Thursday, March 23, 2006

Six Degrees of Memphis: The Go-Go's

Posted By on Thu, Mar 23, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Six Degrees of Memphis: The Go-Go's Eighties pop band the Go-Go’s are playing Sam’s Town on Friday. We can link them to Memphis by two degrees. Guitarist Jane Wiedlin appeared on season four of VH1’s Surreal Life with rapper Da Brat who is seen here making friends with one of Memphis’ newer residents, David Gest.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

We're Here to Help

Posted By on Wed, Mar 22, 2006 at 4:00 AM

From a business story in Sunday’s Commercial Appeal: “The UrbanArt Commission, working with the Memphis Medical Center, has landed the 2006 Knight Foundation Charrette, a community-wide design process that will focus on Winchester Park, the area of town most commonly referred to as Intown.”

That area of town is called Intown? Commonly? And what exactly is a “charrette”? From the Architecture Archives site: “The term ‘charette’ (apparently, the French prefer one "r") evolved from a pre-1900 exercise at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in France. Architectural students were given a design problem to solve within an allotted time. When that time was up, the students would rush their drawings from the studio to the Ecole in a cart called a charrette. Students often jumped in the cart to finish drawings on the way. The term evolved to refer to the intense design exercise itself. Today it refers to a creative process akin to visual brainstorming that is used by design professionals to develop solutions to a design problem within a limited timeframe.”

Well, that clears that up.

Highballs and Hardballs

Posted By on Wed, Mar 22, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Highballs and Hardballs Around here, it's not unusual to see folks cocktailing at noon. Heck, it's not even unusual to see it well before noon. And by three in the afternoon, my friend, you're simply late to the game. Guess some Yankees just can't handle the hard-drinkin' ways of us Memphians.

Pretty soft, for those working on a show called Hardball, if you ask us. From the show's official blog, "Hardblogger," regarding Chris Matthews' time here for the Southern Republican Leadership Conference:

Drinkin and politickin' (Mark Murray, NBC News Political Reporter): Who says drinkin’ and politickin’ don’t mix—especially here in the South? It’s exactly 3:00 p.m. Memphis time and the bar here in the lobby of The Peabody is packed with people sipping cosmopolitans, wine, beers, and mixed drinks. Which brings us to this question: Are the speeches so far that tedious?

Ah, Mark, not to worry. There are things much stranger than hard drinking at 3 p.m. From the show's producer comes this entertaining little nugget: It's hard out here for a duck: Duck Watch: Day Two (Shelby Poduch, Hardball Producer) It was a big Friday night in Memphis, and after a day full of SRLC happenings, the parties have started and one burning question still looms: What's going on with the ducks? Turns out they were spending Friday night the same way as many of the conference goers: just chilling out. My search took me to the roof of the historic hotel, to a place known as "The Royal Duck Palace." No, seriously, "The Royal Duck Palace."

All work and no play makes for boring ducks, and no one likes a boring duck, so when they’re not busy marching or making appearances in the lobby fountain, the five ducks hang out here at the Palace. (Note to self: remind MTV’s "Cribs" producers to stop by and check it out.) We’re talking wading pool with spouting duck fountain, green grassy romping area, an actual Duck Palace (think very large dollhouse,) not to mention a giant mural painted behind the Palace. Unlike the unsavory characters Memphis natives Three 6 Mafia rap about, it’s not hard out here for a duck.

Cash & Carry

Posted By on Wed, Mar 22, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Cash & Carry Ring of Fire, a musical tribute to Johnny Cash, who began his long, storied career at Memphis’ Sun Studio, opened at Broadway’s Ethel Barrymore theatre on Sunday, and the New York critics haven’t been terribly kind. The New York Times’ Ben Brantley claimed that Ring of Fire "wrestles with a real bad case of the cutes," and then compared the musical’s singers to performers on The Lawrence Welk Show. The New York Post’s Clive Barnes described the lighthearted tribute to The Man in Black as, “a Cash-and-carry anthology," and The New York Sun's Eric Grode called Ring of Fire “the theme-park-ready Johnny Cash jukebox musical that has yelped its way to Broadway.”

Only USA Today’s Elysa Gardner seemed to like Ring of Fire, noting that the cast “offers some of the best singing you're likely to hear on Broadway this season.” Gardner’s compliments came at the expense of another Memphis icon whose musical tribute opened on Broadway in 2005. “As anyone who suffered through last year's Elvis-themed karaoke contest All Shook Up could tell you,” Gardner wrote, “not all musical-theater voices are suited to rawer, rootsier material.” Read more.

A Bantamweight Beale?

Posted By on Wed, Mar 22, 2006 at 4:00 AM

According to the Clarion Ledger, residents of Jackson, Mississippi, are getting antsy about the city’s two-block Farish Street Entertainment District.

