Five for Friday

1. John Calipari makes his return to the FedEx Forum this weekend as Kentucky plays its regional semifinal game in Memphis, forcing Memphians — once again — to figure out if we’re “over” Calipari. Stop it, please. It’s been 8 years. I’m over it, already. I don’t hate him. I don’t like him, either. That leaves me ambivalent.  (Really, the only people who “love” Calipari are those where he happens to be currrently coaching.) It was great when he was at Memphis, especially those last 4 years when we were a top 10 (top 5?) program. Even though Memphis had a solid basketball pedigree before he ever arrived, we accomplished things during 2005-09 that we’d never accomplished before, and might never accomplish again. Oh well.

To look at this properly, as was pointed out in Geoff Calkins’ Commercial Appeal column, Memphis as a city is greatly improved since 2009. One man’s arrival didn’t build the city, and his departure certainly didn’t tear it down. Aside from the improvements realized around the city and across the University of Memphis campus, you have to remember that when he left, the Memphis Tigers’ basketball team was all we had. The Grizzlies were horrible. And the Tigers’ football team was even worse. Even though the Tigers’ basketball team has been knocked off its pedestal, the Grizzlies are about to make their 7th straight playoff appearance, and the football team has made 3 straight bowl appearances, won 27 games during that stretch, and beaten a ranked opponent each of the last two seasons. So if you want to go back to the Calipari years, then we’ll have to take all the rest away. No thanks.

2. There are places I visited in Europe as a young man that would not be safe to visit anymore (Paris and Munich, for example). This is a shame, because there are still places I’d like to visit. I never did go to England, but it’s not safe to do so now, and I don’t know if it will ever be.

3. To see things as they really are, without the shroud of predisposition.

4. I still have yet to play the Tennessee Lottery. I’ve always viewed the lottery as a voluntary tax on those who cannot do math. But if that’s what you want to do with your money, then don’t let me stop you. Plus — and I’m not trying to sound sanctimonious — the idea of a Powerball jackpot of $10M or $100M, or whatever those things are, does not appeal to me at all. I know there are certain freedoms that wealthy people enjoy that the rest of us don’t, but that kind of wealth seems as much a burden as anything. As it is, I’ll keep my middle class life in which I lack for nothing and enjoy a quiet contentment.

5. Not only does obscene wealth seem to be its own burden, but so does fame. Can you imagine being so famous that you can’t go out in public without risking being mobbed by fans or harassed by paparazzi? Honestly, who would want that? Let me instead enjoy my quiet anonymity along with my quiet contentment.

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