Tuesday update

First news item isn’t Downtown news, but it involves a Memphis institution that is well worth a drive. The legendary Fino’s Italian Deli at Madison and McLean will re-open June 6. They will offer breakfast as well as lunch and will be open 7 days a week.

Max’s Sports Bar, recognizing that many of its cornhole tournament participants are on BBQ teams, has decided to delay the start of its summer tournament from this Tuesday to next Tuesday so people have recovery time. That means you still have time to sign up. Team applications will be accepted through Sunday, May 26.

Max’s will soon see more of me. I love watching the NCAA Regionals, the Super Regionals, and the College World Series there, especially when Arkansas is doing well. Most people don’t care about college baseball so it’s fun to be in a bar full of people (including the bar’s owner) who do.

There’s an opening for a full time cafe team member at Cordelia’s Market. The job description reads, “Looking for someone with an anything it takes attitude to do things like cook, clean, make sandwiches, package food and give great customer service!”

The Redbirds will have a specialty ticket that includes an all-you-can-eat all-American hamburger and hot dog buffet for both Sunday’s and Monday’s games.

FiveThirtyEight has an interesting article on how Americans tend to discriminate where they live by their political views. Republicans and Democrats generally choose to live among their own. Memphis came in as America’s sixth-most segregated city by politics. Most segregated: Jackson, Mississippi.

What you’ll find at the Great American River Run post-race party:

Today is the 100th anniversary of the House passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. Thanks @RepCohen for tweeting that information.

There will be a JustMyOpinion Happy Hour tomorrow, May 22, at Rizzo’s from 5:00 to 7:00 PM where you can voice how you feel about the planned changes to Tom Lee Park. Video cameras will be rolling.

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

Sick

I got 12 hours sleep last night and hoped I would feel better today. I do… a little. However, my throat is still scratchy, my nose is still running a bit, I’m still coughing and hacking up phlegm, and my vision is a bit off – in particular, looking at things that are brightly lit (like this computer screen) is uncomfortable. I feel a bit out of it despite all the sleep, and I’m running a fever although a very slight one. I don’t think I am contagious so I will probably still go out for a little while late this afternoon. I will keep an eye on my temperature and if it hits 100 I will reconsider going out.

I really, really, really don’t want to retire from the BBQ team. It gives me so much joy throughout the year and especially the week of the festival. However, what it does to my allergies the week after is devastating. If I were working I’d have had to take two sick days. At some point I have to ask myself, is this worth it?

If there’s a news post today it will be up between 2 and 4, same as yesterday.

Monday update

Yesterday I went to see B-RAD for Sunday brunch at Pontotoc Lounge. “So, Paul, how’d your team do?”

(Barely audible voice)
“We gotCOUGH COUGH COUGH”

I tried again.
“We got nineCOUGH COUGH COUGH”

“Nineteenth COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH COUGH”
A big piece of phlegm came flying out of my lungs and onto my hand. I wiped it on my pants. That’s how yesterday went. That’s how much of the weekend went.

For the first time ever I’m considering retiring from BBQ Fest. It just takes so much out of me. My body’s reaction to all of the dust and pollen prevents me from fully enjoying an experience for which I paid a lot of money.

I probably won’t retire. And I certainly don’t have to decide now. I can put off my decision as late as February probably. If I left the team I would want to do it by then so a new Director of Public Relations would have time to take over.

Whatever my decision, I want to make it clear that it will have nothing to do with my teammates. I love being on a team with all of you. If I come back in 2020 it will be because of you.

On to the news…

The Daily Memphian reports that there is a lot of concern over the plan to demolish the parking garage at Front and Monroe to make room for the Brooks Museum. Losing those 600 spaces would affect valet services for hotels and restaurants, the Little Tea Shop, Bardog Tavern, and other businesses on Monroe and elsewhere nearby.

looking for some action? A Nextdoor contributor reports that a lot of prostitutes work Saffrans Avenue, 3 blocks north of A.W. Willis. I have not been up there so I can not attest to the quality of these prostitutes.

