Thursday, August 30, 2007

Your UPDATED MMHF Schedule

Yes, we have Bobby Rush, the Legenday Roscoe Robinson, and Kate Campbell. We also have wonderful groups like Papa Top's West Coast Turnaround, Sonny Burgess and the Pacers, the Orange Mound Jazz Messengers, just to name a few. Enjoy, I am off posting until TUESDAY!

2007 Memphis Music & Heritage Festival
Saturday, September 1, 2007
Verizon Wireless Stage
12:00 p m. Goin’ Home - Bluegrass
1:00 p.m. The Anointed Cowan Singers -Gospel
2:00 p.m. Greg Hisky & Whiskey Dixie Flyers - Country
3:00 p.m.
Agitators - Blues
4:00 p.m.
Giant Bear Orchestral - Funkabilly
5:00 p.m.
Billy Gibson Band -Blues
6:00 p.m.
Bobby Rush Blues
7:00 p.m.
Watson Singers Gospel
8:00 p.m.
Kattawar Brothers R&B
9:00 p.m.
The Legendary Roscoe Robinson Gospel
10:00 pm.
Nathaniel Kent & Exodus Reggae

Peabody Place Trolley Stop Stage
11:00 a.m. Waukegan Jazz Steppers Drill Team
11:15 a.m. The Flying MonkeyMan Band
11:45 a.m. Kansas City Cobras Drill Team
12:00 p.m. Jimmy Crosthwait Puppeteer
12:30 p.m. Choctaw Fry Bread Cooking Demo
12:55 p.m. Choctaw Dancers
1:20 p.m. David Bowen Soul and Blues Guitar Workshop
1:45 p.m. Michael Patrick Food Demo
2:10 p.m. Memphis Area Square Dancers
2:35 p.m. Curry Williams Stories about Painting
3:00 p.m. Ella Kizzie - Greens and HotWater Cornbread Cooking Demo
3:25 p.m. Desert Rose Dancers
3:50 p.m. Ekpe African Drumming
4:40 p.m. Randal Morton Banjo Workshop
5:05 p.m. Annie McDaniel and Jim Young RiverTales
5:30 p.m. Charles Gammon - Fried Pies Cooking Demo
6:00 p.m.Delta Groove Revolution with Mr. White,
Priesthood Family, Kavious and Willie Firecracker
7:30 p.m.
Grassfire Bluegrass
8:30 p.m.
Papa Tops West Coast Turnaround
9:30 p.m.
The MellowTones Gospel

Folklore Store
1:15 p.m.
Bob Cheevers Folk
2:15 p.m.
Roy Harper and Gene Bush Country
3:15 p.m.
Dan Montgomery Rock
4:15 p.m.
Sandy Carroll Blues
5:15 p.m.
Charlie Wood Blues and Jazz
6:15 p.m.
Valerie June Folk
7:15 p.m.
The City Champs Jazz
8:15 p.m.
9:15 p.m.
Sidney, Cidney, Sidney Kirk R&B
10:15 p.m.
William Lee Ellis Blues

CSF Folklore Hall
1:45 p.m. Moments of Joy Gospel
2:45 p.m.
Charles Johnson and Kwest Jazz
3:45 p.m.
The Jumpin Chi Chis Jazz
4:45 p.m.
Eddie Bond Show Country
5:45 p.m.
Singing Southern Jubilees Gospel
6:45 p.m.
Peter Hyrka and the Gypsy Hombres Gypsy Jazz
7:45 p.m.
Billy Lee Riley Blues and Rockabilly
9:00 p.m.
Joyce Cobb Blues and Jazz

Gayoso Stage
12:30 p.m. Cedric Keel Band R&B
1:30 p.m.The Third Man Rock
2:30 p.m. Gospel Jubilees Gospel
3:30 p.m. Smooch and Hooch Country
4:30 p.m. Tim Terry Experience Soul
6:30 p.m. Elmo and the Shades R&B Blues
7:30 p.m. Golden Keys, Gospel
8:30 p.m. Los Cantadores Latin

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Verizon Wireless Stage

2:00 p.m. Homemade Jamz’ Blues Band

3:00 p.m. Brown Sugar Blues

4:00 p.m. Memphis Klezmer AllStars

5:00 p.m. Spirit of Memphis Gospel

6:00 p.m. Sonny Burgess and the Pacers Rockabilly

7:00 p.m. Devil Train Gypsy Jazz

8:00 p.m. Will Graves and Soul featuring Tonya Dyson

9:00 p.m. Darrell Petties & SIP Gospel

10:00 p.m. Jason D. Williams Rockabilly/Boogie

Peabody Place Trolley Stop Stage
11:00 a.m. Drum Line TBA
11:15 a.m.
Flying Monkey Man Band
11:45 a.m.
Drum Line TBA

