Saturday, April 21, 2007

Nouvelle Star Contestant Takes on "Heartbreak Hotel"

Posted on Sat, Apr 21, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Via perezhilton.com comes this video of a contestant on Nouvelle Star, France's version of American Idol. Julien performs an English-mangling, almost unbearable "Heartbreak Hotel." Enjoy!

Friday, April 20, 2007

MLGW Gives Money Back!!!

Posted on Fri, Apr 20, 2007 at 4:00 AM

According to a release sent out yesterday by MLGW, consumers will be receiving a one-time credit on their bills in June or July. The credit will be an estimated $50 per customer and comes from part of a charge on the bill that is used for gas storage.

The release reads: "During the months of June or July 2007, MLGW customers will receive a one-time credit adjustment on their bills. The average credit adjustment will be about $50 per residential customer and will be reflected in customers' gas charges.

"This adjustment is the result of non-cost charges that were added to the Purchased Gas Adjustment (PGA) component of customers' bills from September 2006 to April 2007. The charge proceeds were used to pay for initial inventories at a gas storage site.

"The PGA is a cost recovery mechanism. Monthly gas bills reflect the cost of the natural gas MLGW purchases, as well as the cost of gas storage, transportation, delivery. These costs fluctuate due to the deregulated, competitive marketplace. Like virtually all natural gas utilities, MLGW uses a PGA to pass along these increases and decreases in gas costs to its customers. The maintenance of a gas inventory is in line with the strategic mission of the utility to 'provide cost effective utility services to the Greater Memphis community'."

It's 4:20!

Posted on Fri, Apr 20, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Not that we here at the Flyer approve of drug use, but just a friendly reminder that today is (unofficially) National Marijuana Day.

Though the old “4:20 festival” at the Overton Park Shell is no more, your friends at The Complex have got you covered. “Dank,” an Earth Day/4:20 celebration, features home-spun electronica from DJs Halo, Sam-me, Irie, and Saturna.

But we’re pretty sure the management at the Complex would prefer you leave your smoke-ables at home.

For tickets, go here. Or check out the Flyer’s searchable listings.

Memphis Virginia Tech Benefit

Posted on Fri, Apr 20, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Fox and Hound English Pub and Grill, and 730 AM ESPN radio are co-sponsoring a benefit for the Virginia Tech Foundation and Family Fund Monday April 23rd from 6-8 p.m. at the Cordova Fox and Hound at 847 Exocet Drive.

Rick Chandra, a local doctor and member of the Memphis chapter of the Virginia Tech alumni association, says that donations will fund a broad range of services for students and families of students affected by the massacre Monday at the university’s Blacksburg, Virginia campus.

Fox and Hound bartenders will donate a percentage of their tips earned during the benefit to the fund, but Chandra encourages direct donations to the fund. Donors at the Fox and Hound benefit will be entered into prize raffles that night. Those unable to attend, but interested in giving can do so through the Virginia Tech Web site.

Dyer's "To Die For"

Posted on Fri, Apr 20, 2007 at 4:00 AM

The May issue of Esquire explores the “60 Things Worth Shortening Your Life For.” And — drum roll please — the deep-fried burger at Dyer’s in Memphis made the list at number 48. For the other 59, items that include bullfighting, tackle football, and punching Barry Bonds in the face, click here.

Cybill To Remain Lesbian

Posted on Fri, Apr 20, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Cybill Shepherd has signed on for a second season on the Showtime drama The L-Word. Shepherd plays a college administrator who discovers she's gay late in life.

Celebrate Earth Day at Shelby Farms

Posted on Fri, Apr 20, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Mother Earth is a little like your own mother. She brought you into this world, but now the tables are turned and she could use your help. But unlike your human mother, you can’t just stick the Earth in a nursing home (damn!).

Get started this Earth Day (Sunday, April 22) at Shelby Farms Park, where volunteers will be planting trees, painting fences, and working on other park improvement projects at Hip to Be Green Day. Local groups will be handing out information on how to get more involved in environmental stewardship. And for those who’d rather just lounge around with the buffalo, there’s live music all day long.

Feds Still Presenting Case Friday in Week Two of Ford Trial

Posted By on Fri, Apr 20, 2007 at 4:00 AM

BY JOHN BRANSTON  | APR 20, 2007

Jurors got a civics lesson Friday as prosecutors began wrapping up their case against former senator John Ford at the end of the second week of the trial in U.S. District Court.

Meanwhile, Ford’s attorney, Michael Scholl, was laying the groundwork for a “consultant defense” next week that will also be important if and when Ford is tried in Nashville on more corruption charges in a different federal case.

Most of Friday’s testimony was far less dramatic than the guns-and-tapes action earlier in the week. Prosecution witness Russell Humphrey, the clerk of court for the Tennessee Senate, explained the legislative process and the actions that would have been necessary for E-Cycle Management’s pet legislation to become law. Jurors heard an audiotape of Ford introducing the bill in committee and members voting to approve it. The FBI made sure the bill was scuttled before it could be voted on by the entire Senate, however. In the afternoon session jurors heard a long explanation from an official with the General Services division of what the costs would have been had the bill gone through.

As part of its sting operation, FBI agents posing as E-Cycle executives paid Ford $55,000 to introduce, amend, then withdraw the bill.

Also Friday, U.S. District Judge Daniel Breen ruled that prosecutors may use a chart and timeline when they question their final witness to help summarize their case.

In his cross-examination of Humphrey, Scholl focused on Ford’s consulting work. Like Roscoe Dixon and Kathryn Bowers, who were also indicted in Tennessee Waltz, Ford listed his occupation as “consultant” in the 2005-2006 edition of the Tennessee Blue Book. He also added “consultant” to his 2005 financial interest statement along with funerals, insurance, and real estate as a source of income.

