Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Ride the Pippin Again, Sort of...

Posted on Tue, Feb 20, 2007 at 4:00 AM

The always-interesting GatesofMemphis blog has posted his first-draft of a computer simulation of the ride on the Zippin Pippin roller-coaster. Try not to barf.

The Wit and Wisdom of John Ford

Posted By on Tue, Feb 20, 2007 at 4:00 AM

John Ford and his Rolex got their day in court Tuesday, and if a wristwatch going on trial wasn't surreal enough, the proceedings featured a playback of audio and video footage gathered by the FBI in Operation Tennessee Waltz.

Among Ford’s greatest hits overheard on the tapes:

"Let me handle these motherf--kers ... spread honey all over their asses and eat their lunch."

On Rusty Hyneman: "He’s a rich white boy. This motherf--ker got his own private jet. It is bad shit, I flew on it to Nashville. He ain't got one, he got two.”

On Hyneman’s trouble with the EPA: "You can build hundreds of millions of dollars worth of shit ... and they’ll make you tear the shit down. ... That attorney general has some mean motherf--kers."

Ford’s solution: "Let me handle this shit."

On the Rolex: "Platinum, rose gold, yellow gold. This came from outer space."

On the feds: "The FBI has a lot of shell companies. You see that shit on TV."

And finally: "I never missed a beat."

Monday, February 19, 2007

Elvis Versus James Brown: Who's the King?

Posted By on Mon, Feb 19, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Has the Godfather knocked the King off his throne?

The editors of Parade magazine — that weekly publication that comes with your Sunday Commercial Appeal — have made a musical statement in their current issue that should provoke considerable "water cooler" discussion.

The author of the "Personality Parade" section has declared that James Brown had more impact on music than Elvis Presley.

"Elvis went on to become the biggest rock star of the twentieth century," acknowledges Walter Scott, as if being universally acknowledged the King of Rock-and-Roll was a trifling accomplishment. But it was the Godfather of Soul, he believes, who "was instrumental in combining gospel and rhythm & blues — leading to soul, rap, funk, and hip-hop."

Don't agree? You can vote online at Parade.com. All we can say is, when it comes to drawing traffic to your Website, we wish we'd thought of it first. And Elvis fans, not to worry, he's got about 90 percent of the vote, last time we checked. Not surprising, considering the demographics of that fading weekly.

Oh, and while you're visiting Parade.com, you might as well check out the Christina Ricci photo gallery. Hubba hubba. (Click number 3 for a sample.)

Northwest Airlines Expands Number of Memphis Flights

Posted By on Mon, Feb 19, 2007 at 4:00 AM

From Business Wire:

Northwest Airlines today announced that it will enhance and expand service to Denver, Las Vegas, Orlando, and Seattle from its Memphis hub as well as add new daily service between Indianapolis and Denver.

NEW FLIGHTS FROM MEMPHIS HUB:

Las Vegas — With the addition of a new morning departure between Memphis and Las Vegas, Northwest will increase its daily nonstop schedule to two flights, beginning May 2.

Flight 545 will depart Memphis at 8:30 a.m. and arrive in Las Vegas at 10:07 a.m. Flight 544 will depart Las Vegas at 11:45 p.m. and arrive in Memphis at 5:05 a.m., the next morning.

Orlando — Between Memphis and Orlando, Northwest will increase its schedule from three to four daily frequencies, beginning May 2. The addition of a fourth flight provides business and leisure travelers with a broader choice of flight options.

Flight 944 will depart Memphis at 2:15 p.m., and arrive in Orlando at 5:07 p.m. Flight 943 will depart Orlando at 5:40 p.m., and arrive in Memphis at 6:45 p.m.

Seattle — Northwest is also adding a second daily flight between Memphis and Seattle, starting June 7 from Memphis and June 8 from Seattle. The new evening departure from Memphis will complement the airline's existing morning flight.

