Wednesday, December 13, 2006

My Harrison Lays an Egg (or Non-Egg) at Rotary Club

Posted By on Wed, Dec 13, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Having perfected the art of the non-press conference, United States Attorney David Kustoff and FBI Special Agent in Charge My Harrison are working hard on the non-speech; her address at downtown Rotary on Tuesday was a catalogue of clichés and no-comments. The Rotarians and Memphis deserve explanations. (For full commentary by John Branston, go to "Poilitical Beat".)

MPD Studies NYPD

Posted on Wed, Dec 13, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Memphis may be a far cry from New York City, but Memphis Police Director (MPD) Larry Godwin would like to imitate the Big Apple’s successful crime-fighting technology in the Bluff City. Godwin recently returned from New York, where he and five other high-ranking officers studied New York’s police department.

They were most impressed with the NYPD’s Real Time Crime Center, a state-of-the-art facility that provides on-the-scene incident reports to the department’s detectives. New York officers drive to crime scenes in special computer-equipped vans and send information to officers waiting at the crime center.

Godwin says Memphis will soon be moving forward with its own version of the crime center, integrating MPD databases to facilitate using their PDAs and laptops in the same manner. A crime center will be set up on the 10th floor of 201 Poplar, which currently houses empty office space.

The future crime center will also contain video surveillance technology that would allow the MPD to set up cameras in crime hotspots around the city. The images would be displayed on screens in the crime center, where an officer would monitor the video for suspicious activity. Funding for this operation has already been secured through grants.

Memphis is already doing some of things that have been successful in New York, such as using crime data to determine hotspots in the Blue Crush operation.

“We’re already following the same track they’ve laid down,” said Deputy Chief Dewey Betts at a Wednesday afternoon press conference.

But there is one thing New York has that Memphis may never have — a large police presence. The NYPD has 4.5 officers per 1,000 citizens, while Memphis currently has 3.0 officer per 1,000 residents. If a proposal to hire 650 more officers is approved, Memphis will have 3.7 officers per 1,000 people.

“They have a police officer on every corner,” said Godwin. “We can’t afford to do that.”

by Bianca Phillips

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

CD Fund-raiser for Larry Finch

Posted on Tue, Dec 12, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Nearly four years ago, beloved former University of Memphis basketball player and coach Larry Finch had a stroke. To offset Finch's medical costs, his supporters created The Friends of Coach Larry Finch Foundation. Today, the foundation is releasing a tribute CD, Eye of the Tiger.

The CD will feature a new version of Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger" and will include songs from Al Green, the Bo-Keys, Gary Johns, John Kilzer, Al Kapone, and more.

Eye of the Tiger is available at Wal-Mart, Best Buy, FYE, Davis-Kidd Booksellers, Tennessee Sports Zone, Spin Street, Poplar Tunes, Tiger Book store, Borders, Cats, and at the official Tiger Booth at the FedExForum.

That Other Memphis

Posted By on Tue, Dec 12, 2006 at 4:00 AM

As we close out 2006, our thoughts turn to 2007 — and to the Seven Wonders of the World. On July 7 of next year (7/7/7, get it?) seven new wonders will be named.

(Alas, Graceland didn’t make the list of finalists.) And when we think of the Seven Wonders, we think of pyramids. When we think of pyramids, we think of Egypt. And when we think of Egypt, well, we think of Memphis. But maybe it's time to brush up on the fun and fact-filled history of Memphis, Egypt.

Turnout for Finch at Cadres

Posted By on Tue, Dec 12, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Vicki Finch, wife of the ailing Tiger basketball great Larry Finch, professed gratitude at the healthy turnout at a benefit fundraiser for her husband Tuesday night at Cadres. "My husband had good friends on the way up, and he's kept them through bad times," she told well-wisher Dave Woloshin.

Where Is the King When We Need Him?

Posted on Tue, Dec 12, 2006 at 4:00 AM

It’s been 65 years since the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and the people of Honolulu are fighting another battle — this time against the elements. The famous memorial over the battleship/tomb Arizona is sinking, and salt water leaking into the monument is causing further damage. Funds are being raised to repair and stabilize the structure.

So where is Elvis Presley now that we need him?

It’s not common knowledge that the King of Rock-and-Roll played a major role in the creation of the Arizona Memorial.

After the war, the U.S. Navy built a wooden structure alongside the Arizona and began a tradition of raising and lowering an American flag over the submerged hulk, which still contains the bodies of some 1,100 sailors killed when the ship was sunk by Japanese bombs. In the late 1950s, a movement was started to build a more impressive monument, and an architect came up with a plan that would cost some $500,000. His design was a soaring bridge that would span the sunken ship without actually touching it. For reasons that are now hard to understand, it wasn’t easy coming up with that money, and the project foundered.

Enter Elvis Presley. On the evening of March 25, 1961, Elvis held a sold-out concert in Honolulu that not only raised awareness of the memorial but raised more than $64,000 toward its construction. That was the spark that got the whole thing started, and the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial —sometimes called the Pacific War Memorial — opened to the public on May 25, 1962.

Monday, December 11, 2006

New Oxford American Issue Gets Pulpy

Posted By on Mon, Dec 11, 2006 at 4:00 AM

The good folks at the Oxford American have gone noir with their winter issue. The cover features the pulp art of Glen Orbik, as well as writing by Barry Hannah, who unearths the thrills of noir fiction by writers such as Raymond Chandler and James M. Cain.

