Tuesday update

Got details on two upcoming beer festivals for you. Memphis Brewfest will happen on the field at the Liberty Bowl on Saturday, May 11. This is Memphis’ biggest beer festival of the year, with a long list of breweries (click the link to see who is coming). There will also be food trucks there: Flying Saucer (they have a food truck?), Central BBQ, New Wing Order, The Fiesta Wagon, Cousins Maine Lobster, and MeMPops. There will be a special Belgian beer area by the Flying Saucer. Tickets are $25 designated driver, $48 general admission, and $100 VIP.

The date has been set for the Cooper-Young Beerfest: October 19. This will be the tenth annual C-Y Beerfest, and they say they’re going big. If you enjoy learning about beers, there is no better place to do it. They have an education booth where the brewers give talks. Also, the breweries that get accepted to the festival are required to send someone who had a hand in actually brewing the beer, so you can talk to them about the process; for other festivals, breweries often send marketing/sales people. In addition, the breweries have to be within a day’s drive of Memphis, so if you like what you drink you can road-trip it easily.

Support the fight against fires, and breast cancer, with this Memphis Firefighters shirt:

The Memphis Tigers vs. San Diego game tonight will be broadcast on ESPN3.

The Peabody has announced its 2019 rooftop party schedule.

Gould’s Span and Salon is opening Big Cypress Spa in Bass Pro at the Pyramid. Unlike the Gould’s at Main and Union that offers haircuts, Big Cypress Spa will offer only luxury spa services like facials, manicures, and pedicures. The spa will be open to the public but will be geared toward serving Big Cypress Lodge hotel guests.

Malco Powerhouse movie theater news:

Comedian Jim Gaffigan brings his Quality Time Tour to FedExForum Saturday, August 17. Tickets go on sale this Friday at 10 AM.

The River Series at Harbor Town Amphitheater has announced its Spring Series. Craig Brown Band, Aquarian Blood, Pat Sansone, Alicja Trout, Obruni Dance Band, and Yazan will be among those performing on three dates in April and May.

Win free wings for a year!

Your reminder for the day that people suck: Saturday night, during Nate’s 27th anniversary party at Earnestine & Hazel’s, someone punched three holes in the upstairs wall of the circa-1906 building. If you witnessed this act of vandalism or have any information as to who did this, the people who run E&H would like to buy you a Soul Burger and a drink and talk to you about what you know.

Cordelia’s Market has released the menu for its Sweet Water beer dinner this Thursday at 6:30 PM:

Manchego stuffed dates wrapped in bacon
Sweet Water 420 Extra Pale Ale

Fresh herb & watermelon panzanella salad
Sweet Water IPA

Crawfish Spaetzle
Sweet Water G-13 IPA

Crisp pork with spiced ginger chutney
Sweet Water Mango Wheat Kush

PB&J beignets
Peach Love & Happiness Berliner Weisse with peaches

Buy tickets to the beer dinner here.

There will be a Sweet Water (is it one word or two? I’ve seen both) beer tasting at the Grizzlies game Friday night. Ticket including beer tasting is $50 Pinnacle level, $40 Terrace level.

Downtown Yoga has a spring deal going on. Use the promo code Spring15 when paying for classes online and get 15% off unlimited classes for a month, or buy 10 classes and get 2 free. YOGA!

Nominations are being sought for the inaugural class of the Memphis Sports Hall of Fame.

That’s the news for today. Back tomorrow with more.

Monday update: Tigers/NIT, March Madness, cookies, Bar Olympics, job creation and more

Tiger basketball at FedExForum is not done yet. Last night the Memphis Tigers men’s basketball team received a bid to the National Invitation Tournament, claiming a 3 seed. Memphis will play 6 seed San Diego Tuesday at 7 at FedExForum. The way the NIT works is, for the first three rounds the higher seed hosts the game. The semifinals and finals are played at Madison Square Garden. The NCAA likes to experiment with rule changes in the NIT and you can read the list of changes here.

The NIT is never a goal of college basketball teams, but the invitation shows how much Penny’s Tigers have improved over Tubby’s Tigers a year ago. Remember, Calipari started off taking Memphis to the NIT (and those wins didn’t get vacated). This Tiger team was expected to be a bottom-feeder in the AAC – I believe ninth place was the preseason prediction. So the team overperformed with a fifth-place regular season finish and an NIT bid. At least this’ll shut up the boo-birds, the Negative Nancys who say Penny can’t coach. I’m so sick of hearing from them.

