Mar 282015

Big news about Central Station was announced at a MATA Finance Committee meeting yesterday. Central Station will be getting a lot of additions, including a Malco movie theater similar to Studio on the Square, a grocery store, a hotel, more apartments, and renovations of existing apartments. The movie theater will be located in the Powerhouse building next to the main terminal. More info: WREG Memphis Flyer

Wow. That is exciting. I’ve always felt South Main trailed the Downtown core a bit in terms of things to do, but it might have just caught up. I wonder if the same apartment management will be kept… to be honest, I have not heard the best things about management from people who have lived there.

Last night I heard that apartments in the former Chisca Hotel will start leasing in April and move-ins will begin in August. I already have friends who say they plan on moving there.

The Commercial Appeal is making an awesome move: Starting Monday, all comments will go through Facebook. So if you get on there and spout racism and bigotry and homophobia and hatred and closed-mindedness and idiocy, you will now have YOUR REAL NAME attached to what you post. No more hiding behind the veil of anonymity. Great job, CA.

River Series at the Harbor Town Amphitheater continues tonight at 7. This month’s entertainment features Amy LaVere, Will Sexton, and Alicja Pop.

Disney in Concert: Magical Music of the Movies begins at two-day run at the Orpheum today.

Big news for my fellow poker players: Tennessee is considering card rooms. Yes!!!! Hopefully the legalization of online poker will be considered next. Revenue for the state while people pursue the game of skill (not luck as some would lead you to believe) that they love.

Smooth sailing continues for the Moody Ques, my Memphis in May BBQ Fest team. Yesterday the team leaders met with Josh Cottrell about the T-shirt order. There was some debate as to what kind of shirts to get. The team vice-president wishes we could get all regular T-shirts, but some of the women want fitted T-shirts and in some cases, tube tops. I side with the women on this one.

If any other BBQ teams need shirts, talk to Josh. He operates out of Winfield’s at 2 South Main, across from Walgreens. If you’d like his contact information, let me know. He did a magnificent job on our 2014 shirts and he also did my Ickey Woods Halloween costume shirt.

This isn’t official yet, but we are looking at a possible April 19 BBQ team get-together. That’s the day of Rajun Cajun crawfish festival on the river and we have access to a rooftop overlooking the festival. This is not official yet but if it happens it will allow us to have a get-together without anyone having to miss one of the most important events on the spring festival calendar.

For those who missed the last meeting, here’s some info on how we think the liquor situation will work. Soft drinks, mixers, water and beer will be behind the bar. As part of your dues, each team member will get a certain amount to spend on liquor. About 2 weeks before BBQ Fest, we will ask each team member what they want and we will go out and get it for you. You will have access to lockers to store your liquor. That way, you can hand out liquor to the guests you choose, but we won’t have it behind the bar for freeloaders. Because we’re doing it this way, you should have enough of a budget to get some pretty decent liquor. It won’t be Skol and Jim Beam’s Eight Star (unless that’s what you want it to be).

Oh and in case you missed it, we have a flamethrower now. :mrgreen:

Ever your Moody Ques workhorse, I will be on a mission this morning at 11 to make sure the Moody Ques Remote Command Center for Load-in is in tip-top shape. My “DAWG” John D will be joining me, and anyone else who wants to come check it out is welcome. Panda is on her way out of town, so Brooke will be behind the bar Command Center. Once I verify that everything is working properly (especially the PBR tap), I will make my way to the Blind Bear to see my favorite pair of librarian glasses. She works Memphis Made’s taproom on Fridays and posted a pic of an awesome looking chorizo burrito from the Hot Mess food truck. I have got to try that truck soon. After the Bear, it will be time for a halftime break, then what promises to be an epic Dirty Thirty birthday party for my buddy Phil this evening. How many birthday parties have a burlesque show?

Time to hit Publish. Yesterday I essentially wrapped up a work project that has taken a long, long time, and I am now in a GREAT mood as a result. Cold weather or not, I intend to have some fun today and tomorrow.

Mar 272015

Molly Smith from WREG (@Molly_WREG3) tweeted that 400 people came to 480 Beale to apply for server, chef and cook jobs at the two restaurants that will be housed inside Bass Pro in the Pyramid. Over 5400 people applied for Bass Pro’s 600 total jobs. Wow, impressive… if you applied you have a 1 in 9 chance.

