Ill-thought to be enjoying an aesthetic resurgence over the past five years, due mainly to the low-rent Asian restaurant décor/pay twice work-up celebrating what is possibly the most boring animal on earth (1), the laughable matriarch of Memphis natural science experiences (2) needs a quick bullet point treatment.
· Once housing a sea otter, there’s the decades-old, oddly detached tank (w/ underground viewing area) that promptly greets visitors on the counter-clockwise zoo route. This now holds a three-foot alligator gar and a medium-sized alligator snapping turtle. The turtle rarely does anything apart from hang upside down from the metal kiddie pool ladder, implemented, I’m assuming, for live feeding displays that never occur.
· During the last free day (Tuesdays) taken advantage of, I was stopped in the nocturnal section, looking at flying squirrels (or something similar), when a extra short, extra large mom with nine kids in tow directed this comment right into my face:
“Somebody needs to move they azz!”
One of the little kids yelled, “Yeah!!!”
· The lonely building masquerading as an aquarium features exciting underwater photos on several walls were logic would put a live tank. This not-so distant cousin to a PetCo’s tropical fish department boasts a piranha tank as its money shot (and a very large South Asian catfish, but not in the same tank….noooooooooo!!!!!!). Recently, I was witnessing one of the day’s piranha feedings (goldfish), which are over in a matter of seconds, when a deep voice, immediately over my shoulder, asks, “DO YOU WANT ME TO FEED THEM AGAIN?” Not sure how he snuck up on me so quick, but finding that the aquarium employee and myself were the only two people in the building, I replied, “Yes,” and swiftly exited the premises.
· “Cat Country” is great if you want to witness some fascinating natural behavior, like that of pacing the very upper reaches of a miniature Thunderdome ad infinitum.
· There’s a Backyard Burger (for regional readers only) on the grounds.
· Several years ago, a zookeeper was kicked to death by a female giraffe.
· As far as confused Egyptian/Oriental motifs that surround over 400 species of critter (234 of which are living in special “zoo personnel only/under maintenance” habitats!!) are concerned, the Memphis Zoo can’t be beat!
1. Ok, let’s break it down. They are vegetarian bears. Come on, mother nature!!!
2. Also includes the Pink Palace Museum, which has no idea what it wants to be, and Lichterman Nature Center – the uber-minimal urban getaway from which I, strangely, derive the most enjoyment.
1. “Walk a Thin Line” (on Tusk, 1979) – A Buckingham moment of clarity. Predates all indie and twee pop. Better than any song released on an independent label between the years 1990 and 2005.
2. “Sentimental Lady” (on Bare Trees, 1972) – Original and superior version of the song that Bob Welch would ride to the top as a solo artist. Bare Trees was Welch’s second of five albums with the Mac. He would depart right before they exploded, to keep his sinuses from doing the same. Though often a pop savant, Bob Welch was a visually disturbing man.
3. “Hypnotized” (on Mystery to Me, 1973) – Another example of Welch’s supernatural pop handywork. The first substantial US radio hit for the Mac. A beautiful song.
4. “The Chain” (on Rumours, 1977) – Only a semi-sentient assbag would dismiss the power of “The Chain.” 1990 – 2005? This song wrote the rest.
5. “The Ledge” (on Tusk, 1979) – Before Buckingham’s maniacal coke-a-coaster derailed into a vortex of crap, he would spit examples of knockdown brilliance onto Tusk. This is one of them. Weirder than whatever you consider weird.
6. “Tusk” (on Tusk, 1979) – Notable only because the mid-song drum solo/freakout is the most fucked-up thing that you will ever hear on classic rock radio.
7. “Woman of a 1,000 Years” (on Future Games, 1971) – Dreamy, along with….
8. “Future Games” (on Future Games, 1971) – Welch on a drug that is obviously not cocaine. Or Welch in bed. Alone.
9. “Dreams”/”Gold Dust Woman” (on Rumours, 1977) – Nicks could belt out the Afternoon Rock, and I, for the record, made up that term ten years ago.
10. “Sara” (on Tusk, 1979) – See above description.
Honorary Mention: “Trouble” (from Lindsay Buckingham’s Law and Order, 1981) – Buckingham’s only real radio hit as a solo artist was serious business in terms of uber-catchy funny business.
Since 2003, with a long hiatus, I’ve been recording what will be a comedy epic. This exhaustive (and exhausting) labor of futility will be entitled “Kevin.” All of the recordings are from Tom Scharpling’s Best Show On WFMU, and the hiatus ended last week with the return of Tom’s “teenage family friend.” Kevin was back this week, yes, and Kevin will be a staple for at least another month or two. These calls are not punches to the funny bone, but are subtle and pocked with brief high points. 100% improvised, thus accounting for the slow/unfunny parts.