Every year the Flyer's Annual Manual takes me by surprise. I go to pick up the Flyer, hoping to read Branston, Baker, Herrington, etc., and instead I get listings and dated information. It's always a disappointment.
So when I saw it was Annual Manual time again last week, I picked it up at Huey's without much enthusiasm. Well, never let it be said that I don't give credit where credit is due: I actually sort of enjoyed the Annual Manual. The 8-ball predictions idea was great, and I liked reading the staff predictions — even the weird ones.
If I were advising you guys, I'd say stick with this formula. It's still not as good as having a regular Flyer, but it's better it has been in the past.
(Editor's note: Uh, thanks. I think.)
The Year in Music
In response to "The Year in Memphis Music" (December 27th issue), I'd like to point out that Alicja Trout did actually release some new stuff this year. Her Black Sunday/Le Jonathan Reilly 12-inch split on TicTacTotally came out in the fall of 2007. It's really good.
I enjoyed the Q&A with Warren Lewis ("Mayor of North Memphis," December 13th issue), but I would like to elaborate on Lewis' character.
In addition to being a one-man force for positive change, Lewis is a genuine, bona fide Memphis treasure. In the 55 years I lived in Memphis, my visit to Warren's barbershop in North Memphis was one of the purest, funkiest, and most deliciously outrageous experiences of my life.
Lewis is one of the few people in the world who cuts hair with fire — fire from long, thin, tapered candles which are lined up between his fingers to create a wall of flames that he wields like magic to shape and sculpt his crowns of creation. To add to the surreal experience, and perhaps to get his artistic juices flowing, Lewis begins his performance to the opening strains of "Shaft." The tension grows as the horn section swells, and Lewis becomes a flash of flames, whirring his arms above his subject's head. As the last notes fade away, Lewis steps back and nods in satisfaction.
What a trip! Then, without missing a beat, he will proudly take you on a personal tour of the business association/community center/educational facility that revolves around the hub of his barber chairs.
Ah, Memphis. There's no other place quite like it, and Warren Lewis is one of the indomitably spirited people who makes it so.
Bath Springs, Tennessee
I was visiting my son, Kelley, and his family in Memphis this Christmas, and I picked up a copy of the December 20th issue of the Flyer. Kelley read aloud editor Bruce VanWyngarden's exposé of the MSU principle (assuming it was actually a fact that occurred within your familial group and you weren't making that up).
It was a total epiphany for me. Not that I shouldn't have thought about it before, because BS is so ubiquitous that it's almost totally ignored in everyday talk. However, it should be challenged — not seriously enough to alienate your family members, because the younger ones probably learned it from those us over 50. But it should be done, even if it involves sending people to the dictionary or other sources to learn the real facts.
And to make it even more interesting, I suggest the following: Analagous to the NFL rule that a coach can throw a flag when he challenges a field call, create a penalty of losing something if the MSU challenge is overruled. Create a penalty for the MSU-er if the challenge is sustained. Keep score. Punish! Reward! This could morph into a sensational blog game or whatever. I think that you should take it from here.
(Editor's note: Dear Tom, I think you are totally MSU.)
Correction: In the December 20th issue, we mistakenly referred to the "late" Bud Dudley. Dudley is alive. We regret the error.