“There is nothing illegal about a senator being a consultant is there?” Scholl asked Humphrey, who replied, “correct.”

Earlier this week, assistant U.S. Attorney Tim DiScenza asked undercover FBI agent L.C. McNeil a series of questions aimed at refuting suggestions by the defense that Ford was being paid for anything related to movies, music, or office decorating.

Ford’s consulting work for United American Health Care and Doral Dental is at the heart of the indictment filed against him by federal prosecutors in Nashville in December of 2006. That case is set for trial in May but will obviously be pushed back.

The cases are separate, but the math favors the government. To keep his liberty, Ford must win twice. To send him to prison, the government only has to win once.

The consultant defense appears to be one of two prongs of Scholl’s strategy along with the argument that Ford was targeted without predication and entrapped by overzealous prosecutors who were out to get him.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Memphis Dropped from Black Enterprise "Best Cities" List

Posted on Thu, Apr 19, 2007 at 4:00 AM

The May 2007 issue of Black Enterprise magazine has compiled a list of the 10 best cities in America for African Americans, considering household income, black-owned businesses, number of college graduates, home-loan rejections, and other factors.

Washington, D.C. was ranked number one, closely followed by Atlanta. Also making the top-10 was Nashville.

Memphis, which made the list in 2004, the last time it was compiled, dropped out this year because African Americans here “cited dissatisfaction with several key living standards.”

Mary Winkler Convicted of Lesser Charge

Posted on Thu, Apr 19, 2007 at 4:00 AM

The jury in the Mary Winkler case returned a verdict today at around 5:30 p.m., convicting her of voluntary manslaughter. The Selmer, Tennessee, woman was charged with murdering her minister husband Matthew, claiming she was a victim of abuse.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Titans' Vince Young "Honored" by Madden '08

Posted By on Wed, Apr 18, 2007 at 4:00 AM

According to Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean, Tennessee Titans quarterback and all-around good guy Vince Young has been selected to be on the cover of the most popular sports video game franchise in the world, Madden ’08.

Many believe a curse surrounds those picked to be on the Madden game cover — much like the infamous Sports Illustrated covers jinx. The last six selections for the video game cover, including Ray Lewis, Michael Vick, and Marshall Faulk, have all succumbed to injuries during the season they were on the cover.

Good luck with that, Vinnie.

Midtown Man Finds Grenade

Posted By on Wed, Apr 18, 2007 at 4:00 AM

On Wednesday, at the corner of Overton and Evergreen, Ron Taylor was clearing his backyard, when he struck a hand grenade buried in his bushes — with an ax!

That unfortunate blow could have cost Taylor his life, but luckily the grenade hadn’t been activated. After dropping his ax and backing away very quickly, Taylor called 911. The area was evacuated and the bomb was exploded, leaving a gaping hole in Taylor’s now very empty backyard. No one was hurt in the incident. For extra tidbits and juicy misspellings, WREG-TV Memphis has more.

Is Justin Timberlake a Product of Cumulative Advantage? Whatever That Is.

Posted By on Wed, Apr 18, 2007 at 4:00 AM

In a treatise last week on predicting cultural successes, The New York Times Sunday Magazine asked the ever-relevant question: “Is Justin Timberlake a Product of Cumulative Advantage?”

Theoretically, you see, cultural producers could see what was successful in the past and use that popular formula to craft other successes. But it doesn’t quite work that way. Think about all the next big things that flopped or the surprise sleeper hits.

Based on research with collaborators Matthew Salganik and Peter Dodds, Columbia university professor Duncan Watts says that social influence — that is, knowing what other people are watching or listening to — makes successes bigger, but it also makes them more unpredictable.

Add in a little bit of peer pressure, a pinch of mob mentality, some butterfly effect and an idea similar to “the rich get richer,” and that is why Justin is being called the new “king of pop.”

Don't believe us? Read it all.

No Boobs Allowed in Walls, Mississippi

Posted By on Wed, Apr 18, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Charles “Jerry” Westlund, owner of Memphis-based strip club The Pony, has agreed to take down one of his billboards along Highway 61 near the Tennessee-Mississippi border. The billboard in question is the second of a series of three which advertise some of the, uh, amenities available at Westlund’s establishment.

The first billboard reads "Got Beer". The second billboard used to read "Got Boobs". The third reads “We have both. The Pony. The Ulimate Strip Club.”

Now, thanks to an agreement between Westlund and Walls mayor Gene Adlay, the Boobs are gone. The agreement was apparently amicable. Mayor Adlay called and asked Westlund if he would kindly replace the offending sign with something else. Westlund agreed.

Now those are some boys whose mothers taught them to play nice. Kudos. And remember, two out of three ain't bad. -Cherie Heiberg

Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayek are Moving to Memphis! Book it!

Posted By on Wed, Apr 18, 2007 at 4:00 AM

This seems like something straight out of The Onion, but it must be true, because a website called PR-Inside (offering “free public relations and news”) is reporting that Memphis rappers and Oscar-winners Three 6 Mafia have written “love letters” to film stars Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz, urging them to move to Memphis.

Not that there is anything wrong with that.

According to PR-Inside, “DJ Paul and Juicy J explain they've even started learning Spanish in an effort to impress pregnant Mexican Hayek and Spaniard Cruz.

In a letter sent to King magazine, the love-struck rap stars write, "We've seen what kind of guys you've been dealing with — Tom Cruise, Edward Norton. ... They’re cool and all, but those guys are rich. We’re not, but we're rich in personality.”

Bringing the two movie stars to Memphis would even improve race relations here: “What we really need to do is have kids. We gotta do that, man. End racism. Mix it up a little bit.”

This is totally going to happen, people! It's ON THE INTERNET!

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