If you want to learn about Memphis’ opponent, here’s a link to the Wikipedia entry for the San Diego Toreros men’s basketball program. We don’t hear much about San Diego because they’re in the Gonzaga and Some Other Teams Conference, also known as the WCC.

I got a treat yesterday in the form of the SEC tournament final. Early on, I was watching the game with a Tennessee Vols fan. Auburn had just gone on a run to go up by 7. “Just watch, Tennessee will come back and win,” the Vols fan told me. Didn’t happen. The Vols got blown out by Auburn, losing by 20. In my opinion, Tennessee should have been dropped to a 3 seed for such a bad loss, but the committee probably already had their minds made up before the game started.

Tennessee’s going to run into Cincinnati in the second round of the NCAA, assuming they both take care of business in the first round. I would love to see Cincy send the Vols to an early exit in the second round of the South regional. If they beat Houston, they can definitely beat Tennessee. A second-round loss after being in the top 10 most of the year would certainly fit the Tennessee tradition of always screwing up.

Over in the Midwest region, if I were John Calipari coaching 2 seed Kentucky, I would be real unhappy to see Houston as the 3 seed in my region. Houston is underseeded as the 3.

FiveThirtyEight’s March Madness predictor is online. Mouse over your favorite team to see the probabilities they will make it to each round. The probabilities will be updated as game results come in.

Memphis made the news in FiveThirtyEight’s Signficant Digits e-newsletter this morning. It said that at the Memphis airport, recyclables are simply sent to a landfill. Booooo…….

Insider has made a list of the best chocolate cookie in every state, and a Downtown restaurant made the list for Tennessee. Kooky Canuck’s skillet chocolate chip cookie a la mode was named the best.

The Hi-Tone out on Cleveland has announced The Bar Olympics for Sunday, June 23. Register your team of 6-8 people to compete in bar sports like beer pong, Wii games, flip cup, and more. It will be an afternoon of competition and drinking, and proceeds will benefit ALIVE! Rescue Memphis. ALIVE! is a foster-based rescue program whose goal is to save as many homeless animals as possible from kill shelters. Sounds like a wonderful afternoon of fun with a purpose.

Sammy Hagar’s bar and grill over at the Southland dog track/gaming complex has closed. In its place will rise the Betlucky Sportsbook Bar and Grill. Another sign that Memphis is going to see its dollars float away to Arkansas and Mississippi if the state of Tennessee does not act quickly to legalize sports betting on Beale Street.

Memphis was named the top large metro area for job creation in January, according to a Bloomberg analysis of Statistics of Labor data. The analysis was made by comparing the number of jobs created to the city’s historical 10-year employment rate.

The week-long run of Broadway hit Fiddler on the Roof begins tomorrow at the Orpheum.

The Hi-Que BBQ food truck will be at Cordelia’s Market tonight from 5 to 8.

That’s the news for this Monday! Back tomorrow with more.

Sunday update: Johnny Football to come to Memphis

No, this is not an early April Fool’s Day joke.

Big sports news broke yesterday, and oddly for this time of year, it wasn’t basketball-related. Johnny Manziel was declared clear to sign with the Alliance of American Football, and following being waived by the San Antonio Commanders, he was assigned to Memphis. Manziel tends to bring drama with him everywhere he goes, but really, that will spice things up in a league that has been boring AF since its inception.

Over at the Daily Memphian, Geoff Calkins ponders, what could possibly go wrong?

I started to type, “Hey Johnny, want to be on a Memphis in May BBQ team?”, but I better run that one by my teammates first…

I watched the Beale Street St. Patrick’s parade yesterday from the King’s Palace Tap Room. I have to give them compliments on realizing that one bartender working the day of a parade is not enough! They had two bartenders on duty and at times the manager acting as a third.

Perjorie T. Roll was very excited that the beer was the same color as her hair, but I wasn’t too excited about paying for it. 32 ounces of green PBR was $8.75. That’s pretty damn steep. Let’s calculate the Value Drinking Index on this beer: 32 ounces X 5% ABV / 8.75 = about 18.3. For your average beer at the Flying Saucer that would not be bad, but for a PBR such a low score is terrible.