Idea for Malco Powerhouse, from Distractify: A movie theater replaced its seats with double beds

Local poker league the River Rat Rounders have announced their first-ever Pot Limit Omaha tournament Downtown, to be held at Sleep Out Louie’s on Saturday, May 25 at 7 PM. This is different from the No-Limit Texas Hold’em usually played in bar games. You are dealt four starting cards rather than two. You must use two of your four cards and three from the board to form your best hand; you cannot use one of yours and four from the hoard. That can trip novice players up and make them think they have a straight or flush when they actually don’t, so be careful. Also, realize that AAAA is not a good starting hand because you have a pair of pocket Aces that won’t improve. AAKQ double-suited is much better, with the possibility to improve to three or four of a kind, a flush, or a straight.

As for betting, you can’t go all-in at any time as you can in Hold’em. The maximum bet is the size of the pot. All-ins are only allowed if you have less than the size of the pot in your chip stack.

The Saturday night game at Sleep Out’s will feature double starting stacks and 5K more than usual bonuses for shots. If you’ve never played Pot-Limit Omaha before, this guide can help.

The Brass Door is looking to hire a skilled line chef/cook.

As your #1 source of news and information about The Edge District, it is my pleasure to link to this release by The Daily Memphian saying that a Nashville hip-hop themed pizza restaurant is coming to the neighborhood. Slim & Husky’s Pizza Beeria, a gourmet pizzeria, is rumored to be coming to the building at 634 Union.

Cheers to my friends on Squeal Street BBQ, who celebrated the end of their 10-year run as a team with a sing-along at Max’s Sports Bar yesterday evening. Newer people Downtown may not be aware, but our team and theirs were once one. We all competed as the Ques Brothers 2007-09, then they split off as patio porker team Squeal Street in 2010 while we transitioned  to The Moody Ques in 2012. Squeal Street moved up to the Shoulder division in 2016, competing alongside us. They brought many good times, tastes, and memories to Downtown. I’ve been told that it is likely a new Patio Porker team will rise from the ashes, if wherever BBQ Fest is held in 2020 has space to accommodate patio teams.

Allergies are bad to the point that staring at a computer screen is tough, so that’s it for now. Back tomorrow or Wednesday.

The results are in….

2019 BBQ Fest shoulder final results (shoulder is the category in which my team competes)

2019 BBQ Fest full list of winners

I was encouraged coming into BBQ Fest ’19. You never want to get arrogant and automatically assume you’re going to get a trophy, but there were signs that we might move up from our seventh-place 2018 finish in shoulder.

One reason was a conversation I had with our team secretary Drew a week ago yesterday as we were at the Blind Bear handing out team bags. He told me that at one point cooking the 2018 competition shoulders, the smoker’s temperature got way too high. The issue was quickly corrected, but still, there’s almost no room for error when you’re competing against so many great teams. Having still got seventh after the temperature problem, I thought, if out pitmaster takes steps to assure that won’t happen this year (which I knew he would), maybe we would have the potential to move up even higher in the 2019 standings.

I led off yesterday morning at Bardog and Blind Bear, then got down to the park a little after 2. Our team’s ambassador had not come back by after the 11 AM-noon judging session to tell us to prepare for a second round of judging. That meant we were out of the top three. However, trophies and cash prizes are awarded 4-10 as well, so we still had a good chance at finishing in the money and possibly eclipsing last place’s finish.

Good news: All three of our judges came back to the booth and asked to speak to our pitmaster Kris. That’s a good sign, when they think enough of you to come back by and share feedback. Even better, one of the judges asked for a to-go bag of our competition shoulder to take home to his family. That is a great sign.

One of our cooks, Mac, told me, “all three of the judges told Kris they gave us their 10.” Judges are allowed to award only one of the teams they judge their perfect 10 score. There are only so many 10s to be handed out, and if we had them across the board, we had likely beaten a lot of the other shoulder teams.

Of course, there was one element from which we couldn’t get feedback before the awards: the blind boxes. This is where teams put competition meat into a nondescript box, with only a number on it. Blind judges have no idea what team’s meat they were eating.