The Daily News broke news this week about Volio, a new interactive platform for volunteering in Memphis. Potential volunteers will be able to see via video exactly what their volunteer experience at a particular non-profit will be like. People who like what they see will be able to contact the organization directly and sign up. The interactive experience will make it more likely that volunteers will not only sign up, but stick around. The first five organizations partnering with Volio are Urban Food Bike Ministry, Habitat for Humanity, Dorothy Day House of Hospitality, Carpenter Art Garden, and World Relief.

A local brewery’s beer received high praise in a men’s magazine this week. Wiseacre’s Tiny Bomb was named one of 100 best beers by Men’s Journal.

Speaking of Wiseacre, they will be participating in the final Grizzlies brewery night on Saturday, April 4. Your special ticket gets you not only a seat, but craft beer sampling and a commemorative Grizzlies pint glass. Other participating breweries are Sierra Nevada, Sweetwater, and Goose Island. Get your special ticket here.

Poker players: Bardog has a new web page where you can keep track of final table standings.

This is a cool idea: Sneak liquor into outdoor festivals and events in a hollowed-out baguette

From Draft Magazine: Keith Schlabs, known to Flying Saucer UFO Club members as Capt. Keith who sends out the beer knowledge quizzes, is interviewed about 20 years of craft beer. The original Saucer in Fort Worth is now 20 years old. The Memphis location turns 18 in May.

MLGW is auctioning surplus vehicles and equipment tomorrow at 10. More info here.

“Double J” Jeff Jarrett will be a guest on Cerrito Live tomorrow 11 AM-1PM on Sports 56/87.7 FM.

WMC-TV is hiring a part-time digital content producer.

A beer called MILF is now on sale in Little Rock. Maybe next time I head that way, I will come back with a six-pack for my favorite blogger/MILF.

I was so thrilled to hear the music of Pam & Terry last night at the Blind Bear. I stayed for the entire show, from 8 to 11. It amazes me how versatile that duo is. They can take nearly any request, within reason. They played two sets, and walked around and took photos of the audience on their break. A lot of fun. They will be back the next two last Thursdays of the month.

The NCAA tournament was on, the Kentucky hate was looming large, and a request was made to play “Take Me Home, Country Roads” to send West Virginia luck. That sure as hell didn’t help! Damn I have not seen a slaughter of such a high seed in quite some time. The ‘eers were trailing 18-2, didn’t make it to 20 by the half, and had their score doubled when the final buzzer sounded. If there’s any silver lining, it makes me feel better about Arkansas’ two performances vs. Kentucky, in which the Hogs lost but were never a complete trainwreck. Hey Meredith, didn’t you tell me years ago that you’re the school that burns couches? Would’ve loaned you my BBQ team’s new flamethrower last night, but, never mind. I guess I’m a Notre Dame fan now. That game will tip off at 7:49 PM Saturday.

(Yay! I found a way to mention our new flamethrower! :mrgreen: Maybe I’ll try to do an every-post mention, like I do for tube tops during Tube Top Month.)

The Bear did manage to run poker simultaneously with the live music. Only one table, eight players or so. I didn’t play. It looked like a very nice, agreeable group of people, if that gives you a hint who WASN’T there.

I already have enough news for a Saturday morning post before I go out, so check back tomorrow. Home from work, having essentially completed a project that has taken 2 years. I am ready to get wild and party and dance all weekend long, so watch out, Downtown.

Mar 272015

Readers, I owe you an apology.

I could have attended the public meeting about Riverside Drive last night. It would have been inconvenient. I would have had to leave work early. I could have made it. After hearing what happened, I should have made it.

A year ago, the city converted Riverside between Beale and Georgia from four lanes open to vehicular traffic to two lanes for vehicles and two for bikes and runners. It was said at the time that the change was “temporary,” to last between 12 and 18 months, and public meetings would be held in the meantime to determine what to do. Yesterday was the third of those public meetings.

Who here is familiar with the phrase “illusion of choice?”

I know salespeople are. “Would you prefer to go ahead and sign a 2-year widget protection warranty, or would you like to sign a 1-year warranty and buy some bottles of super widget spray-on armor for additional protection?” Note that there is no option to say, no, I would not like to purchase a bunch of crap that is nearly worthless.