With the AAC tournament here in town, the school bands were invited to participate in the parade. When the Cincinnati band passed by, people booed. NOT CLASSY, Memphis. That was a dick move. If you want to boo something, boo those Sprock n’ Roll and River City Pedalers party bikes that appeared later in the parade. Those things turn any hour into Amateur Hour On Demand.

Toward the end of the parade I snuck out and went to the Blind Bear to get a good seat for the Tigers vs. Houston game. There I got $2 PBR cans as well as this:

Let’s again compute the Value Drinking Index, this time on the PBR I had at Blind Bear. 16 ounce can X 5% ABV / St. Pat’s discount price of $2 = 40. Much much better. The Bear’s St. Patrick’s celebration, with discount PBR and $5 and $6 specials on whiskey, continues today.

Congratulations to Memphis 901 FC, who got their first goal ever in a draw against Loudoun last night.

John Mellencamp plays the Orpheum tonight at 8. Tickets start at $39.50.

There’s a South Main Bar Crawl beginning at noon at Loflin Yard today to celebrate St. Patrick’s. Other stops include the Ghost River taproom, The Dirty Crow Inn, and Carolina Watershed.

Bardog has green pancakes and green beer today, along with Guinness and Jameson specials.

Tin Roof will have country singer/songwriter Jerry Patton from noon to 4 today.

It’s Selection Sunday. Tune into CBS from 5 to 6 PM tonight to find out which teams made the NCAA tournament and what their seeds are.

The Memphis Tigers played a fine game but ended up losing to Houston yesterday. Damn, Houston is a great team. They are worthy of a 2 seed in the NCAA tournament. Probably won’t get it because non-Power 5 schools don’t get respect. As for the Tigers, I would not be surprised for the NIT to come calling. That’s better than was projected for the team at the beginning of the season.

This is what I’ll be having for brunch:

Pontotoc Lounge is having an Irish breakfast special. I will be there at 11 today. Join me, will you?

 

Saturday update

We have a big, big day coming up in Downtown Memphis. Things kick off with the Beale Street St. Patrick’s Day parade, with a special start time of noon. This is a family-friendly event (but of course, there are adult beverages), with plenty of opportunity to catch beads and candy thrown from floats. The parade should last about an hour. Try not to get hit on the head by a cabbage.

The Memphis Tigers have earned the right to play at FedExForum at 2 this afternoon. Yesterday they showed their full potential, blowing out UCF and shutting down 7’6″ center Tacko Fall. Today the Tigers face Houston in the AAC semifinals, ranked #11 by AP and having lost only 2 games all season.

There’s a celebration at Earnestine & Hazel’s upstairs bar tonight at 6. It’s Nate’s 27th anniversary of his first weekend behind the bar, and many of his regulars plan to be there.

USL team Memphis 901 FC is once again at home tonight, playing Loudoun at 7 PM. The Bluff City Mafia will be pre-gaming at the Brass Door starting around 3, 4 PM.

The 1836 Mageveney House, at 198 Adams, will be open Fridays during Lent 11 AM-2 PM for tours.

Absolutely worth the money:

Go to TdB three times and you’ll make back the price of the card.

The Flying Saucer will have a St. Patrick’s celebration this afternoon beginning at 4. Bagpipers will kick things off, followed by DJ Superman. There will be Irish food specials. On tap: Terrapin Irish Buh Bye, Goose Island Bourbon County Stout, Wicked Weed Bourbon Barrel French Toast Stout.

Random thing I learned yesterday: There’s a psychiatrist in Downtown Memphis now. Downtown Psychiatric Services is at 364 S. Front. Man, that would be a tough job, having to hear about all the Downtown drama.

There’s now a Facebook event listing for the Comeback Coffee grand opening on the 29th in the Pinch.

That’s it for now. Time to head to Beale and grab a Big Ass Beer. Later today I plan on being at Nate’s party.

Friday update

The Classic Movie Series returns to the Orpheum tonight as Space Jam plays on the big screen. Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny star in this 1996 movie in which the Looney Tunes attempt to win a basketball game and earn their freedom. 7 PM start time, and tickets are $8. The movie is about an hour and a half long and is rated PG due to some mild cartoon language. Captions will be shown on screen.

Even food trucks are getting in on the St. Patrick’s action.

