Thursday update

Tomorrow is Star Wars Night at the Grizzlies, a 7 PM game vs. the Atlanta Hawks. In celebration of the release of The Last Jedi, the first 5000 fans through the gate will receive a Memphis Grizzlies lightsaber.

Ballet Memphis’ Nutcracker plays four shows at the Orpheum tomorrow through Sunday.

Second Edition, a pop-up bookstore at 9 N. Main, is open through tomorrow. Great chance to pick up a gift for a friend or a new read for yourself.

Ghost River celebrates its 10th birthday on New Year’s Eve.

What’s interesting is that Ghost River (the brewery, not the taproom) opened on the same day as another great South Main business: Max’s Sports Bar.

Hello, Dalai! The Dalai Lama has an iPhone app now.

I played trivia with friends last night at the Blind Bear, and I was tasked with coming up with the team name. Team names based on current events are always a good strategy, and no event is more current than Roy Moore’s loss in the Alabama Senate race. So the name I wrote down was “See you later, alligator. After a while, pedophile.” It didn’t win but nevertheless I was pretty proud of it.

Charvey Mac played after trivia, but I had this wild idea that if I went home early, I could get up at 5 and drive out to Sunrise Memphis for breakfast before work. What actually happened was, I woke up at 6:52. So no Charvey and no breakfast. I’m sure I’ll get insomnia one of these days and be up at 5.

Politico speculates that Paul Ryan may retire, and will almost certainly step down as Speaker of the House, in 2018. Of course, he can’t say that publicly because it would hurt fundraising and his ability to get legislation passed. Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out, Pauly!

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

Wednesday update: Decency prevails and more news

Got a couple of pieces of brewery news to report. This Thursday at 7, Ghost River will host Ginger, Beer & Holiday Cheer in its taproom along with Two Girls and a Whip. Each Thursday in December they’ll have holiday movies, boozy cupcakes, and craft brews. This week Two Girls and a Whip will have a “Ginger Beer” cupcake, made with Ghost River’s P.S. I Love You American Strong Ale. They’ll also have non-boozy cupcakes available for purchase. They’ll show National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation at 7, followed immediately by Elf.

Way, way out east, Meddlesome Brewing Co. will conduct a video game drive for the troops on the 30th:

New Memphis, a nonprofit committed to attracting, developing, activating and retaining talent in order to forge a prosperous and vital new Memphis, is hiring a Communications Specialist.

South Main is throwing a special Liberty Bowl Night at South Main Trolley Night Friday, December 29. The Liberty Bowl is the next day, and our guests from Iowa State will be in town. Let’s show them some Southern hospitality. Most of the shops in the South Main Arts District will be open until 9 or later, many offering discounts, appetizers, beer or wine. Delta Heart will be playing the Arcade Restaurant from 7 to 9 and Sean Apple will play The Vault.

Fun fact I discovered: December 21 is the winter solstice and shortest day of the year, but it is neither the date of the latest sunrise or the earliest sunset. The earliest sunset for Memphis (4:47 PM) occurs from December 3-6 and then sunsets start getting later again. The latest sunrise (7:09 AM) doesn’t happen until January 4-9. Actually, though January 4-9 is not the latest sunrise of the entire year. By the last days of Daylight Saving Time in early November, the sun rises as late as 7:24 AM.

I don’t have this officially confirmed, but I am hearing that Hot Wing Fest is moving to Tiger Lane next year. That is an ideal spot for cooking festivals and is far better than closing a street.,

You have a chance to win a boat at The Memphis Boat Expo the second week of February at the Cook Convention Center.

Radio/trivia host Kevin Cerrito (@cerrito on Twitter) reports that WWE is now advertising The Shield vs. Samoa Joe, Sheamus and Cesaro and Kane vs. Braun Strowman for the Monday, January 8 edition of WWE Monday Night Raw live from FedExForum.

Decency prevailed last night as Democrat Doug Jones defeated racist/homophobe/accused child molester Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race. I hope this leads the GOP to understand what a chaotic and negative influence Steve Bannon is on their party and exile him once and for all. If they don’t, November 6, 2018 is going to be a fun day for Democrats.

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

Elect a Pedophile Day update (I hope this title is wrong)

I’m going to break my rule about saving politics until the end of my post today, because this is an important day in American history. Residents of Alabama will go to the polls and possibly send an accused pedophile, a man with 8 accusers including one as young as 14, a man who was reportedly cruising the mall for teenage girls when he was in his 30s, to the United States Senate. This New York Times article written by a 21-year-old woman, a senior at Auburn who values her faith and attends Bible study regularly, is well worth a read.