What happened at the meeting yesterday was the illusion of choice. The city presented two plans, both of which would keep Riverside two lanes and both of which were bad ideas. That way the city can say it sought public input on whichever bad idea eventually gets done. The trouble is, according to a friend of mine who attended and gave me notes afterward, is that there was no option for restoring Riverside to four lanes, which is what about 90% of the attendees of the meeting wanted to happen.

Okay. Everything here is second-hand information. I trust my friend that what am I about to write is reliable. If I have anything that was said at the meeting incorrect, please let me know.

One person said he was on his way Downtown on Riverside. There was a wreck and it took 30-45 minutes to clear and he was stuck in traffic. The problem is, Riverside is a major artery into Downtown. If you make it difficult to travel, people are going to look at other options. They could go to Cooper-Young. They could go to Overton Square. They could go to Broad Avenue. Two-lane Riverside hurts Downtown businesses, businesses that are already hurting because of the trolley debacle.

Pat Halloran of the Orpheum told the city that it is choking people off to get Downtown. He’s having to deal with patrons who miss the first half of the shows to which they had tickets, because Riverside caused them to take an extra 45 minutes to get to the theater.

The city presented a statistic: On an average day on Riverside, there are 14,000 motorized vehicles and 18 bikes. I had to stop and ask, “Did I just hear that correctly?” I did. FOURTEEN THOUSAND vehicles. EIGHTEEN bikes. One bike for every 778 cars.

Some more comments from the audience:

“You’re trying to build up the Tennessee Brewery, the Chisca, etc., and there is no way for people to get Downtown.”

“YOU’RE NOT LISTENING TO PEOPLE. You’re hearing but you are not listening.” The audience was told the meeting was an “informational meeting only” which means what we all knew, that public input was not actually being sought.

It was noted that there have been 30 crashes on that stretch of Riverside since June.

A tweet went out that it’s pretty evident this was being shoved down our throats. That tweet came from none other than Myron Lowery. He immediately got three @replies and is going to seek a meeting with the mayor today to address this issue.

99% of the time I support progressive moves to make this a more vibrant city. I was a huge supporter of the NBA NOW movement back in 2000-2001 that got the Grizzlies to move here from Vancouver. I thought the Madison bike lanes in Midtown were an excellent idea. I was a huge fan of the move to legalize food trucks in the city. I like the new proposal to put bike lanes on North Parkway. But this is the other 1%. This is not progress, it is a bad idea, plain and simple. I too want to see Memphis become a more livable, bike- and walking-friendly city and I have a lot of admiration and respect for the people working to make that happen. But two-lane Riverside is not the right way to get there.

IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THIS IS NOT A BIKES VS. CARS ISSUE. I am going to borrow a few sentences a friend of mine posted to Facebook last night:

“It is not appropriate to draw the conclusion that a position in favor of a different route (even only slightly different) than on the existing roadway therefore means that individual is against a progressive and vibrant city filled with bikes and pedestrians. Simply not true & unfair.

The key is that plenty of room exists for four lanes (four very important lanes!) along with bicycles and pedestrians without interrupting the traffic lanes. This meets the goal of ‘balance’ and encourages a useable and attractive riverfront while meeting the necessary function of the roadway – to allow access to downtown.”

As the same friend said, the only way to make real change happen is at the ballot box. If you’re on Twitter, follow @stricklandmayor. I wasn’t fully in the Strickland for Mayor camp until I heard about yesterday’s meeting, but now I am. Wharton has outlived his usefulness in public office and is becoming King Willie the Second.

For those who came here looking for a Friday news post, I will try to get something up after work. Can’t promise it though.

Mar 262015

Before I get started on the news, a Moody Ques BBQ team announcement: April 1 is the deadline to pay your dues. That’s next Wednesday. Pay on the team website or get a check to us. You don’t have to pay the PayPal fee if you pay by check.

Also: We need one of these for the booth. Automated Jello shot maker. Kind of like the Keurig of Jello. We would be the coolest BBQ team ever if we had both a flamethrower and a Jello shot maker.

From WREG: Some complain Riverside bike lanes cause traffic delays. YES YES YES they do. Public meeting about Riverside tonight, Central Station, 5:30 to 7.

