Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Journey to Memphis and the Crossroads: Part 6: Falling down on my knees

I promise this the last post about my vacation, especially considering I have been back home for three weeks. (I am really milking this, aren't I? To be perfectly honest, I've been really busy with some personal issues and this is ideal filler, given you guys are actually reading it.)

Anyway, after visiting Memphis I drove an hour and a half down Highway 61 to legendary Clarksdale, Mississippi, birthplace of the blues and the place where Robert Johnson supposedly made his deal with the Devil. Unfortunately, modern times have changed the landscape of Highway 61, as it is now several miles east of its original route. The real legendary crossroads is now the intersection of Hwy 49 and Hwy 161, which, as I was surprised to learn, is a rather busy intersection. I'm not sure how ol' Robert Johnson could have negotiated with the Devil without being seen; it's definitely not at all like the crossroads in the Ralph Macchio movie.

(By the way, there is an amazing BBQ joint called Abe's at the crossroads. According to the Abe's menu, it is very possible Robert Johnson might just have been munching on some BBQ when the Devil arrived. Being that Johnson made his deal in the early to mid-1930's and Abe's has been there since the 20's, their claim might be true. Although, to be perfectly honest, I don't know why the Devil would concern himself with something as useless as a soul when there is tasty BBQ in the area. The Devil works in mysterious ways, I guess.)

While in Clarksdale, I caught all the high point tourist places: the Delta Blues Museum, the Ground Zero Blues Club, Red's Juke Joint, and I even stayed at the world famous Riverside Inn. All of these are highly recommended not only for blues fans, but for anyone who wants to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city life and go to a place more simple, a place more quiet, and a place where you can kick back, grab some BBQ and a sweet tea, and listen to some good ol' American music the way it's supposed to be played: with heart, with feeling, and from the soul.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Journey to Memphis and the Crossroads Part 5: The Semi-Conclusion

A few weeks ago I began chronicling my vacation to downtown Memphis and the Mississippi Delta. Unfortunately, due to my own laziness, I never finished the project. If you remember, I got through Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 and left with the command for you to "Tune in tomorrow as I discuss my trip to Sun Studio, the Stax Museum, and Graceland, home of the King."

Sorry about that. I hope you weren't expecting too much.

Well, the "tomorrow" I mentioned is now upon you. Sort of. Instead of typing a lengthy 500-or-more word review, I'm only going to say that Graceland is overrated but quirky, the Sun Studio is one of the most important cultural landmarks in America, and the Stax Museum is amazingly underrated. I was most impressed by the Stax Museum, awed by the Sun Studio, and comically amused by the decadence of Elvis's crib.

By the way, did you know Elvis is dead? They actually say so at Graceland. All this time I thought he was hanging out with Michael Jackson in a diner outside of Artesia, New Mexico. I don't know what to believe anymore.

Coming soon ... a review of my visit to Clarksdale, Mississippi, the Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Fest, and the locally produced blues documentary "M For Mississippi".

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Rapper Paul Wall versus The Man

Last week, blogger Rafi Kam of the blog Oh Word wrote an awesome piece on rapper Ice Cube's classic hit "It Was a Good Day". To summarize, Rafi Kam said that although most people now take the song out of context, Ice Cube's classic isn't "really about some kick-ass day. The day singled out was remarkable because for once none of the usual bullshit associated with the terror of life in the hood reared its ugly head. No hassle from carjackers or police, no one killed, the narrator can’t believe he didn’t even have to shoot at somebody."

In other words, for one day in his life, Ice Cube didn't have to put up with The Man.

Saturday night, another hip-hop star, Texas rapper Paul Wall, battled The Man in a more modern forum, the online world of Twitter. Once again, Ice Cube's lyrics played a central role.

Below is the actual exchange between Paul Wall (aka @paulwallbaby) and The Man (aka @TheManInc) that occurred approximately 2AM, Aug 23rd, 2009.

@paulwallbaby: Dodgers won, Astros won, i landed in iraq safely.... today was a good day

@TheManInc: @paulwallbaby I mess up your good day and I don't roll right past you. I look in your direction as you run the intersection.