Flight 985 will depart Memphis at 6:35 p.m., and arrive in Seattle at 9:02 p.m. Flight 984 will depart Seattle at 6:55 a.m. and arrive in Memphis at 1:05 p.m.

Denver — By June 7, Northwest will be adding hundreds of seats to Denver when it begins operating the Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft on its three daily Memphis-Denver flights. The Airbus aircraft will replace 50-passenger Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) aircraft currently utilized on the route.

"The new and added flights, along with the larger aircraft being utilized on our Memphis-Denver service, reflect our continuing commitment to provide business and leisure travelers with more non-stop choices to leading destinations," said Tom Bach, Northwest vice president-network planning and revenue management.

And of course, none of this has anything to do with Frontier Airlines moving into Memphis. Oh well, whatever the reason, we're all for it.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Britney Spears Shaves Her Own Head

Posted By on Sat, Feb 17, 2007 at 4:00 AM

It may finally be time for Justin Timberlake to reach out to his old flame and say, "Uh, Brit, seriously, WTF?"

Uber Gossip blog X17online is showing photos today of Britney Spears shaving her own head. X17 says Spears called and asked an L.A. beauty salon to open after hours. After going inside the shop, in full view of the paparazzi outside, Spears proceeded to cut off her hair, a la Sinead O'Connor. She then hit a nearby tattoo parlor for some new ink.

X17 called the stunt "a cry for help." It's a cry for something, we're just not sure what.

Gay-friendly License Plates for Tennessee?

Posted By on Sat, Feb 17, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Two state legislators have proposed a bill that would establish a license plate benefiting the Tennessee Equality Project (TEP), an organization that promotes equality for the state's gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered population.

Representative Beverly Marrero of Memphis and interim senator Shea Flinn of Memphis are co-sponsoring the bill.

If passed, specialty license plates bearing the TEP logo would become available to motorists so long as 1,000 or more pre-orders are placed within a year.

Read more about TNEP.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Libertyland: Was the Fix In?

Posted By on Fri, Feb 16, 2007 at 4:00 AM

"It's a good thing the city can't suffer motion sickness. Because all the ups and downs, twists and turns, and loop-de-loops surrounding the former Libertyland site are enough to make anyone sick.

"Last week, in an attempt to remedy widespread vandalism and theft damage at Libertyland, city councilman Myron Lowery proposed appropriating $800,000 to bring the site back to its previous state of benign neglect. ..."

Read the rest of Mary Cashiola's column on the Libertyland "done deal."

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Who Is Backing Herenton's Proposed Stadium Deal?

"Willie Herenton didn’t suddenly have an epiphany that Memphis needs a new football stadium"

Posted By on Thu, Feb 15, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Mayor Willie Herenton will unveil his plans for a new football stadium at the Mid-South Fairgrounds Tuesday, with financial details and possibly some powerful private-sector partners.

One source says the partners will include Mike Rose and Ron Terry, who have had business relationships with Herenton for more than 20 years, since they were on the board of First Tennessee Bank (now First Horizon).

Rose is a major University of Memphis booster and chairman of the board of First Horizon. Terry is the retired chief executive of First Tennessee. Neither could be reached for comment.

Herenton surprised almost everyone, including some of his own division directors when he called for a new football stadium on New Year's Day. He said the details would come later, and last week chief administrative officer Keith McGee said the mayor will present them to the City Council on February 20th. By his own admission, Herenton is not a football fan and rarely goes to games.

"Willie Herenton didn’t suddenly have an epiphany that Memphis needs a new football stadium," said a source.

A stadium big enough to satisfy the University of Memphis, the Liberty Bowl game, and the Southern Heritage Classic could easily cost more than $100 million. Herenton said the cost would be offset by private donations, plus what it would cost to fix up the Liberty Bowl, which is more than 40 years old. He also threw in the cost of demolishing the Mid-South Coliseum, which McGee repeated last week is not in the mayor's future plans for the fairgrounds.