12:00 p.m. Jimmy Crosthwait Puppeteer
12:45 p.m. Greater Memphis United Chinese Association Dancers
11:20 p.m. Cooking Demo TBA
1:45 p.m. Salsa Memphis Dancers
2:10 p.m. Hattie Childress Quilting
2:35 p.m. Thomas Sit Chinese Cuisine
3:00 p.m. Randal Morton Banjo Workshop
3:25 p.m. Pyramid Dancers
3:50 p.m. Drum Line TBA
4:00 p.m. Joe Scott Baseball
4:25 p.m. Ella Kizzie - Peach Cobbler Cooking Demo
4:50 p.m. Millenium Maddness Drill Team
5:15 p.m. Lil Bukewicz RiverTales
5:40 p.m. Deana Lubin Making Challah
6:05 p.m. Dwight Fryer StoryTelling
6:45 p.m. Navy Big Band
7:45 p.m. Willie Covington R&B and Soul
8:45 p.m. Tropix Reggae
9:45 p.m. Promise Jazz

Folklore Store
1:15 p.m.
Kim Richardson Folk
2:15 p.m.
Roy Harper/Gene Bush Country
3:15 p.m.
4:15 p.m.
The Legendary Roscoe Robinson Gospel
5:15 p.m.
Thomas Spurlock R&B and Soul
6:15 p.m.
David Evans & Elmo Thomas Blues
7:15 p.m.
Tony Thomas Trio feat. Tom Lonardo & Sam Shoup Jazz
8:15 p.m.
Eden Brent Blues
9:15 p.m.
Audie Smith and Vicki Newsum Jazz
10:15 p.m.
Blind Mississippi Morris & Brad Webb Blues

Folklore Hall
1:45 p.m. The Pilgrim Wonders Gospel
2:45 p.m.
Phil Durham & Friends R&B
3:45 p.m.
The Sensational 6 Gospel
4:45 p.m.
The Gary Topper Group Jazz -
A Tribute to Count Basie

5:45 p.m. Susan Marshall Pop

6:45 p.m. Jim Dickinson and Friends Rock

7:45 p.m. Orange Mound Jazz Messengers

8:45 p.m. Kate Campbell Folk

Gayoso Stage
1:30 p.m.
2:30 p.m.
2 Mule Plow Bluegrass
3:30 p.m.
Dova Grove Rock & Jazz
4:30 p.m.
FreeWorld JamBand Funk
5:30 p.m.
Big Sam’s Funky Nation Funk
6:30 p.m.
The Brown Singers Gospel
7:30 p.m.
The Kenny Brown Band
8:30 p.m.
Barbara Blue Blues
9:30 p.m.
Symbiosis Latin Jazz

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Larry Craig, closet case

I would hope that you are are aware of Senator Larry Craig (R-Idaho), who was arrested in a Minneapolis airport bathroom back in June for trying to solicit a MALE undercover cop for sex.

Hilzoy (via Andrew Sullivan) talks about why he at first sympathized with Craig for being a closet case then changed his mind:

Craig seems to have made a habit of voting against laws that would secure the rights of gay men and lesbians. In addition to supporting the Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, he voted against a bill that would have banned job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, against expanding the definition of hate crimes to include sexual orientation, and was rated zero by the Human Rights Campaign in each of the last three Congresses (1, 2, 3; all pdf.) I truly can't imagine what it would be like -- how little self-respect a person would have to have -- to amass that sort of voting record while cruising for gay sex in airport restrooms.

Exactly. Craig is just like Roy Cohn and others who have railed against gay people while trolling for young men at night. However, this fellow here seems to understand Larry Craig's plight!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

UM College Democrats need YOUR help!

"Building the Next Generation of Democrats"
2007 University of Memphis College Democrats Fundraiser
Monday August 27, 2007 – 7:00 p.m.
Fresh Slices

1585 Overton Park , Memphis, Tn 38112

Host Committee
Congressman Steve Cohen, Chair
Jim Strickland, Co-Chair
Chip Armstrong, Co-Chair

Dear Supporter,
With the 2008 presidential election approaching, it is vital that the youth becomes actively involved in the political process. As college students, we understand that our participation in the upcoming presidential election will be more important than ever, as we have the opportunity to elect officials that will represent and uphold the values of the Democratic Party at both the state and the national level. We need to make sure that we gain more seats in Congress, and put a Democrat in the White House to repair the damage caused by eight years of the Bush administration.