Michelle Richmond ponders the strange controversy of the Southern writer Brad Vice, whose debut book was greeted first with acclaim and then with defamation. Kevin Conley profiles a wacky Cajun stuntman who handles alligators and explosions as easily as he handles criminals and car chases.

Reporter John Williams reveals the inner workings of American politics by way of one independent gubernatorial candidate who put his idealism to the test against the Arkansas party machines.

Other writers in the issue include Ginny Johnson, Jack Pendarvis, Kevin Brockmeier, Jill McCorkle and many others. Go to the OA Web site for more information.

Is This What Happened to the Memphis Manatee?

Posted By on Mon, Dec 11, 2006 at 4:00 AM

You know the story. Naive small-town mammal moves to the big city and gets mixed up with the wrong crowd. Could Conan O’Brien’s Horny Manatee be Memphis' missing manatee?

This Web site is so wrong in so many ways that we knew you'd like it. Take the tour and don't miss the dancing segment.

Nooooooo! Memphis Manatee Found Murdered ... or Just Dead

Posted By on Mon, Dec 11, 2006 at 4:00 AM

WMC-TV Channel 5 is reporting that the body of the mystery Memphis manatee has been found near McKellar Lake. Yes, the same McKellar Lake where alligators were discovered to be living last summer. Coincidence — or something more sinister? You make the call. And check out the song and video that WMC has posted.

And we were totally kidding about that earlier hornymanatee.com post.

World's Oldest Person Dies in Memphis

Lizzie Borden was 116

Posted By on Mon, Dec 11, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Elizabeth "Lizzie" Bolden, recognized as the world's oldest person, died Monday in a nursing home, the home's administrator said. She was 116.

Bolden was born Aug. 15, 1890, according to the Gerontology Research Group, a Los Angeles organization that tracks the ages of the world's oldest people.

Guinness World Records recognized Bolden as the oldest person in the world in August after the death of Maria Esther de Capovilla of Ecuador, who also was 116.

Read more here.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

B.B. King to be Awarded Medal of Freedom

Posted By on Sun, Dec 10, 2006 at 4:00 AM

The White House has announced the latest recipients of the nation's highest civil award — The Medal of Freedom. They include a Nobel laureate, two distinguished writers, a venerated baseball player — and B.B. King.

The recipients are Nobel laureate and scientist Joshua Lederberg, musician B.B. King, writers David McCullough and William Safire, and former Negro Leagues baseball great John "Buck" O'Neil

President George Bush will present the medals at a White House ceremony and dinner on December 15th.

King, whose "60th Anniversary Tour" kicks off in January, launched his professional career in 1947, leaving the Mississippi Delta where he worked on a plantation and heading for Memphis. Last April, at his eponymous club in New York, King played his 10,000th concert.

To read more, go here.

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Motley Fool On Memphis

Posted By on Sat, Dec 9, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Investment adviser The Motley Fool takes on Memphis today in “Investing in Your Backyard” and says it’s a “mixed bag.” Electrical component maker Thomas & Betts is picked as a “potential superstar” while AutoZone’s profit sustainability is questioned.

Interested in thinking globally, investing locally? Go here for more of Motley’s best bets in Memphis. But just remember, you get what you pay for. Sometimes. Just ask Joe Cooper.

The Last Lap(dance) for Platinum Plus?

Heads they win; tails they lose.

Posted By on Sat, Dec 9, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Memphis D.A. Bill Gibbons is confident that the, oh, millionth time will be the charm when it comes to closing down Memphis' most notorious strip joint. Memphis police raided and padlocked "Platinum Plus" and the "Tunica Caberet" late Friday night, charging club owners with drug possession, money laundering, and prostitution.

Indictments for the charges will be handed up on Monday, December 11,2006. The raid culminates a 23-month investigation involving the Memphis Police Department and the FBI.

Police arrested more than 75 people, officials said. No word on if they were strip-searched or not.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Justin Timberlake Wins International VH-1 Award

But Paris Hilton Beats Tough Competition

Posted By on Fri, Dec 8, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Justin Timberlake was named the biggest music star of the year at VH1's "Big in '06" awards.

The singer said: "Thank you VH1 and thank you everyone who bought the record. I will see you on tour."

Okay, none of this is particularly unusual or even exciting, except for certain oddities in the posting on the ITV website: 1) The picture of JT says it's Kiefer Sutherland. 2) Weirdly, David Hasselhoff's ode to hitchhiking, "Jump in My Car" won for best comeback of the year.

But here's our favorite part: "Showbiz gossip guru Perez Hilton presented friend Paris Hilton with an award for biggest outlaw of 2006.

"Paris beat off stiff competition from the likes of Willie Nelson, Mel Gibson, and Dick Cheney to claim the honour."

Even for Paris, that's a tough night's work.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Help Find Vaginica Seaman

Posted By on Thu, Dec 7, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Look, folks, all we do is report the insanity. We couldn't make this stuff up if we tried to. There's a new Website in Great Britain devoted to finding David Gest's Memphis maid, Vaginica Seaman.

You may remember, a couple weeks back, that we reported the London Sun had called the Flyer offices asking us to send a reporter to Gest's riverbluff house to talk to his maid and verify her name. Due to the long-distance connection and the incomprehensible British accent on the other end, our reporter thought they said his maid's name was "Vagina."

But no, it's Vaginica. And they're still looking for her.

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