The Memphis Tigers beat Tulane 83-68 in the opening round of the AAC tournament yesterday. Tiger fans are celebrating, of course, but I can’t help but point out how sloppy Memphis got in the first 10 minutes of the second half, letting a horrendously bad team claw back to the single digits. If the Tigers get that sloppy against a good team – like UCF, their opponent today – they’re going to be watching the rest of the tournament on TV.

Memphis vs. UCF will be broadcast on ESPN2, and the listed starting time is 1 PM. However, that’s not the first game of the day at FedExForum: UConn vs. Houston tips off at 11. College basketball games generally take about two hours. I would expect the Memphis-UCF tip to be somewhere in the 1:35 range, provided the previous game does not go into overtime.

Okay, I can’t resist. Which is more likely?

A) The Memphis-UCF game tips off promptly at 1 PM today as advertised
B) Charles starts Blind Bear trivia promptly at 7:30 PM Wednesday as advertised

Memphis River Parks Partnership is not only reimagining the riverfront, but they’ve also reimagined their website as well. Check it out.

Songwriter Night #110 happens tonight at 7 at South Main Sounds, 550 S. Main. Nancy Apple, Cowboy Bob Sawyer, Jordi Baizan, and Alice Hasen will perform.

Starting in April, legendary North Parkway BBQ restaurant Cozy Corner will begin opening on Sundays 11 AM to 4 PM.

The Memphis Flyer has a write-up of Ghost River’s new beer Grind-N-Shine, a cream ale flavored with coffee beans and vanilla.

That’s it for now. Back tomorrow with more news.

Thursday update

Normally when I get a “click here to sign up to receive our newsletter” pop-up, I think, click here to get spammed every day. However, recently I found one such newsletter that is worth it, and I wanted to share it with my readers: medium.com. I’ve been directed to several articles there recently, and when they offered to sign me up for their newsletter, I decided I would take the chance and unsubscribe later if it’s spammy.

It’s not spammy at all! Two days ago I blogged that I wanted to learn client-side Javascript frameworks, and yesterday’s newsletter contained a comparison between Angular, React, and Vue, right as I was in the process of trying to figure out which one of those I wanted to learn first. Last week I was talking with my friend Otto about the need to get up to speed on modern additions to the Javascript language. Yesterday’s newsletter linked to a summary of every addition to Javascript since 2015. The newsletter also figured out that I’m interested in psychology and smart cities, and sends me links to articles on those topics. Can Medium read minds? Anyway, go there, read some articles that interest you, and if it asks if you want to sign up for a newsletter, take a chance and see what it gives you. Relevant content in my inbox every morning? Yes, I will take that!

The AAC tournament kicks off at FedExForum today at noon as UConn takes on South Florida. Following that game, the Memphis Tigers play Tulane, winless in conference play this year, about 2:15. The Tigers are going to have to run the table this weekend and win the tournament on Sunday to have a chance to make it to the big dance. The Daily Memphian has the tournament bracket.

Max’s Sports Bar will open at 1 this afternoon for those who want to watch the Tigers game there. It’s on ESPNU, which a lot of bars with the standard Comcast packages do not carry but Max’s does. Starting tomorrow any games involving the Tigers will be on ESPN2 or ESPN.

This is what I plan on having for breakfast Sunday morning:

Pontotoc Lounge is doing a special Irish Breakfast for St. Patrick’s Day this Sunday for brunch. Bacon, sausage, eggs, peas, red and black pudding, and roasted tomatoes. Yum!

On Tuesday, June 11, tribute band Brit Floyd will be at the Orpheum to perform a special show for the 40th anniversary of Pink Floyd’s rock opera The Wall.

Memphis in May announced this week that BBQ Fest will add a rib eating contest to its program this year. Details to come.

The new Malco theater on G.E. Patterson is still hiring bartenders and servers. Apply on ZipRecruiter or on Malco.com.

MLK50 has an excellent piece on what Tami Sawyer would do as mayor if elected. The community activist turned county commissioner wants to see equity across Memphis ZIP codes.

The weather widget on my desktop certainly has an interesting concept of what mist is.

Tonight is the kick-off to a weekend of St. Patrick’s celebration at Silky O’ Sullivan’s, the caravan to the airport to pick up the Irish dignitaries. The public is invited (21+) and there is plenty of room in the vehicles. After a drink at Maggie O’Shea’s at the airport, there will be stops at Huey’s on Madison, then Murphy’s, then back Downtown to Silky’s to party until the wee hours.