@paulwallbaby: @TheManInc no barkin from the dog. no smog

@TheManInc: @paulwallbaby I break up your fly dreams and flash the high beams. I look for the murder n close before 2AM so u can't get the fat burger.

@TheManInc i gotta go cause i got me a drop top

@paulwallbaby I stop you from going on the court and causing trouble and I especially prevent you from getting a triple double.

@paulwallbaby: @TheManInc what about getting a beep from kim

@TheManInc: @paulwallbaby I swoop in n get girls when u try to hook it up for l8r n I don't let u pick up girls u've been trying 2 get w since 12th grd

After this illustrious battle of wits and one-liners, Paul Wall decided to follow The Man's twitter feed to monitor any further broadcasts by The Man. Smart move.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Debating Nick Anderson

Last weekend I had the pleasure of meeting Whit Watson of Sun Sports/Fox Sports Florida (check out his blog here). Of course, being that he is a sports reporter and I consider myself a sports fan/occasional sports blogger, and being that we are both in Florida and have been for several years, we started talking about Florida sports teams. Shocking, I know.

Included in our vast Florida sports conversation was a discussion on the Orlando Magic (odd, especially considering we had just both left the Rays-Blue Jays game.). For those who are familiar with Whit's work, he was a television producer and radio reporter for the Orlando Magic from 1993 through 1997. Now, in his capacity with Sun Sports/Fox Sports Florida, Whit hosts Magic broadcasts and reports from Magic games. Needless to say, he knows his Magic basketball.

Eventually our conversation drifted from the current Magic team to the 1994-1995 Eastern Conference Championship team (aka "the team that lost to the Houston Rockets in the 1995 NBA Finals"). On the subject of this Magic team, Whit said something I could hardly believe. He asserted that during the 1994-1995 season Magic guard Nick Anderson and small forward Dennis Scott were among the top five in their respective positions.

(Actually, his complete assertion was that the Magic had top five players at every position. I didn't argue Shaq, Penny Hardaway, and Horace Grant.)

I've always thought Nick Anderson and Dennis Scott were good, but top five at their position in 94-95? Since I put up a bit of a challenge to his claim, Whit sort of conceded Dennis Scott, but challenged me to write a post and prove him either right or wrong on Anderson. Ok ....

First and foremost, let's look at Anderson's stats in 1994-1995. (All stats acquired from

Nick Anderson - Orlando Magic:
Basic stats:
Points per game: 15.8
Assists per game 4.1
Rebounds per game 4.4

Advanced stats:
Player Efficiency Rating 17.5
Offensive Win Shares: 5.8
Defensive Win Shares: 2.7
Total Win Shares: 8.5
WS as a % of team wins: 14.91

Ok, now let's look at some of the other quality shooting guards from that year.

Mitch Richmond - Sacramento Kings
Basic stats:
Points per game: 22.8
Assists per game 3.8
Rebounds per game 4.4

Advanced stats:
Player Efficiency Rating 17.2
Offensive Win Shares: 4.9
Defensive Win Shares: 3.0
Total Win Shares: 7.9
WS as a % of total team wins: 20.25

Reggie Miller - Indiana Pacers
Basic stats:
Points per game: 19.6
Assists per game 3.0
Rebounds per game 2.6

Advanced stats:
Player Efficiency Rating 20.1
Offensive Win Shares: 8.3
Defensive Win Shares: 2.7
Total Win Shares: 11
WS as a % of total team wins: 21.15

Clyde Drexler - Portland Trailblazers/Houston Rockets
Basic stats:
Points per game 21.8
Assists per game 4.8
Rebounds per game 4.3

Advanced stats:
Player Efficiency Rating 22.4
Offensive Win Shares: 8.1
Defensive Win Shares: 3.7
Total Win Shares: 11.8
WS as a total of team wins: 26% w/ Portland, 33% w/ Houston = 28.7%

(By the way, did you know Houston was actually only 16-18 during the 94-95 season after acquiring Drexler? I guess he didn't jell until the post-season.)

