01/03/2006: Well worth reading....
For the good and bad (mostly good) about living in Memphis, The Flypaper Theory blogger autoegocrat contributes this paean to Memphis to a dKos open thread: Several Things Kos Should Know About Memphis
Now that [the cons are] out of the way, here are the pros:About the only thing autoegocrat misses (and if he's never lived anywhere else, it's understandable) is that Memphis, as far as I can tell, has more historical markers per square foot than any other American city (at least any that I've visited). I don't know how many places I've been knocking about around here, and practically tripped over not one, not two, but several (I'm sure none of you will be surprised that my mathematical skills mirror those of the Kalahari Bushmen; I count like this: "One... two... many"). I think I saw more historical markers in my first two weeks here than I'd seen in my entire life up til that point.
THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER - It is widest river in the world, and you just have to see it to believe it. Being born here, I can't get too far away from the river without feeling something tugging at my soul. Owing to this, I have never seen an ocean in my life. There is some deep history in the river, and you can feel it in your bones.
One year the river dropped about 20 feet below floodstage, and the waters revealed hulks of steamboats, barges, fishing boats, and the bones of slaves that had been dumped on the Arkansas side.
I spend as much of my time as I can at the river. It is a great place to think, read, write, and just be alone. If you come here, look me up (drop a note on the blog) and I will be glad to show you some of the secret places on the river that have been constant retreats for me since I was a child.
HISTORY - Our college team, the Memphis Tigers, have as their school colors Blue and Gray, representing the fact that Memphis played both sides in the Civil War. There are time capsules buried all over the place. Downtown Memphis was once a Chickasaw burial grounds, and many of the old burial mounds have been left in place. Dig around in your yard, and you might find an arrowhead or two. We have a rich city in this regard.
When I was twelve, I got a metal detector for Christmas, and with that, I found the engine block to a Ford Model "A" buried under the pecan tree in the backyard of the house I was born in. I found what I think was some kind of battery or alternator buried in the coal cellar. If you are interested in archaeology and history, this city is overloaded with buried treasure.
TREES - Memphis is the most arboreal urban area you will find anywhere. I have been told that this city has more trees per square mile than any other city in the Western Hemisphere, though I'm not sure how to verify that. Ascend one of our few tall buildings (we have three, and they do not even qualify as skyscrapers) and all you will see is trees for miles. From the sky, it doesn't look like a city at all.autoegocrat forgets to mention that the Redbirds are also the AAA affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, but since he's not a St. Louisan In Exile I'll forgive him for that.
SPORTS - We have the single best and most modern minor league baseball park anywhere. If you just want to enjoy an afternoon watching a ball game, there is no better venue than AutoZone Park, and the Memphis Redbirds are the only non-profit baseball team anywhere; the ticket sales go to charity and toward city improvements.
DIVERSITY - We have it all. People from all corners of the Earth live in Memphis. I wave to my Latino and Indian neighbors across the drive as I go to the Palestinian market around the corner, and along the short trip I might pass a group of African children (from Rwanda, I think) wearing Muslim headscarves on their way home from school. We have a large Vietnamese community, a large Jewish community, a large Muslim community, a large Korean community, and a large and rapidly growing Latino community.To put this into context, by the way, it's in part a response to a posting by Kos talking about how he's thinking of moving out of the San Francisco Bay area, and that Memphis is apparently one city that offers quite a bit of what he's looking for.
If you like being around people who are different from you, this is the place. I'm white, but thanks to having lived in Memphis all my life, I'm no jive honky. We have more than our share of rednecks, too, don't let me fool you, but they are easy enough to avoid. Spend enough time around blacks, and the rednecks will avoid you.
OPPORTUNITY - Someone worldly wise like you could turn this town upside down. Cultural trends hit this city about five years after everyone else is done with them. I can't shake the feeling that Memphis is just about to bust wide open, we've held ourseves back for so long that something's got to give. There is a tangiable sense here of a city about to give birth to itself. Like I said, I've lived here all my life, and the city has never seemed like this before. I don't know what it is, but it's coming soon.
I hope that helps. I'm not going to mention the music. If you don't know about Memphis music, then you need a booty tranplant, and if you move here, you'll get one.
Oh, and one other thing. We're sitting on a fault line and we're about ten years overdue for our regularly scheduled earthquake. We have around three minor earthquakes a week, and if you are paying attention, you can feel them. We've been waiting for "The Big One" for a long time, and when it comes, this place is going to be a bigger disaster area than NOLA ever was. When purchasing a home, the single most important question to ask is "Is it earhquake-proof?"
And wouldn't that be something? Having Kos himself attend a bloggers bash?
I have no doubt that the interpersonal dynamics would be worth the price of admission all by itself.
Len on 01.03.06 @ 06:56 PM CST