Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Sean Hannity, Come On Down!

Posted By on Tue, Feb 4, 2014 at 12:08 PM

Try as they might, the Onion can never outdo the Tennessee General Assembly when it comes to absurd political humor. I have long been jealous of the Nashville Scene's "Pith in the Wind" blog, mostly because it has to be the easiest blog to write in the history of blogging. Every damn day, when the Tennessee legislature is in session, some kind of nincompoopery is bound to happen. All they have to do is write it down, step back, and let the chuckles and web hits and hilarious comments flow in.
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Even the characters' names are funny — Sheila Butts, May Beavers, Stacey Campfield, Curry Todd, Ron Ramsey — and better than any screenwriter could come up with.

So what are these clowns up to today? Well, since they've already solved our state's healthcare, employment, education, and budgetary problems, they've moved on to a resolution that invites Fox News' smirky nimrod Sean Hannity to move to Tennessee.

Yup. See? (The Onion is sooo pissed they didn't think of this.) It seems Sean is making blustery threats to move from New York, because liberal. He's apparently mentioned Florida or Texas as possible options, but Representative Andy Holt (R-Doofusville) proposed a resolution (promptly passed and moved out of committee) inviting Hannity to move to Tennessee.

It gets even stupider, but to be fair, you need to read the whole thing over at Pith in the Wind.

Monday, January 27, 2014

20<30 Party Pix

Posted By on Mon, Jan 27, 2014 at 12:53 PM

I don't know how even the most die-hard Memphis hater could look at all the bright young Memphians who showed for the Flyer's "20<30" party and not see that there's a lot to be proud of — and optimistic about — in the old Bluff City.

In case you missed it, you can read our "20<30" cover story and see a video about the winners here.

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

TN GOP Votes Down Student IDs for Voting

Posted By on Tue, Jan 21, 2014 at 4:50 PM

I've written recently about the difficulties one faces in getting a photo ID from the state of Tennessee. Senator Jim Kyle proposed legislation that would allow students at universities and colleges in Tennessee to use their student photo IDs to vote. The GOP legislators said, "Nah. Can't have students voting, er, no, we mean, VOTER FRAUD, VOTER FRAUD."
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Here's Kyle's press release:

REPUBLICANS REFUSE COLLEGE ID FOR VOTER IDENTIFICATION Sen. Kyle’s legislation would have allowed state-issued college IDs at polls

NASHVILLE – Republican lawmakers on Tuesday batted down a proposal by state Sen. Jim Kyle to allow college ID for voter identification, similar to other states such as Arkansas and Mississippi.

“Other states have successfully allowed college ID as proof of identification without inviting voter fraud,” Sen. Kyle said. “Tennessee allows other forms of state-issued ID, such as state employee identification cards, but today the Republican majority singled out the identification every college student has as invalid for voting."

The legislation, SB 1082, would have allowed college students to use state-issued photo identification from institutions of higher learning as evidence of identification for voting. State law currently requires photo ID at the ballot box. Sen. Kyle's proposal was defeated Tuesday in the State and Local committee on a 7-2 party-line vote.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Can You Draw a Map of the United States?

Posted By on Fri, Nov 22, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Do you think you could draw a fairly accurate map of the United States? Could you get all 50 states in there without looking them up? Turns out a lot of us Americans are geographically challenged, which is a polite way of saying they couldn't find Nebraska if you stuck a cornhusk up ... where the sun don't shine. And Idaho? Huh? And the Great Lakes, well they're just a problem.

Buzzfeed has an entertaining collection of various Americans' attempts to draw a map of the U.S.

Here's one:

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Here's another:

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And here's my attempt. It's harder than you think, especially up there in New England where all those tiny little states are squished together. And yes, I think I left out Massachusetts.

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mid-South Comics & Fantasy Convention

Posted By on Thu, Nov 21, 2013 at 10:05 AM

Local photographer Frank Chin sent us these wonderful pictures from last weekend's Comics & Fantasy Convention at the Ridgeway Hilton. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Helpful Advice for Grizzlies Fans ... and Dave Joerger

Posted By on Thu, Nov 14, 2013 at 12:33 PM

There is no joy in Grizzville these days. The team is sleep-walking through one loss after another. There's no fire, no grit, no grind. Sports-talk shows are filled with the wails of dispirited fans; sports pundits bemoan the team's lack of effort, the coach's substitution patterns, his motivational abilities, and even his wardrobe.

What can be done? Are Memphians doomed to six more months of this agony? Must we get used to losing to the Raptors and Bobcats and Wizards at home? Are we lottery bound? I say HELL, NO! All this team and its fans and its players and its coach need is a good pep talk. Like this one. Listen as the music swells; turn it up; take it in... We're not done yet. Dammit.

Feel better? I thought so. And there's nine more like it where that came from.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Gay Marriage, Marijuana, and President Obama

Posted By on Fri, Nov 8, 2013 at 2:01 PM

Check out this map showing which states allow gay marriage ...
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... then consider this map showing which states have legalized or decriminalized marijuana ...

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... then ponder this map which shows the results of the 2012 presidential election.

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The obvious conclusion: People who like pot-smoking and gay-marriage prefer President Obama. That's science, my friends. Irrefutable. You're welcome.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

ZOMG! Midtown Grocery Options!

Posted By on Tue, Nov 5, 2013 at 1:25 PM

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The news this morning that the upscale grocer Fresh Market is going to convert the Ike's at Union and Cooper into its newest Memphis location brought great joy to the hearts of most Midtowners.