Michael Jordan - Chicago Bulls
Basic stats:
Points per game: 26.9
Assists per game 5.3
Rebounds per game 6.9

Advanced stats:
Player Efficiency Rating 22.1
Offensive Win Shares: 1.2
Defensive Win Shares: 1.1
Total Win Shares: 2.3
WS as a % of total team wins: 4.8 w/ Bulls, ~ 1 w/ Birmingham Barons

John Starks - New York Knicks
Basic stats:
Points per game: 15.3
Assists per game 5.1
Rebounds per game 2.7

Advanced stats:
Player Efficiency Rating 13.8
Offensive Win Shares: 2.7
Defensive Win Shares: 3.3
Total Win Shares: 6.1
WS as a % of total team wins: 11.09

Dan Majerle - Phoenix Suns
Basic stats:
Points per game: 15.6
Assists per game 4.1
Rebounds per game 4.6

Advanced stats:
Player Efficiency Rating 15.1
Offensive Win Shares: 6.2
Defensive Win Shares: 1.7
Total Win Shares: 8
WS as a % of total team wins: 13.5

Survey says ...

According to his Win Shares as a percentage of his team's wins, Anderson was at best fourth, less important to his team's success than Richmond, Drexler, and Miller, but better than Majerle and Starks (Starks is still one of my favorites though). Richmond was more of a scorer, responsible for more of the workload in Sacramento, and Drexler and Miller are two of the game's best at the position. Sure, Anderson's ranking takes full advantage of Jordan's "baseball experiment", but based on my crude analysis, I'm forced to agree with Whit Watson. Perhaps Anderson was a top five shooting guard during the 1994-95 season.

Who knew?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Leaving the Saloon and Taking the Baby With Me

Even though I've only been able to drink legally for a decade, I come across some memorable bartenders. There were the big sports fans, the beer connoisseurs, the music fans, and of course, the ladies. All of whom made drinking even more enjoyable then it usually is. A good barkeep not only makes you feel welcome, but makes you feel at home, no matter had bad, how hole-in-the-wall, how run-down, or how much of a dump the place you are drinking is.

I tried my hand at bartending once. For three weeks, I worked once a week at a bar in Tallahassee. It was the end of December and I was supposed to hold the place down while the girls who normally worked there took their Christmas/Winter breaks. It really wasn't difficult, to be honest. Then again, the most people I had at the bar at one time was three - my roommate, some random guy, and a homeless guy.

Although I worked probably close to 20 hours, I didn't bring home a red cent. Not only did I not get paid, but I actually lost money. One night the aforementioned homeless guy came in and said he knew the owner and that the owner said to give him 10 bucks for some nearby McDonalds. Since I had seen the homeless fellow in the place before talking to the owner, I assumed maybe they were tight. I was wrong. Needless to say, the owner was not happy and I had to pay back the ten bucks, which considering I worked for tips, and I wouldn't take my roommate's money (it would go for food or beer for our fridge either way), meant I had to pay back the bar out of my own pocket.

Yup, I might be the only person who lost money working in a bar in a college town.

I tell this tale because my second saloon stint, albeit this time online, has come to a close. I will no longer be blogging over at Thunder Matt's Saloon. They've decided to be more Cubs-centric and filter out any of the Tampa riff-raff they had floating around. But they did give me a nice severance package: a case of Old Style and a beat-up Cubs hat. So I have that going for me.

Anyway, I wasn't the only one recently given the boot from El Saloon de Thunder Matt. A few weeks ago, the cops found out about little Baby Hack Wilson and his residence in the back of the Saloon. They not only took him away but threw him in jail for a while. So rumor has it he is not allowed in the Saloon anymore. Well, little buddy, that makes two of us.

