Friday, September 29, 2017

Tumblin' TumbleWeaves: Back by Popular Demand!

Posted By on Fri, Sep 29, 2017 at 1:28 PM

People ask me all the time, "Do you still post pictures of street weaves?" The answer?

— It's complicated.

The urban fascination with road braids, runaway head-hamsters and snatched wigs blossomed overnight. And, because my click-age journalism instincts are poor, the bigger TumbleWeaves got, the faster I lost interest in a probably classist niche Fly on the Wall certainly helped create.

Time passed— people kept sending photos. More time passed — More photos reminding me how much damn hair is woven and wadded into the daily tapestry. Like this dangling braid set caught up in the vines and saplings in Flyer-alley back behind our office building. 
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I've held onto this haunting, nearly-Nouveau beauty for a couple of weeks and might not have posted it if one of my kids hadn't seen it and helpfully explained, "That's a 'natural weave."

Me: Aren't you a little short for #DadJokes?




Friday, September 22, 2017

"It seems shallow, but there's much more to this hole than what meets the eye."

Posted By on Fri, Sep 22, 2017 at 1:08 PM

Y'all.
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WREG:
 It seems shallow, but there's much more to this hole than what meets the eye.

"The hole was so deep he disappeared," Gabrielle Adams said. "All I heard was him crying; that's when my mom came and went through there with her head first."...

The hole is about 5-foot-4 — a long fall for a 1 year old...
But what about the adults?

"I'm holding her legs so she won't slip through. She was trying to breathe, but he was still through there."

Covington says the hole curves inside and she had to maneuver down several feet just to lay a finger on her grandson.

"I couldn't breathe, all I could say was 'Lord take me and not my grandchild.'"

Holding back tears, she remembers the moment she finally got a grip on Mon'Terrio.

"I grabbed his shirt then I grabbed his arm then I started praying, and I saw a light and he came on through."
Whew. That was intense. Like Honey I Shrunk "Ace in the Hole" intense.

Please don't misunderstand, falling into holes can be scary, especially for small children. Holes are dark. They conjure grim visions of oblivion. Tendencies toward superheroics and vigilantism may be accelerated, even defined by such a brush. But, unless the hole in this story turns out to be one of the thousand hole-like maws of Xylthos the muck demon it's probably exactly what it looks like: A 5-foot-deep hole/lawsuit-waiting-to-happen. Is it news? Sure. But I think it's also "Shizzle?"

Remember "Shizzle?" That's the special quality WREG wants to see more of in breaking news according to a now year-old help wanted listing. Why run a boring procedural about what it takes to get a potentially hazardous park hole filled when you can relate a harrowing multigenerational struggle against a 5-foot hole that's so much more than just a hole, but really isn't?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Murder Owl Wins First FOTW Spirit Animal Poll

Posted By on Tue, Sep 19, 2017 at 11:47 AM

Your Spirit Animal, Memphis — The High Point "Murder Owl."
  • Your Spirit Animal, Memphis — The High Point "Murder Owl."
Last Friday I asked readers to review a list of popular Memphis creatures and beasties, old and new, that have captured our attention, won our hearts, or made us say "WTF." From this list, I asked them to choose Memphis' first official unofficial Spirit Animal. And, for reasons I'll get around to shortly, I think you've all chosen wisely indeed.

Admittedly — and to get ahead of critics, already skeptical of a process omitting #PipeKitty (too young) and Mohan the unapologetic Sumatran tiger (too soon) etc. — voter turnout wasn't spectacular. It's been scientifically proven that's what happens when you post bullshit Spirit Animal polls on a Friday afternoon, but even taking all this into account, we're talking about Memphis, a place where we've installed City Councilcritters based on less representative samples. Surely that all equates to some kind of tragic legitimacy. Even if it doesn't here's a link to the results anyhow.

So what does it mean to choose the High Point Owl — AKA Murder Owl — as the city's Spirit Animal? Maybe not what you think. But before getting into that let's look at some of the animals you didn't choose.

Al Green's Cows (Bulls, etc.) seemed like boring underdogs in a race filled with exotic beasties like Alleged Albino Raccoon and Hugh Manatee. But for being run-of-the-mill cattle, these gifted escape artists who jump fence and go visiting every time Green takes his show on the road, are far from ordinary. Al keeps saying, "Let's stay together." The Cows keep saying, "Nope." Like Zimm the Escape Monkey, they want to be free, but there's even more going on here. Unlike Zimm, who possesses some small measure of zoo celebrity, these cows are eclipsed by fame and stripped, in some regard, of their own unique bovinity. According to at least one person Al Green's cows have visited they will "take over your yard and stare at you like you're dumb." They're more Otis/Aretha than Al. All they really want's a little respect.
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Frayser Bear confuses us. He's not a guy in a Grizz suit, he's a fucking bear and, as Stephen Colbert has pointed out many times, bears are as great a potential threat to humanity as the eventuality of sentient robots. Midtown Coyote and Barksdale Beaver reflect a special kind of neighborhood loyalty, splitting the famously liberal region like Bernie and Hill. Either one could have been a contender, not both.

Hugh Manatee's name (christened by Drake's partner Zeke, back in the day) says it all. His tragic story of dislocation and struggle still tugs at the heartstrings of those who remember. He was a foreigner — clearly not one of us — but for a moment, he was all of us. The best of us. Stuck in a sewer.

The Alleged Albino Raccoon proved to be more relatable than Balmoral Bobcat. Raccoons and opossums are like neighbors who sometimes get into the garbage and tear out your ductwork. Exasperating as they may be at times, we get to know them — watch them raise their children, and their children's children. And, as for the "alleged" part, who hasn't wondered if people see us for what we really are?
Call me Al's
  • Call me Al's

Zimm the Escape Monkey
seemed like an odds on favorite to win. People admired the little monkey's spunk, tenacity, and sheer desire to be her own little dude. People are increasingly tired of old, limiting definitions and cages of all kinds. Zimm's a real swinger, and for all the propaganda, London's never had much on Memphis, if you knew where to look.

So why Murder Owl? What is it about this storied bird — a creature that captured the imagination of artists and authors — that speaks to Memphis? Since the owl stirred up more startled terror and chaos than actual harm, it probably doesn't have anything to do with Memphis' reputation for violence and crime. Perhaps, just the opposite, since Murder Owl's most famous "victim" was controversial DA Amy Weirch, who described it as the biggest thing she'd ever seen in her life with a "wingspan the size of a Buick."  In light of this eyewitness testimony from one who knows the value of eyewitness testimony, I'm going to put forward a theory that Murder Owl represents lurking, hidden truth obscured by misrepresentation. Or maybe he/she's a symbol — like Batman — that there's true, natural justice in the world, small now but hiding and waiting for the right moment to reveal itself as something enormous, mythic.
Zimm's just got to be Zimm.
  • Zimm's just got to be Zimm.
Either way, owls are badass, and Murder Owl's so badass somebody should record some theme music.

Long story short: The (some) people have spoken, Memphis. Your Spirit Animal is —- MURDER OWL!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Hey Memphis, Who's Your Spirit Animal?

Posted By on Fri, Sep 15, 2017 at 3:11 PM

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Once upon a time there was only Hugh Manatee and Midtown Coyote but with additions like the Balmoral Bobcat and Frayser Bear the roster of iconic Memphis beasties continues to expand. A question that's seldom asked? Which one is most us.

Yeah, lame, I know. But it's Friday afternoon and things have been way too serious around these parts lately.  
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