During the 2006 election, the College Democrats at the University of Memphis played a vital role in increasing voter turnout on campus and its surrounding areas. The College Democrats helped elect Steve Mulroy to the County Commission, causing the Democrats' recent takeover of the County Commission. Members of the College Democrats served as staff on both Harold Ford, Jr.'s Senate campaign and Steve Cohen's congressional campaign. Combined, these campaigns enjoyed over forty interns and numerous volunteers. Over 100 college students knocked on doors for Steve Cohen's campaign and the rest of the Democratic ticket in the 2006 general election. We plan on working even harder in the upcoming 2008 election, and we hope to establish an internship program that will work directly for the party when they will need us the most.

A top priority of the University of Memphis College Democrats is to raise the funds and resources that will enable us to continue our efforts in helping to elect Democrats and cultivate new leadership. This year's fundraiser will take place on August 27 th at Fresh Slices in the Evergreen Historic District. The funds raised in this event will be used primarily to promote voter outreach efforts on and off campus, volunteer recruitment, canvassing, grassroots volunteer training seminars, GOTV events, internship programs, organizational meetings, and all the administrative costs that these tasks entail.

In advance, we thank you for the time and the effort that you have already invested in us, and we look forward to working with you in our support for the Democratic Party.

The University of Memphis College Democrats
John R. Marek, President Fall '05-Summer '07
Michael Lipe, President Fall '07
Jon Paul Hataway, Vice President Fall '05-Summer '07
Kate Mauldin, Vice President Fall '07

Suggested Contribution: $50
RSVP or more information please contact John Marek (901) 351-7695 or

If you cannot attend, but you would still like to contribute to the University of Memphis College Democrats, please send your contributions to:
The University of Memphis College Democrats
2257 Nelson Ave
Memphis, TN 38104

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Chumney HQ Kickoff/Rally For Change This Sunday

Rally For Change
Sunday, August 26
2:00 PM to 6:00 PM
2879 Poplar Avenue

Join Carol as she opens her headquarters to the public. Now is the time to come together for change. There will be food, drinks, music, yardsigns, special guest speakers and more!

RSVP right here!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Festival is almost here...


For more information or to schedule an interview, contact:
Susan Jennings, Festival Publicist
901.323.8766 or
Tim Curry, CSF Staff Member
901.525.3655 or

Place: Center For Southern Folklore
Main Street between Peabody Place and Gayoso
Downtown Memphis
DATES: Saturday, September 1, 2007
Sunday, September 2, 2007
TIME: 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
FEATURING: Five Stages with:
Over 100 Musical Acts and Dance Troupes
Arts and Crafts by Regional Artists
Expanded Children's Activities
Cooking Demonstrations
Heritage Talkers and Storytellers
ADMISSION: Free to the General Public;

Special Reserved Seating Available

Largest Line Up Scheduled for
2007 Memphis Music and Heritage Festival

Complete Schedule Announced

Memphis, TN, August 22, 2007

On Labor Day weekend, it won't be business as usual as the Center for Southern Folklore transforms a small section of Main Street into the setting for a special celebration of the music, art, crafts, food and heritage of the Mid-South known as The Memphis Music and Heritage Festival. Now in its 20th year, the 2007 festival expands to five stages over two days to showcase both the famous and the not-so-famous who make our region such a special place to live.

The festival runs from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, September 1 and 2, on Main Street between Peabody Place and Gayoso . There are three outside stages and two stages inside the Center for Southern Folklore. Admission to the general public is free. Special reserved seating for one show or all shows can be purchased in advance.

Of course, the heart and soul of this festival is the music and this year's roster definitely delivers the goods. From dynamic soul man Bobby Rush to insightful New South singer/songwriter, Kate Campbell, to legendary gospel singer, Roscoe Robinson, the Memphis Music and Heritage Festival (MMHF) presents over 300 musical performers who made Memphis the great melting pot of America's musical heritage and keep it cooking today.

About Bobby Rush

Bobby Rush (born November 10, 1940) is an American blues and R and B musician, composer and singer. He was born Emmit Ellis Jr. in Homer, Louisiana. His family relocated to Chicago in 1953, where he became part of the local blues scene. In the early 1980s he moved to Jackson, Mississippi, where he recorded a series of records for the LaJam label, Malaco's Waldoxy imprint, and more recently his own Deep Rush label. He is a purveyor of the soul blues sound. He sometimes also uses elements from rap and funk. 2004's "Folk Funk" was a return to a more rootsier sound and came out on his own Deep Rush label. He is prominently featured in the film "The Road To Memphis" which was part of the PBS series The Blues, produced by Martin Scorsese.

