The Rant 

About 150 years ago, when we first started this newspaper and had to carve the articles into slabs of stone, I used to write a weekly column called "We Recommend." Some of you might remember it. Some of you weren't born yet. In it, I would write about Cher and George W. Bush and Lobster Boy and all other manner of nonsense and would then recommend various and sundry things about town for people to do. I haven't done that in years but I'm going to this week because there are just a few things I would like to mention.

If you don't already have your tickets for Memphis, the Broadway musical coming to town next month, get them. I have never been a huge fan of Broadway musicals (just my own personal tastes) but this one is so much fun and really good. I saw it in New York in July and loved it. No, it is not really Memphis music but that makes sense, because it's a Broadway play that tells a particular story about a white disc jockey who loves R&B music and is in love with a black woman. Both of the leads I saw are coming with the traveling version and they are fabulous. It's a really high-energy show and doesn't need a bunch of special effects, although the set design is great too.

One of the reasons I love this show so much is that when I saw it I had 16 Stax Music Academy students with me and we got to go backstage afterward, thanks in large part to Pat Halloran of the Orpheum. Our students ended up performing for the cast and the cast went crazy over them. It got really emotional for some of the students because the cast was so nice to them and said so many great things. That in and of itself made the trip a life changer. So go see it.

And don't miss this year's Goner Fest. Goner Fest is one of the coolest things that happens in Memphis and the guys who own Goner Records and host the festival are great people. There are a lot of bands coming this year and the poster rocks. They also arranged for Jack White of the White Stripes help out the Soulsville Charter School with a donation earlier this year. So go to Goner Fest.

And go have breakfast at Cockadoo's downtown on Second Street. I just stumbled on it for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Great staff, great food, fun atmosphere, good people-watching.

Take your laptop or iPad or just a pen and paper to a nice place like the Memphis Botanic Garden or Martyrs Park or wherever it is you can concentrate and write an open letter to President Barack Obama with the opening line: "HEEEEELLLLPPPP! You have GOT to get the economy moving in the right direction and win in 2012 or we are going to be governed by someone who will turn the White House into a militia headquarters!"

That recent Republican debate incident in which NBC's Brian Williams tried to ask Rick Perry if he has any trouble sleeping at night given the hundreds of death-row inmates who have been executed during his time as governor but was unable to finish the question because the crowd erupted into such jubilant explosion of happiness over the deaths was like something out of a Stephen King novel: Tea Partiers of the Corn.

The fact that Perry doesn't care about their families and has never had trouble sleeping over this makes me wonder how many floors the elevator in his mind gets to. And it makes me question the state of Texas in general, given that he keeps getting elected over and over. Every time a governor from Texas comes out of the woodwork to run for president it just spells trouble.

And what scared me even more is that sooner or later this Jim DeMint character from South Carolina is going to get into a position of real power. WHERE did this guy come from?

I obviously don't pay much attention to politics any more because I had never heard of him until he started coming out with all this creepiness lately and (very strangely) running the Tea Party debates himself instead of having an objective third party and saying that he refused to work with the president in any way, shape, or form because he believes Obama is a socialist. Sooner or later someone's likely to name this guy as a vice-presidential running mate and God help us all if he ever gets that office because it will be Dick Cheney all over again, except that instead of attacking the wrong country in the Middle East like we did 10 years ago, this guy is liable to attack Harlem.

So Mr. President, tax those millionaires who should be proud to have the opportunity to help get the economy back on track, quit spending so much on war, catch us up to the rest of the civilized world with high-speed rail, and get the jobs a-flowin'. If you don't, and one of these clowns wins the presidency in 2012, the collective I.Q. in the White House is going to drop faster than the stock market.

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