The End of the Bottle: Baby Hack's Sad Farewell

The Sad Farewell of Baby Hack Wilson

Greetings and salutations! Hope you remember me, I'm the baby with the bottle. The distant relative to ol' Hack Wilson. We Wilsons never veer far from the happy spirits, you know. Great-great-great-grandpa once drank a fifth of Jack, hit a grandslam, threw back a bottle of 'shine, walked, and then drank two beers per inning until hitting a game winning single in the bottom of the 16th. Then he went out for a victory brew. That's why he is my idol.

Anyway, I had a little incident I think you should know about. Seems the authorities got wind of me living here in Thunder Matt's place. I don't know how. Maybe it was that guy who came in for a drink wearing the badge and carrying a gun. He seemed real suspicious. He kept asking White Chili if he heard a baby crying. I'll admit I was crying, but it wasn't my fault, Wolter was trying to wash me in a toilet bowl. And if you have ever been to the restrooms at the Saloon, you know those toilets haven't been flushed since the Gary Varsho Era.

So the next day or so, a few cops came in the Saloon with some people from the Chicago Child Services Department. They asked some questions, got some answers, and ended up taking me away. I spent the last few weeks in the Cook County Prison. It was cool, no one messed with me. Some big guy named Zeus took care of me. He was real nice. Apparently, he was also a relative of a former Cub. Do you remember Mike Harkey? Me neither.

After a while, I was finally released from the slammer. Unfortunately, they told me I can't live here in the Saloon anymore. Something about it being illegal for babies to live in places where they serve alcohol. Jordi said that was one of The Man's rules. I'm not sure I believe in all that "omnipotent bugaboo" mumbo-jumbo Jordi is always talking about, but I'm going to agree with him this time.

The sad truth is now I am homeless. Perhaps I can find a home with one of the other bartenders. Maybe the College of Idiots will admit me, or perhaps the Mandfelt Family will adopt me. Or maybe those fine gentlemen of Unprofessional Foul will bring me in, or maybe I'll go Hitler punching with Wolter. Maybe I can join Vinnie over at Mythological Inches or Ginger Russ at the Andy White Fan Club. Then, of course, there is the Shooter-loving crew over at Effectively Wild, or The Hundley's crew over at Blog of Eternal Stench. If all fails, I'm sure The Slog or The Three Seashells will give me a place to rest my head. I'd ask Kayne, but he would probably blame my problems on the al-al-al-al-cohol.

Wish me luck as I bid farewell to the Saloon. To quote the great Snoop Dee Oh Double-G, "a tear drops my eye".

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Journey to Memphis and the Crossroads Part 4: Panhandlers, Gibson Guitars, Watching the Rays, and the Best BBQ Ribs

Wow, it seems like I have doing this series for almost as long as I was on vacation. So to speed up the process, I am just taking selective tweets and elaborating on them and their meaning.

By the way, if for whatever reason you haven't read Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3, follow the links.

a guy on the street asked me for 23 cents today. i think he was a big lebron fan. #vacation #whimsy 9:29 PM Aug 3rd

dear #memphis if i go off on the next panhandler, its your fault. you have a problem in your city. 9:47 PM Aug 4th

These tweets, although a day apart, definitely go together. If there were two negatives in Memphis it was the mosquitoes (worse than in Florida), and the beggars. By Day 2 I realized wearing my Rays made me an obvious tourist. So did going to the ATM, carrying souvenirs, wearing a blues-related t-shirt, or generally being on Beale St. It is one thing to be asked for a dollar once in a while, but the Memphis homeless do nothing short of harass people. I know the economy is rough, but my kindness has limits.

Greetings once again from #memphis. @ gibson #guitar factory. why no cameras allowed? 1:02 PM Aug 4th

Question not asked @ #gibson #guitar factory: where do they make air guitars? 1:47 PM Aug 4th

Being that Memphis is one of America's music capitals, it only makes sense that someone build instruments there. And there is no missing the Gibson Guitar plant. Although they don't really make clear how to buy a ticket, the plant is definitely worth checking out. Did you know a majority of the time it takes to make a guitar is spent on painting and lacquering? And that when a mistake is made the Gibson Guitar people don't fret?