About Kate Campbell

The songs of Kate Campbell chronicle a world that's distant from the main highways, out of the range of all-hit radio where a simple roadside sign like "Jesus and Tomatoes Coming Soon" can inspire an entire song. Her tales of life in The New South touch upon race; religion, history and the everyday heroics of ordinary people, all filtered through her wry Southern sensibilities. Growing up in a family of musicians exposed Kate to a wide variety of folk, blues, country and gospel tunes. This musical foundation serves her lyrics well, rooted as they are in the rich Southern storytelling tradition.

About Roscoe Robinson

The Center for Southern Folklore is especially proud to announce the addition of The Legendary Roscoe Robinson to our roster of outstanding gospel performers. Robinson's career began several decades ago when gospel music was mostly heard in small urban and country churches, before it became the international phenomena it is today. He sang alongside Sam Cooke, cut sessions with Chess Records' A-list writers and performers, and has produced, written, and still performs with the Grammy Award winning Blind Boys of Alabama when scheduling permits. For his many achievements, Robinson has been inducted into the American Gospel Quartet Hall of Fame and the Birmingham Record Collectors Hall of Fame

The entire festival roster reads like a who's who of both the traditional and contemporary Memphis music scene. There's the wild man of rock, Jason D. Williams, harmonica wizard Billy Gibson with guitarist David Bowen, rockabilly artist turned bluesman, Billy Lee Riley, the modern gospel sounds of Darrell Petties and SIP , iconic rocker/producer Jim Dickinson, urban blues artists The Daddy Mack Blues Band, country legend Eddie Bond, jazz-blues diva Joyce Cobb, authentic Delta blues from Blind Mississippi Morris , New Orleans funk sensation Big Sam's Funky Nation, traditional gospel with the Brown Singers and Spirit of Memphis, rockabilly legend Sonny Burgess, the Latin jazz of Symbiosis, the big band jazz of the Orange Mound Jazz Messengers and much, much more.

See attached schedule listing the times for the two day event.

Like its predecessors, this 20th edition of the festival is presented free to the general public by the Center for Southern Folklore thanks to the generosity of our sponsors: Verizon Wireless; Tennessee Arts Commission; Peabody Place Retail and Entertainment Center; Memphis Music Commission; Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation; Audrey Gonzalez; Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau; Yazoo Brewing Company; SunTrust; Center City Commission; SonicBids; Residence Inn by Marriot; Talbot Heirs Guesthouse; Joe Spake, Crye-Leike Realtors; Majestic Grill; Shelton Clothiers; Wang's China Bistro; Flying Fish; Flying Saucer; Sauces; Swig; Main Street Flats; The Cornerstone; Blues City Pastry Shop and Coffee Bar; Davis Kidd Booksellers; Railcom; Soul Classics 103.5; KIX 106; 98.1 The Max; Kim 98.9; The Downtowner, The Memphis Flyer, and

While the roster of over 300 bluegrass, soul, jazz, gospel, rock, folk, blues, country, reggae, rockabilly, funk, Klezmer, rhythm and blues, and Latin musicians will be a major focus for the festival, it's not the only one. "Music is the force that shapes this region. The Memphis Music and Heritage Festival provides over 2 days for people to be entertained and educated about this region's rich musical heritage," said Judy Peiser, executive director of the Center for Southern Folklore. "But we also present the artists, cooks, dancers and talkers whose food and stories and crafts reflect the Memphis/Mid-South Region."

"Our family first came to this festival to introduce our children to the blues and other musical styles, but they seemed to really love talking with the craftspeople," said Steve Brown, whose family moved to Memphis several years ago. "My wife and I were really surprised at how much our children learned and enjoyed. We've come back every year."

"There's something for everyone at this year's festival," said Peiser. "If you love traditional folk art, you'll meet artists and craftspeople. If you're into dance, you'll enjoy Choctaw dancers, Chinese dancers, square dancers, African drumming and African-American drum lines. Our expanded children's area will present a delightful collection of puppeteers, storytellers and musicians performing for younger festival-goers."

"If you want to learn about Southern culinary traditions, cooks will share their secrets. In fact, the cooking demonstrations are some of the most popular shows year after year," said Peiser. "It's an opportunity for people to learn about their past from cooks who demonstrate foodways lost with micro-waved pre-packaged, heat-and-serve meals."

Cooking demonstrations will feature, among others: Center Chef Ella Kizzie preparing her famous peach cobbler, hot water cornbread and greens, Claudia Thomas preparing Choctaw fry bread, and Charles Gammon demonstrating how to make fried pies the way his mother, Mamie Gammon, taught him.