The 4:00 hour came and went, and that was a letdown. What happens at 4:00? If your team has a trophy awaiting, your ambassador will come by and strongly suggest you have a presence at the awards ceremony. That didn’t happen, letting us know we’d dropped out of the top 10. We didn’t even bother going to the awards. We were all dead tired and just didn’t feel like standing there for over an hour.

As you can see from the results, we got 19th out of 49 teams. I’m still puzzled how that happened. I’m not the foremost expert in BBQ Fest math, but either we misunderstood about one of the judges giving us their 10, or we got murdered on the blind box component of the competition.

Still, though, even though it’s not the result we were hoping for, I would not say I’m disappointed. I am so proud to be on a team with Kris and the other cooks and all my teammates who went out of the way to make life easier for the cook team. We still finished in the top 40%, damn good compared to most of our team’s historical results. Plus our cook team is really good at avoiding the #1 thing that torpedoes team results, which is what I call “doin’ too much.” We learned that principle about 2 years ago – I’d say Burger Fest ’17 was the first competition at which we applied it – and our results have seen a world of difference. We haven’t had a bottom 50% finish in a major competition category since then.

The most important thing is, we all had fun, we bonded as a team, and many, many people told us that the food they had was amazing. Also, we had a beautiful space in which to party and break bread, although it finished fourth in Best Booth, one spot shy of getting a trophy. Still, I am pleased that we honored The South’s Grand Hotel.

The one result that really surprised me was the turkey ancillary category. If there really are 27 teams that do it better than we do, then there is a lot of damn fine turkey in Tom Lee Park. I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that people who cook BBQ do turkey well: I’ve long said that the turkey is the sleeper item on Central BBQ’s menu that too many people overlook.

About 5 it started to rain. Thank goodness the park wasn’t so full that AT&T’s LTE grinded to a halt like it did the previous two days. I checked the MemphisWeather.net radar and saw that the showers we were experiencing were advance cells of a strong line of storms over Little Rock at the time. When I looked again at 6:15, the line had advanced to Brinkley, half the distance to Memphis. That was quicker than I expected and I realized I had at most two hours to get out of the park. I grabbed a “roadie” beer for the mile walk to the north entrance and made my way to the safety and comfort of the Blind Bear.

Thank you to each and every one of my teammates. Love you all, and if you have feedback on what you’d like to see for 2020, share it with me and I’ll make sure it gets to the other team leaders.

I want to apologize for being a bit quiet and introverted at times in the booth, especially on Thursday. My back was killing me to the point that I could barely even pick up the shampoo bottle in the shower that morning. Allergies were killing me and the effect was compounded by an eye infection. For a couple of hours there I just needed to sit there and drink bottles of water until I got to feeling human again.

Out and about today, then tomorrow I’ll start getting back in the groove and figuring out what to do with my life. Applying for jobs, getting my hair cut, connecting with a couple of key people I couldn’t meet with last week due to BBQ. Hopefully I’ll be back with a news update post no later than Tuesday.

Saturday update

Happy Saturday everyone! It’s been a long few days down in Tom Lee Park as the Moody Ques have been competing and feeding our members and guests. My camera went on the fritz so I don’t have as many pictures as usual, but here are a few.

To honor this year’s Memphis in May place, which is not a country but rather Memphis itself, we went with a Peabody theme. We had a photo wrap of the lobby as our facade, complete with ducks, a red carpet, floral arrangement, and a cardboard cutout of the Peabody duckmaster.

Above is a photo of the booth at night, complete with a lit up Peabody sign atop the structure. We didn’t take top three in Best Booth but nevertheless we are pretty proud of our home for this week.

This was the first year ever for the turkey ancillary, and our cook team nailed it with some of the most flavorful turkey I have ever had. The rules said, everything in the entry box had to be edible, which posed a challenge because we wanted the judges to try our Alabama white BBQ sauce. A resourceful cook hollowed out half a lemon and used it as the sauce container.

Here I am posing with our cutout of the Peabody duckmaster. You won’t find a better cardboard cutout in the Shoulder division! By the way, I was told that the Peabody duckmaster and staff were very nice and assisted us with getting a hi-res photo of the lobby and the image of the duckmaster.

