Hello, Tar Heels. Hey there, Sooners. Howdy, Zagnuts. And welcome, Orange people. We, the people of Memphis, are most happy to have you around this weekend. We hope you enjoy our fair city — not to mention our restaurants, hotels, bars, attractions, and gaming facilities. In fact, we'd like you to party like it's 1999. We don't need no steenkin' recession.
Here are a few things you should know: We have two mayors — one for the city and one for the county — but the most powerful man in town right now is John Calipari. You see, Memphis is actually the world's largest college town, and your teams will be playing in FedExForum — the Tigers' house — so treat it with respect. Whoever survives this weekend may have a date with our guys in the title game.
That big pointy building down by the river? It's, um, empty. It used to be the Tigers' house — the "Tomb of Doom" it was called. Now, it's more like the "Tomb of Gloom." Think of it as local government's biggest airball.
Here's another hint: While you're downtown, you might see somebody waving you into a parking space, as if they owned it. They don't. Just put money in the meter and walk away. Memphis has a lot of downtown entrepreneurs whose only product is chutzpah.
Do enjoy the Bluff Walk, at sunset or sunrise is best. Don't miss the National Civil Rights Museum. It is a life-changing experience. Do eat some barbecue. (It is against the law to spend more than two days in Memphis without eating barbecue.) If you must eat health food, I recommend Gus's Fried Chicken on Front Street. It's also life-changing.
Beale Street is your friend. Located right next to FedExForum, it offers lots of great joints where you can bond with fellow fans — not to mention smack-talking opponents' fans, celebrating that big victory, or drowning your sorrows after the ref cheated your team out of a shot at glory. Take a horse-drawn carriage back to your hotel for a truly surreal experience. Oh, and if somebody on the street sold you this paper — well, sorry. They don't call it the Bluff City for nothing.
In the 14 years I've been the Flyer editor, I've gotten lots of hate mail. It mostly used to come in envelopes filled with pages of scrawled handwriting. I read them and put them in the wastebasket, chalking it up as a natural by-product of writing for a liberal paper in the conservative South. Lately, the angry folks have switched to email, and it comes in waves ...
I'm writing this from the restroom facility at Big Hill Pond State Park in southern McNairy County. On Monday, I commandeered the building, which contains the men's and women's restrooms, some racks of pamphlets, and two vending machines. There's no one here right now, but I plan to stay as long as necessary to protest the fact that the state of Tennessee is run by oppressive know-nothings who wouldn't know small government — or freedom, for that matter — if it bit them on their considerable backsides ...
The lady doth protest too much, methinks. — William Shakespeare
Is there such a thing as "bad activism"? I'm asking because I'm seeing a lot of criticism of the folks who are protesting the Memphis Zoo's encroachment onto the Greensward at Overton Park.