Special Seating Available
Because seating is limited, the Center is offering two types of reserved seats. For a $50 donation, festival goers can become a "Friend of the Festival " and receive preferred seating for every performance at every stage during the two-day Festival. Festival goers can also reserve one seat at any single performance for a $20 donation.

Friends of the Festival tickets are available at the Center for Southern Folklore Store, 123 S. Main in downtown Memphis (901.525.3655), and the Davis-Kidd Bookstore at 397 Perkins Ext. in the Laurelwood Shopping Center ( 901.683.9801), or on the festival web site Friends of the Festival tickets provide revenue necessary not only for the Center for Southern Folklore to operate and keep the festival free to the general public, but also to support the Center's mission to preserve, defend, and protect the music, culture, arts and rhythms of the South.

Songwriters Workshop
Songwriters and musicians will want to attend the Songwriters Workshop on Saturday, September 1, at 2 PM. Renowned and respected singer/songwriter, Kate Campbell will share the secrets of her craft with a small group. Whether you're an established or aspiring songwriter, the workshop provides an opportunity to learn about the creative process from one of the best.

Participation in the Kate Campbell Songwriters Workshop is $15. Enrollment is limited. To reserve your spot, contact or call Lindy Wilson at 901-525-3655. For an extra $15, workshop attendees will receive special preferred seating for Kate's MMHF performance on Sunday. This is a savings of $5 off the Friends of the Festival preferred seating.

About Mose Vinson
This year's festival is dedicated to the memory of long-time performer – and dear friend of the Center – Mose Vinson. In his honor, Mose is featured prominently on the 2007 festival poster by the outstanding regional artist simply known as Gray. In addition, the Center-produced CD, Mose Vinson: Piano Man, is being re-issued for this occasion.

Mose Vinson grew up playing piano in his church in Holly Springs, Mississippi, and began playing jazz and blues in his teens. He moved to Memphis in 1932 where he played local juke houses through the 30's and 40's. Sam Phillips, legendary Sun Records producer, hired Vinson in the 1950's to accompany a number of blues artists on their recordings most notably, James Cotton.

Though he eventually recorded some of his own tracks for Phillips, he was never able to release his own record for Sun. For the next three decades, Mose performed in various Memphis clubs and churches appearing sporadically. In the early 80's the Center for Southern Folklore hired Mose to perform at its 1982 Memphis Music and Heritage Festival and at many subsequent events. It was at his regular performances at the Center that Vinson taught hundreds of school children and adults to play blues and boogie woogie. Some of the performers he "taught" were Mike Stoller, Marsha Ball and Cybill Shepherd.

Mose Vinson, a Memphis piano institution for more than half a century, died in Memphis on November 30, 2002. To honor this special friend, The Center for Southern Folklore is raising funds to purchase a headstone for Vinson. "This is important not only for Mose but also for future generations who will read about Mose and hear his recordings," added Peiser. "They will know that he was respected and admired during his life and times, and not just another forgotten bluesmen of the Mid-South."

More Information
To purchase Friends of the Festival tickets, a festival poster featuring Mose Vinson, the recently re-issued Mose Vinson: Piano Man CD, or make a donation to the Vinson Memorial Fund, please call the Center for Southern Folklore at 901-525-3655 or go to and click on Shop.

Memphis Music and Heritage Festival
Labor Day Weekend -- Saturday and Sunday,

September 1 and 2, 2007 - 11AM to 11PM
Downtown Memphis – Main at Peabody Place
Presented by the Center for Southern Folklore

Thursday, August 16, 2007

An Upward Turn of Events...

Last night, I received a phone call from a close friend of mine who is a principal advisor in the Chumney campaign, and my friend had startling news.

My friend called to tell me that Carol's fundraising, which has been her weak spot up to this point, had taken a dramatic turn for the better since the beginning of August, and she was now pulling in $3000-6000 A DAY.

I stopped my friend and advised that I was too smart to be spun or be fed bullshit. My friend was ADAMANT, noting that they had seen the figures for themselves, and they went on to tell me that the campaign would now more than adequately be able to compete once September hit and the stretch run for the mayor's race hit.

This tells me that people have finally come to the inescapable conclusion that the only candidate capable of unseating the incumbent is Carol Chumney. It stunned me, not because Carol couldn't do it, but because I was not sure that the citizenry of Memphis would give her a chance; this news reaffirms my belief that she can win this race.

She is gaining momentum every day, and I am asking to you to get on board if you want TRUE, SERIOUS change in the operations of the City of Memphis. We have until October 4 to win this race, and if you believe as I do that the future of this city AND this region is at stake, come by and help. Click on this link, and begin the process of reclaiming this city for ALL of its citizens, not just the developers and those who live in gated communities.

