What They Said (January 29, 2015) … 

Letters and comments from Flyer readers — Bass Pro jobs fair, Opera Memphis’ “Hansel and Gretel,” Ralph Faudree, Mark Norris, and Memphis Trolleys.

click to enlarge GREG CRAVENS
  • Greg Cravens

About Toby Sells' post, "Bass Pro Jobs Fair Coming in February" ...

Y'all might as well not even apply for the gator wrastlin' job, cause I got it locked up.


After reading the review by Chris Davis of Opera Memphis' production of Hansel and Gretel, I was confused. I thought that I had attended an opera. However, the review made apparent that I had attended an art show of the works of Michelle Duckworth with a ballet and musical backdrop of Hansel and Gretel. It was all about the stage art, as if the performers had nothing to do with mood, story propulsion, or much of anything else.

Perhaps I should contact Opera Memphis about a refund and scold them for false advertising. Or perhaps you should scold your reviewer for a single-minded review of an opera that had little to do with operatic performances. No named credit for the singers, some of whom spent nearly the entire 90 minutes on stage (a long time to gaze at nothing but scenery, however splendid) to say nothing of the musicians and directors responsible for the overall success of the show. Are there not appropriate avenues for praising Duckworth's art that do not by backhanded negligence discredit an entire production in the process?

I. Miller

Editor's note: Davis' webpost was not a formal review of Hansel and Gretel; it was intended to spotlight a unique local artist, Michelle Duckworth.

About Jackson Baker's story, "The Governor and the Majority Leader" ...

Sounds like the Mark Norris I know: prudent. Keeps an open mind. Knows all the facts before he makes a decision. Pays attention to the details. Not swayed by emotion, but understands the reality. We shall see how this plays out.

Arlington Pop

About the passing of former University of Memphis Provost Ralph Faudree ...

Recently for the first time ever, the University of Memphis football team was ranked in the end-of-season AP Top 25. This is a great accomplishment and deserves great praise. That said, year in and year out for several years, the University of Memphis math department has consistently been ranked in the top 25 of a major subfield of mathematics: discrete mathematics. This is due largely to the efforts of one person, former provost and math professor Ralph Faudree.

One of the biggest figures of 20th century mathematics was Paul Erdős. With over 1,500 articles published in peer reviewed scholarly journals, Erdős is the most published mathematician in history. Erdős was so prolific and revered, it became an honor to co-author an article with him. If you co-authored a paper with him, you became an Erdős 1.

Due to Professor Faudree's dedication, the University of Memphis math department has had at least five Erdős 1 mathematicians. Out of the roughly 500 Erdős 1 co-authors that Erdős had, three of the five most frequent Erdős co-authors were University of Memphis professors: Cecil Rousseau, Richard Schelp, and Professor Faudree himself.

In the immediate short run, his death will have a significant impact on the department's status as a top discrete mathematics program. Faudree's contributions to math and the University of Memphis are his legacy. I hope that the greater Memphis community will recognize that legacy and rally around and support the University of Memphis math department, like we have admirably done for basketball and football, and ensure that the department maintains and improves its status as a premiere discrete mathematics department.

Mahendra Ramanna Prasad

About Toby Sells post, "Trolley Plan to Go Public" ...

It's disappointing that a total shutdown was the course of action taken by MATA last June. Then it was only for "three or four months." It was a total overreaction on MATA's part. Get the trolleys back now; all lines are a vital part of our city. 

Midtown Mark


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