Hello all. I apologize for being AWOL for the past few days, but it was for good reason…


By the way, I think every American should have to donate one dollar to charity every time they accidentally say “Obama” when they really mean “Osama.” I personally have done it several times already. So from now on, I’m just sticking with “Bin Laden.”

And another thing about this: I think it’s absolutely pathetic that there are people our there voicing how it’s wrong to be celebrating somebody’s death, no matter how big of an enemy they were. And what’s even worse is when they refer to God, or quote Martin Luther King Jr. right after.

Bin Laden had thousands and thousands of innocent people’s blood on his hands. He’s responsible for organizing deadly terrorist groups whose primary goal is to kill people. And despite all that, he wasn’t living in hiding in a cave — but in a luxurious house mansion surrounded by bodyguards. Plain and simple, he didn’t deserve to live, and now he is burning in Hell. And I am thrilled about it.

I don’t think anybody ever expected the reaction that his death has warranted; the nonstop news coverage, the celebrations at Ground Zero, the joyful Facebook statuses, but who cares? We all need a reason to be happy. Let this be it.

And after reading the details of how this covert operation went down… wow. That shit could be a movie. 25 Navy Seals in and out in 38 minutes, taking out Bin Laden, his son, 20 other bad guys, blowing up their own helicopter, having ZERO casualties among themselves, and all the while unbeknownst to the Pakistani government and military? DAMN. My faith in this country has officially been restored.

But yo, It’s not cool to be happy about somebody’s death.

You know what I say to that person? Fuck you.

Anyway, let’s get to Memphis. As I had discussed previously, I had a trip planned to go to Memphis with nine friends to see the Beale Street Music Festival, comprised of over 100 musical acts over the course of a few days.

I saw some awesome music along the way, namely the Manchester Orchestra, Cage the Elephant, the Stone Temple Pilots, The New Pornographers, Mumford and Sons, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ludacris, Ke$ha (not joking), C-Lo Green and Sublime with Rome to name a few.

I unfortunately missed some other good ones due to scheduling conflicts, such as MGMT (the most disappointing), Everclear, Cake, the Flaming Lips, Wilco, Jason Mraz, and John Mellencamp.

The music was absolutely incredible. I couldn’t believe how good the sound was. It was all outdoors right off Beale Street and along a grassy area next to the Mississippi River. And when we got to the festival, the first thing I noticed was how high the river was. When you looked at the bridge connecting Tennessee to Arkansas, you can see that the bridge is not that high above the water. See for yourself:

Photo courtesy Mike Dorfman

We found out a little later that Memphis is in serious danger of experiencing severe flooding throughout May, to the point where people have already begun evacuating. A lot of rain is expected throughout the month, and apparently this is only the beginning. I’m just glad we got to see Memphis before the tsunami hit.

Oh and I forgot to talk about Beale Street. Possibly the best street I’ve ever been on. It’s the most famous street in the state, located in downtown Memphis, and similar to Bourbon Street in New Orleans, you’re allowed to drink alcohol on it with an open container. The entire street is lined with bars and restaurants, and it’s closed off. It was… unique.

Greatest street known to man.

Obviously we spent a lot of time there. Meanwhile, back at the concert, we left early so that we could attend game six of the Memphis Grizzlies/San Antonio Spurs series. And whaddya know, the Grizzlies ended up winning and clinching the series, accomplishing the rare feat of an 8-seeded team defeating the 1-seed in the first round. And I was there for it.

FedEx Forum

We did some more sightseeing on Saturday. Unfortunately the weather was not as great the next couple of days. Whereas it was sunny and gorgeous on Friday, it was rainy and cloudy on Saturday and Sunday. However, we expected that, and the forecasts essentially guaranteed storms, which did not happen. So we were actually really lucky.

The main sight we wanted to see was Graceland, the town that Elvis Presley grew up in. We took a tour of his home and saw where the King dwelled.

The house of Elvis.

After getting back and a brief spell on Beale street, we hit up the festival for some more music. We saw Mumford and Sons at this time, and this was by far the most crowded that the concert ever got. Apparently everybody wanted to see Mumford and Sons, and you were fortunate if you even got be positioned somewhere where you had a remotely decent view.

