appearance. Apparently, the suspect had been seen in the Hickory Hill area wearing a green tank top and gold shorts. Using a tip that Ho had shaved his head and goatee -- and what looked to be a lot of PhotoShop on a 2005 mug shot -- the MPD released this pic.
Maybe someone should call the fashion police, as well.
Binh Lam Ho - Before
  • Binh Lam Ho Before
Binh Lam Ho - After
  • Binh Lam Ho After

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

It’s All Metal

Posted on Tue, Jun 20, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Did you know that when Graceland’s gates needed repairs, they were hauled over to the National Ornamental Metal Museum, located near downtown Memphis? Or that blacksmiths from the blufftop foundry also forged the trophies for the Memphis in May barbecue festival? (The trophies are cleavers, by the way, surrounded by little metal pigs.) The museum is so unique, in both its day-to-day operations and its 30-year commitment to metalsmithing, that writer Matt Dellinger penned a two-page article for Smithsonian magazine’s May issue. Read how founder Jim Wallace turned the former U.S. Marine hospital into a home (he raised his sons there) and into a nationally renowned museum attracting 30,000 visitors a year, here.

Bye Bye, Leon

Posted By on Tue, Jun 20, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Local talk jock Leon Gray is no longer affiliated with Progressive Talk 680/Air America. His photograph has been removed from the Web site, and his blog has been deleted. When asked about the circumstances surrounding Gray’s sudden departure WWTQ programmer Jerry Dean responded, “No comment.” When asked if the station planned to hire a new local personality Dean responded, “No comment.” All Dean would offer was that Leon’s show would be replaced by the last hour of the Randi Rhodes show, and the first hour of the Majority Report.

Gray has been a charming, charismatic figure since he joined the WWTQ team in 2005, but has drawn fire from Mid-South liberals for his conservative fundamentalist views on social issues, especially gay civil rights.

Several of Memphis’ progressive bloggers, who have treated Gray with equal parts tolerance, respect, and bile, are scrambling to organize and make a case that WWTQ should consider filling Gray’s slot with a rotating slate of bloggers.

Mayor Meets with Council on FedExForum Parking Garage

Posted By on Tue, Jun 20, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Who knew that a downtown parking garage meant so much to members of the Memphis City Council?

Mayor Willie Herenton met with the council for half an hour Tuesday, then spent several more minutes answering questions and sparring with reporters outside the conference room in City Hall. At the end of the day, there were no definitive answers about the FedExForum parking garage that enriches the Memphis Grizzlies but was supposed to be a nonprofit mass transit facility.

Herenton suggested council members were overreacting to media reports, which were in turn an overreaction to a state report about the parking garage.

“Often we are victimized by overzealous media,” he said.

He said nobody broke any laws, but conceded “there were some omissions, in my opinion, some serious omissions, made by individuals, but the issue of compliance with this federal grant has been resolved.”

The city of Memphis lost $6 million in federal funds in the deal, but Herenton said taxpayers would feel no pain because of it.

“No essential municipal services will be affected,” he said, conceding that “the federal government was absolutely right to rule that we were in non-compliance.”

The meeting was testy, and council members seem determined to press ahead for more answers in two weeks. Several people involved with the construction contracts for FedExForum were there, including former city attorney Robert Spence and Public Building Authority attorney Charles Carpenter. But some others didn’t show for various reasons, including former City CAO Rick Masson, mayoral assistant Pete Aviotti, and attorney Arnold Perl, who was chairman of the Public Building Authority.

Herenton noted that he has “never in my political career asked for anybody to be investigated” even though he said he has heard rumors that some council members are “less than honest.” Three council members have called for a federal investigation of the parking garage.

Carpenter said the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) was well aware of what was going on in Memphis with the garage.

“For TDOT to say someone duped them, that they did not know what was going on, is not an accurate statement,” he said.

That prompted Councilman Myron Lowery to ask why TDOT was asking for money back. And Councilman Tom Marshall asked if anyone asked TDOT officials whether or not it was okay to give the garage to the Grizzlies as a profit center.

Councilwoman Carol Chumney handed out a printed transcript of a committee meeting last November in which she asked Carpenter “what’s the exposure on that if we had to pay some money back to the state?”

Carpenter answered, “we feel that there is little or no exposure.” Sara Hall, the current city attorney, said in the November meeting that she had gone over PBA records on the garage “in detail with respect to the communications from the state as to the parking garage.” She said the intermodal transit plan was “a work in progress” rather than something that was previously agreed upon as a condition of federal funding. Hall attended Tuesday’s meeting but said she was unfamiliar with most of the records and would need time and assistance to review them.

Those questions were left hanging at least until the council meets again in two weeks.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Elvis for Sale

Posted on Mon, Jun 19, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Somebody call Uri Geller: There’s more Elvis-related items for sale. First up is a pair of gloves once belonging to the King of Rock put up by the Denmark-based Web site Elvis Unlimited. Asking price is $5,000. (That’s $500 per finger.) Read about it here.

Next: The Los Angeles auction house Bonhams & Butterfields is selling the purchase and sale agreement that Elvis signed for Graceland. Bonhams & Butterfields is estimating the auction of the document, being held June 25th and 26th, will bring as much as $75,000. Previous Elvis memorabilia sold by Bonhams & Butterfields has brought in $3,000,000. Check it out here.

On Cages and Conscience

Posted on Mon, Jun 19, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Much has been made recently of the latest natural exhibit at the Memphis Zoo, Northwest Passage. But just how happy are those polar bears we see swimming in that enormous pool? In this week’s issue of TIME, the debate over which animals belong in captivity is stirred. Check out the story here.
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