Here are three things to watch for in Herenton’s announcement:

First, who are the partners and how much money, if any, do they propose to contribute? Who will lend their voice and credibility to a new stadium at a time when Herenton's popularity is at a low ebb and taxpayers are focused on crime, taxes, and "green" public improvements? On New Year's Day, the backers included UM Athletic Director R. C. Johnson, Steve Ehrhart of the Liberty Bowl, and Fred Jones of the Southern Heritage Classic. Jones has since said that he thinks the Liberty Bowl can be fixed up. Johnson alienated some UM boosters by saying he favors the fairgrounds site to one closer to campus. The logical corporate sponsors are FedEx, which already has naming rights to FedExForum, and AutoZone which has the baseball park. Memphis's newest Fortune 500 companies are International Paper and ServiceMaster. Is Governor Phil Bredesen up to speed on the stadium proposal, and what would the state pay for? Could this be one reason why Herenton and A C Wharton have stayed mum on Toyota and Marion, Arkansas while Bredesen pushes Chattanooga?

Second, how will the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) play as a rationale for a new stadium? Expect to see ADA compliance cast as the bogeyman driving the deal – in other words, it is so expensive to make the Liberty Bowl ADA compliant that it makes more sense to build a new stadium. Without any justification, the figure $50 million has been tossed around. A little research raises doubts about that. Google "Myths and Facts About the Americans With Disabilities Act," to see how the government and the Justice Department, which is charged with compliance, counter the hype. Aging stadiums all over the country, including Neyland Stadium in Knoxville which has expanded 16 times since the bleacher days of 1921, have managed to stay ADA compliant without breaking the bank. Finally, there is something called "functional equivalence" that can be a low-cost way to comply with ADA, short of massive architectural changes.

Third, how would a stadium fit in with the overall redevelopment of the fairgrounds? McGee told the City Council Libertyland is out of the mayor’s plans, period. But what happens to the Kroc Center, the coliseum, the blighted surroundings, and the parking lots if the stadium fails to generate enough support? Expect to see a grand design for a fancy fairgrounds on Tuesday — and a big fat price tag to go with it.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Black Snake Moan Releases 7-Inch

Posted By on Wed, Feb 14, 2007 at 4:00 AM

From IGN Music: In celebration of the release of Black Snake Moan, the new film from writer/director Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow), a limited 7-inch vinyl record has been pressed up.

The collectible features two songs performed by the film's star, Samuel L. Jackson. Side A features "Stackolee", a brand new interpretation of the classic African American tale of Stack-O-Lee and Billy Lyons as performed by Samuel L. Jackson, Kenny Brown, Cedric Burnside and Luther Dickinson.

Side B of the 7-inch features the film's title song, "Black Snake Moan." This classic was originally written and performed by legendary Texas bluesman, Blind Lemon Jefferson.

SCLC To Lead March for Jobs

Posted By on Wed, Feb 14, 2007 at 4:00 AM

From the SCLC: The Southern Christian Leadership Conference is inviting the public to participate in a civil action march to spur the city business leaders and elected officials to prioritize job accessibility for the city's economically deprived citizens, accountable support for minority businesses and to expand small and minority business growth in economically deprived communities.

It is our position that while our city plans for economic and metropolitan growth with such dynamic initiatives as the biotech industry and the consideration to create an aerotropolis model for our future economic well-being, the city's business, civic and government leaders must create a well-considered plan to assure that these industries penetrate the pockets of poverty generations of our citizens seem to be trapped in.

The march route commemorates the historic 1968 march which proved to be Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s last march. The SCLC was founded by Dr. King and Dr. Joseph Lowery on February 14, 1957, and we are dedicated to taking their work into a new day of effectiveness.

