Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Memphis Blues again

Forbes magazine ranks Memphis as the third most miserable city in America in terms of quality of life.

The 200-city list is topped by Cleveland, with last year’s No. 1, Stockton, Calif., slipping to second place.

Living only 80-some miles from Memphis, we get the Memphis TV stations on our cable system and the newscasts are wall-to-wall murder and mayhem with a liberal sprinkling of governmental corruption. I realize there are lovely places in the metropolitan Memphis area, but a lot of it scares the hell out of me.

I’ve not spent any time in Cleveland, but I have been to Stockton. Back in July 2001, Rich Nathan and I rode U.S. 50 from Indiana to its terminus in Sacramento. Since we planned to ride through Big Sur the next day, we had targeted a Motel 6 on the south side of Sacramento.

By the time we got to the motel, we’d covered 450 miles from Ely, Nev. that day. But one look at the neighborhood and the folks staying/living at the motel convinced us we should get the hell of there as fast as possible.

The next Motel 6 opportunities were about 50 miles south at Stockton. I think we got off of I-5 too soon, because we rode down what seemed like endless dark city streets until we finally arrived at the motel, which was situated a short distance from the Interstate.

I didn’t see enough of Stockton to form an impression, but I’m in no particular hurry to go back.

St. Louis, the other major metropolitan center in our part of the country, ranks seventh on the Forbes list.

The rankings only include cities of 250,000 or more, so there’s no danger of Jonesboro showing up on any of the major lists.

Little Rock, for what it’s worth, is on somebody’s list as the seventh most dangerous city in the nation.

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