- Greg Cravens
About Les Smith's column, "Next Stop, Belize" ...
The crocodiles do keep the lazier components of the Guatemalan death squads at bay.
Don't listen to these naysayers, Les. You know you want to retire to a life of ease and adventure for just $15 a day in Belize. If Liam Neeson can make action movies at 62, you can fend off a few tweekers with their screwdrivers. Only, do me a favor, before you move, obtain several high ranks in a martial art of your choice.
On Toby Sells' cover story, "The Coliseum" ...
The issue is not whether to demolish it or save it, the issue is Memphis City government. Are we to believe that they will do anything other than what they want? Surely you must be fooling yourself if you think so. The die is cast. The building will be demolished to make way for more ineptitude. A youth athletic center? My God, more wasted money from the bankrupt city coffers under the cry of "doing what is right."
Instead of trying to be developers and business people, why not get back to taking care of the things city government is mandated to do, like infrastructure and crime prevention? Whether it be the Pyramid, Beale Street Landing (aka the "Hump and Screw"), our public parks, or you name it, our leadership has proven themselves incapable.
Solution: Declare the Coliseum and the acreage around it a tax-free/regulation-free zone for 50 years. Auction it off to the highest bidder and get the hell out of the way. We may have to suffer the tasteless aesthetics of yet another Billy Big Mouth Bass, but it will serve as a great reminder into the future of a most important fact: City government is not to be trusted with matters of commerce at any level. They couldn't run a popcorn stand at a charity function.
Enough already! Why are these Memphis nitwits even considering anything other than rehabilitating the Coliseum? Typical Memphis ridiculousness. My teen years were spent making the two-hour drive to see great music shows at the Coliseum. I stood in line for six hours to get tickets to see George Harrison. I was on the front row to see Diana Ross. The chatter at school on Mondays was always about who went to Coliseum over the weekend.
It would be nothing less than a tragedy for the Coliseum to be destroyed.
My first visit to the Coliseum was in the early '70s. Living in Jackson, Tennessee, I came down to a Chicago concert. The whole experience was good. I moved to Memphis in 1980 and went to a few concerts. In 1985, I learned that a donation would help get U of M basketball tickets, so I had season tickets till the Pyramid was built and the team moved.
The Coliseum was used for a number of years for different events, but I only made a couple of hockey games. Then came FedExForum, with its exclusive entertainment contract, and that pretty much killed the Pyramid. I am on the bridge between tearing it down and keeping it. The only way I see keeping it is by the Forum giving up the exclusive rights to entertainment contract, otherwise we spend millions of dollars to fix it up to be used for minor events and slowly but surely degrading to where it is today.