Today is the big day. Kris and our cook team put the competition meat on yesterday afternoon, and it has been smoking low and slow all night. This morning it’ll be time to take the meat off, wrap it, let it rest, and clean the booth for presentation to the judges. For those of you who don’t know, presentation is a big part of the score, and if you slip up and say something the judges don’t want to hear, that can drop you from 1st to 40th. Luckily, Kris and the team give an expert presentation. They even explain that the pigs we cooked were walking around on a farm in North Mississippi earlier this week, and why we chose that farm and the individual pigs that we did.

(Sigh… probably gonna get hate mail from vegans/PETA)

After years of being the lovable losers in the Shoulder competition, never breaking out of the bottom third, we surged to 7th place out of 57 teams last year, getting us a trophy and a check for $500. The judges came back and gave our cooks valuable feedback, and Kris is the kind of guy who makes copious notes in his head. You never know, but I think we’ve got a shot at moving up from 7th this year. I prefer not to be around during judging (I’ve come to accept the fact that I don’t make a good impression) and so I’m going to lead off at either Bardog or Blind Bear at 11.

A few first-year members or guests came to me and told me they were blown away by the quality of food in our booth. I can’t take credit for cooking any of it, but thank you! We will be back in 2020 and we always seem to manage to have spots open up due to members’ busy schedules. If you are interested in joining for 202o let me know and I will keep you in the loop.

The good and the not-so-good

I don’t want the subheading to confuse anyone… the not-so-good part has been slightly irritating, while the good part of this week has been really, really good.

First and foremost, I received confirmation that my Two Feet from the End post at the end of April helped someone make a different decision than they might have otherwise. That just blows me away and I am beyond Cloud Nine… I am on Cloud Eighteen level happy. Up until now, my biggest bragging right about this blog has been that it has affected the population number of Memphis, three people having decided to move here from out of state having read what I wrote. But now, I may have helped save a life. Even if the rest of this week went to hell in a handbasket (so far it hasn’t), I would still count this as one of the best weeks I have ever had.

Funny thing is, I found that fact out late at night, when I’d been up for 18 hours and in the park for 13, so it really didn’t register at first because I was exhausted. The next morning at Bardog, it sank in, and my eyes welled up with tears… in front of a bunch of dudes on other BBQ teams. Well that was awkward.

I’ve had several really good heart-to-heart conversations with friends this week, both face to face and online. A lot of people have told me they’re happy I’m still here. I’m happy I’m still here too.

I’ve received leads on two jobs – not just jobs I’d be doing for the paycheck, but work that I would find really interesting. The people I was in contact with understood that I’m on a BBQ team and I will be in touch next week.

Then, of course, this has been a great basketball week for our city. Penny Hardaway started it off by bringing in graduate transfer Rayjon Tucker who was a star at Little Rock last year. Then he signed four-star Boogie Ellis. Then he signed five-star Precious Achiuwa, moving Memphis up to the number-one recruiting class in the country for 2019. Radio host Gary Parrish had the Tigers ranked sixth in his most recent pre-season poll, and that may have come out before Achiuwa was signed.

Of course, now the expectations are sky-high, and Penny is going to have to silence his “Penny can recruit but he can’t coach” haters. He’ll have to move fast – Wiseman is definitely a one-and-done and some of the others might be too. I’d say that with the talent as stacked as it is, Penny needs at least an AAC regular-season title, an AAC tournament title, and an Elite Eight appearance to answer his critics. AAC regular-season title, AAC tournament runner-up, and Sweet Sixteen is the absolute floor.

Then there’s the Grizzlies. I was watching the lottery at the Blind Bear while I did team bag handout, and I nearly jumped out of my seat when the number-8 pick card was opened and it did not have the Grizzlies’ logo, meaning Memphis had moved into the top four. When the 4 card opened and it wasn’t the Grizzlies either, I started yelling, “KEEP GOING! KEEP GOING!” The 3 card also wasn’t the Grizz, and we had a 50% shot at the #1 pick. However, we’ll have to settle for the second pick. I’ll take it!