If not here, then where? If not now, then when? If not you, then WHO?

The time is now.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Come and have a good time, and help us out!

NOTE: I have worked at this Festival for 14 years, and it is Memphis' hidden gem.  Click on the links to learn more!

Founded in 1972, the Center for Southern Folklore is a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve, defend, protect and promote the music, culture, arts, and rhythms of the South. The Center also offers music events and educational programs, maintains its multimedia archives, Folklore Store, and website.

For over two decades, the Center has produced its signature event, the Memphis Music & Heritage Festival. This free event presents the best of our region to visitors and locals, celebrating the changing face of Memphis and the Mid-South:

* Artists whose music has defined our region to the world
* Traditional and contemporary folk artists and craftspeople
* Southern & ethnic cooks
* Dancers, storytellers and representatives of their cultural communities

The Memphis Music & Heritage Festival is held Labor Day Weekend in downtown Memphis.

We request volunteer assistance from your organization in producing these events. We need to fill, in all, about 350 four-hour volunteer shifts. We are grateful for any volunteers that your organization can provide. Volunteers will perform a variety of tasks including the following:

* Assist with musicians, artists, craftspeople, & talkers
* Providing festivalgoers with information
* Festival t-shirt and merchandise sales
* Set-up, maintenance and tear-down of site
* Security and trolley guard
* Beer & beverage sales
* Serve and prepare Southern dinners
* Hospitality

A strong volunteer base is the key to making the Memphis Music & Heritage Festival a success. This success is measured in a tangible way by the smooth operations during the event and the financial gains realized in merchandise, food & beverage sales and donations. The intangible is in the feelings elicited from the spectators and the participants, who are excited about sharing their talents, stories, and culture.

For more information, please contact:

Melanie Miller, Festival Volunteer Coordinator.

Center for Southern Folklore

119 S. Main St., Memphis, TN 38103

(901) 525-3655 or (901) 544-9965 fax


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Goodbye, Scooter, 1917-2007

I first heard his voice in the mid-60s, after CBS had bought the hated New York Yankees. CBS had Phil Rizzuto do the CBS Sports updates on the owned and operated radio stations, which included my Grandmother's favorite, WBBM Chicago. It was SO New York, which fit, as he was born in Brooklyn (as a Dodger fan, ironically) and lived across the river in Jersey. it was unlike anything I had ever heard.
He was known for a 13-year MLB baseball career that saw him play for 9 pennant-winners and 7 World Champions, and he won the AL MVP in 1950. However, in the Tri-State area around NYC, it was his broadcasting of Yankee games on WPIX that won the hearts of younger Yankee fans. Whether the occasional malaprop, the leaving early to "get over the George Washington Bridge", calling someone a "huckleberry" for making an error, he was beloved, and representing those few things a Yankee-hater like myself could actually like about them.
My mother, who raised me with the warning that I was to vote Democratic and root for the National League, often told me about what a great player the Scooter was, much to her chagrin. He was the ultimate Yankee, and I, along with baseball fans everywhere, send my condolences to his bride, Cora, his children, grandchildren, and the rest of the Yankee Nation.
P.S. I STILL want the Red Sox to win the AL EAST!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

40 years later, and I am still a Damn Yankee

40 years ago today, my parents and I arrived in Weiner, Arkansas, to restart our lives, and it has been a long strange trip. That part of Poinsett County, frankly, has more in common with the southern Midwest than it does with the deep south, which I never really encountered until moving to Memphis on June 17, 1972, which many of you will remember as the day of the Watergate break-in.

My voice patterns have not changed appreciably, though my father's family in Northern Illinois thinks I sound Southern, while many people (some of whom have not lived in the South as long as I) say, "you're not from around here, are you"?

All these thoughts came to mind while watching the new season of Feasting on Asphalt, the brilliant series hosted by Food Network maven Alton Brown; next Saturday night's show will be all about the Delta and Memphis, which he crowns as "the Mecca of Southern Cooking". The show (8-9 PM, digital channel 69 on Comcast) will start off in Greenville , with tamales at Doe's, and the recent fad of Kool-Aid pickles before bringing him here. I'm NOT going to spoil it for you, but I urge you to watch.

To say that I was a fussy eater as a child would be an understatement, I was not inclined to eat much of anything besides peanut-butter sandwiches and hamburgers. Moving to Weiner changed all of that; I was introduced to catfish and hushpuppies, vegetables that tasted GOOD, and, finally, country ham. I have not been the same since.

My mother, whose strengths in cooking lie more with making game meat taste good, and whose weaknesses drove me away from pasta for 30 years, learned the techniques of her cousins from Poinsett County, and her strengths improved, while the weaknesses....well, never mind.

