Stories for May 2003


Saturday, May 31

EDITORIAL: Unite Against Crime

May 28, 2003--Crime is up just about everywhere. That's not an excuse. It's just a fact. In 2002, crime was up 7.2% in Ventura County, Calif., for instance, long considered the safest city in the west. Crime is creeping upward all over the South and all over the country. Property crime is invasive--violent crime is horrific. The JFP's editorial team lives in and around Belhaven and Fondren and Downtown and West Jackson. With every story of a crime committed--whether an armed burglary in a Fondren home, an armed robbery in Brent's Drug Store or an uncle shooting a nephew in West Jackson--we feel pained and determined to do something about it. We are not immune; some of our staffers have been crime victims. We know how it feels to want to blame.

Thursday, May 29

"A Night at the Ballpark" with MS. Roads and MS. Outdoors

Don't miss MEB's night at the ballpark on June 5! Gates open at 6 pm. Game time is 7:05.

Come out to the ballpark and meet Mississippi Outdoors and Mississippi Roads hosts Walt Grayson, Melvin Tingle, Karen Jones, Patrick Smith and John Sullivan, Thursday, June 5 at Smith Wills Stadium on Lakeland Drive in Jackson, home of the new Jackson Senators. Join Mississippi Educational Broadcasting for an evening of baseball, giveaways, games and entertainment. The first 500 fans through the gate get a free Mississippi Outdoors and Mississippi Roads car tag. There will be a special treat at the seventh inning stretch.

Coming On Home

Expatriates return, work for change

Four years ago this week I was languishing at a picnic table in front of tent No. 11 in an area called Boy's Town in the majestic Yosemite Valley. I was working as a waitress in a hotel bar and living a life of hippie-like ease. I've called the two years I lived there the happiest of my life. So why am I back here now?

The Proposition, by Judy Jacobs

When I heard James Taylor was coming to the Pyramid in Memphis on Friday, May 23, I snapped up two tickets. I got great seats on the floor. Well, two weeks later tickets went on sale for his Jackson concert, which was two days before the Memphis one. I got even better seats, on the floor, row 6. James was just as I remembered him, his hair being the exception. Excellent.

Pat Fordice

Whereas, Pat Fordice is a good Southern lady. In the documentary "Belles and Whistles" screened at the 2002 Crossroads Film Festival, former first lady Fordice says

Tough Questions for Mitch Tyner

The uncut version.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Mitch Tyner answers tough questions about his Davidian quest for the state's top office, if liberals can love God, and whether or not he's a closet Democrat.

DRIVE: ‘Ion: Say It With Me'

Every week our car-shopping adventure starts out pretty much the same. We have the best of intentions, planning a Car Driving Day soon after the most recent JFP has been printed and distributed. That's the day we promise—really swear—to go to another dealer and see another car.

GARDENS: Don't Throw It, Grow It

For my first adventure as a recycling Jacksonian, I went all out. Everything got tossed in the bin: egg cartons, cup lids, Styrofoam take-out containers, various bottles, milk jugs, aluminum cans, and basically anything marked with the little circular-arrow recycling symbol. Later that afternoon I was shocked to see our green bin still mostly full, with the exception of the milk jugs and our many aluminum Coca-Cola cans (we have a slight caffeine problem in our family).

Wednesday, May 28

A Tale of Four Buffets

As one who always aspired to the ruling class, I seldom found myself at odds with the rules I would one day be destined to enforce. On the rare occasions I committed an infraction, my mother administered a particularly harsh sanction: I was required to eat lunch in the school cafeteria, a Dickensonian chamber with such horrors as the "lunch room lady," Tater Tots and fish sticks. Culinary considerations aside, school cafeterias are a vulgar representation of how the other 90 percent live.

Goodbye, Cherokee

It's two o'clock on Tuesday afternoon and cars are whizzing by the Cherokee Inn on North State Street. The neon Budweiser sign says that today's blue-plate special is beef tips or meatloaf, rice and gravy, fried okra and lima beans for only $6.50. A hive of activity buzzes in and out of the wooden kitchen door as waiters take food orders in and bring food out.

Truth in Barbecue

One of my favorite college professors, Lee Rackstraw of Booneville, once told me, "If a restaurant doesn't have enough respect for the art of smoking meat to advertise EITHER proper spelling of the word: Barbeque or Barbecue, then I don't bother to stop by and see if it's good or not. BBQ doesn't spell anything!" Well, Spooney's spells out the word BARBEQUE and does a respectable job of smoking of meats on the grill.