There’s a near-consensus that point guard Ja Morant from Murray State will be the best available player at the 2 pick, someone who will be NBA ready from the get-go. If the team selects Morant, it’s probably a little more likely Mike Conley gets traded this summer. The 2 pick’s salary will be almost $9 million, shooting Memphis way over the luxury tax line. The front office will need to make moves to get back under and Conley could be involved. I will be sad at the thought of Grizzlies basketball without Mike, but perhaps it’s time to let The Conductor go chase a ring while he’s still got some years left.

However, keep in mind that one of the reasons why the Grizzlies front office wanted Jaren Jackson Jr. last year is because he had a basketball pedigree, his dad a former NBA star and his mom also involved in basketball. That mindset may give the nod to R.J. Barrett rather than Morant. Barrett is the godson of NBA legend Steve Nash and his father played  pro basketball overseas.

Edit: Well, I just knew I was leaving out one of the things that made me happy this week, just couldn’t remember what it was. Two of the most wonderful people I know got engaged this week. Congratulations Alex and Mary!

Now to the bad (but it’s small stuff and shouldn’t be sweated). First of all, allergies! The pollen and dust in Tom Lee Park has been near max level all week, and I have dealt with watery eyes, a runny nose, a sore throat, and itchy ears all three days so far. I guess I could run over to Walgreens and get some medicine but I’ll probably just gut through the one remaining day.

Secondly… Wednesday. I planned on leading off at Bardog, then heading down to the park to help my team with last-minute setup. In previous years, I had been told that team members  with only gate hours wristbands, rather than 24-hour access wristbands, could get in the park on Wednesday up to a certain time (I’ve heard both noon and 3) and otherwise they’d have to wait until 5 when the park opens to the public. Knowing this, I made it a point to get down there at 11:35 so I’d beat the earlier time. The guard told me I couldn’t come in until 5.

So I walked back to the Blind Bear where I tried some of Tre’s mushroom stroganoff, a vegan dish with carnivore options that may be added to the lunch menu. While eating, I texted my team vice-president and told him what had happened. He replied that the guard at the south gate had let his wife, also without a 24, in with barely so much as a look. That’s the kind of thing I hate. They’re inconsistent.

They’re even inconsistent year to year. Last year, I did the same thing, went down to the gate about 11:30 AM. The volunteer working the gate gave me a kindergarten teacher-style lecture about how I’m supposed to have a 24 on, but “just this once I’m going to make an exception. Tomorrow, though…” Memphis in May, you really need to get your staff better organized on BBQ Fest Wednesday. The people at the gates are making a bad first impression on members whose teams have paid thousands of dollars to be part of your event.

Then there was the mandatory evacuation of the park Thursday night because of a few lightning bolts nearby. About 7:15 a deputy entered our booth and said, “If you have a green wristband (one of the 24s) you can stay. Everyone else has to go!” Of course, nobody left. We know how the game is played. The deputy did his part. Now, if the lightning struck someone without a 24, the lawyers would be able to say it was the person’s fault for not heeding the deputy’s instructions. Except the lighting stayed well to the north of us, and no one was in any danger of getting struck. I hate how they’ve been so quick to order mandatory evacuations in recent years. People would generally be safer sheltering in place in their booths besides, given that you have to walk for blocks and blocks to get to cover if you head for the hills.

The cellular service in the south part of the park was horrible, to the point that I didn’t get any PMs or Facebook notifications from 4 PM until the time I left the park. Once I got out of there I found I had missed PMs, missed texts, and 15 new notifications. If you contacted me about coming to the booth last night and I didn’t answer, sorry, I wasn’t trying to ignore you.

Of course, there were always issues at the door. I won’t go into detail here but we’re going to have to pull a couple of team members aside and have a talk with them about their guests. I do want to give our treasurer Misty big props on handling the door as flawlessly as could be given all that was going on. I also want to give props to our doorman Stone on a job done very well.

The booth really slowed down after the 11:00 hour, so we let Stone go early. By 11:30 I was ready to get out of there myself, and walked back into the booth for one last trip to the porta-potty and to get a road beer to last me while I walked to the north end of Tom Lee. I walked out the entrance to find Fratty McFratterson, who had no connection to anyone on the team whatsoever, sitting on Stone’s stool waving people into our booth. I turned around and stood next to him, and he went running off, meeting up with his bros further down the sidewalk. I guess he thought I was about to get my remaining teammates in the booth together and beat his ass.