It is food that has such a strong grip on all of us who spent our youth in the South, we remember the cooking of our parents and grandparents (my grandfather made the best dressing you could possibly eat, up into his 90s) and that's why we have such a fondness for it, even if it can lead to lots of horrific diseases when you hit your 50s.

It was only after moving from Fall River, MA to New Orleans that no less a chef tham Emeril Lagasse discovered that pork fat does indeed rule. Sadly, as these delicacies were made for people that spent their entire days in the fields of farms, and as people evolved in to sedentary office jobs, these wonderful foods which provided so much comfort have become our enemy, not our friend.

As someone who has struggled with weight problems as long as I have been on this Earth, it hurts to think that I am going to have to give up country ham, biscuits, redeye gravy and fried foods in order to live beyond 55 or 60. These are called COMFORT FOODS for a reason; they make you feel good, but only in the short term.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

And then there was only one......

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a new home-run champion of all time, and his name is Barry Bonds, with a nod to Milo Hamilton, the Hall of Fame broadcaster who called Henry Aaron's 715th homer to pass Babe Ruth.

Love him or hate him, you CANNOT deny that Barry is the greatest all-around hitter of our lifetime.  Unless you wipe out ALL MLB records from 1985 on, you can't take this away from him, regardless of whether you want to or not.  Like John Kruk said tonight on SportsCenter, if you go after one, you'd better go after ALL of them and you'd better GET all of them.

I love Henry Aaron, he was a remarkable player and is a great humanitarian and leader.  What happened  tonight in no way denigrates his achievements, and his statement on the video board at AT&T Park once again reminded us of the class with which he has led his life.

Even before Barry ALLEGEDLY took steroids, he had won THREE Most Valuable Player awards (and I argue he should have won a fourth, in 1991) and was on his way to Cooperstown.  Nothing Bonds has done since should change that.

Yes, many people whom I hold dear have commented on my earlier post that he cheated, that he doesn't deserve it, yada yada yada.

Bless your hearts, I still love you all.

I have NEVER seen any other batter in my lifetime intentionally walked with this bases loaded, like Barry.  I have never seen any other player in my lifetime who frightened pitchers the way he has.  As a hitter, he has no peers.  NONE.

Barry, relax and enjoy this record, because Alex Rodriguez will take it from you by 2015!

Sunday, August 05, 2007


Barry Bonds hit his 755th home run Saturday night against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park, tying the legendary Hank Aaron.  More HERE.

Friday, August 03, 2007

The Duggars have ANOTHER child.

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar of Northwest Arkansas, members of the "Quiverfull" movement that preaches for their membership to breed like rabbits, welcomed their SEVENTEENTH child into the world yesterday, Jennifer. They're white and sweet and the Discovery Channel loves them, having built a house for them.

Would I be wrong in suggesting that if this were a black family in North Memphis, people would be SCREAMING about this? I don't think so.

Despite the fact that, to my knowledge, the Duggars are Protestant, not Catholic, I offer this in tribute to the birth of Jennifer Duggar:

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Anyone else bothered by this?

The CA's report about the black pastors lying that the Hate Crimes bill wouldn't let them preach their hatred of gay folks caught the attention of Jon Carroll. He emailed me to remind me that some of these same folks, Leo LaSimba Gray in particular, are among those in the DRAFT AC movement, and are now endorsing Herman Morris.

Here's the latest Morris press release, sent to me today:

Leaders of 'Draft AC' movement endorse Herman Morris for mayor

MEMPHIS, TN - Leaders of a grassroots group which had tried to persuade Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton to run for mayor of Memphis today announced they are throwing their support behind Herman Morris, Jr.

Dr. Bill Adkins, pastor of Greater Imani Church and Christian Center, and Dr. LaSimba Gray, Jr., pastor of the New Sardis Baptist Church, stood with Morris at the candidate's campaign headquarters and declared their joint effort to win the mayor's race could produce a "dream team" of mayors for the people of Memphis.

"Just imagine what a dream team of Herman Morris and A C Wharton could do for our city," Gray said. "Such a possibility is why we are here today," Adkins added.

"I am delighted to welcome these respected community leaders onto the Morris for Mayor team today," Morris said. "We have built a great momentum in our campaign to take back City Hall for the people of this great city. I want them to know - I want everyone to know - that I won't let up until we have won this election. And then I'll work even harder to bring vigorous leadership to our community."