Just ate @ rendezvous in #memphis. damn good ribs. 9:42 PM Aug 4th

No trip to Memphis is complete without a visit to Rendezvous for some ribs, so said several people when I told them of my pending trip. With so many recommendations, I had to check it out. It did not disappoint. Fantastic. And to boot I sat next to two locals who told me about the city, the landmarks, and suggested several things for me to do while in town. Did I mention Rendezvous was around the corner from my hotel? Great times, indeed.

thanks #rays tweeters. on vacation, following the game thru you guys. 10:25 PM Aug 4th

come on #rays tweeters give me good news. i'm on beale st and i dont want the blues. 11:40 PM Aug 4th

if i am drunk before the #rays win, we have a problem. i started drinkin in 8th inning. #rays 11:53 PM Aug 4th

oops not trying to jinx, i meant whenb #rays end. stupid beer tweeting there. 11:58 PM Aug 4th

yay #rays i'll tip a shiner bock for ya. thanks #rays tweeters! 12:14 AM Aug 5th

My use of Twitter while in Memphis wasn't just commenting and pushing opinions. Through Twitter I was able to follow along as the Rays took on the rival Boston Red Sox. Rays fans such as @RaysIndex, @m_weber, and @draysbay provided plenty of real-time updates throughout what would eventually become a 13 inning marathon. Although I could have sought game updates on or some other sports site, reading along on Twitter made the experience much more authentic. Like fellow Rays fans were right there alongside me.

Tune in tomorrow as I discuss my trip to Sun Records, the Stax Museum, and Graceland, home of the King.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Visit to Autozone Ballpark in Memphis, TN

For the first time in over three years, I was finally able to escape the hideous clutches of The Man and take a vacation. Well, to be honest, I didn't really "take" a vacation. That would be a lot like "taking" a dump. To be perfectly correct, I went on vacation.

Anyway, I went to Memphis. Why Memphis? Because I am big music fan and Memphis has one of America's biggest live music scenes. It is also the birthplace of rock 'n' roll.

As part of my expedition I took in a ballgame at Memphis's Autozone Park, home of the Memphis Redbirds, triple-A team to the St. Louis Cardinals.

The first thing I noticed about Autozone Park was the location. Whereas most of the games I have attended throughout Florida have been located out in fields, suburbs, or generally open areas, Autozone Park was in the middle of downtown Memphis. This made for a really nice backdrop. That's not something you get that much of in Florida, land of highways, strip malls, and urban sprawl.

(Interesting side note: A few hours before the game I had a great discussion with the head of security at AutoZone Park. Among the things he said was that the ballpark was one of the centerpieces for the Memphis urban revival movement of the early 1990s. Apparently, much of downtown Memphis was in bad shape before things like the ballpark and the FedEx Forum were built. The head of security also told me that although he wouldn't have paid much for the land back then, the ballpark is now regarded as one of the best in the country.)

Anyway, as for the game itself, it was pretty good. Although the Redbirds had nine guys I never heard of, pitching for the visiting Omaha Royals on a rehab assignment was Kansas City Royals starter Gil Meche. If you remember my Pedro sighting a few weeks ago, that makes the second major league pitcher I have seen get work in down at the minor league level. I guess I tend to have a knack for seeing rehab starts lately.

Like Pedro, Gil Meche did not impress me at all. Although he didn't allow any hits, he walked 5 in the 3.2 innings I saw him pitch. Then for whatever reason in the bottom of the 4th, Meche came out of the game. Whether he was hurt or hit a pitch count, I am not sure.

After Meche's departure, the Omaha Royals paraded a series of probably-never-will-be's out to the pitcher's mound. This collection of mediocre moundsmen allowed the Redbirds to strike early and often, scoring a bunch of runs and defeating the Royals quite soundly.

Back to my experience at the park, however. Since I am not a big Redbirds fan, I spent most of the middle innings exploring. In summary, I don't think I have ever been to a more family-friendly ballpark in my life. AutoZone Park had so much for the kids to do it was amazing. The ballpark could almost be considered its own amusement park, even without considering the baseball game in progress. There was a swing set, jungle gym, and other city park-like props, as well as a batting cage, basketball hoop, and pitching/speed gun challenge. One of the other nice features was the concourse platform that circled the stadium, allowing for the ability to take pictures of the game, the stadium, and the surrounding city at every angle.

