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Rhodes Professor ‘Will Miss’ Memphis

Art Carden has ended his six-year-stint as an assistant professor of economics and business at Rhodes College, his first academic job out of grad school.

A contributor to Forbes, Carden recently compiled the things he’ll miss most about Memphis for the publication that often ranks it “miserable.”

Carden has also been a valuable source for The Daily News and The Memphis News, speaking candidly against the Transportation Security Administration during the November 2010 body scan scandal and recently providing his viewpoints on Austrian economics.

Thanks for your contributions to Rhodes College and to Memphis, Art, and best wishes on that new Birmingham gig and child #3.

Memphis’ Four Way Grill Filmed for Food Paradise

Last week it was Diners, Drive-Ins and Drives. This week, it was all about Food Paradise.

That’s right, the crews of Travel Channel/Food Network ventured to Memphis’ own Four Way (Grill) Restaurant Wednesday, May 16 to visit Willie Bates and his historic soul food joint at 998 Mississippi Blvd.

“They did the whole nine yards,” Bates said. “They stayed here for the entire day for the most part during our working hours.”

The television series features the best places to find certain food categories at eateries nationwide. Past shows have included everything from “Bar Food Paradise” to “Bacon Paradise” and even “Deep Fried Paradise.”

Bates was filmed making fried catfish, collard greens, fried green tomatoes, strawberry cake, and other popular menu items.

The restaurant took flight under Irene Cleaves in 1946.

“That lady really set the tone back in the day,” Bates said. “She won the Memphis Black Heritage Award and many other (awards). It happened that Mr. Cleaves was the chauffer for boss (E.H.) Crump. That tells us that he had the support and well wishes of the entire Memphis area. Over time, persons like Dr. King and even some of the presidents came. She made great waves all over the country and we continue to move forward under that same type of contact.”

Bates said the show will air in about three months.

“It’s an exciting time,” Bates said. “I’m pleased that it’s a Memphis thing and we’ve been able to support the efforts of this great city with all of its variety in terms of soul food. We think that Four Way will continue to be an asset to drawing a crowd and the reputation of Memphis.”

Guitar Wood & Van Halen

 

The latest chapter in the Gibson guitar wood – Lacey Act controversy comes to us from the office of U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander – not a guitar picker, but an accomplished pianist.

Alexander says he and Democratic U.S. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon are working toward some clarification of the Lacey Act which he and Wyden contend was never intended to be the pretext for seizing instruments made of wood harvested before 2008.

If the clarification doesn’t work, Alexander says he and Wyden are prepared to introduce legislation to change the act itself.

Alexander’s push for either or both is timed to coincide with the summer concert season. In recent years, the Lacey Act has complicated the travel plans of musicians who in some cases leave the good stuff at home and travel with less expensive instruments that don’t have to have paperwork to verify where the wood came from and thus stand less of a chance of getting seized.

Mentally, I’m trying to picture a resurrected Jimi Hendrix – a long held fantasy of mine – coming to life at the end of a customs line with his guitar case and getting busted for the guitar instead of the joint in his hat band. Such are the times we live in.

“I don’t want the musicians from Nashville who are flying to Canada to perform this summer to worry about the government seizing their guitars,” Alexander said in a written statement in which he added that Justice Department and Fish & Wildlife Service brass have told him and Wyden that they don’t intend to do such seizures.

“We are also working to make clear which laws apply and don’t apply to business importing and manufacturing with wood and to remove burdensome regulations on importers and instrument manufacturers.”

The outcome, whether negotiated or legislated, would amount to what Alexander terms a “safe harbor” for instruments made pre-2008.

If this works out, Alexander and Wyden should consider working on some kind of act to deal with the cancellation of the rest of the Van Halen tour. It would probably need to be built around some kind of mechanism by which the reunited band members determine in advance whether they will be able to put aside their robust hatred of each other before they sell tickets to the shows. If they need votes on this they could include some kind of settlement for Michael Anthony.

St. Jude Half Marathon Sells Out in Record Time

General registration for the St. Jude Half Marathon – slated for Saturday, December 1, in Memphis — has sold out in record time. This year’s sell-out marks a new record for the St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon, which last year sold out July 15.

Limited spots are still available for participants who also sign up as a St. Jude Hero and commit to raise at least $500 to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which treats children from around the world with cancer and other catastrophic illnesses, regardless of a family’s ability to pay. St. Jude Heroes in 2011 raised $4 million for patients.

For more information about the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend, visit http://www.stjudemarathon.org/. You can also “like” St. Jude Memphis Marathon on Facebook and follow @StJude on Twitter for the latest updates.

 

On Municipal School Districts and County Seats

 

What’s the saying? The more things change, the more they remain the same.

As the suburban towns and cities in Shelby County begin anew their march to the ballot on establishing municipal school districts, I came across a passage about the establishment of Shelby County in John E. Harkins’ superb history of the city, “Metropolis of the American Nile.”

It seems the legislation establishing Shelby County as of May 1820 did not say where the seat of the county would be. And even then Shelby County had towns other than Memphis. In fact, it had bigger and older towns.

John Overton, one of the four founders of the city who was the most active promoter of its business and commerce, had already been to the Tennessee legislature to make his thoughts known on the new county.

They included a rejected proposal to shape Shelby County as a triangle missing much of the present county above the Wolf River. But the idea never made it past another key figure in the origins of Memphis, General James Winchester.

Overton was back in Nashville in 1822 promoting a bill the legislature passed to hold a referendum to gauge the preference for the location of the county seat with a four member commission then making the actual selection. His legislation also deleted the standard practice of locating a county seat within three miles of the geographical center of the county.

The referendum never happened. Two years later, the legislature passed a new act deleting the popular vote and moving the decision directly to the commission. The commission didn’t pick Egypt or Big Creek to the north of Memphis. They instead chose Sanderlin’s bluff which was uninhabited and about 10 miles east of Memphis. The state appointed a commission to lay out what would become Raleigh.

But Raleigh took several tries.

“When this commission failed to report back,” Harkins writes, “the state appointed still a third commission which finally completed the task. Within two years, Raleigh was laid out.”

By 1836, Raleigh was bigger and more prosperous than Memphis.

Some court functions were later shared with Memphis, according to Harkins history and Memphis suddenly began to prosper in the 1840s. But the county seat didn’t return to Memphis until the 1860s.

 

 

Dansette

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