***Urgent: Mentors Needed***

Tuesday, May 27

Stumble, Then Walk

What happens when you bring prominent civil rights leaders, religious leaders, teachers, historians, musicians and students together in Jackson? On Saturday morning May 3, 2003, at Mikhail's Restaurant many were given the opportunity to see for themselves. The gathering was a follow-up for the participants who conducted workshops at the Bob Moses Day celebration at Lanier High School on Friday, May 2, with the theme "Courage to Change: Consciousness, Culture and the Human Condition."

Hopelessly Devoted to You

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves."

Goodbye, Sweet Ladies

Two beautiful women are about to leave Jackson—and leave a huge void in the creative community here. One of them introduced me to the other of them; without them, the Jackson Free Press might not have been, or at least not what is has become.

Premature Prognostication?

Proving it's never too early to think about college football, the Birmingham News has released its 57th annual preseason poll of Southeastern Conference sports information directors. The short version: Auburn is picked to win the SEC championship. Not a bad pick, in Dr. S' estimation, but choosing Georgia to repeat as East champ looks shaky. In the SEC West, Ole Miss is picked to finish fifth and Mississippi State sixth. State will be terrible (again), but Ole Miss is rated too low.

Sens Return

Fresh off a road trip to Texas during which they won four straight games and seven of eight overall, the Jackson Senators open a six-game homestand on Tuesday night at Smith-Wills Stadium. Game time against Edinburg is at 7:05 p.m. Now, Dr. S wishes the Sens would update their Web site (it's been almost a week, guys). But never mind the cyber slacking, the Sens are the Central League's best team right now.

Monday, May 26

Play (Postseason) Ball!

It's been a great season for Mississippi's Big 3 Division I baseball teams. Two of them, Southern Miss and Mississippi State, will host regionals, while Ole Miss will play in Houston. That means there will be plenty of great baseball within easy driving distance of Jackson. (Complete NCAA schedule).

Friday, May 23

Egg Ball in Hoover, Ala.

Mississippi State and Ole Miss played an instant classic on Thursday night in the first round of the SEC Tournament. The Bulldogs finally won 5-4 on Thomas Berkery's homer in the bottom of the 12th. Check out how the papers in Starkville, Tupelo and Biloxi covered the game.

Help Build a "Green" House

Thursday, May 22

My House Is Greener Than Yours

Mississippi 2020 and Habitat for Humanity are seeking groups and individual volunteers to work Saturdays starting June 21 (skipping the July 4 weekend) throughout the summer. Volunteers must be fairly able-bodied, but no particular construction skills are required. Call Laura at Jackson Habitat, 353-6060.

Women's Shelter Needs Energetic Bodies and Supplies

Supplies are also needed:

Energetic bodies are needed to get a lot done in a short time. Saturday, May 31, is the work day for Stewpot's newest women's shelter: FLOWERS HOUSE. We need worker volunteers to clean and paint. Meet us at the house on the corner of Mill Street and McTyre Street. We plan to start at 8 a.m. and work until dark. (You can come for any length of time to help.) There will be Stewpot personnel there in addition to me and my husband Andy. Lunch and beverages will be provided. Please RSVP to Debbie Taylor: 965-1919.

WWII Oral History Workshop

Tuesday, May 20

Two and Two Together Restaurant Days

Monday, May 19

Tease photo

Tough Questions for David Banner

"God I know that we pimp, God I know that we wrong, God I know I should talk about more in all of my songs, I know these kids are listening, I know I'm here for a mission, but it's so hard to get ‘em when 22 rims are glistening."

OPINION: The Sky Is Not Falling

Crime has once again become the dominant topic of local public interest. It is a volatile issue and, therefore, is occasionally treated by the media, the public, and some politicians with a degree of panic and hysteria that bears little relation to the actual day-to-day lives of ordinary residents. Granted, in our neighborhood of Fondren, crime has become more of an issue for residents. I have recently heard more about crime, specifically thefts or robberies in the area between Meadowbrook, State and Old Canton (four arrests were made the week of May 12). It is also my understanding, however, that these sorts of incidents are on the rise in the city overall and can also be attributed somewhat to the onset of longer days.