Catherine & Mary’s will be open for brunch starting this weekend. 10:30-2:00 Saturday and 10:30-3:00 Sunday.

I went to Las Margaritas and had the Camarones a la Diabla, shrimp in a spicy sauce, on Saturday.

This dish was good and I’d get it again, but you know what would really make it awesome? An “add slices of avocado and bacon” option. That spicy sauce would be perfect for dipping bacon, and avocado would take the edge of the heat off.

Instead, I took the edge off with fried ice cream for dessert.

While we’re on the topic of taking the heat off, the CA has a list that will help you take the heat off the holidays. It lists restaurants that will cook turkey, ham, etc. that you can take home, and what places will be open Christmas Day.

Congratulations to Tamp and Tap, recent recipient of a perfect 100 score on their health inspection. That is not an easy thing to do!

The Silly Goose has a Christmas shopping tip:

‘Reke’s in some pretty good company here:

Join hundreds of your fellow Memphis Tigers fans in the stands tonight at FedExForum as the Tigers host Albany at 8 PM. This seems like another in the list of “they have a basketball team?” opponents along with Samford, Mercer, and Bryant, but watch out… Albany is number 105 in the KenPom power rankings, whereas the Tigers (despite being 6-2) have slipped to 159. This is probably an L for Memphis. Hope I’m wrong.

Gary Parrish made a good point yesterday. Tubby ran Keelon Lawson and his sons off. Keelon has connections to all the AAU programs in the city, and therefore he could easily sabotage any efforts Tubby makes to recruit within Memphis. I’m starting to come around to the “write Tubby a check to go away and hire Penny Hardaway as head coach” school of thought. What other options do we have? He’d put butts in seats and he’d recruit well within the city.

Happy first day of Hanukkah to my readers who observe that holiday. That’s all for now. Back tomorrow with more news.

Monday update

Rare weekend without a blog post… I had one planned for Saturday morning, but at 9:17 AM my computer decided it was time to do a Windows Update and it was still running when I went out at 11.

MATA will be testing the trolleys today and tomorrow but don’t get too excited, because yet ANOTHER delay has come up. The company restoring the trolley cars ran into some unexpected issues, and MATA has announced April as the expected return.

Congratulations to Memphis Tiger Anthony Miller, named a first-team All-American this week by the Associated Press.

If you were wondering what the Bi Bim Breakfast at Sunrise Memphis looks like, they tweeted a photo:

The annual Silly Goose Christmas Soiree has been set for Thursday, December 21 starting at 9 PM.

The DMC is gathering information on whether Downtown residents support a proposed changed by a member of the City Council. The proposal would allow open containers of alcohol on Main Street from A.W. Willis to Crump. Email your opinion to Jennifer Oswalt, DMC president, at oswalt@downtownmemphis.com; or Cathy Weaverm SMA president, at cathyw1007@yahoo.com.

A Montreal couple is renovating an office building at 250 Court. They previously bought a building on Adams.

The Grizzlies host the Miami Heat at 7 tonight at FedExForum.

The Medical District is looking for volunteers to participate in a street light audit tomorrow evening.

That’s it for now. Back tomorrow.

Friday update

I was driving home from work last night, going north on I-55 having just crossed back into Tennessee. In the far right lane there was a minivan, going about 60, with its flashers on. 65 is the speed limit, so the driver was going a bit slow, but it’s OK because 1) He was driving in the slow lane and 2) He had his flashers on, indicating some kind of emergency.

People were TAILGATING him. I mean, half a car length behind tailgating.

What if his check engine light had come on and he turned on his flashers because his engine could stall out at any minute? When it does, that half car length is not going to give you sufficient time to avoid rear-ending him.

What if he was driving his pregnant wife to the hospital to give birth? What if he slows down and you hit him, and for the rest of your life you have to live with the fact that you killed a baby moments before it was to be born?

Drivers in this town need to get some common sense. Slow down. Have some consideration for your fellow drivers. And get off your damn phones!

The Navy’s new tagline, “Forged by the Sea,” was created right here in Downtown Memphis by Y&R Memphis. It’s part of a $457 million campaign for rebranding recruitment by the Navy.

I’ve got a reader who is looking to volunteer to feed the homeless Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day. Anyone know of places where she can volunteer? Email me at paul@paulryburn.com and I will pass it on.