The fabulous Pam & Terry perform tonight at the Blind Bear from 8 to 11. No cover. With great live music and the NCAA tournament to watch, it’s pretty much a no-brainer that I will spend some time at the Bear this evening.

There will be a Goose Island beer dinner at Bardog Thursday, April 21. 4 courses, 5 beers. $45 ticket, and seating will be limited, so purchase early from your friendly bartender.

General seating for the Redbirds’ April 3 exhibition game with the Cardinals is sold out.

Conversation with tourists last night at the Silly Goose:

Them: “We have heard Gus’s is a place we should try. We’re going to drive there later. It’s about a mile from here, isn’t it?”

Me: “No, it’s only four blocks. You can easily walk there from here. Turn left on Main, go past Beale and MLK Avenue, and when you get to Pontotoc turn right. Walk one block to Front Street and you will see it.”

Them: “But what if we get murdered on the way? That’s in the worst section of Memphis, isn’t it?

ARGH! People’s misguided perceptions of Memphis frustrate me. Thinking back on the conversation, I don’t think they realized that South Main is a different part of town than South Memphis.

I’m not going to be able to make it to the Riverside meeting tonight, but a friend who feels the same way I do about four lanes is going to go and give me a report on what happened. I will be out at the Blind Bear to hear Pam & Terry and to watch NCAA tournament games. I will have to stay out past 11 to see the late game, but the prospect of Calipari going 36-1 makes it worth it.

Mar 252015

There was a long Facebook discussion last night among many of my friends about how two-lane Riverside is just a really, really bad idea. I understand city planners wanting to make the city, and especially our riverfront, more appealing to runners and bikers. And as longtime readers of this blog know, I tend to lean left of center and take the progressive/liberal side on most issues. But I’m also a realist, and I just can’t take a progressive view of two-lane Riverside. I take that road to work every morning, and I can’t tell you how many times I have seen drivers lurch over the center line as they play with their phones. With Bass Pro opening, it is only going to get worse. It is time to admit the reconfiguration of Riverside was a mistake and restore it to four lanes.

There is a meeting tomorrow at 5:30 at Central Station, S. Main at G.E. Patterson, to discuss proposed plans for Riverside. All the plans are bad ideas, and none of them include restoration to four lanes. If you want to see 4-lane Riverside come back, go down there and make some noise.

The city has filed a lawsuit against the owners of a blighted property at 107 S. Main. That is the boarded-up building just north of Gayoso, two doors down from Yao’s China Bistro. That property has been abandoned for over a decade. I actually talked to the owner, Allan Long, about renting an apartment there in 2001 when he was supposedly planning to renovate it. That never happened and the building is not only an eyesore on what has turned into a beautiful demonstration block of Main, but it is also a hazard to adjoining buildings Main Street Flats and Cornerstone Flats. Water is leaking from shared walls and the two Flats buildings are seeing increased moisture levels.

This Daily News story has several pieces of good news for Downtown. We may be getting a second grocery store, and it sounds like more of a big-box store than another City Market-type place. We may be getting a movie theater, a smaller one like Studio on the Square. And an anonymous donor is going to pay to light up the Harahan Bridge.

Sports writer/radio host Gary Parrish reports that Nick King and Pookie Powell are both transferring out of Memphis. They were both top-100 recruits but saw limited playing time last year under Josh Pastner. My favorite blogger/MILF tweeted, “Love CJP, but I’m tired of seeing great players leave.” I’m starting to feel the same way. All those guys were probably alpha-dogs at their respective high schools. As much as it kills me to say anything good about Cal, he knows how to make a bunch of alpha-dogs work together as a team. Josh doesn’t.

MPD says that car break-ins are on the rise Downtown. Park in well-lit areas and don’t leave valuables in plain sight. I’ll add that this applies to small valuables as well as large. You may not think it’s a big deal to leave something worth $5 in plain sight, but that item could fund a burglar’s next purchase of a crack rock or bottle of booze.

Today is National Waffle Day. Is there a day left on the calendar that is not National (Something) Day?

I’ll be out at the usual spots after work. With great weather and LeBron at the FedExForum, I expect places to be packed for happy hour. Outta here for now.