Good luck to all the teams competing today. I’m going to do a little pre-gaming then head down to the park. Apologies if you find typos in this post. Too pressed for time to proofread today. Back tomorrow or Monday with more news.

 

Tuesday update

The NBA draft lottery is tonight at 7:30 on ESPN. We will learn where the Memphis Grizzlies will pick in this year’s June 20 draft, with a 6% chance of the #1 pick which would surely be converted into Zion Williamson. If the Grizz finish ninth or worse in the lottery, they CONVEY THAT PICK to Boston.

The defunct Memphis Express AAF team owes the city of Memphis nearly $150,000. The debt is related to expenses related to the Express hosting home games and practicing at the Liberty Bowl.

Cordelia’s Market will have a special dog-friendly food truck night on their patio tomorrow night, Wednesday, May 15, from 5 to 8 PM. Bring your own dog (to the patio; they’re not allowed in the store) or meet a new friend from Streetdog Foundation. In addition to the usual food trucks, Cordelia’s will have treats for dogs, including Pup Pops from MemPops and Fram House Dog Bakery “Ruffins” (dog muffins).

YOGA! Goat yoga, yoga with baby goats, returns to Health Sciences Park this Sunday, May 19 with 1 PM and 2:15 PM sessions. Reserve your spot in advance for $5 with proceeds benefiting Memphis Animal Services. These are 45-minute, all-levels classes, and kids over 10 are welcome.

Having vacated its longtime building in The Edge, the Commercial Appeal is moving to the Downtown core. Their new office space will be on the third floor of Pembroke Square at 119 S. Main.

Regina’s Cajun Kitchen is bringing back their popular Memphis Murder Mystery this Saturday at 6.

Allie Prescott has been named interim AD for the University of Memphis, after Tom Bowen resigned to pursue another career opportunity. Prescott is a former GM of the Memphis Chicks and Memphis Redbirds, and was instrumental in bringing Triple-A baseball to Memphis.

Why I like U of M president M. David Rudd so much: He responded to a tweet, “If you have all six infinity stones and snap your fingers, what would disappear?” Rudd’s reply: “Orange.”

Those in search of a job or a better job, head over to Indeed’s Facebook page tomorrow, May 15, at 12:15 Central time. Local career coach Angela Copeland will be answering job seeker questions on Facebook Live, along with Indeed CEO Chris Hyams and HR expert Jim Stroud.

Lifehacker has some good advice for travelers: Always take a photo of your hotel room number.

All right y’all. I am already tired out and I haven’t even been to the park yet. I seriously doubt there will be a post tomorrow. I’ll be back when I can with more news.

It’s No Post Monday!

The BBQ team has me on a writing assignment, so no post today. Just checking in with all of you so you won’t be concerned.

As I said earlier, posts will probably not be on an every-day basis this week. My duties for the BBQ team have increased from what they were 3 or 4 years ago, and now that we’ve proved to ourselves that we can win I want to do the best job possible.

I’ll write more when I have time.

Sunday update

The Redbirds have a special Mother’s Day Ticket today that includes brunch in the Home Plate Club from noon to 1:30 prior to the first pitch at 2:05. Brunch is $40 club level or $36 dugout, and comes with a coupon for a one-topping Papa John’s pizza to be redeemed later. Items on the brunch buffet include

Bottomless Mimosas
BBQ Chicken Breast
Carved Ham
Scrambled Eggs (plain and with cheese)
Applewood Bacon
Country Sausage
Roasted Garlic Breakfast Potatoes
Belgian Waffles with Chocolate, Strawberry, and Caramel Toppings
Assorted Breakfast Pastries
Pecan Deviled Eggs
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Salad Bar and Cheese Display
Seasonal Fruit Station

The special ticket also allows moms to play catch on the field with their kids during the noon to 1:30 brunch hours. Heh. I like what they did there… bet a lot of moms are going to want to suck down as many of those bottomless mimosas as they can fit into 90 minutes, but their kids are going to be all like, “Mom! Hurry up and finish eating! I wanna play catch!”

