Monday, December 10, 2007

Chuck Berry, John Lennon, and Yoko??? Play "Memphis, Tennessee"

Posted By on Mon, Dec 10, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Where's the Cheapest Gas in Memphis?

Posted By on Sun, Dec 9, 2007 at 4:00 AM

The cheapest gas in town? Well, according to GasPriceWatch.com, today it's a Mapco on Danny Thomas, which has regular priced at $2.79 a gallon.

The website is a handy and helpful tool, worth checking before you head out to fill up your tank. Differences in prices can vary up to 20 cents a gallon between stations only a few blocks apart.

You simply type in the name of the city or area where you want to check prices and the stations (and their prices) pop up on a Google map. For the record, if you're willing to drive to West Memphis, you can save a bunch. Check it out.

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Saturday, December 8, 2007

Saturday Is E-Day on eBay

Posted on Sat, Dec 8, 2007 at 4:00 AM

A few months ago, if you couldn't come up with the $50,000+ to buy one of the limited edition Harley-Davidsons specially tricked out to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley, here's your last chance.

Bruce Rossmeyer is CEO of 13 Harley dealerships, including Graceland Harley-Davidson and the world's largest H-D dealership in Daytona, Florida. Earlier this summer, he commissioned 30 FLH model Harleys with custom paintjobs and other features designed to re-create as closely as possible the 1957 FLH Harley once owned by the King of Rock-and-Roll. Each bike was specially numbered, and 1-29 have already been sold.

The final motorcyle, number 30 in the series, will be auctioned on eBay on December 8th. The closing date of the auction will be January 8th -- Elvis' birthday. Proceeds will benefit Presley Place, which offers transitional housing for homeless families in Memphis.

One the auctions gets under way, you can track it on eBay by searching for "Elvis motorcycle."

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"Bloated" Lisa Marie Gets Dissed by London Tabloid

Posted By on Sat, Dec 8, 2007 at 4:00 AM

The London Daily Mail online posted a story today critiquing Lisa Marie Presley's appearance and compared her father Elvis' "bloated period."

From the Daily Mail: Only last summer Miss Presley - who includes Michael Jackson and Nicolas Cage among her four former husbands - appeared trim and fit.

Publicity shots of her singing "In The Ghetto" in a virtual reality duet with her father showed her looking the image of her mother, the slim and elegant Priscilla, when she was in her 20s.

But Miss Presley, who was pictured this week at a charity to feed the homeless, has a long way to go before she is in danger of emulating her father's gross weight gain before his death at 42 in 1977 ...

More here.

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Friday, December 7, 2007

CNN.Money Names Memphis "Most Affordable Place to Retire"

Posted By on Fri, Dec 7, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Well, thank God. Yes, it's another damn survey of American cities in which Memphis places first, but this time it's actually good.

CNN.Money.com says Memphis is the most affordable place in America to retire. Other factors include air quality, number of restaurants, diversity of culture, tax structures, weather, health-care facilities, etc. But hey, we're number one when it comes affordability. So there.

Read it all at CNN.Money.com and see how Memphis kicks Louisville, Nashville, and Austin butt. C'mon, geezers. Memphis is calling!

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Church of Scientology House in Memphis For Sale

Posted By on Fri, Dec 7, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Here's a real bargain for those of you looking for a nice homey place in Central Gardens: The Church of Scientology is offering to sell its Memphis headquarters at 1440 Central for a mere $895,000.

Sure, it may sound a little pricey, but the amenities are pretty sweet: There are 17 rooms, including six bedrooms, 3 1/2 baths, a game room, a 750-sq. ft. den, three fireplaces, and a "finished" basement.

And that basement, by the way, is really a 3,000-sq. ft. "purification center," which would certainly be a handy spot for sleeping off a hangover, if nothing else. Or creeping out your friends.

Not to mention, you could tell all your guests, "Lisa Marie slept here."

Check out the listing at Realtor.com.

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Shelby County Officials Criticize Wharton's Appointee Raises

Posted By on Fri, Dec 7, 2007 at 4:00 AM

When John Fowlkes was chief administrative officer for Shelby County, he helped advise the county on its ethics ordinance. Now that Fowlkes is a Criminal Court judge, maybe he needs to come back and referee a disagreement over the way his former CAO duties -- and his salary -- were divvied up among Mayor A C Wharton's top appointees.

In August, Fowlkes was appointed to a vacant judgeship. His CAO duties were assumed by county chief financial officer Jim Huntzicker, who now holds dual titles of CAO and CFO. Other appointees also took on additional duties, according to Huntzicker and Wharton. A total of $44,472 of Fowlkes' $144,600 salary was divided among nine employees, saving the county roughly $100,128, they say. The biggest raise, $14,808, went to the mayor's executive assistant Kelly Rayne. Huntzicker got $5,500.

