Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Gettin’ Out of Memphis

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After recovering from the assault of zombies and frozen drinks in plastic trumpets we still had a little bit of the morning in which to explore Memphis. We wandered down to the Civil Rights museum, which is -next door to the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was shot.

They’ve restored the hotel, and brought in a pair of cars that are identical to the ones that were actually there. It feels odd standing there - different than the other historical site I’ve visited. Usually historical sites are vague and fuzzy – a battlefield, a building, even a city. I’ve never been to one where you know that the precise spot where history turned is right up there, on that balcony. It makes the event a more concrete.

They have a large museum there, but we didn’t have time to see it. Instead we hopped the streetcar back to the hotel just in time for checkout. Afterwards we spent a little more time wandering Memphis.

I discovered they’ve got a thing for big shiny metal sculptures. Like pyramids.

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And… um, whatever this thing is. I have no idea what it’s called. It looks like the kind of bizarre shape a cosmologist would use to describe the shape of a closed universe in 42 dimensional spacetime. Or like two witches’ hats joined at their tops by a tornado. In any case, it big, sinuously curvy and made out of shiny. So whatever it may actually be, to Wendy & I it’s your basic photographic playground, a veritable cornucopia of wacky reflections and abstract shapes. Hmm, actually it looks a bit like a cornucopia too…. oh whatever.

Anyway, the kids seem to spend more time playing with it than thinking of weird ways to describe it. Which probably makes them smarter than me.

Unfortunately it’s also a little warm. OK, a lot warm. Actually, I think it may be a prototype for a solar power plant – the kind where they focus a thousand mirrors on one spot until you can boil sodium. You can also use it to get a sunburn in roughly seven seconds.

After reluctantly leaving the pretty, shiny thing behind (there are more photos!), we headed south out of Memphis. Not long after we got onto I-55 someone carelessly left a mattress lying on the freeway. The car in front of us had the misfortune to cross paths with it at about 75 mph. A sudden gout of stuffing blew up over the top of the car, like they had hit an entire flock of geese. They ran over part of the rest, which I narrowly dodged. Still startled, I blew past them at full speed – they had dropped to perhaps 35 and were still pushing a skeletal frame of wires in front of them while trying to find a way to escape the middle lane with cars flying past at 75 MPH on both sides. It must’ve been an interesting call to the insurance company.


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Like the photos of the shiny curvy thing. Particularly the dots and multiple Brian one and the warped reflections with the overlay of the external support (?) pipe

Bill E