To sum up my experience, I had a great time. Memphis is not only a fantastic city for live music, good beer, and outstanding bbq, but also is one hell of a place to catch a ballgame. So if you are ever in Memphis and swing through AutoZone Park, tell 'em Jordi sent ya.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Journey to Memphis and the Crossroads Part 2: The National Civil Rights Museum

Welcome to Part 2 of the extensive recap of my trip to Memphis. As I did in Part 1, I am again going to use my twitter updates as the basis for the post.

If you missed Part 1, click here.

Day 2:

at national civil wrights museum in #memphis. 4:22 PM Aug 3rd

Although I initially didn't realize the National Civil Right Museum was in Memphis, it became an absolute must that I visit. And I was very impressed. What could have been a black eye and a major scar on the city's history had been transformed into very well constructed museum.

seeing black kids at nat civil rights museum having no clue who jim crow is is both good and bad. glad they are learning it as history. 4:24 PM Aug 3rd

I was very impressed to see numerous groups of teachers and students at the National Civil Rights Museum. We have made so much progress in the last fifty years, as evident by children who have no idea who Jim Crow is. They have every right to be disgusted and appalled when they are told who "he" was.

Although it might take longer, integration is much better than forcing a homeland. #memphis 4:48 PM Aug 3rd

I'll admit, this statement is more than a little controversial. At least I meant it that way. But I look at the situation in places like Israel and I look at the US, and I am glad the African-American community pushed for integration, instead of using the tragedy of slavery to establish their own "homeland".

reconstruction in the south very similiar to efforts in iraq. #politics 4:51 PM Aug 3rd

It's funny how we lose historical perspective so quickly. There are many that argue that military forces should just be used for war fighting. But they forget that the military helped to rebuild the society in the Southern US after the Civil War. Until they were prematurely pulled out.

Ida wells - similiar to bloggers in iran, egypt, cuba, syria etc #civilrights 4:53 PM Aug 3rd

Ida Wells was an African-American journalist in the beginning of the 20th Century. She often wrote about the oppression blacks faced during the era of Jim Crow. As I am reading a book about bloggers in currently oppressive countries, I naturally made the comparison to Wells.

the bus @ the civil rights museum told me to get up and i did. as if i needed further evidence of rosa parks inner strength #civilrights 5:13 PM Aug 3rd

One of the exhibits in the Civil Rights Museum was a bus similar to the one ridden by Rosa Parks. When visitors board the museum bus, they are told to sit near a statue of Parks. Then a voice on the bus commands you to move and repeats the command several times, each time louder and louder. I got up.

sit in songs = early socially conscious hiphop #hiphop #civilrights 5:18 PM Aug 3rd

Again, I was comparing the methods of expression of the past with those of today.

bumper sticker in nat civil rights museum says jfk, rfk = commies. same statement used v obama today. 5:27 PM Aug 3rd

Of course, some things never change. I guess in America, progressive voices are always linked to communism.

sad when civil rights becomes a national security issue. in the u.s. or anywhere. 5:29 PM Aug 3rd

This was in response to exhibits that discussed the involvement of National Guard units in ensuring racial equality and equal access to educational facilities. Had the National Guard not gotten involved, the US may have seen increased regional violence.

"violence is outmoded as a solution to the problems of men" - james farmer. agreed 5:37 PM Aug 3rd

I liked this statement.

not sure if i agree w nat civil rights museum calling mob pic "a redneck mob". rednecks were striking wv coal workers. 5:43 PM Aug 3rd

I found this odd. I don't think the museum should have used the term "redneck" to describe white people in a picture unless those people are actually wearing red bandannas. Otherwise "redneck" is a derogatory slang term.