Read about all the things the Grizzlies are doing to celebrate Women’s History Month.

In honor of Pi Day, Aldo’s Pizza Pies is offering all slices for $3.14 today, and all 18 inch pies for $18.89. Why $18.89? Because in 1889 Queen Margherita approved the dish made with red tomato sauce, white mozzarella, and green basil reflecting the colors of the flag of newly-unified Italy.

Just learned that our friends at Squeal Street BBQ are only four doors down from us this year at BBQ Fest. Excellent, should be a good year for synergy between the two teams.

Downtown Walgreens is a good place to see athletes. I went there on my morning Mountain Dew run today and cheerleaders from USF were in front of me in line. Saturday when I went there, the director of soccer operations for the Tampa Bay Rowdies was behind me.

Former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton is doing a book tour for a children’s book she wrote about endangered species. The tour will make a stop at the Memphis Zoo on Tuesday, April 23.

All right, that’s all for now. I’m going to read about Javascript for a while then get out somewhere and watch the game. Back tomorrow.

 

 

VERY IMPORTANT PBR NEWS and Wednesday update

From Friday night at 8:00 through Monday morning at 3:00, the Blind Bear is having an all-weekend-long St. Patrick’s Day celebration. The staff will be dressed in their Irish best all weekend long, and there will be specials including $4 Irish whiskey, $6 top shelf Irish whiskey (4 choices), $5 Irish car bombs, $4 Guinness draft pints, and……

TWO DOLLAR PBR ALL WEEKEND LONG!!!!!!!!!!

No, they are not doing green beer this year, and that is fine with me. I would rather drink discounted PBR than pay an upcharge for green PBR, as is happening at some other bars.

If you want to get in the spirit of the Irish, check out The Daily Memphian’s Jennifer Biggs’ Destination Delicious podcast this week. Among the guests: Irish native/Majestic Grille owner Patrick Reilly.

If you need a sweet treat, stop by Makeda’s Cookies at 488 S. Second. Cristina from City Tasting Tours posted yesterday that they have started baking cinnamon rolls. Those of you who gave up sweets for Lent are going to miss out!

For those of you who want to hang out with the Bluff City Mafia this Saturday, they tweeted their schedule. Saturday they will meet at 3 at the Brass Door. At 6:15 they will march over to AutoZone Park, and at 7 they will make the park a hellish place for Loudoun to visit.

Start Co. is having a Transportation & Mobility Hackathon Friday through Sunday this weekend. Spend 48 hours solving pedestrian and commuting problems that Memphis faces. If you show up alone, they’ll help you find a team. If you don’t have an idea, show up anyway – they’ll have some helpful primers. Plus, they’ll feed you and give you swag.

Moody Ques: We received our booth assignment yesterday.

The southern (Georgia Ave.) entrance to Tom Lee Park is to the immediate left of this diagram. Our booth number is S-339 and we are about where we were last year.

2018 members – have you paid your dues yet? I paid mine on Monday. Paying by March 15 guarantees you your spot on the 2019 team, whereas after that we will open it up to others interested in joining. At that point you’ll be in a race with the new people to pay your dues. When we hit our membership cap, no more members will be accepted, whether on last year’s team or not.

(Insider tip: It’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend and I can’t really see us conducting a whole lot of team business… so you’re probably fine if you pay on Monday the 18th)

That’s the news for now. Very excited about shorts weather today and tomorrow. Back tomorrow with more news.

Tuesday update

How would you like to get up close and personal with Memphis Grizzlies head coach J.B. Bickerstaff? You’ll have the chance next Monday at Hard Rock Cafe on Beale. Grizzlies Coaches Corner will feature an insider Q&A with Bickerstaff from 5 to 6, hosted by Grind City Media Senior Editor Michael Wallace. After that, stick around for live music and more. Tickets start at $10 and include light appetizers. $5 more adds a drink ticket for one call drink.

Rizzo’s by Michael Patrick does not normally open for Sunday dinner, but this Sunday they will, for people who want to pre-game for the Mellencamp concert at the Orpheum.

The Vault on G.E. Patterson will have St. Patrick’s Day music by Jeremy Stanfill and Josh Cosby Sunday afternoon 3:30-6:30.