In 2004, the city spent $12 million on street improvements and leased the space to Performa CEO John Elkington. So far, Wet Willie’s daiquiri bar, B.B. King’s Blues Club, the Funny Bone, and Crescent City Café, among others, are planning to open Farish Street locations, but the question is when. Elkington apparently thought new businesses would start opening in April, but it seems construction has been stalled for at least the last two months. “This is a complex property,” Elkington was quoted as saying, “and we’re doing it the right way. If I wasn’t as experienced as we are in these kind of projects, I’d probably give up.”

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

He Not So Horny

Posted on Tue, Mar 21, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Pandas are notoriously, well, unhorny. Researchers have even tried panda pornography to get the big fuzzies past the cuddling stage, but to no avail. Now zoologists in China's Sichuan Province are analyzing female pandas' voices, to see if they can come up with an answer to male panda sex apathy.

According to a report from China Daily, the researchers hope to learn what vocal nuances tickle a boy panda's fancy.

No doubt officials at the Memphis Zoo are paying close attention after last year's failed attempts to gather sperm from young Le Le.

Next up: Panda lingerie!

Conspiracy Theory

Posted By on Tue, Mar 21, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Simple explanations just won't do. It's much more fascinating to think the government was in on terrorist plots and assassinations.

In the first article in a three-part series on the History News Network's website, Mel Ayton, author of several books on famous conspiracy theories, takes a look at the thinking behind theories surrounding the JFK and MLK assassinations.

Ayton says theories accusing the Memphis police of having a hand in the Martin Luther King Jr. assassination stem from flawed testimony by people who claimed to have witnessed a second shooter. He says conspiracy theorists also believe Memphis police didn't secure the site around the Lorraine Motel immediately, which could implicate them as being in on the scheme.

Blue Light Special

Posted By on Tue, Mar 21, 2006 at 4:00 AM

From the Nashville Tennessean today: the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s promotion methods are corrupt and thoroughly tainted by politics, according to Kroll Government Services, a New-York-based agency tapped by Governor Phil Bredesen to study the THP’s suspect hiring and promotions policy. The report states that troopers with better test scores and stronger records are often passed over for promotions in favor of those who are politically well connected.

Friday, March 17, 2006

"Lord God" Bird Has Skeptics

Posted By on Fri, Mar 17, 2006 at 4:00 AM

According to The New York Times, David Sibley, one of the nation’s premier ornithologists, is a now a nonbeliever in the existence of the ivory-billed woodpecker, which some scientists claim has been spotted several times in eastern Arkansas.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


Posted By on Sun, Mar 12, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Results of the presidential-preference straw-vote poll at the Southern Republican Leadership Convention, held in Memphis at The Peabody this past weekend, March 9-12:

 BIll Frist -- 36.9%
Mitt Romney -- 14.4%
George Allen -- 10.3%
Pres. Bush (write-in) -- 10.3%
Sen. John McCain -- 4.6%
Gov. Mike Huckabee -- 3.8%
Other (write in) -- 3.0%
Gov. George Pataki -- 2.7%
Sec/State Condi Rice -- 2.2%
Sen. Sam Brownback -- 1.5%
Mayor Rudy Giuliani -- 1.1%
Rep. Newt Gingrich -- 0.9%
Sen. Chuck Hagel -- 0.2%

Totals ballots cast: 1427

A victory by Senator Frist, a Tennessean with much home-state support, was expected, and most advance speculation concerned the order and degree of support that runner-ups might earn.

The write-in vote for President Bush was orchestrated by supporters of Senator McCain, in an effort -- most observers assumed -- to minimize the prospect of a third-place finish or worst for McCain. Adding the two votes (Bush; McCain) together would have put McCain in second place with 14.9 percent.

The real surprise was the strong showing of Romney, a Northeasterner with a moderate position on social issues. It was generally credited to his strong speech to delegates on Friday.

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Friday, March 10, 2006


Posted By on Fri, Mar 10, 2006 at 4:00 AM

Commercial Appeal
Commercial Appeal's Thomas named Sun metro columnist

Romenesko Memos

Wendi Thomas (left) has been a columnist at the Commercial Appeal in Memphis since August 2003. The Baltimore Sun memo on her hiring says: "Her columns -- known for their flair and humor -- include taking on a prominent and controversial political family and calling for elected officials to sign ethical codes of conduct. She has examined potential budget cuts to after-school activities in Memphis and told stories of redemption among ex-gang members. And she has challenged a ballet teacher who won't let a pupil with dreadlocked hair perform in a recital."

"The same people who hate her on Tuesday love her on Sunday" (Letters

from Romanesco (

And thanks to for the tip.

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