At lorainne hotel right where dr king was shot. eerie. 6:07 PM Aug 3rd

The museum is built into the Lorainne Hotel allowing visitors to look out the window of the room Dr. King stayed in. Visitors can see the window across the street where the killer made his lethal shot.

As much as my trip was about entertainment - seeing live music, exploring the origins of the blues, etc - it was also extremely educational. It is hard to believe that 50 years ago the US still had institutional racism in the guise of "separate but equal". Being raised in predominantly racially neutral regions (Long Island, NY and Central Florida) I had never seen the scars of segregation. The experience and realization that these events occured such a short time ago was definitely eye-opening.

Beyond anything else, my trip to the National Civil Rights Museum made me realize that although we have progressed greatly as a society towards a more equal America - as seen in the pictures of President Obama in the museum gift shop - there is no doubt we still have far to go.

Part 3 coming tomorrow.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A Journey to Memphis and the Crossroads Part 1: Beale St and theRock 'n' Soul Museum

Wow. Quite a few days have past since I last posted. Seven, if you are counting at home. Seven days in which my voice was not heard, my thoughts not spelled out, and my words not expressed on the screen for all to read. Seven long days. The longest break I have taken since the start of this blog.

As I mentioned/hinted in my last post, I was traveling to Memphis and the surrounding Mississippi Delta. It was my personal hajj, a trip that I have always wanted to take. A trip through the roots of a majority of African-American music in the 20th Century. A trip through the history of the blues, rock'n'roll, soul, and even country music.

Although I didn't post on here at all, I did utilize my capabilities on twitter to the utmost. Twitter became my travel log, a way to jot down my thoughts and reactions to everything I saw and experienced. Whereas I may have physically traveled alone, network-wise I brought all of my twitter followers along for the ride.

Of course, as with any big trip or major event I am going to spend time recapping. This time however, I am going to use my "tweets" as the base of my post and add in the details that 140 words couldn't capture.

(By the way, in case you don't follow me on Twitter it's @JordiScrubbings.)

Day 1:

At a place where they do airplaning. unfortunately my airplane is not 47 stories high. they dont know what they are missing. 12:22 PM Aug 2nd

For those not familiar with writer/blogger/actor/director/etc Brian Spaeth's work, this is a reference to his book "Prelude to a Super Airplane" and its 47-story super airliner.

I think I just saw Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson at the airplane place. I almost flipped out when I saw her. 12:25 PM Aug 2nd

I think this is self-explanatory, except that I kinda goofed up the punchline. As @ScalpEmOfficial pointed out, it would have been better had I just said "flipped", not "flipped out".

If you see a guy in a fro chillin on Beale St taking in some blues, say hi. We'll eat drink and be bluesy. 4:49 PM Aug 2nd

Written merely hours after I landed, unfortunately no one took me up on this. It also doesn't help that I went sans afro 99% of my trip.

I hereby declare Beale St and associated area to be my Mecca. #vacation 6:16 PM Aug 2nd

Yup, I was on the ground for mere hours before I fell in love with Memphis. It had everything I ever wanted - beer, live music, bar-b-que, and sweet tea. A few more single women would have been nice, but such is life.

To avoid my own erin andrews situation, i am leaving my hotel curtain wide open. Do your worst peeper people. 9:13 PM Aug 2nd

Of course, everyone knows what happened to ESPN reporter Erin Andrews. I figured if the same person was to take pictures of me getting ready in the morning, it wouldn't be anything anyone hasn't seen already. Market saturation, yo.

At BB king's in memphis. Eatin catfish, listen to little wing. Life is good. #blues #vacation 9:51 PM Aug 2nd

This was dinner and my first experience of seeing music at the legendary BB King's Blues Bar. As far as food and music go, this was probably the best place on Beale St. Other places were better music venues, others had better food, but BB King's was the best of both worlds.

Did I mention I am drinking a memphis microbrew? yes, life is good indeed. #vacation 9:57 PM Aug 2nd

What can I say? I'm a fan of local beer. Unfortunately, I can't remember the name. It wasn't the best beer I've ever had, but not the worst either.