The Peanut Shoppe has introduced a new item: sarma. This dessert is imported from Jordan, made fresh for the shop’s customers. It consists of blended pistachios in phyllo dough, rolled in more pistachios and drizzled in simple sugar syrup. They have it in stock now! The Peanut Shoppe is located on the Main Street Mall, a couple of doors north of the new Starbucks at Main and Monroe.

Memphis River Parks Partnership will present a Spring Night Market Thursday, March 28 from 4:30-7:30 PM. Ummm… it will still be light outside at the end time, how is this a night market? Anyway, there will be fire pits and s’mores. Lil’ Buck will be on hand giving Jookin lessons. TapBox will be there serving up some craft drafts. The following artists and craftspeople will have their products for sale:

Danielle Mora Jewelry
Dolly Doe
IV
Jacko’s Pepper Jelly
Larksome Goods
LATHA
Marsena Signatures
MEK Design
Mbabazi House of Style Memphis
Mili’s Flowers And Gifts
Primas Bakery and Boutique
Terri Scott Illustration
Vice & Virtue Coffee

The third installment of the In This Place speaker series at Clayborn Temple will happen next Monday, March 18. Tami Sawyer, County Commissioner, mayoral candidate, Managing Director for External Affairs for Teach for America and speaker-in-residence for this speaker series, will facilitate the discussion, entitled Dangerous Women: The Case for Never Being Safe.

Joining Sawyer in the discussion will be Anasa Troutman, Executive Director at Clayborn Temple; Jasmine Tasaki, Executive Director at WeCareTN; Terri Freeman, Executive Director at National Civil Rights Museum; Erica Perry, Partnership Director at Law For Black Lives; Aimee Lewis, Vice President of External Affairs at Planned Parenthood of Tennessee and North Mississippi; Zoe Tripp, student at Middle College High School; Andrea Morales, photojournalist; and Lori Spicer-Robertson, Chief Communications and Engagement Officer at United Way of the Mid-South.

Memphis basketball players have been collecting honors all over the place this week. Starting Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley was named the Western Conference Player of the Week, (surprisingly) his first time to receive that honor. Jeremiah Martin of the Memphis Tigers was named to the all-conference first team, and his teammate Tyler Harris was named to the all-conference rookie first team. The AAC Player of the Year will be announced Wednesday and Martin is a strong candidate for that accolade.

I’ve come to the conclusion that Jennifer Biggs of the Daily Memphian has the best job in the city. Her most recent task? To go eat at the Cousins Maine Lobster food truck and report back to subscribers. Man, that Connecticut Roll looks superb. I must try that truck soon. Possibly Saturday, when the truck will be at the Ghost River taproom from 1 to 8. Hmmm… watch the parade, walk down to Ghost River for lobster and (hopefully) Tiger basketball, then back north to Earnestine & Hazel’s for Nate’s anniversary… yes, I believe I see a plan coming together.

Edible Memphis continues in their consistently outstanding series of articles with a day trip to Little Rock, my hometown. As soon as I read that their first stop was Lost Forty Brewing, a rare brewery with a full food kitchen, and they had the Petit Jean bacon cheese dip, I knew this was going to be legit. Can’t argue with any of their suggestions. Little Rock is indeed the cheese dip capital of the world, and I will warn you that if you take this trip, Memphis cheese dip will be ruined for you. Damgoode Pies is excellent. I recommend the Hillcrest location (2701 Kavanaugh Blvd.) in particular.

Time to nerd out

If you’re not into techie stuff, you’re dismissed. However, a number of people have been wondering what I’ve been up to lately, so I thought I would give everyone an update.

For a period of months I was kind of down on the world of computers and IT, other than using a computer to write this blog. Holding the same job for almost 9 years is generally smiled upon. “Oh, he’s loyal to his company.” “Oh, he’s the kind of person who grasps on to a project and sticks to it.” Yeah, but working for one company for 9 years is a disadvantage as well, when you’re in IT. You end up knowing only the programming languages, frameworks, databases, etc. that you used in that job. In the meantime, various other technologies spring up and pass you by. I ended up feeling useless because there are so many in-demand skills that I didn’t have.

I also was bummed out about computers because the 15-inch HP laptop I inherited from my mom died. Well, it didn’t die – the hardware still works perfectly – but it stopped being able to boot into Windows, and I tried every recovery trick in the book and none worked. That left me working from my 10-year-old, 10-inch dimly-lit screen, underpowered netbook, and let me tell you, that was not much fun.