The crowd during Mumford and Sons.

Regardless, they were absolutely fantastic and were definitely my favorite act of the weekend. Following them, I hung around the same stage (there were three main ones, I believe, along with smaller ones that played Blues music nonstop) shelved my pride and watched Ke$ha. She played a fairly brief set, and she was as classy as person as she is in her songs. It was awesome.

On Sunday, we saw some more sights. We went back to FedEx Forum for a free viewing party of the Grizzlies/Thunder opening game of the Western Conference semifinals, and after half-an-hour of that we left and toured the famous Gibson Guitar factory. After that, we went to the Lorraine Motel. Why is that significant? Because it’s the place where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.

MLK's last living inhabitance.

It was a pretty neat and solemn experience. The museum was alright, but the wildest part about being there was when we began hearing extremely loud sirens coming from outside, indicating that a tornado may be on its way.

We were allowed to leave the museum if we wanted to, but if we stayed there, we were all confined in a small movie-theater room that continually played a short movie about Martin Luther King. Naturally, knowing nothing about tornadoes and how to react when they are upon you, we stayed put, and in result, I learned more about MLK than I ever imagined I would. We all talked worryingly about the potential tornado, checking our phones for news, while making several Twister references along the way.

Anyway, the tornado sirens — which were loud as fuck (to the point where you couldn’t even remain outside) — finally silenced and we were free to leave. Through dark and ominous skies, we went back to Beale Street, got food and then went to the concert for the final day.

By the way, everybody in the south is unbelievably nice. It’s the antithesis of New York, where people go out of their way to disregard you. In the south, everybody acknowledges each other and it is not abnormal for strangers to approach one another out of nowhere and stir up a conversation. Oh and everybody is super polite too. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the words “sir” and “ma’am” more in my life than I did this weekend.

We met some people from Missouri, and plenty of local people from Tennessee. Everybody was surprised when they heard we were from New York, indicating that clearly not many people from the Northeast go and visit Memphis. At least not for the Beale Street Music festival. All everybody said to us was how much they want to go to New York in their lifetime. We told them it’s really not as great at you think.

Oh, and when we asked a local what they thought of the tornado sirens, they laughed and said those are bullshit. I half-figured that at the time, but my initial thought was that one day, a real tornado is going to come, and people will ignore the sirens… and they’ll be fucked.

Finally, we wrapped up the concert by seeing C-Lo Green and Sublime with Rome. I was slightly disappointed that Sublime didn’t play more pre-Bradley Nowell overdose stuff, but it was expected since it’s really a new band trying to form its own identity. Regardless, they were good and it put a nice finishing touch to the musical experience.

Oh and it was during the Sublime when we discovered that Bin Laden was killed. We tried to get a “USA! USA! USA!” chant going to no avail. I suppose not everyone had heard the news yet. It’s cool though because now whenever anyone asks me where I was when Bin Laden died (which I’m sure no one will, ever), I can respond by saying ‘Memphis.’

Here’s the Memphis front page the following day:

Photo courtesy Mike Dorfman

After a lot of boozing, a lot of music, and a lot of sightseeing, we packed up on Sunday morning — and following a brief yet hysterical incident where one of our party thought all of their clothes were stolen by the maid, and subsequently called the front desk to complain, who sent up two nice ladies to investigate, only to discover that the clothes were sitting neatly folded behind one of the window curtains where the maid had left them — we got out of Memphis.

It was an absolutely awesome weekend, and one that I will never forget. As I had predicted, although it wasn’t a cheap trip by any means, it was worth every penny. These are the type of memorable trips that you save up money for. The trip was the perfect length, with just the right amount of events and sights, and although I knew I’d miss Memphis, I was ready to go home on Monday. And going to work was fun today.

I highly recommend a trip to Memphis, or just to any musical festival, really, to anybody. It was really my first time in the South (Florida doesn’t count), and it was nice there. I can easily see myself fitting into the Redneck lifestyle. And I mean that in a very endearing way.

And you know what? In some small way, I’d like to think that I did have something to do with the death of Bin Laden. It’s not remotely possible in any physical or tangible way, but somehow, I still believe it.


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