New Deal on Beale
Here's an idea for Beale Street visionaries ("New Deal on Beale," November 21st issue): Let's hijack Ohio's funk-music legacy and add it to our repertoire of musical claims. Cleveland did it to us in 1986 with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and created a huge economic generator. The funk-music genre is old enough and loved enough to be enjoyed by people from all over world for decades to come.
Home of the Blues. Birthplace of Rock-and-Roll. Foundry of Funk.
We got Isaac Hayes, the Bar-Kays, Rufus Thomas (who invented the "Funky Chicken"), the Funk Brothers, (who were the rhythm engine at early Motown), and Maurice White of Earth, Wind & Fire. Con Funk Shun cut their chops here; funk super-producer Leon Sylvers III was born here. We have lots of justification for this claim.
Besides, celebrating funk music and costuming could have some festive fringe benefits. Could you imagine a "Rick James Sparkle Walk" instead of downtown's Zombie Walk? Just saying — platform shoes and glitter instead of blood and gore. I hope the Beale Street of my golden years will have replaced Ruby Wilson with Le Chat. Funk is next up to bat!
New Beale Street slogan: "We Grit. We Grind. We Groove."
Anthony D. Lee
Pre-K sales-tax proponents ("For the Kids," November 14th issue) said $30 million of the revenue raised would "fully fund high quality pre-K for the more than 4,500 children in Memphis currently left out of the system." OMG, people! That's $6,667 per 4-year-old! Seems like a lot of money to teach a kid shapes and colors. Why not just fund a stock portfolio for each toddler? By the time they're 21, they'll be in fine shape, and they'll have learned the only color that matters in Memphis — green.
Thank you very much for Bruce VanWyngarden's article in the Flyer regarding the so-called war on Christmas (Letter from the Editor, November 14th issue).
I'm retired now, having served as a minister for 45 years, and this was the best commentary I've read on the religious mania that goes on during this time of the year. I send an email out regarding this each year to all my friends and parishioners. I'm sure they are tired of it by now. But this year, I've copied this article and will be sending it instead. I've credited you and the Memphis Flyer.
Thanks again for a most thoughtful and provoking article. I wish it would be printed in every church's newsletters or bulletins.
Ed Walton Olive Branch, Mississippi
It is that wonderful time of year when we give thanks to God for allowing us to kill the Native Americans and then steal their country. Then, a month later, we honor the birth of our mythical savior by maxing out our credit cards in an orgy of materialism. Strange customs indeed.
The furor over using "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" is the most ludicrous battle I have ever seen. We all know how true to scripture Christmas is: all those Bible passages about Santa Claus, Rudolph, Christmas trees, and how Jesus was born on December 25th. Oh, and let's not forget all those biblical elves toiling away at the North Pole making toys.
Frankly, I love the wonder and magic of the season, regardless of its origins. I am not offended by a cheery "Merry Christmas," "Happy Hanukkah," "Happy Kwanza," or "Happy Winter Solstice." I even welcome a "May Allah bless you" from my Muslim friends.
Life is too short to throw away any blessings that come our way.
Correction: Last week's book column should have read that the state Criminal Court of Appeals upheld Noura Jackson's conviction for second-degree murder. The Tennessee Supreme Court heard Jackson's appeal for a new trial on November 6, 2013. It has not issued a decision.