"It was an opportunity for the team to get together and make some changes that will enable us to advance the mayor's agenda until the end of his term (September, 2010) without slowing down," said Huntzicker.

He said it would have been difficult to hire another CAO for three years or less with the likelihood that the person would be replaced when Wharton's term ends.

But that's not how some elected county officials see it. They say the salary money should have been put into the general fund, and raises should only be given after the county's Human Resources Department does an analysis. The raises took effect in October, but apparently the word didn't get out until about two weeks ago. Elected officials cannot give raises to themselves or Civil Service employees, but appointees are diffferent.

"I was appalled that they would split the salary," said Juvenile Court Clerk Steve Stamson. "If we are all going to be conservative and try to save the taxpayers as much as we can, then we don't need to be splitting up salaries and giving ourselves increases." Circuit Court Clerk Jimmy Moore said Huntzicker's action is "wrong."

"I told him in a meeting this week that I wanted him to teach me how to do that," said Moore. "Appointed people already make a lot more than elected officials and more than (former mayor) Jim Rout's people did."

In November, Huntzicker asked for and received the resignation of Human Resources Administrator Paul Boyd, who had held the job for two years. "He resigned," said Huntzicker. "It does not have anything to do with this. It involves issues we have been dealing with for several months."

Boyd sees it differently.

"It was a forced resignation," said Boyd. "They indicated they didn't like the way the compensation program was being run."

Boyd called the action "malicious" because he was coping with the death of his wife six months ago. And he said he objected to the way the raises were given.

"Normally, Human Resources would do an analysis," he said. "I think an analysis should have been done."

On Monday, County Commission chairman David Lillard called a meeting of elected officials, Huntzicker, and Wharton. Huntzicker said the purpose was "to air questions relative to compensation studies done in the five court clerks' offices." Stamson said he and others brought up the salary increases from the Fowlkes fund. "Anything that happens in county government is going to get out eventually," he said. "You can't hide it."

Wharton told the Flyer that in hindsight it would have perhaps been better to notify everyone sooner, but he is pleased with the outcome and what he sees as cost savings, flexibility, and rewarding key employees who take on extra work.

"In terms of public policy, nobody else has been down this road," he said. "I think this is one of the unforeseen consequences of term limits."

Wharton said the salary decisions were not influenced by his flirtation with backers urging him to run for city mayor this fall. He said he has "every hope and intention" of serving the remainder of his term.

The suggestion that qualified people won't work for the county for a few years for $144,000 a year is likely to start another mini-storm of controversy. Fowlkes came over from the United States Attorney's office, where prosecutors make less than that. And in 2004 Wharton hired an eager state legislator as assistant CAO for slightly over $100,000. His name was Roscoe Dixon.

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Thursday, December 6, 2007

Bob Frank and John Murry Create Murder Ballads in Memphis This Week

Posted By on Thu, Dec 6, 2007 at 4:00 AM

The 62-year-old Bob Frank was born and raised in Memphis, where he attended East High School. He was also a cohort of Jim Dickinson and others on the city's underground folk scene in the Sixties. After a high-profile eponymous album for Vanguard Records in 1972 went awry, Frank moved to Oakland, California, and basically retired from the record business, re-emerging with a few obscure, self-released albums earlier this decade.

The 27-year-old John Murry was raised in Tupelo, relocated to Memphis as a teenager, and made a name for himself on the local music scene via first-rate alt-country bands the Dillingers and his own John Murry Band. Murry was quickly recognized as a major talent but never lived up to his promise while in Memphis. He followed his new wife to San Francisco in 2003.

Though separated by a generation, these two musical underachievers and kindred spirits came together in California, making a mark this year with World Without End, an album of original murder ballads that received a positive notice in Rolling Stone and has garnered rave reviews, particularly, in British music magazines. This week, the duo returns home to perform songs from the album in Memphis for the first time.

Read the rest of Chris Herrington's story about Frank and Murry in this week's Flyer.

Timberlake One of Walters' 10 Most Fascinating People

Posted on Thu, Dec 6, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Justin Timberlake has been named one of Barbara Walters' 10 Most Fascinating People of 2007. The program airs Thursday night.

Among those joining Timberlake on the list are David and Victoria Beckham, the founders of MySpace, and Hugo Chavez.

From the interview:

Walters: "Do you think you're sexy?"

Timberlake: "I work with what I've got."

Walters: "What you've got ain't bad."