I loved my Weather Channel calendar I got for Christmas as a teenager. So much information. Now you can shop local for a weather calendar to give as a gift:

Get discounts on beer at the Ghost River taproom for 12 days (December 9-24 on the days they are open) when you give to receive. They will be collecting donations for three charities:

: Pet food and more, follow link to see other desired donations

50% off the Beer of the Day when you bring a donation. Beers of the Day:
Dec 9th – Golden Ale
Dec 10th – 1887 IPA
Dec 13th – Grindhouse Cream Ale
Dec 14th – Midnight Magic
Dec 15th – Citra SMASH
Dec 16th – Bruns Upe (or Red)
Dec 17th – Sinful Sister
Dec 20th – Howzit Gose
Dec 21st – P.S. I Love You American Strong Ale
Dec 22nd – ULFBERHT
Dec 23rd – Prestige
Dec 24th – SMASH Test Dummy’s Daddy

The 23rd will be a sweater party at Ghost River: Wear a sweater, bring a sweater to donate to the Union Mission.

Ono Poke will be set up in the Ghost River taproom today not only for lunch as usual, but dinner as well.

Liberty Bowl news:

Mint Cream Studios at 525 N. Main has a grand opening party tonight from 6 to 10. The shop appears to be an extension of the Mint Cream lifestyle blog.

The Redbirds have a holiday package complete with tree ornament:

The Grizzlies host the Toronto Raptors tonight at 7 at FedExForum. They have also announced Social Media Night ticket promotions for their 8 PM game against Oklahoma City tomorrow at FedExForum.

Tin Roof’s inaugural onesie party is tonight.

Exactly one year after I got her, I found out my troll’s official name in the Trolls movie collection. She’s not one of the more widely-known trolls, so up until yesterday I didn’t know. I found this video talking about each of the 12 trolls in the Trolls Blind Bag Series 2 (fast-forward to 8:50). There are six Blind Bag Series total, each with 12 for a total of 72. Damn, that’s a lot of trolls!

I’m not changing my troll’s given name at this point but her movie name is Karma. I swear, some days the jokes just write themselves.

Weekend! Having had a 4-day weekend followed by a 4 1/2-day weekend, this 2-day weekend is going to fly by. Check back tomorrow for more news.

Thur update #2: Joycean dinner, BBQ team update and more

Ghost River will be showing The Nightmare Before Christmas on the big screen tonight at 7. Two Girls and a Whip will be there with a boozy cupcake called Black Magic, made with coffee and Midnight Magic Black Ale. Eddy’s Pepper food truck will be parked outside.

The Cossitt Library will host lunchtime Booker T and the MGs album listening sessions this Friday and next at 12:15. Take a break from work and use headphones provided by The Fourth Bluff and Beale Street Caravan to relax, with a different album each week. Bring a lunch or order from one of the food trucks on site. if the weather is bad this event will be moved to the library’s second floor. Admission is free but headphones reservations are recommended.

James Joyce fans: On Tuesday, January 9 from 6:30 to 9:30,The Brass Door will offer a culinary interpretation of short story The Dubliners, called Day of the Dead: A Joycean Feast. Expect multiple courses, wine, whiskey and stout, readings, maybe a song or two. Here’s the menu:

Smoked Ham Croquettes with parsley sauce
Oysters, a few ways
Duck Pate with figs
Spiced Beef Tenderloin with colcannon
Bread and Butter Pudding with whiskey butter
Cashel Blue, roasted nuts & fruit

Tickets are $75 with limited availability. Call 901-572-1813 for reservations. Period dress optional but encouraged.

I wanted to give everyone an update on what is going on with the BBQ team for 2018. We are partnering with a team that has been very successful in KCBS regionals for over a decade, but which has never been big enough to compete in BBQ Fest. They’ll handle the cooking and we will supply the party, continuing under the Moody Ques name although they will use their own team name for spring regionals. They have a 30-foot air-conditioned cooking rig and have beaten some of the big names in BBQ. They did a practice cook for a few of the team leaders November 18 down in Hernando. It was said to be a smashing success and we found we had many commonalities.

Since Memphis in May is looking for a different flavor profile than KCBS, our new pitmasters attended judging school last month to understand what the judges will want to see. They are excited about the presentation aspect of BBQ Fest, realizing it’s a sales job to an extent.

The board members and team leaders had a meeting last night. We appointed a couple of new people to leadership positions and changed some titles (mine didn’t change). We laid out a timeline for the next 5 months, set team dues, and discussed ideas for packets to give to potential sponsors. Then, after pizza from Little Italy, it was time for the fun stuff. We went through a virtual tour of Czech architecture (Czech Republic being the 2018 Memphis in May honored country) and got some ideas to go for Best Booth again. We even came up for a design for our team T-shirts. I don’t think we’ve ever thought about T-shirts before April in the past! Great meeting.