Mar 242015

Want to see something beautiful? Have a look at the NBA conference standings and scroll down to view the Western Conference. Notice the little x next to Memphis. The Grizzlies have made the playoffs. Not that it was much in doubt, but it’s still nice to see.

My friend Angela Copeland who is a career coach is co-hosting a very cool event at Hilton Memphis next month. It is the 2nd Annual Multicultural Career Expo, from noon to 5 on April 12, seeking to help all cultures achieve their career goals and contribute to a greater Memphis. Over 40 companies including FedEx, First Tennessee, and St. Jude will be represented, across a diverse group of industries including healthcare, financial services, travel, logistics, higher education, and non-profit. Read more at

In other job-related news, Bass Pro will be recruiting for its two new restaurants in the Pyramid Thursday. They will be at the Workforce Investment Network building, 480 Beale, from 8 AM to 4 PM.

From the MBJ : Aldo’s Midtown is here

If you want to volunteer for the April 11 MEMFix Pinch event, you can do it here.

The Downtown Neighborhood Association’s monthly meeting is tonight at the Fire Museum on Adams. Michael Putt, deputy chief of special operations, will speak. Social and networking at 6, meeting at 6:30. Non-members welcome too.

Marketing fail: Jagermeister threw a pool party to promote its brand, but due to a lack of understanding of basic chemistry they poisoned the water.

Tamp & Tap is having another Kill the Keg party this Friday. $2.50 pints of craft beer from 4 to close.

From ESPN: Arizona State Herb Sendek will meet with his AD today and learn whether he still has a job. If he is let go, Josh Pastner is seen as a top candidate to replace Sendek.

Memphis in May has posted an application to be a BBQ Fest judge. We are a mere 50 days away from BBQ Fest.

Fun night out last night. I managed to hit Bardog, Silly Goose, Flying Saucer, and Blind Bear. I was telling everyone at the Saucer about our BBQ team’s new flamethrower. I think I am a little bit too excited that we bought that thing.

Out at the usual spots after work. Another beautiful day. Going to get some outside time for the remainder of my lunch break.

Mar 232015

Felicia Suzanne’s is celebrating its 13th birthday with special events all week. Wiseacre beer dinner on Tuesday, communal cooking class on Wednesday, Tacos & Tunes returns Thursday ($2 tacos), 4-course tasting dinner Friday, and Saturday is dinner in the kitchen with Masterchef Junior winner Logan Guleff. Complete details here. Space is limited for some of the events.

The Memphis Flyer has a story about a new book about the history of Beale Street. Beale Street Dynasty covers the period between the Civil War and World War II. Fact I did not know: Beale Street won Tennessee for the Republican party in 1920. It is said that Boss Crump would not have been able to build his machine without Beale.

Vendors have been announced for MEMFix Pinch on April 11.

A friend of mine has a South Main town home for rent. 3 bedroom/3 bath, attic, 2 car garage, all appliances, private courtyard with waterfall.

Poker at the Blind Bear has been so successful that Jeannette has decided to add a third game. It will happen at 6:45 Thursdays. So there are now poker games in the Downtown core five nights a week: Sunday at Blind Bear, 6:30; Monday at Silly Goose, 8:30; Tuesday at Blind Bear, 8:00, Wednesday at Bardog, 7:30; Thursday at Blind Bear, 6:45.

Boscos is having a fundraiser next Sunday for singer Joyce Cobb, a Beale Street fixture who is going through a battle with pancreatic cancer. 6:30-9:30 PM, $50 per person, open bar and food, silent auction, music by friends of Joyce and STAX Academy. Get tickets here.

Interesting fact I learned today: More money was gambled on the NCAA Tournament the past four days than was spent on the 2012 presidential election.

Looks like I was wrong about my Razorbacks being able to handle North Carolina. Now that Arkansas is gone from the tournament, I have a new favorite team to root for, and its name is “whoever is playing Kentucky.”

I’ll be out at Bardog for Melissa Monday after work, probably followed by Pint Nite at the Saucer. Right now, time to take a walk and enjoy this beautiful day.

Mar 222015

In past years, one of the most painstaking operations for the BBQ team has been lighting the smoker. Not anymore. We got ourselves a new toy. :mrgreen: The team bought a flamethrower that reduced lighting time from 30 minutes to 5 seconds. Here’s a video.