Last month, I started experimenting with portable versions of the Linux operating system. I got a flavor of Linux called Porteus installed on a USB drive and made it bootable. That brought my mom’s computer back to life. Porteus wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but even so, being able to access my favorite websites on a beautifully lit 15-inch screen was an improvement. I went through several other portable Linux distributions, including Slax and FatDog64.

Then I found Linux Mint. It is the most intuitive form of Linux I have ever seen. The graphical user interface is friendlier than Windows 10, and nearly as friendly as MacOS. It comes with a ton of programs installed, including an office suite, the Firefox browser, and an open-source clone of Google’s retired Picasa photo manager (which solves a major question I had about how I would manage BBQ Fest photos this year). If you want additional programs, there’s a software manager that makes getting them a piece of cake. And yet, because Linux Mint is based on one of the best Linux distros around – Ubuntu – if I need to go to the command line and deal with sudo apt-get and .tar.gz files, I have that ability too. Linux Mint turned out to be so good that after a week of running it from USB, I installed it on the hard drive.

I installed the Apache web server, PHP, and MySQL. I also installed the node.js Javascript web server, and I plan to get the Laravel framework on PHP. After that my task will be to learn all the popular client-side Javascript frameworks – Angular, React, Knockout, Vue, and maybe one or two others. What I want to do is grab JSON from a source that freely provides it – currently I’m working with OpenWeatherMap – to write service endpoints in PHP/Laravel that go get the data and provide it, then use Javascript on the client side to consume and display that data.

On the server side I may learn Python too, and maybe Ruby on Rails. There seems to be a lot of work in Python these days. I’m going to try to avoid getting back into .NET. I like C# but I’m a person who likes to think outside the box and people working in open-source tend to think outside the box more than Microsoft people. I’m a better personality fit for open-source.

Once I get up to speed, it’ll be time to get back in the game. There’s a lot more remote work out there than I realized and I am going to try to pick up some remote contract gigs in some of the technologies I have learned. Contract because I prefer that to being tied to a single company, and remote because sitting in cubicles has taken more years off my life than Fireball ever did.

So basically, for the first time in months, I am excited about computers. In addition, that book The Gaslighting Effect that I’ve been recommending finally gave me clarity about a situation which for years I had none. In short, I’m feeling better mentally than I have in a long while. I believe in myself again, where there for a while I didn’t.

Another reason I feel better today is the weather. As I type this, it is 56 going to a high of 61, with the temperature not expected to fall below 56 tonight. In other words, today is a perfect PBR hoodie and shorts day! Going to mess around on the computer for a couple more hours, then get out there and enjoy. To those of you who have kept reading, thanks for sticking around. Back tomorrow with more news.

Monday update

Jennifer Biggs of The Daily Memphian, in today’s food roundup, reports that Grecian Gourmet is going to offer cooking classes (scroll down to the second item in the article). Class participants will make dolmades and spanakopita, eating the dolmades there in class and taking a pan of spanakopita home. They will serve wine at the class. $59 per person, $100 for two. You can take the class either 6 to 8 PM Tuesday, March 19, or 1 to 3 PM Sunday, March 24.

Max’s Sports Bar has extended the signup deadline for its cornhole tournament through tonight. Tournament begins tomorrow and continues through 7 Tuesdays. Stop by the bar this evening (opens 4:30) to sign up your team.

Joe Mullinax of Grizzly Bear Blues has an important question.

We are less than a week away from the John Mellencamp show at the Orpheum. He’ll be there Sunday, March 17, at 8 PM, performing classics from his 40-year catalog as well as some new material. Tickets start at $39.50 and there are some VIP packages as well. Every ticket holder will receive a copy of Mellencamp’s upcoming album, Other People’s Stuff, to be released in November.

Hell has frozen over. I agree with Donald Trump on something.

Not a very newsy day. Back tomorrow with more.

Sunday update

I wasn’t feeling that great yesterday, so I got some dinner and watched the Memphis 901 FC inaugural match at home. Memphis lost 1-0, but the atmosphere of AutoZone Park was off the chain! It’s clear that there’s a place for professional soccer here in Memphis. I’m going to have to get to a game soon! Next home match is vs. Loudoun United FC at AutoZone Park this coming Saturday, March 16 at 7:00 PM CDT. Loudoun United FC is based in Leesburg, VA, about 30 miles up the Potomac River from DC. Like Memphis, the club is new to the USL.

