the memphis flyer presents the Summer Issue
Summer afternoon -- summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language. -- Henry James
Memphis summer. Few who live here would call those two of the most beautiful words in the English language. But they are two words that bring much to mind. First -- let's not tiptoe around it -- yes, it's hot. Really hot. But after a couple of weeks, the heat loses its punch somehow. We adapt: We wear fewer clothes; we eat less, and later in the day; we learn to avoid sitting bare-legged on hot car seats. The heat fades into the background and becomes part of the scenery -- always there but somehow not so important. It's then that we can finally celebrate this muggy, steamy season to the fullest.
Memphis summer: It's the sweet surprise of honeysuckle perfume wafting over us on an evening walk; it's a frosty Corona at a sidewalk table; it's stepping out of a late-night bar and into a dark humidity so dense it feels like you've been wrapped in a hot, thick towel; it's a sloppy barbecue nacho warming your lap at AutoZone Park; it's a walk along the Mississippi as sunset paints the sky; it's lying on your back in a field at Shelby Farms and pondering the infinite throw of stars.
Memphis summer. It's here. It's whatever you want it to be. Taste it. Feel it. Live it. It's the only one you're going to get this year. -- Bruce VanWyngarden
Summer How to's
School's In Session
How to catch a foul ball, taste-test ice cream, and, ladies, pee standing up.
Classes may be over, school may be out, but you can always learn a little more.
Especially the summer-specific skills we've lined up for you. If you've always wanted to know how to catch a foul ball or, ladies, pee standing up, we've got the answer. If you've always dreamed of being an ice-cream taster, read on.
The Flyer staff consulted with experts, did extensive field testing, and now serves up this cool bit of summer school.
HOW TO CATCH A FOUL BALL
by James P. Hill
Okay, baseball fans, check your gear: ticket to get in, notepad for autographs, binoculars to get a close-up view, and -- never forget it -- your glove to catch foul balls.
Baseball experts suggest fans began looking for souvenir baseballs around ballpark diamonds back in the 19th century. "It's taking home a bit of your memory of having been to the game," says Bob Brame, Memphis Redbirds director of communications. "As a kid, I would take my glove to games to catch a foul ball. This is part of the spirit, the feel, and the love of America's pastime."
Over the years, baseball fields changed from diamonds with a wooden backstop or fence to incredible sports venues like BankOne Ballpark in Phoenix or the gem of AAA baseball, AutoZone Park here in Memphis.
Many fans use their seat's location as a tool in landing that special game-day treat. "I think sitting down at the 1st and 3rd baselines and behind the dugouts are great places to get a foul ball," says Steve Horne, Memphis Redbirds director of field operations. The next thing to do is watch for three types of balls. First kind: A batter cuts the ball as a line drive into the stands -- this could be an easy catch in your glove. Second kind: A batter swings at a pitch and clips the ball, sending it up to the stadium's roof and down into the stands -- you're going to have to make a run for this one. Third kind, only effective at AutoZone Park: "Get a $5 bluff seat and try to get a home-run ball," says Redbirds staff member Ed Collins.
So keep your eye on the prize, and if a ball is hit so hard that it leaves the park altogether, you still get the excitement of watching a home-run.
HOW TO TEST ICE CREAM
by Simone Barden
Imagine being paid to eat popsicles, fudge bars, vanilla ice cream, and strawberry sherbet all day long. Somebody's got to, right? That somebody at the Turner ice cream factory in Covington is lab technician Pam Boswell.
Boswell tests and tastes about 40 different ice cream samples a day. The samples at Turner don't come by the scoop. They come in half-gallon containers, pints, or whatever size appears that day. Boswell's lab freezer fills up quickly, and she actually eats the ice cream to make sure it tastes right. "Some people just dip their tongue into it and spit it out; I prefer to eat it," she says.
Boswell doesn't have a degree in food science. She started out working at the factory and transferred to the tasting-and-testing lab four years ago. She just happens to really like ice cream. In fact, she calls herself an ice cream addict. "I usually don't make it through a weekend without ice cream," she says. "I have to go to Sonic or some other place to get some because I don't keep any at home."
For Boswell, testing is a "feeling thing" more than anything else. Sweetness, she says, is one of the main things to consider, but sweetness doesn't just mean sweet versus not sweet. Sweetness includes texture and smoothness.
This is not just summer fun. This is serious business. Testers cannot skip the tasting when it gets frosty outside. That doesn't matter to a die-hard like Boswell -- "I can eat ice cream all year long," she says, "but popsicles are nicer to taste during the summer than during the winter."
HOW TO PEE STANDING UP
by Lesha Hurliman
It occurred to me again at the Beale Street Music Fest this year as I hovered at an excruciating angle inside a Porta-pottie: Some aspects of female anatomy just simply aren't ideal. Most women will agree with me that the "squat" method is -- how should I put it? -- unpredictable. There is no telling what will happen. One second, you'll be experiencing the straight and narrow, and then, for no apparent reason, you've got a wayward problem.
This summer, the season of the great outdoors, concerts, camping, and (need I remind you?) snakes, ticks, and poisonous weeds, there is perhaps no greater gift a woman could give herself than the ability to urinate while standing. According to nurse Denise Decker's "A Woman's Guide On How To Pee Standing Up" (www.restrooms.org/standing), there are two ways to do this: the "finger-assist" method, which requires a very intimate knowledge of your nether region, and the device method.
For the finger-assist method, the shower or bathtub is where you will want to start. Using either of your clean hands, make a "V" with your first and second fingers and spread the inside of your labia minora (if you are not sure where these are, let's just say it is the area surrounding the urethra). Next, lift to the desired angle, then urinate. According to Decker, "If you don't spread and lift, it could run down your leg." This is not as easy as it sounds. I, for one, have had some issues while trying this method. Once I got my "V" in place, the urine stream was, um ... unforthcoming.
But like every skill, practice makes perfect. There are women who can urinate through the fly of their jeans without so much as a drop straying. One woman even boasts she can, after years of practice, write her name in the snow. (Girl, I have no idea how -- lots of hip action is all I can come up with.)
For those of you less interested in the hands-on method, there are plenty of devices out there to help: the TravelMate (looks sort of like a measuring spoon with a hollow handle and comes with a denim or tapestry carrying case), the Whizzy (handles for the seat in a public restroom), and the Shenis (replace the "sh" with a "p," make it 12 inches long, and you'll get the picture).
I myself am through whining about this particular trait of my gender. Join me and Nurse Decker: Stand up and pee.