We will convene at 11:30 a.m. in front of Clayborn Temple AME Church located at 280 Hernando Street. This will allow those in support of SCLC to participate during their lunch hour. This also will allow a broader show of support for our commitment to remain an ecumenically and racially diverse organization with the intent for positive bottom-line impact for our city.

: Please contact Dr. Dwight Montgomery, President SCLC (Memphis) 488-4798 or email operationtakebackcoalition@hotmail.com for more information.

Timberlake in The Onion

Posted on Wed, Feb 14, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Featured in this week's issue of the satirical weekly The Onion: "Justin Timberlake Apathetically Crowned King Of Pop."

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Anthrax Scare at the Federal Building

Posted on Tue, Feb 13, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Just when we thought anthrax scares had gone the way of stone-washed denim and platform shoes, a Memphis federal employee opens an envelope filled with white powder.

The incident occurred yesterday afternoon at the Clifford Davis Federal Building. Containment procedures were immediately implemented and the Memphis Fire Department Hazardous Materials Team responded. However, the substance was determined to be talcum powder.

“No doubt the letter was intended to disrupt operations and scare personnel,” said David G. Jolley, United States Marshal for the Western District of Tennessee.

An investigation has been launched to determine who is responsible for the hoax.

Memphis School Board Discusses Military Testing

Posted By on Tue, Feb 13, 2007 at 4:00 AM

It looks like the Memphis City Schools (MCS) board may continue to allow student information to be released to the military through Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test.

At a special MCS board staff conference meeting last night, members discussed a resolution proposed by board member Jeff Warren that would shield students’ personal information on the test from military recruiters.

“This is not a military or anti-military question,” said Warren at last night’s meeting. “It’s a question of student’s privacy.”

An optional test administered to high school juniors and seniors by the military, the ASVAB is designed to help kids make career choices. However, the test also provides military field recruiters with information on high school students qualified for enlistment.

Currently, the district allows the military to give the test under Option 1, which means phone numbers, scores, and other personal information from all students who take the test goes directly to the military. Students who score well often receive mailings and phone calls from recruiters, whether they’re interested in joining the military or not. The option Warren supports is called Option 8.

However, recommendations from the board’s attorneys lean toward sticking with Option 1, but placing more emphasis on informing the students as to where their information is going. They would also require that parents sign a consent form, allowing them to opt out of allowing their child to take the test.

As it stands, there is no district-wide policy regarding how individual schools handle the ASVAB.

“We don’t know the consistency by which schools are informing parents,” said superintendent Carol Johnson. “The recommendations would require it.” -Bianca Phillips

Monday, February 12, 2007

Ambulance Issues in Shelby County

As Germantown and Collierville prepare to opt out, will county ambulance service become more unwieldy?

Posted on Mon, Feb 12, 2007 at 4:00 AM

"Sometimes you're dead if you do and dead if you don't.

"As Shelby County citizens have discovered, the split between the county's various emergency response systems has created problems that have residents clamoring for change. And with Collierville and Germantown ready to opt out of the contract with Rural/Metro, local ambulance service looks to become more disjointed.

"Municipal fire departments respond to every emergency call throughout Shelby County and can administer medical attention but cannot provide residents transportation to the hospital, regardless of a situation's severity. In Germantown, Collierville, and the unincorporated areas, that's the job of Rural/Metro, the county's ambulance subcontractor with a reputation for lagging response times. The county now plans to let the current Rural/Metro contract expire June 30th and rebid ambulance service."

Read the rest of Preston Lauterbach's report.

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition Features Memphis

Posted By on Mon, Feb 12, 2007 at 4:00 AM

The annual Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue is due out next week, and among all the exotic locales, such as Tahiti, the Bahamas, Hollywood, is, yes, Memphis.

If you watch this educational video, you'll see a few scenes from what appear to be Sun Studios and Beale Street and the Main Street trolley. The scenes are quick, and it may take you a moment to focus on the background, since there are distractions in the way. But, we know you'll persevere. Watch the trailer.

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