A Sweet Tribute

Columbia honored the late Walter Payton, the small town's favorite son and one of the all-time greatest football players (in the NFL and at Jackson State) with the unveiling of a statue of Payton on Saturday. Fittingly, it stands in the end zone at Columbia High School's football field, a place where Payton spent lots of time in his schoolboy years.

Sunday, May 18

Eagles Strike Gold

Congratulations to the Southern Miss baseball team for winning its first Conference USA championship. The Golden Eagles will be the No. 1 seed at this week's C-USA Tournament in New Orleans. Then look for USM to be the No. 1 in the regional hosted by Mississippi State (provided the Bulldogs win at least two games in the SEC Tournament).

Thursday, May 15

Maimed and Tamed, by Palmer Houchins

I was maimed by rock and roll.

Nonetheless, I have always been enthralled by the spectacle of live music. There was a mystifying sense of power and community contained therein. While my particular tastes and understanding of music have changed considerably over the years that fact has not.

Bringing the Map to Mississippi

Imagine standing under intense studio lights in a bikini, posing for a Sports Illustrated photographer—that is how it must feel to be one of the artists who competed for a spot in the 2003 Mississippi Invitational Exhibition at the Mississippi Museum of Art, opening May 17 and on display through Aug. 31. This is the fourth biennial exhibition since 1997 that surveys artists in Mississippi chosen by a guest curator; 16 artists were chosen by Lilly Wei, a New York-based critic and writer who contributed an essay to the Mary Lovelace O'Neal show at the MMA earlier this year.

Busting Out of Jail, by David McCarty

Ten years after Elvis died, Bob Dylan said that when he first heard the King's first single "That's All Right" as a kid, it "was like busting out of jail." Music is the most important thing in my life, but I don't think most of us feel that freedom Dylan did. Maybe Elvis busted us all out of jail nearly 50 years ago, and so we don't have to worry about it. Thinking about it made me struggle to find the songs that revolutionized my life, but I didn't find Elvis, or Dylan or even the Beatles. I found R&B classics and Top 40 trash and leftist punk and heavy metal, and it was less like breaking out of jail than this really great, ugly old quilt that keeps me warm at night. Nothing to look at but comforting to have around.

LADD: Let the Music Play

I've never understood folks who listen to only one type of music. That's kind of like eating McDonald's for every meal; how can one live that way? I could have gone down that road, though. I grew up hearing nothing but country music in Neshoba County. It was the '60s for heaven's sake, and not a single Motown tune. Or Dylan. Or the Beatles. Basically no music that was remotely diverse or revolutionary. I knew Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner and Merle Haggard and Charlie Pride (OK, a bit of diversity) intimately, however. I'd sing their songs (horribly) at the top of my lungs in the back seat of my stepdad's Olds 98 on our car trips.


Carlton Turner leads me upstairs to the V.I.P. room of The Forum where he is the public relations director. His older (by 13 months) brother Maurice waits for the interview with his weathered and dented Bach Stradivarius in his lap. "I take it everywhere I go," Maurice says. Seated in three matching blood-red naugahide wing chairs, these beautiful men lead me on the long and winding road of their lives.

Wednesday, May 14

Sens At Home

Dr. S apologizes for letting the Jackson Senators' home opener slip up on him without putting somethng on the Sportsblog. Well, it's still not too late to talk about their SECOND homestand, which starts against Rio Grande Valley on Friday at 7:05.

Bright Lights, Big Music

There is just something about watching a band on the Uptown stage of Jubilee! Jam with the sun hitting the Old Capitol right ahead of you and people sitting on the sidewalks, with daddies pushing strollers while mommies eat a chicken on a stick. There is a feeling of hope for a "real downtown" and discussions about "how cool it would be if downtown was always like this."

Championship Weekend in Clinton

Mississippi College will play host to a historic NCAA Division III baseball regional starting on Thursday. It's MC's first trip to the NCAA tournament in almost 50 years. And it's the first time the Choctaws and cross-town rival Millsaps College have been in the same postseason tournament. Dr. S rates this a definite must-see.

Tease photo

Tough Questions for David Banner

A Jackson rap star talks frankly about young criminals and crime hysteria in Jackson.

