Monday, September 24, 2012

Clint Throws a Curve Ball

Posted By on Mon, Sep 24, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Chris Herrington reviews Clint Eastwood's latest, Trouble With the Curve, in which he speaks to a visible person, Amy Adams.

Cooking Classes in Downtown Memphis

Posted By on Mon, Sep 24, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Susan Ellis reports on new cooking classes that will be offered at Urban Workspace downtown.

Charlie Johnson

Posted By on Mon, Sep 24, 2012 at 9:35 AM

charlie_hat.jpg

“How ya doin’ Frank?!”

“I’m fine, Charlie. You?”

“Alright! Alright!”

Charlie Johnson made you feel better with what too often is a brief, mundane slice of our work life: the daily greeting. Charlie greeted you like he hadn’t seen you in far too long ... and missed you.

My friend Charlie Johnson — a friend to anyone who has worked for Contemporary Media over the last quarter century — died in his sleep last Wednesday. He was 71. And knowing Charlie as we did here at CMI, he died too young. I really miss him today.

Charlie was the superintendent of our building on Tennessee Street, one of the few remaining structures from downtown’s original warehouse district. Consider the challenges of keeping a century-old three-story structure fully functional and you get a sense of Charlie Johnson’s strength (and will power). While he technically worked for our building’s landlord, Charlie was one of us, as much a part of the Flyer (or Memphis magazine, or Memphis Parent, or MBQ) as any editor, account executive, or graphic designer.

We all know captains of industry who go about their jobs with the weariness of burden. However fat a salary may be, it isn’t enough to soothe their troubles. Charlie was quite the opposite. He tackled a leaky pipe — or a massive, under-performing air-conditioning unit — like it was a not-quite-worthy adversary, in the way of his team doing its best, in the best of conditions. Somehow, he took on these adversaries with a smile awaiting the next passerby.

“Hey Charlie.”

Charlie, hidden to the waist by that AC unit: “Alright! Alright!”

I never saw Charlie without a hat. His favorite was a baby-blue sailor’s cap. When he was met with an especially tricky challenge — are we supposed to have fruit flies in magazine editorial? — he’d tip that hat slightly backward, as if he was allowing a few more thoughts to seep in (or out). The next day at the office, the fruit flies were history.

Several months ago, Charlie reacted adversely to prescribed medication. His illness sidelined him for a longer period, I imagine, than he’d ever been away from work. But he was back at our office building in mid-August, thinner than he should be. (Had Charlie been a boxer, he would have made weight — with room to spare — for every fight.) I asked him about his recent plight, and stressed how great it was to see him (hat on his head, smile on his face).

“Frank, you don’t want to know what that was like,” he said, alluding to his long fight back. “It was scary, man. You don’t want to know.”

I shook Charlie’s hand that day, the last day I saw him. And I was reminded of one of Charlie’s true assets: a handshake that could crack a brick. You can learn a lot from a man by his handshake. I’ll miss shaking Charlie Johnson’s hand, and I’ll miss how good he made a workday feel. But when considering a mantra as life’s challenges present themselves, I’ll remember Charlie’s approach: “Alright! Alright!”

Memphis Tigers: A Progress Report

Posted By on Mon, Sep 24, 2012 at 9:23 AM

Frank Murtaugh checks out this season's Memphis Tigers football team versus last year's and sees reason for hope.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fair Play

Posted on Sun, Sep 23, 2012 at 5:24 PM

The Mid-South Fair at the Landers Center through September 30th.

Tigers Lose to Duke, 38-14

Posted on Sun, Sep 23, 2012 at 9:01 AM

The Memphis Tigers are 0-4 for the first time since 1998. The U of M led Duke 14-7 in the second quarter, and was down only 17-14 midway through the third before allowing the Blue Devils to score three unanswered touchdowns. More at Tiger Blue.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Just Following Orders

Posted on Sat, Sep 22, 2012 at 6:04 PM

Chris Herrington reviews Compliance, the indie pic about gullibility.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Memphis Dawls

Posted on Fri, Sep 21, 2012 at 5:47 PM

The Memphis Dawls open for Emmylou Harris Saturday night at Levitt Shell.

A Debut

Posted on Fri, Sep 21, 2012 at 1:08 PM

There's a record-release party Friday at the Hi-Tone for Chris Milam's Young Avenue.

New Ordinance on Crosswalks

Posted on Fri, Sep 21, 2012 at 8:22 AM

Louis Goggans reports on a new ordinance that requires motorists to slow down and come to a complete stop when approaching a crosswalk where a pedestrian is crossing.

A Real Work of Cinema

Posted on Fri, Sep 21, 2012 at 8:01 AM

Great acting and visuals prop up an elusive story in The Master.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Finger-Pointing

Posted on Thu, Sep 20, 2012 at 2:57 PM

According to Tim Sampson in this week's Rant, everything is Obama's fault.

The Litter Van That Could

Posted By on Thu, Sep 20, 2012 at 10:01 AM

The Memphis Humane Society has plans for a mobile spaying and neutering unit.

A Neighborhood Turnaround

Posted By on Thu, Sep 20, 2012 at 4:00 AM

Bianca Phillips reports on all the latest developments in the Crosstown neighborhood in this week's cover story.

Voluntary "Poverty"

Posted By on Thu, Sep 20, 2012 at 4:00 AM

Richard Cohen says most politicians' version of "being poor" isn't the real thing.
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