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Memphis Music Legend Ben Cauley Makes Friends in Wisconsin

Posted By on Thu, Dec 6, 2007 at 4:00 AM

From the Madison Isthmus Daily Page: Ben Cauley of The Bar-Kays returned to Madison for the first time in four decades for the Otis Redding memorial.

The Otis Redding tribute on Monday evening was a somber, respectful affair. Marking the 40th anniversary of the great soul singer's death in the Lake Monona plane crash that also claimed the lives of all but one of the Bar-Kays, the event drew a large crowd to Monona Terrace and featured an appearance by the tragedy's sole survivor, the trumpeter Ben Cauley, who was in Madison for the first time since that terrible night.

Opening with local guitarist Robert J. and harmonica virtuoso Westside Andy's respectful cover of the Redding classic "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay," the event was marked by Mayor Dave Cieslewicz's reading of a memorial proclamation. But the highlight had to be Cauley's appearance.

The trumpeter has gone on to become one of the cornerstones of the Memphis music scene. Dressed to the nines for his appearance at Monona Terrace, Cauley offered some brief reflections on the crash and its aftermath before he launched into an emotional cover of another Redding hit, "Try a Little Tenderness," followed by a version of "Sittin' on the Dock of the Bay" that was downright heart-breaking.

Read it all at TheDailyPage.com.

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Hannah Montana's Memphis Concert: The Bootleg Video

Posted By on Thu, Dec 6, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Thanks to the wonders of YouTube.com, you now can see and hear the world's most important artist, Hannah Montana, performing a song during her recent Memphis concert at FedExForum. You know, the one you couldn't get tickets for.

After forcing ourselves to watch this, we don't want to say the young lady is, uh, overrated, but does the name "Tiffany" ring a bell?

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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Shane Battier Sings Neil Diamond!

Posted By on Wed, Dec 5, 2007 at 4:00 AM

This is disturbing, but it must be shared. Beloved former Griz star Shane Battier has been videoed performing a karaoke version of "Forever in Blue Jeans" by Neil Diamond.

The Griz take on Battier's Rockets tonight at FedExForum. Watch this video and get prepared. What's next? Yao Ming crooning Celine Dion?

Watch it here, but don't say we didn't warn you.

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Otis Redding Exhibit to Open at Stax

Posted on Wed, Dec 5, 2007 at 4:00 AM

An exhibit of Otis Redding's personal effects goes on display Monday, December 10 at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. Monday marks the 40th anniversary of Redding’s death in a plane crash in Lake Monona near Madison, Wisconsin.

You can read Ben Cauley's account of that crash in the December issue of Memphis magazine, on newsstands now. He was the lone survivor.

The Stax exhibit features photographs and mementoes from Redding's family and personal collection that are on display publicly for the first time.

In addition to the artifacts on loan from Otis' widow Zelma Redding and daughter Karla Redding-Andrews, the exhibit contains several items on loan from private collector Bob Grady and never-before-shown artifacts from the Stax Museum archives.

"Stax Records was like a second home for Otis," Zelma Redding said. "We are pleased to be able to share some of our personal family moments in this exhibit."

The exhibit runs through April 30, 2008.

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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Holiday Stuff to Do in Memphis

Posted By on Tue, Dec 4, 2007 at 4:00 AM

There's plenty going on around town to bring out the holiday cheer in even the most Scroogely Memphians this holiday season.

Stop by the Pink Palace Museum for the Enchanted Forest Festival of Trees, an annual display of decorated trees, animated elves, and model trains. Proceeds benefit Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center.

Have a "Blue Christmas" at Graceland where Elvis' life-sized nativity set and blue lights shine in the night. Also on display are original Presley family Christmas artifacts.

More than 100 nativity figures surround a 16-foot holiday tree at The Dixon Gallery and Gardens' Younger Foundation Creche Collection and Bethlehem Tree.

Or check out school and church group holiday choirs performing classic carols in The Peabody Hotel lobby daily from 11 a.m. to noon.

For more holiday listings, check out the Flyer's searchable calendar.

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AutoZone Stock Rises on Good Earnings News

Posted By on Tue, Dec 4, 2007 at 4:00 AM

Shares of Memphis-based AutoZone (AZO) motored higher Tuesday after the auto-supply retailer handily beat Wall Street's first-quarter profit targets.

From TheStreet.com: For the first quarter ended Nov. 17, the Memphis company earned $132.5 million, up 7 percent from $123.9 million a year earlier.

On a per-share basis, earnings jumped 17% to $2.02 from $1.73 last year, as the average number of shares outstanding dropped 9% due to buybacks. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected earnings of $1.91 a share.

More analysis and detail at TheStreet.com.

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