Team members, if you have any questions, feel free to hit me up at paul@paulryburn.com or moodyques@gmail.com. If you weren’t a team member last year but would be interested in being put on the waiting list to join in 2018, talk to me about that too. We would also be happy to talk to anyone wishing to sponsor, and can create custom packages to fit your needs.

Good comment on the Tennessee coaching situation:

Hearing a lot of talk about the rapid rise in the value of Bitcoin. Google “tulip mania” if you don’t know what that is. History has a way of repeating itself.

I need this button:

I did a post in the very early AM hours, so keep scrolling if you haven’t read it. After work it will be time to take the birthday troll out for drinks:

That’s it for now, back tomorrow with more.

We have an important birthday to celebrate today + Thursday news

One year ago today, I was in the Walgreens at Church Road and Highway 51 in North Mississippi, picking up some supplies on my lunch break. As I walked down the toy aisle, I noticed a lot of merchandise from the Trolls movie that had been released a month earlier. One item was a foil-wrapped mystery pack – you knew you were getting something from the movie but didn’t know what. It was only $2.99. I figured, what the heck, I can give this away as a gag Christmas gift. I got the foil pack back to the office, found some scissors, and cut it open, being extra careful not to damage any troll hairs inside. This is what came out.

That Saturday, as she stood on the bar at Bardog watching me drink my PBR, I decided I liked the little troll too much to give her away. So I gave her a name and kept her. Amazingly, an entire year of standing on bars has gone by and I have not lost her. She went with me to Little Rock when my mom passed away. A conversation-starter, in February her presence led to a discussion where I recruited two new BBQ teammates. After that I gave her an official title, Deputy Director of Public Relations, on the team. It’s a good feeling to know that if I ever step down as Director of Public Relations, I have groomed an able successor.

So, happy birthday to my troll. May her second year be as great as her first.

The Memphis Farmers Market Holiday Market happens under the pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson this Saturday from 9 AM to 1 PM. Whether you’re looking for treats to eat or gifts to give, the Market has got you covered.

The Brass Door will host Nollaig na mBan: Woman’s Little Christmas is an Irish celebration of the last of the 12 days of Christmas, where the men take over at home and the women head to the pub. The day will start with Sip, Stretch and Breathe Yoga with Kat Sage, who will help you melt away holiday stress. Next there will be an appetizer buffet of muffins, bagels, granola & fresh fruit. Then there will be an a la carte buffet prepared by Chef Patrick Reilly:

Smoked Salmon & Scrambled Eggs
Harissa Grilled Chicken & Butter Lettuce Salad with mint & feta
Asparagus & Roasted Red Pepper Omlette
Shrimp Salad, avocado, tomatoes, cucumbers & Marie Rose sauce

The Mezzanine level of the Brass Door will be transformed into a spa, with some of Memphis’ best masseuses on hand to help rub your stress and holiday worries away. Availability is limited and tickets must be purchased in advance ($95). Call 901-572-1813 to make reservations.

The Volunteer Odyssey Pop-up Party is back this Friday:

That’ll do it for now. Home slightly after midnight so this qualifies as a Thursday post. Highly successful BBQ meeting – details on that to come – followed by an evening listening to Charvey at Blind Bear. Time to get a little sleep. Back later today with more news.

Lunch at McEwen’s and Wednesday news

Back at work after a fantastic mini-staycation. I didn’t do anything big or special, but the time off was a reminder how many wonderful people and places I have in my life. To all who are part of it, thank you for your friendship. I returned to work this morning de-stressed and relaxed.

Monday afternoon I was sitting at the bar at the Blind Bear, and one of the other regulars, Mr. Bill, was telling us about one of his favorite spots to go for lunch, McEwen’s. It’s funny, I live right down the alley from that restaurant, but I never think to go there. The bartender and one of my very good friends, Stacey, said she’d never been there, so Stacey, Bill and I made plans to have lunch there yesterday.

We got seats at the bar. I had researched McEwen’s menu online, but it didn’t matter – as soon as the bartender told us the special of the day, all three of us ordered it. Red snapper with mushroom risotto, Brussels sprouts, and bread. Bill said McEwen’s does a great job with fish, and he was right. I love a good risotto, and the bacon made the Brussels sprouts delicious.

We went there at noon and the place was busy. McEwen’s seems to be popular with lawyers and there were many jackets and ties. With my PBR hoodie, jeans and flip-flops, I stuck out like a sore thumb. Also I seemed to be the only customer with a troll doll standing on the bar next to his food. Oh well. On my days off I do what I want.

