Steve Jobs doesn't live here anymore. If he ever did.
In January, the ailing CEO of Apple announced he was taking a leave of absence from his company to deal with "health issues." This week, the maestro of Mac was at his home in San Francisco, e-mailing his staff and apparently back in charge of the company he founded.
What happened in the interim is quite the mystery. In April, Greg Akers posted an item on the Flyer's website about rumors that Jobs was living in Memphis for "health reasons." A week or so later, I heard from a reliable source that Jobs was living on Morningside Place in Midtown, recovering from surgery. I hear lots of rumors, and my thought was that even if it were true, Jobs, who suffers from pancreatic cancer, didn't need a bunch of people driving around in front of his house. Nor was it likely anyone would talk about it for the record.
Then, last Saturday, in a story using almost entirely anonymous "sources," The Wall Street Journal reported that Jobs had gotten a liver transplant in Tennessee. Various blogs posted satellite pictures of a house on Morningside Place where Jobs supposedly lived while in Memphis. They reported that security cameras had been placed in the trees and that a guard was stationed in the driveway. On Sunday, curiosity got the better of me. I walked up the drive and snapped a couple of pictures. There was no security, and the place looked empty.
Reports then emerged that the house in question had been sold in March to a Memphis LLC with the address of the law firm Burch Porter & Johnson. Jobs' principal lawyer in San Francisco once worked at BP&J. Was that the connection? No one's talking — not the realtors, not the state of Tennessee (which owned the house), not even the neighbors.
The speculation is that Jobs came to Tennessee for a transplant, because the waiting list for an organ is much shorter here than the national average. If so, he did nothing illegal. There is no residency requirement in Tennessee to get on the waiting list. But it does suggest that Jobs had the resources to game the system in his favor.
So, was he living here while he recuperated? We may never know. And that may be the biggest mystery of all: How one of the men primarily responsible for all of us being interconnected on the great global grid managed to disappear off the face of the earth (or at least to Memphis) for five months.
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.
Exactly seven years ago this week, I wrote a column decrying a proposal by city engineers to turn the Overton Park Greensward into an 18-foot-deep "detention basin" designed to stop flooding in Midtown. The engineers claimed we'd hardly notice the football-field-sized bowl. "Except," I wrote then, "when it rains hard, at which time, users of Overton Park would probably notice a large, 18-foot-deep lake in the Greensward. Or afterward, a large, muddy, trash-filled depression."