We were already pleased at the news about Kroger's big rebuild of its Midtown store on Union. We've had Kroger envy for a while now, ever since the Big K built that massive store in Poplar Plaza. We visited that store and we dreamed. Big dreams. Dreams of a craft beer section. Visions of massive new cheese options, instead of the three types of Gouda and four types of cheddar Kroger currently offers in Midtown. We dreamed of wide well-lit aisles, mounds of fresh produce, gleaming fresh-cut steaks, seafood that wasn't pre-frozen.

Yes, we had dreams, but they were still a couple years away. There's a lot of tearing down and building that needs to happen yet. And frankly we, at least the "we" that lives on the block of Idlewild Street between Union and Linden, have fears about the new mega Kroger. We fear our quiet little block will become a shortcut to Kroger's parking lot, a way for clever Midtowners to circumvent the Union bugtussle and sneak in the lot from the east-side door.

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Our neighborhood fought Kroger, asked them not to put an entrance and exit on our little street. We went to city hall and asked for help from the Board of Adjustment, but didn't get it. We did manage to get Kroger to promise build a exit/entrance that would make exiting the east side of the lot south onto Idlewild and entering the lot from the south on Idlewild more difficult. But we still think we'll get lots of traffic we don't have now.

So our Kroger dreams are slightly mixed. Better store and better food selection? Yes. More traffic and less peace and quiet? No.

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Which is why the Fresh Market move is doubly exciting. It will bring more grocery shopping options into play, and it will presumably reduce some of the traffic going into Kroger. Plus, Fresh Market will beat Kroger to the punch by at least a year.

All in all, I think we're seeing the business community beginning to recognize what we central city folks have known for a long time: Midtown (and downtown, for that matter) is healthy, full of disposable income, and is home to thousands of shoppers tired of having to drive east for choice and quality. Welcome.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Gerrymandering: How the GOP Keeps Control of Congress

Posted By on Thu, Oct 3, 2013 at 4:24 PM

In the last Congressional elections in 2012, Democrats won more total votes than Republicans nationwide, and in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina and numerous other states.

Despite that fact, the GOP holds large majorities in those states' House delegations. In Pennsylvania, for example, though Democrats out-polled Republicans in congressional voting by a substantial margin, the GOP holds 13 of that state's 18 congressional seats. In Ohio, it's a similar story, with the GOP holding 12 of 16 seats, despite being out-voted statewide by the Democrats.

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It's that way because following the 2010 Census, in states whose legislatures were controlled by ALEC-led Republicans, an absurd amount of gerrymandering took place. Democratic voters in those states were Balkanized into very few districts using ridiculous geographic contortions. It's outrageous, and it's a primary reason we have the current Congressional stalemate.

It also explains how the GOP can get trounced in presidential elections and lose the Senate, but somehow control the House of Representatives despite getting fewer Congressional votes. Salon has put together a fascinating interactive puzzler to demonstrate the absurdity of the gerrymandering.

Wondering how so many nutbags got into the House of Representatives? Wonder no more.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Joe Birch Goes to the BOM Party

Posted By on Thu, Sep 26, 2013 at 10:33 AM

Joe Birch was among the many happy revelers at Wednesday night's Best of Memphis party. He shared this little video via Twitter, and we thought you might enjoy it.

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sam Moore at the Blues Ball

Posted By on Sun, Sep 22, 2013 at 1:06 AM

Yeah, it's a crappy phone video, but it does capture some of the energy happening on Third Street dowtown at the Blues Ball as the legendary Sam Moore took the stage. You shoulda been there. It was transcendent. Memphis proud.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

More MGMT

Posted By on Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 2:00 PM

From the MGMT news files, proud papa department ...

MGMT's self-titled third album was released today. You should check it out. Also released today was a new video for a song (Cool Song No. 2) from that album. You can watch it below.

The band also announced dates for a fall U.S. tour, and will playing the Orpheum in Memphis on November 23rd.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

MGMT Promo Film

Posted By on Wed, Sep 4, 2013 at 11:51 AM

What kind of a father would I be if I didn't pimp the promo film for my son's band's new album. A bad father, that's what.

MGMT Album Trailer from The Avant/Garde Diaries on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Maps That Make You Go Hmmm ...

Posted By on Wed, Aug 28, 2013 at 4:08 PM

A friend forwarded this link to me today. It contains 40 maps that are provocative, to say the least. Below are a few I particularly liked.

Think we might be over-valuing sports just a tad in this country?

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Can you spare a liter of milk?

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Why Memphis is probably set for water for a while.

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Where the drunks live.

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The most important map of all.

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Onion Was Right About Miley Cyrus

Posted By on Tue, Aug 27, 2013 at 11:57 AM

Okay, I know I'm not the MTV Video Music Awards' target audience, but when the local twitterverse erupted with comments about the VMAs Sunday night, I turned the channel to check out the pre-show out of curiosity. What I saw was a bunch of phony-sounding young hosts interviewing a few phony-sounding young "artists" in front of non-subtle product placement set pieces. It was not enough to keep me from my Sunday night Ray Donovan routine.

Of course, now I know I missed the most important news story of the week: Miley Cyrus' (pick one ... or more) salacious, outrageous, funny, sad, pathetic, evocative, drug-addled, pornographic song and dance number.

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I do not know if Miley Cyrus is just the latest in the entertainment media's production line of soon-to-be-burnt-out, drug-addled young music/screen stars, a la Lohan, Spears, Bynes, Bieber, Winehouse, etc., or whether she is skillfully, soberly, and purposefully being outrageous to enhance her career, a la Lady Gaga and Madonna before her. Nor do I particularly care. What Miley does musically does not entertain me, nor does she particularly want to do so, I suspect. I'm an old guy who likes his pop music to contain intelligent/pithy lyrics and melodic hooks. The occasional referance to honky-tonks, highways, booze, pot, and old dogs is also appreciated.

And something else entertains me: The Onion.com, which back in 2008 got the Miley Cyrus story exactly right.

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