Gourmet hamburgers are what’s trendy these days. “Gourmet hamburger” is an oxymoron. You can spend hundreds, yes, even thousands of dollars on a hamburger. “Where is the best burger” is a regular topic in local papers, with florid descriptions of blue cheese, chipotle, bacon, pesto, avocado, mushrooms – or truffles! – with Kobe beef and even foie gras. Restaurants boast about their third-of-a-pound or half-pound or pound, high-calorie, high-fat burgers. What fast-food chain has the best burgers is an on-going argument.
I’ve visited Memphis several times in the past few years. Beale Street has lately been spiffed up to be more attractive to tourists, Disneyfied, if you will. Sun Studios and Graceland draw crowds. W.C. Handy’s home on Beale, though not as grand as Elvis’s, is still open to visitors.
On Mulberry Street, less than a mile from Mr. Handy’s home and the $350-a-night Beale Street Westin Hotel, is the National Civil Rights Museum, formerly the Lorraine Motel. Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered there on April 4, 1968.
The 2016 “Patriot Militia” comedy is not the first dispute about who are the best stewards of western lands. The Federal Government controls about 75 percent of Harney County, managed variously by the Bureau of Reclamation, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Forest Service.