Others on the Draft A C group who added their endorsements included former Shelby County Mayor Bill Morris (who could not attend) and restaurateur Thomas Boggs. Gray and Adkins said they are inviting other community leaders to publicly announce their support of Morris. They described Morris as the best choice in the mayoral race for restoring Memphis's reputation as a progressive city which cares about all its citizens.

Adkins called on all those who had participated in the attempt to draft Wharton to consider supporting Morris. "He had the courage to take a drug test and release the results because that is the kind of leader he is," Adkins said. "The other candidates are hiding out on this issue. That speaks volumes."

Gray chimed in on the drug test, issuing a new challenge to incumbent W.W. Herenton and other candidates to "submit to a drug test and demonstrate to the people that you are fit to hold office."

"Our message today is simple," Morris said. "It's time for a change, and change is coming

Others on the Draft A C group who added their endorsements included former Shelby County Mayor Bill Morris (who could not attend) and restaurateur Thomas Boggs. Gray and Adkins said they are inviting other community leaders to publicly announce their support of Morris. They described Morris as the best choice in the mayoral race for restoring Memphis's reputation as a progressive city which cares about all its citizens.

Adkins called on all those who had participated in the attempt to draft Wharton to consider supporting Morris. "He had the courage to take a drug test and release the results because that is the kind of leader he is," Adkins said. "The other candidates are hiding out on this issue. That speaks volumes."

Gray chimed in on the drug test, issuing a new challenge to incumbent W.W. Herenton and other candidates to "submit to a drug test and demonstrate to the people that you are fit to hold office."

"Our message today is simple," Morris said. "It's time for a change, and change is coming
- 30 -

Herman, I have a question: you say you will be a Mayor for all Memphians. By accepting the support of homophobes like Reverend Gray, does this mean that you agree with that homophobia? If so, how can you represent ALL Memphians?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Rick has another great film

Which essentially confirms everything you suspected about the Republicans and Fox Noise Channel.   Just go there!

Steve Cohen has a message for you

for those LYING ministers who say Steve Cohen's bill won't let you preach your HATRED of gay folks, he has a message for you:

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

It COULD happen here.

Photo credit - Jeff Wheeler, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Like a good many of you, I suspect, I spent a good portion of the evening watching the coverage of the horrific collapse of the I-35W eight-lane bridge over the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis. As of this writing, seven are confirmed dead, one from drowning.

The recovery of cars from the river is now beginning, and who knows what the death toll will be when they have completed recovery. This bridge was built in 1967, and according to local officials at a press conference, while repairs were ongoing, nothing needed replacing until 2020, when the deck was due. All that, obviously, has changed now.

With the rape of the treasury via the unneeded Iraq war, plus the unnecessary tax cuts for the wealthiest 1%, our treasury is depleted, while our infrastructure crumbles. When we DO replace W, if he hasn't declared a dictatorship by then, we will have to overhaul our tax structure in order to rebuild the infrastructure that has been crumbling since 2001.

Think I'm overly dramatic? Well, let's consider this: We in Memphis have the ONLY two bridges over the WIDEST part of the Mississippi, and the ONLY two bridges between Caruthersville, MO and Helena, AR, a distance of 162 miles by car.

The Hernando DeSoto Bridge, what all we locals call the NEW bridge, opened on August 2, 1973, 34 years ago today, bringing I-40 over the River. The OLD bridge, the Memphis-Arkansas Bridge, opened in 1949! That also carries an Interstate, I-55, with LOTS of trucks rattling across the Arkansas-Tennessee line.

The next president, if he or she is a Democrat, MUST be ready to raise taxes to rebuild bridges and schools, because NONE of this can be privatized, this must be bid out (properly) and done. If it happened in a relatively progressive state like Minnesota, you know damn well it can happen here.

Let's also suggest something else here: When we build I-269 and I-69, let's make 269 a COMPLETE LOOP. Let's have Phil Bredesen meet with Mike Beebe and Haley Barbour to build TWO new bridges over the river, west of Millington and west of Tunica. This would relieve huge amounts of pressure off our aging bridges, provide a complete beltway around the metro area, create growth in FOUR counties (Shelby, Crittenden, DeSoto and Tunica), and, once completed, enable us to shore up our two main crossings.

To REALLY do this, we need cooperation (ever hear of a governor who DIDN'T like to build roads?) we need a DEMOCRAT in the White House, because Democrats are the only ones who TRULY believe that humans are capable of self-governance, and know how to do it right. We need MORE Democrats in each house of Congress, in order to keep the Goopers from blocking legislation with needless filibusters.

And we need all this to rebuild our country and overcome the damage left by 8 years of Bu$h mismanagement, and 12 years of Republican congressional theft and corruption.

Remember the Twin Cities in your prayers, and flame away if you choose.