I am so excited for the city of Memphis having embraced a sport that for decades seemed foreign to the area. I am also thrilled for Seamus and the folks at the Brass Door. Given the location and the love for soccer, the addition of 901 FC and the Bluff City Mafia makes Brass Door Memphis’ de facto soccer bar.

I do want to bring Memphis 901 FC into my discussion of the upcoming mayor’s race. We have three major candidates:

  • County Commissioner Tami Sawyer, who I admire for standing up for herself and those like her. Her ideals are, well, ideal, and she’s right, the time is now. I would be proud to have her as mayor.
  • Incumbent mayor Jim Strickland. Although I may not agree with everything he has done, he has done a lot to reform practices that needed improvement, he’s brought business to the city, he’s been transparent, and he’s tried to be the mayor of all of Memphis. I would be proud to have him back for a second term.
  • Former mayor Willie W. “King Willie” Herenton. I absolutely, positively do not want this man back in office. Although a good mayor in his early years, especially in his last term he seemed interested in serving no one but himself.

So the question is, do I vote for the candidate I really want to vote for (Sawyer) or the candidate with the proven track record (Strickland)? In his recent weekly communication, Strickland said two years ago, Peter Freund and Craig Unger, owner and GM of the Redbirds, came to Strickland and asked if the mayor’s office would be willing to help them bring professional soccer to Memphis. Strickland was all in and from what we saw yesterday, that turned out to be a pretty good thing for the city.

That kind of thing is what I need to hear from candidate Sawyer… that if an opportunity like that fell into the city’s lap, she would pursue it as hard as Strickland did. That if word got around that Robert Pera was considering moving the Grizzlies out of town, she’d do everything in her power to try to keep them here. Sawyer’s message that we need racial and economic equality and we can’t wait for it any longer appeals to me, and I want to pull the lever (or these days, touch the screen) next to her name. I’m just not quite there yet. I need to know she’ll protect the business side of the city, particularly the amenities that make people want to visit Memphis and even move to Memphis.

So there you have it. I’m not intending this as a political statement. Rather, it is just honest feedback for Sawyer’s campaign.

A very valid question about the new Malco Powerhouse theater arose over the weekend. People are using the covered pavilion area at Front and G.E. Patterson to park to go see the movies. That’s the Memphis Farmers Market space and there were questions as to what would happen to the Market on Saturdays starting in April. The feedback I heard is that space will still be for the Market on Saturdays and parking won’t be allowed there until after the Market closes at 1 PM and the vendors clear out. The Market is expected to be a lot more accessible than it has been the past couple of years with all that construction done.

Primas Bakery and Boutique is having an Easter dessert tasting Saturday, April 6 from 4 to 6 PM. Tasting menu includes robin’s egg macarons (cookies & cream), mini carrot cakes, “Easter Egg” cookies, and “Peep” Petit Fours. Tickets are $12.

The Soulful Food Truck Fest happens today at Clayborn Temple noon to 6. This is the wrap-up event for Memphis Black Restaurant Week and black-owned food trucks from around the region will be on site. There will be live music and local beers as well.  This is a kid-friendly event.

Never in my life did I think I’d be cheering for Bruce Pearl to win a game, but that’s the position I found myself in yesterday. Pearl’s Auburn Tigers upset his former school, Tennessee. That loss is probably going to drop the Vols off the 1-seed line. Given the Tennessee athletic department’s track record of screwing everything up, that could make them easy pickins’ for a 2/15 upset. In a matter of a couple of weeks, Vols fans could go from “IT’S GONNN BEEE ARRR YEARRR” to “WELL, BOY, I TELL YOU WHUT, FOOTBALL’S JUST A FEW MONTHS AWAY.”

Bardog posted the specials they will have Sunday, March 17 for St. Patrick’s Day: $3 Fireball, $4 green beer, $5 Jameson, $6 Irish car bombs, and $7 Jameson IPA Black. Those are all-day specials. In addition, from 11 AM to 3 PM they will have their usual Sunday Fun Day brunch specials of $4 mimosas, Bloody Marys, and screwdrivers.

That’s it for now. Back tomorrow with more news.