It’s a good thing that we have mature, responsible people on our team who don’t do any stupid shit when we’re drinking. In the wrong hands that flamethrower could be dangerous. Our team president Moody, a lawyer, commented that we need to make a list of people who are authorized to use the flamethrower. Yes Moody we will be sure to do that. Then we will print the list out and set it on fire with the flamethrower.

We had a meeting in Midtown – yes, I actually left Downtown on a weekend – yesterday, at our booth designer Brent’s house. He has a beautiful home and a large back yard, and it was a perfect place for us to get together. You know, I’m friends with the leaders of another BBQ team, Squeal Street, and I hear them talk about their plans, especially on Melissa Mondays at Bardog. I hear them say things like, “Yeah, we have a team meeting this weekend, better run to West Memphis Wal-Mart and pick up a couple of 30-packs of Miller Lite.” This is what the big boys drink at team meetings:

2015-03-21 17.55.29

Yep. Two locally-made craft beers from downtown brewery High Cotton on tap. We had two of their main staples, the Scottish Ale and the ESB. Man that Scottish Ale was delicious. I will definitely be knocking that off the list for my next plate next time I am in the Flying Saucer. Anyone up for a field trip to their taproom now that the weather is nice? It’s no farther a walk than Max’s and we do that all the time. It’s just the stigma a lot of us have that any point east of Danny Thomas is more or less a trip to China.

There wasn’t much of an agenda for this meeting. Rather, it was a chance for the team to get some cooking practice in, and for the team members, especially new members, to get to know one another prior to the festival. I am SO HAPPY we have started doing this. It builds team unity and gives everyone a chance to feel like a part of this team.

2015-03-21 18.10.18 HDR

The team discussing targets for our new flamethrower. Foreground: Katie Mac, who was kind enough to offer me a ride to Midtown.

2015-03-21 18.24.18

Fire pit time. Back left: My down-the-hall neighbors Mary Ann and Peter, who I am super excited to have as new team members. Peter knows I don’t work Downtown, so every year he offers to get me gift cards at the Majestic’s annual half-off sale.

2015-03-21 18.25.49

The team waiting for the meat to come off the smoker

2015-03-21 19.20.31

Some pigs dream of lying on a plate next to beef brisket, coleslaw, a piece of pepper jack cheese, and a red pepper. We saw the potential in the pig that perhaps the pig did not even see in itself. We truly walked a mile with Jesus yesterday. It was divine. It was a dead pig on a plate and it tasted damn good. (Squeal Street: Please note that there is no microwave popcorn anywhere on this plate)

Our sauce recipe is coming along nicely. Earlier this week it received compliments from someone who knows a thing or two about food – Shorty, who runs the pasta bar at the Silly Goose, who has been cooking at Owen Brennan’s for 22 years, and who is featured in this month’s Memphis Magazine.

2015-03-21 19.50.07

Acting president Clay addresses the team as head cook/treasurer Frank looks on. You know, I don’t hand out compliments easily, but I have to say that my buddy Clay is doing a FANTASTIC job running the team this year. In past years, around this time I have thought, “Yeah they say things are going well, but I still see five or six different ways the train could go completely off the rails.” This year I don’t have those reservations. We are on track for an awesome year.

2015-03-21 19.51.59

My “DAWG” John D tries some craft beer. Normally he’s a Bud Light kind of guy so it is nice to see him thinking outside the box.

2015-03-21 20.14.57

The girls. Sapana, Nikki, Katie Mac, and Laura.

Shout-out to our teammates Nick and Sarah, who couldn’t make the meeting because they are about to become new parents. You were missed and we look forward to seeing both of you and the new addition to the family soon.

Whew. Yesterday kicked my ass. Usually I take a “halftime” nap on Saturday but yesterday there was just no way. I am going to take today as a recovery day. I am going to brew a fresh pot of tea, wrap myself up in my down comforter on the couch, munch on some Wheat Thins and gouda I bought at City Market, knock out a couple of chapters in the book I have been reading, watch 60 Minutes, and then call it an early bedti… AW FUCK THAT. If you really believe that’s the Sunday Fun Day I have planned, I have some crocodile-infested swamp land about 30 minutes south of Miami to sell you. I need to text a few people before I have the exact running order figured out for today, but two things that will be on the agenda for sure are D-RANKS with B-RAD at Blind Bear and (weather permitting) a trip south to Max’s Sports Bar. Hmmm… two-thirds of the group I used to refer to as Amateur Hour are working at South of Beale now… wonder if either of them is working today. If they are I may stop in. I’m trying to venture beyond my usual five bars. We shall see. Time to hit publish and get this ball rolling.