Tuesday, May 13

TALK: 2nd Amendment Tort Reform

Right before Congress adjourned for Easter, Rep Chip Pickering (R-3rd District) was getting busy, doing his part to spread the "tort reform" revolution. His staff happily released a statement saying that, right between helping implement an "amber alert" system for kidnapped children and preventing postal-rate increases, the Mississippi Republican helped spread a little joy to yet another industry that just hates to be sued.

TALK: State Pops Up on Gaydar

In the wake of U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum's remarks this past week that some critics feel equate homosexuality with bigamy and incest, a Mississippi state senator has come out against a potential appearance by Democratic presidential candidate Dr. Howard Dean, who, as governor of Vermont, helped that state enact the first "civil union" legislation in the country. Richard White, who represents the 29th district (Hinds), told an Associated Press reporter, "Any candidate talking about gay rights might as well not even visit Mississippi. The people down here, they are not going to put up with that kind of stuff. We're not prepared for all that in Mississippi or anywhere else in the southern states."

SPANN: Invisible Woman

Black clothing is the choice du jour to disguise excess weight. The blackness of night can camouflage all sorts of "down low" activities. But I didn't realize that black could make people invisible. Until recently I never really paid it much attention. I'd be approaching someone on a stairwell or passing a stranger on the sidewalk, and then it would happen: I'd suddenly become invisible. Amazing! Was I a scientific mystery, or should I join the ranks of the X-Men? It even happened when I was out with white friends. People could see them, but I was perfectly invisible as greetings were exchanged or as we were being shown to our table in a restaurant.

Radical Crime-Fighting: What is Community Policing?

Police Chief Robert Moore could be the only man in the city who knows what "community policing" really means—and just how hard it could be to implement in Jackson. Yet, he is a believer, talking about it constantly, telling media and residents that it's a different style of policing for Jackson, and one that can take some adjustment and time to implement. It's an integral part of his new five-point plan to fight crime here that he and the mayor announced to the City Council on April 22. Still, no one bites.

Saturday, May 10


I started worrying seven years ago. Constant worry—about my health, my diet, my energy, my exercise, my toothpaste, my hair color, everything. I was pregnant, and therefore worried. Pregnancy snuck up on me, appeared in my life on its own, so I was in no way prepared for this change. This massive change in my body, my appetite, my life. Suddenly, everything I did seemed to matter more, since it affected this creature being built inside me.

MAMAS WHO THINK: We're Not ‘Broken'

Maybe it is the historian in me or rampant narcissism, but I examine my life through my daughter's eyes 30 years from now. For instance, when she is 36 (my age now), and she looks back at our life, how will it seem to her? Hopefully, she will remember it warmly, and her memories will agree with the reality of life as she knows it then. Hopefully, a team of psychiatrists won't pry repressed memories out of her.

Sam's Job Sucks

Take Mama to a play this weekend! See Loungeblog above for how to get half-price tickets, courtesy of the Jackson Free Press.

TALK: Top 10 Things Mamas Regret at the End of the Day

1. Saying "I'll be right back, I've got to go tee tee" to my husband's childless co-workers at dinner.

MAMAS WHO THINK: Back When I Was Cool

No one would know it by looking at me now, but I used to be kind of cool. At least I used to think that I was. I would fly around the college campus in my black vintage '78 280-Z with personalized plates, wayfarers on and Bob Marley wailing in the wind. Now, I lope around Jackson in a maroon mini-van with a roll of paper towels in my cup holder, my Walgreen's $6 shades, Barney songs blaring from the back speakers, and enough Goldfish and Teddy Grahams lodged in the seat crevices to live on for weeks if we ever happen to be stranded in a blizzard.

Tuesday, May 6

Watching the Watchdogs

Former TV sportscaster Rick Whitlow seems like an incredibly nice person. He did not, however, impress me as a criminology expert when we met April 24 to talk about his new job. He is executive director of the new Metro Jackson SafeCity Watch, a group formed to bring "accountability, enhanced communications, community involvement, and entrepreneurial energy to the broken Metro Jackson Criminal Justice system," as a press release put it on April 28.

Monday, May 5

This Fish Is Watching You

She's posed in a lime green beach chair wearing a hot pink net dress. She wears pearls, and on her head is a crown. A scepter graces her lap. Your typical Sweet Potato Queen? No, but a queen none the less. She is CleoCatra, Queen of the Pearl, a seven-foot-long fiberglass sculpture of a catfish by artist Miriam Weems. Along with 39 other sculptures, she will be on display in downtown Jackson from Thurs., May 1 through Sept. 30.