At the memphis rock n soul museum. hard to believe sharecropping and rural blues n country was only 80 yrs ago. seems like 100s 2:52 PM Aug 3rd

The next day I began my trip through the many Memphis museums and tourist attractions. First on the docket was the Rock 'n' Soul Museum, located alongside the FedEx Forum, home of the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies. Looking back, the Rock 'n' Soul Museum was the best place to start as it provided an overview of all the museums that would follow.

minnie pearl had hat w tag left on. trailblazer for hip hop style #music #country #hiphop 2:57 PM Aug 3rd

It is funny how we think that the styles of today are new and never before seen. There was a picture of country performer Minnie Pearl rocking the same style that Jay-Z and other hip-hop people rock today.

sputnik monroe- pro wrestling @ rock n soul museum. a place in segregation history. amazing #prowrestling #memphis 3:04 PM Aug 3rd

Of course, I couldn't let a museum mention of pro wrestling go unannounced. Apparently, Sputnik Monroe was one of the first wrestlers followed and admired by both white and black people.

i wonder if robert johnson would have gotten sued for violating copyright laws if he recorded today. #blues 3:08 PM Aug 3rd

Although Robert Johnson is the known as one of the fathers of the blues, there is no doubt he borrowed heavily from the songs performed throughout the Mississippi Delta region. With current copyright and sampling laws restricting a lot of creativity today, I think the era of Robert Johnson-esque innovation is over.

juke = wicked. yes, putting juke on someone is wicked 3:16 PM Aug 3rd

I did not know that the word "juke" used in jukeboxes and juke joints came from a word that meant "evil". It was obviously a way to associate African American culture with negativity and maliciousness (as seen in so many other terms and definitions). My point here, however, was that when used in sports context, i.e. shaking a defender in basketball or football with a juke, the term is also wicked, albeit in a less nefarious way.

1957 studio equipment. no dail dial goes to 11. 3:18 PM Aug 3rd

A Spinal Tap reference.

the era bb king started in seems so long ago. jeez. and he is still here. thank goodness. 3:27 PM Aug 3rd

I knew BB King was old, but for some reason seeing his early pictures in a museum put his career in a different perspective for me. The man has had at least a 50 year career. 50 years of performing. He was around before Elvis Presley made it big. And BB King is still touring and still going strong. Unbelievable.

wow all i knew about ike turner was that he hit tina. one action scarred great musical contributions 3:31 PM Aug 3rd

Of all the things I learned in Memphis, one of the most surprising was Ike Turner's role in the development of rock 'n' roll. Even though Turner played piano on "Rocket 88", widely regarded as the first ever rock song, he is known unfortunately far more for his domestic dispute with Tina Turner.

why did chuck d call elvis racist? did he do something in later career. i am confused. #hiphop #music 3:41 PM Aug 3rd

My final tweet for Part 1 is a perfect example of why I am glad I decided to "bring along my followers". As to be expected, a large part of Memphis's music history is due to Elvis Presley. Like Eminem 50 years later, Elvis brought the influences of African American music to white audiences. However, instead of being celebrated, he is today seen as a racist. My tweet here references perhaps the biggest cultural mention of Elvis's opinion - Chuck D of Public Enemy's line "Elvis was a hero to most/ But he never meant shit to me you see/ Straight up racist that sucker was/ Simple and plain".

After I posted this line, writer/blogger Mike Tillery of The Starting Five saw my tweet and responded with:

Mizzzzo: @JordiScrubbings research Elvis' quote about what Black people could do for him and nothing more.

After a bit of research, I found that Elvis is accused of saying "The only thing Negroes can do for me is buy my records and shine my shoes." This statement is however disputed by music historian Peter Guralnick in his 2007 NY Times editorial and

Regardless of what Elvis said or didn't say, the bottom line is that without Twitter and the response I received from one of my "followers", I probably would not have looked up the topic and either stayed confused or waited long into the future for it to come up again. This was the first of many times my Twitter people enriched my travels.

Part 2 tomorrow.