Mar 212015

One of my Facebook friends (who I only knew for a few brief weeks in real life) posted a rather interesting link yesterday: Women on 20s. The idea is that it’s time to put a woman on the 20 dollar bill. Nothing against Andrew Jackson, the current face on the 20. It’s just that it’s somewhat ironic that he is on money at all – he was against creation of a national bank. The site is petitioning President Obama to put a woman on the 20, and asks visitors to vote for one of 15 women. Personally, I’d like to see Harriet Tubman on the 20, but there are a lot of good choices.

I discovered something I did not know yesterday: Arkansas star forward Bobby Portis went to the same high school I did. He won championships for Little Rock Hall High earlier in the decade. We had a pretty strong team when I went there too, but our two star players were 5’7″ and 5’9″ and therefore had limited opportunities to play college ball.

Random fact I learned this week: Cincinnati was known as Porkopolis in the 19th century. It was the country’s chief hog-packing center at the time, and pigs wandered the streets.  If BBQ Fest had existed back then, it might have been in Cincinnati rather than Memphis.

Interesting MakeUseOf article: Introverts love Facebook more than extroverts. Yeah I can see that being the case.

Happy birthday to one of the sexiest women in Memphis, the fabulous Paula Raiford.

The Grizzlies host Portland tonight at FedExForum at 7.

The Center for Southern Folklore is holding a Blues Legends Birthday Bash tonight. Details here.

Panda’s bar at 11, librarian glasses later in the day, BBQ meeting at 6, Hogs at 7:40. Should be a good day.

Mar 202015
"Mr. Load-in" at BBQ Fest 2014

“Mr. Load-in” at BBQ Fest 2014

My BBQ team the Moody Ques has a meeting tomorrow evening at 6. Part of my job as “Mr. Load-in,” the Moody Ques workhorse, is to inspire the team. Therefore, I would like to offer the following message.

Every year I post photos of the food that my BBQ team puts out. One of the side effects of posting those pics on a well-known blog is that occasionally I get feedback from animal-rights activists. “Pigs are highly intelligent animals with unique personalities,” they tell me. “You need to appreciate the pig. Each pig is an individual.”

That is 100% correct. Each pig IS an individual, with individual dreams and aspirations.

Some pigs dream of lying comfortably on a bed of nacho chips, covered in cheese sauce, dry rub, and jalapenos.

Some pigs dream of having an apple in their mouth as they are lowered into an underground pit by men wearing Hawaiian shirts and leis.

Some pigs dream of sitting on a plate next to baked beans and coleslaw, covered in a tangy sauce.

Some pigs dream of vacationing in a place that is nice and warm, like a smoker, in temperatures between 225 and 250 degrees.

Yes, every pig is an intelligent individual with its own unique dreams and aspirations. And as the most intelligent species on Earth, it is the job of the human race to help every pig realize its potential. In fact, it is more than that: It is our job to see the potential in the pig that perhaps the pig does not even see in itself.

For those of you who follow the Christian religion: Is that not what Jesus was said to have done? To see potential in others that they did not see in themselves? When we see the potential in the pig, we are truly walking a mile with Jesus.

Or, for those of you who follow Eastern schools of thought: Is “I see the divine in you” not a commonly used greeting? Let us look at the pig, and imagine how divine it will taste after it comes off the Moody Ques smoker and is pulled apart and topped with Moody Ques sauce.

Or, for those of you who are atheists: It’s a dead pig on a plate and it tastes good.

You see, BBQ Fest is more than a Memphis in May event. It is a religious feast, no matter which religion you follow, as I have proved above. You shouldn’t really even have to use vacation to take off work for BBQ Fest. You’re just observing your religious practices. Feel free to print this out and show it to your company’s HR department if you think it will help.

Let us come together for an evening of prayer and meditation and gluttony and beer tomorrow night at the team meeting. May this message remain in your heart and inspire you all the way to BBQ Fest. Amen.