June 29th, 2006

little review

Lyrics for Thursday

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We were in three states on Wednesday, including one I'd never been in before -- Mississippi, where we had lunch specifically so we could say that we had had lunch in Mississippi (I have now been in most of the 48 contiguous states, though I'd have to sit down and look at a map to figure out which I've missed...definitely Alabama and Louisiana). But before that we went to Graceland, on the deluxe tour that includes the car museum, airplanes and all those fun sideshows as well as the mansion. I like Elvis and know a reasonable amount about him, but given that there were people in full Elvis regalia and sniffling at his tomb, I cannot compete.

The house itself was smaller than I was expecting, and unpretentious in a way -- kitchen in the same harvest gold-type colors we had in my house in the '70s, Jungle Room more high tackiness than any reflection of wealth, and he had red shag carpet and a faux fur bed with mirrors and all sorts of other cheesy wonderful stuff! I mean, there are also rooms and rooms of gold records and the like, but given how much he must have been worth, it seems like he could have lived much more like a king...collecting cars notwithstanding, there wasn't a lot of serious affectation of wealth in evidence except on his plane, the Lisa Marie. Sure the guy can have a pool and a pool room among his multiple music rooms! I'd love to know what's in the closed-off upstairs bedrooms. I wonder whether George Bush and the Japanese Ambassador will get to see when they're here in a couple of days.

In the afternoon we went to the Memphis Zoo, which is beautifully put together: their pandas, for instance, are housed in a Chinese pavilion with architecture and art from China, and a lot of other animals live in enclosures designed with artificial artifacts from the part of the world they're from. Of course our first mission was to see the penguins, which we did -- African penguins here in an outdoor exhibit along with cormorants and cranky pelicans who tried to bite the other birds to get their fish because the pelicans don't move as quickly. There's also an excellent tropical bird house, herpetorium and a seasonal exhibit on arachnids with some really impressive spiders! We didn't spend a huge amount of time at the zoo, as we wanted to see Beale Street before the evening dinner crowd started to arrive (we figured the kids would never last through a meal and a set of the blues at that point).

We had been warned that the neighborhood right off Beale was very questionable, which proved to be the case -- there were some decidedly scary people in the parking lot and a number of others begging for food and money between the lot and the corner where B.B. King's blues club and company store stand. There was live blues in W.C. Handy Park and another trio playing on the street between two restaurants, several of which also had acts warming up inside. We didn't stay long as we were all very hot and tired, and had promised to let the kids swim for awhile if they agreed to be schlepped around, but we did stop to take photos at Sun Studio, where Elvis got started!

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Sounds like things are very scary on the east coast. We caught a bit of Larry King Live about the flooding around DC, MD and VA and older son freaked out a bit. Hope everyone is all right and keeping dry! We've had lots of heat but other than that one storm in Ohio, blue skies. We drove over the Mississippi flood plain in Arkansas earlier, but it was mostly dry.