A writer at the Commercial Appeal in Memphis is taking exception to a Scene writer's recent slam on his city. In last week's Scene, writer Roger Abramson described Memphis as a "sprawling, dysfunctional mess" that "the rest of the state is stuck having to deal with." The apparently indignant Commercial Appeal columnist Jon W. Sparks, demonstrating an inability to think for himself, is asking readers to "let us know what you think of this statement." So, we ask Scene readers, if you agree that Memphis is, well, pathetic, e-mail Sparks and let him know at sparkscommercialappeal.com, or leave him a message at (901) 529-2810. ♦ From the town that brought you the Monkey Trial, over in East Tennessee's Dayton, the Rhea County commissioners voted 8-0 to charge homosexuals with crimes against nature. According to an Associated Press story, the man who introduced the measure, J.C. Fugate, also persuaded his colleagues to approve legislation barring homosexuals from living in the county. (There goes the vibrant Off-Broadway circuit.) "We need to keep them out of here," Commissioner J.C. Fugate was quoted as saying. When a significant backlash ensued, the commissioners rescinded the measure. ♦ At the Walking Tall premiere last Wednesday, The Rock spent 40 minutes signing autographs amid cheers of "Do the eyebrow" before making his way over to the press. Asked by the Scene if he had any advice for aspiring badasses, The Rock replied, "Absolutely." He told an impassioned tale of his own wayward youth and subsequent arrests, cautioned against the perils of peer pressure and used the words "booty whoopin'." He stressed the importance of staying true to yourself and intoned that it's possible to "be a badass and a good guy...." ♦ Finally: How much longer before WTVF-Channel 5 reporter Phil Williams moves to a larger market?