Service was excellent and the price was quite reasonable for the quality and quantity of food I got. I plan on going back.

Random topic that came up in bar conversation this week: Bath bombs that smell like a stripper.

Bluff City Dental at 269 S. Main will have a holiday party from 4 to 6 PM on Thursday, December 14. Stop by and enjoy some cocktails and light appetizers, and meet your friendly neighborhood dentist, Dr. Issacman.

Janet Jackson’s State of the World Tour comes to FedExForum tonight at 8.

Police have identified a man accused of stealing a St. Jude family’s luggage from a vehicle parked in an alley near Gus’s. The family was running in memory of their 4-year-old niece who died of leukemia after being treated at St. Jude. People who steal from St. Jude families are absolutely the lowest of the low.

Equipment from the recently-closed Spaghetti Warehouse is up for bid at auction.

On Friday, December 15 at Downtown Yoga, you can take any class for free when you bring non-perishable food items for the Mid-South Food Bank. Classes that day include Yin Yoga, Meditation, Power Lunch, Ashtanga, and Candlelight Vinyasa. YOGA!

South Main Sounds will have a special Christmas Show this Friday, December 8 from 7 to 9 PM at 550 S. Main. Jimmy Stephens Jr., Brad Webb, Rice Drewry, Jon Dillard, Abby Francis, Jackie Flora, Cecil Yancy, and Melinda Milligan will perform.

2016 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees Chicago will play the Orpheum Tuesday, May 15, 2018. Tickets go on sale this Friday. If you’re on a BBQ team keep in mind that the show occurs during BBQ Fest week.

Donair Poutine @ Kooky Canuck

Poutine is a Canadian classic. French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy… it’s a dish you just can’t go wrong with. One of my very favorite things to order at Kooky Canuck.

A few years ago Kooky expanded their menu and added the Donair, a Halifax, Nova Scotia specialty. The Donair is house-made shaved Gyro meat inside a pita with tomatoes, onions, and a sauce. At one point Lana told me it was her favorite sandwich on the menu. It’s a great little taste of The Maritimes.

When Kooky expanded their menu again recently, they combined two of their signature dishes, creating Donair Poutine. It’s the fries, the cheese, the gravy, but topped with Gyro meat, tomatoes, and onions. A delicious treat to eat. If you take my suggestion to try the Donair Poutine today, be advised that their 34 oz. mixed drinks are only $5 on Tuesdays.

Expect another food post soon, because I have lunch plans with two friends today. Time to get out there and enjoy the last day of my vacation! Back tomorrow with more news.

Monday update

I want to start off this post by standing up for a great local business that is getting an unfair rap. There was an unfortunate incident at The Den on Marshall Avenue Saturday night that is not reflective of what the place is. The Den is a place of warmth, creativity, and expression, a place where people can make their voice heard, whether it is through art, words, or music. The Edge is a richer neighborhood in character because of its presence. Don’t let one bad night – and the Negative Nancys who come out of the woodwork every time a place has a bad night – stop you from going to The Den and enjoying what the venue and the artists who perform there have to offer.

The Memphis Farmers Market is seeking an executive director. Allison Cook, who held that position for the past six years, is moving on to a new chapter in life. Have a look at the job description and if you think you’re a good fit, send resume and cover letter to resume@memphisfarmersmarket.com.

My sources that told me either Texas or good ole West Virginny would face Memphis in the Liberty Bowl turned out to be wrong. Instead, we’ve got the Cyclones of Iowa State. Not thrilled about that selection… while Texas and West Virginny would have likely been safe W’s for the Tigers, Iowa State has shown it can beat any given team on any given day. I hope Cyclones fans travel here from Ames in large numbers so our Downtown hotel and restaurant scene gets the payday it deserves.

Random thought I had yesterday… people can write in the names of candidates if they don’t like either Roy Moore or Doug Jones in the Alabama special election to the Senate. Wonder how many votes Saban will get?

Check out this beautiful fried avocado salad Minh made me yesterday at Oshi Asian Kitchen!

It was delicious and my troll liked it because the avocado matched her hair.

I’d like to encourage my fellow Downtowners to take a field trip to Lafayette’s Music Room sometime soon. Our friend Roscoe, longtime manager of the Silly Goose, has taken a job there. Roscoe is the bestest primate I have ever known, so let’s support him in his new gig.

It’s 7:40 AM as I type this and I don’t have to be at work today. You know what that means… BARDOG! Nice to have a bar around the corner that opens at 8 AM. Time to get in the shower and make sure I get there on time. Back tomorrow with more news.