La Fiebre Del Baile

Early evening at the BellSouth building in downtown Jackson, the streets are quiet and bare, except for a security guard and a window washer. In the spacious lobby the sound of vacuum cleaners hum ominously as cleaning workers drag rumbling trashcans across the tile floor. Past the empty tables in the atrium, a vibrant energy disrupts these mundane scenes as a group of vivacious young women dance the Flamenco and the Salsa to the festive music blaring from their portable stereo.

Sunday, May 4

COPS meets Sportscenter

Is your favorite player or coach breaking the law or just plain acting dumb? Read all about it at Bad Jocks, a site that's a Smoking Gun for the sports crowd. Plus, it links to numerous other cool sites. Check out the naughtiness at

Thursday, May 1

Hunting the Jackal

The NCAA might have finally caught up with Mississippi State coach Jackie Sherrill. Allegations surfaced this week that an MSU assistant paid for summer school classes for a Brandon recruit ... who ended up signing with Southern Miss. Dr. S prediction: Jackie won't be coaching the Bulldogs this fall. Which might be a good thing, especially if you are Bulldog QB Kevin Fant. Take solace State fans, at least your coach hasn't allegedly allowed a prostitute to run up $1,000 in room service charges on a University of Alabama credit card. Stay tuned.

Janice Jordan

My mom and I are sitting on her balcony outside her apartment in Belhaven Heights. She's lounging in a plastic deck chair, wearing a white Mexican wedding dress and sipping a can of Miller Light out of a huggie. She's jangled and sparkly talking about her upcoming trip to (in a fake backwoods accent) "New Yoork City!?!," a place she's always dreamed of going. Her mother was a fashion buyer for the Emporium in the '50s and '60s and would make long excursions to the Big Apple on shopping expeditions for work. Mom has pined to make the trip ever since.

A Dream Forgotten

The author of "Her Dream of Dreams: The Rise and Triumph of Madam C.J. Walker" will sign at Lemuria Books 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 3. She will also sign May 2 at 5 p.m. at Square Books in Oxford.

MAMAS WHO COOK: Baby Bon Vivant

I never sought to rear a fancy-pants food snob. I just wanted to dish up nutritive nosh for my sweet patootie progeny so she could avoid living large with health concerns like her jolly, phat chef parents. Even before she turned 1, I seared meaty, pink salmon with tarragon, sautéed spinach and garlic in fruity olive oil, braised baby brussels sprouts in deep, rich veal stock, and whipped up countless French omelets with broccoli and cheese. With only six teeth, she gobbled them down, kicking her legs and flailing her arms, squealing with delight as she eagerly grabbed for more. At that tender age, Emma lustily laid waste to vinegar-spiked collard greens, chile-crusted shrimp and lemony asparagus spears, intoxicated by the confluence of flavors. Her appetite for vitamin-rich victuals elated me.

VIDEO: Michael Moore Targets America

At this moment, writer, producer and director Michael Moore is possibly the most controversial figure in entertainment. His tirade at the Oscars made news across the country and made Susan Sarandon, Barbra Streisand and Richard Gere look like measured conformists. His latest documentary, "Bowling for Columbine," won the Oscar for Best Documentary (offering him a mic and an audience of millions where he shouted "Shame on you Mr. Bush"). The film also made him a featured guest on "Crossfire," "Hardball," and so on, and secured him the reputation as the best-known documentary maker in the world. If President Bush has an "enemies list," Michael Moore is on it.

BOOK: C Is for Catfish

"M is for Magnolia," (2003, $17.95) written by Michael Shoulders and illustrated by Rick Anderson of Clinton, is the 23rd children's book in the "Discover America State by State" series by Sleeping Bear Press. Anderson's paintings illustrate many aspects of life in the Magnolia state including famous natives (Elvis, Oprah, Jim Henson), the Native American tribes in our state and places that define quintessential Mississippi life, at least as much as is possible in a book with only 26 entries. Shoulders' education background is evident in his deft choices for representations of Mississippi in that he manages to include examples from natural history, geography and state history. His choices reflect the objectivity of someone slightly removed from his subject—he lives in Tennessee.