All kids (whether on the special ticket or not) under 12 receive a free Prairie Farms ice cream treat upon entering the park. Allegiant Air will sponsor autographs on the field from 1:15 to 1:30. (How exactly does a sponsorship like that work? I can’t imagine there’d be costs involved with people standing on a field and signing scorecards. After the game, all mothers can run the bases with their kids.

There will be Sunset Jazz in Court Square tonight from 6:00 to 8:00. Joe Restivo will perform and this event is free to attend. There will be food trucks and seating available.

Max’s Sports Bar is having an (unofficial) NBA draft lottery watch party Tuesday night, May 14. There will be Grizz shots all night for $3, and of course PBR is only $2.75 all day, every day.

Speaking of Max’s, they have this new game you can play with your friends called The Shot Wheel of Death. You and your friends decide what shot you want to do – Jameson, chocolate salty balls, whatever floats your boat. The bartender counts up the number of people participating and pours that number of your requested shots, minus one. The remaining shot put on the wheel is Besk, which is said to be like “a shittier version of Malort.” Whoever the Besk lands on has to drink it.

I guess you could order a round of Besk to put on the wheel, and that way everybody loses.

The most wonderful time of the year has begun. My BBQ friends from both my own team and other teams are starting to arrive in town, and I spent many good hours at Blind Bear yesterday catching up with old friends. I only distributed 4 team bags yesterday though, which was kind of surprising. Moody Ques teammates, if you need your bag, you can pick it up from me between 4 PM and 8 PM Monday or Tuesday at the Blind Bear. After 8 PM Tuesday I will hand off our remaining bags to our team treasurer, who will take them down to Tom Lee Park. Note: If you don’t pick up your bag ahead of time, you will have to pay gate admission at Tom Lee Park Wednesday evening.

That’s it, short post for now. Back with another as time permits this busy week.

Saturday update

Well, we had our first snafu with the BBQ team. A few weeks ago we designed the T-shirts, with our Moody Ques logo on the front and an Elvis theme on the back, with the words “Love Meat Tender.” The design was posted to our discussion board, and a couple of us commented, “Hold up, I think that might be the name of another BBQ team.” We did a little research and went back to the drawing board.

We changed the slogan on the back to “Rub Meat Tender,” sent the shirt design to the printer, and the shirts are in the team bags I’m handing out this weekend and early next week. Memphis in May released a park map with the names of all the teams and their booth locations. Guess what?

Rub Meat Tender is the name of a team too.

Sigh.

At least they’re not another shoulder team, close to us in location. They’re way down the park from us in ribs. And at least we didn’t enter the design in Best T-Shirt. We’ve never entered that competition because if you use the words “Memphis in May” on the shirts, you have to pay a licensing fee to the festival – and it’s well-known that any shirt without “Memphis in May” on it will be very unlikely to be considered for the winning spot.

I guess it will give the team down the walk from us something to gossip about though…

Yesterday was a good day for Penny Hardaway and Memphis Tigers men’s basketball. Four-star combo guard Lester Quinones chose Memphis over Indiana yesterday. That gives Penny five recruits in the incoming class rated 4-stars or higher, giving Penny a recruiting class said to be in top 5 or 6. It’s also believed that Penny isn’t done and that Quinones’ signing could cause other dominoes to fall in Memphis’ direction.

The May South Main Association meeting has been announced for Swanky’s Taco Shop in the Chisca building for Tuesday, May 14. Hear from the GM what to expect in the upcoming months (patio concerts were mentioned) and what makes this Swanky’s location special. Start time is 6 PM, although the first 30 minutes are usually social time before the program begins.

This weekend won’t break the streak either, as you know if you’ve looked out the window the past couple of days. That’s OK – for all I care it can do whatever it wants this weekend for weather, as far as Wednesday through Saturday of next week look good. Every extended forecast I’ve seen shows little chance of rain, no temperature below 60, and no temperature above 85. That will be perfect if it holds up!

T-shirt giveaway at AutoZone Park next Saturday:

Bluff City Mafia will move up their march time from Brass Door to the park that day so that those marching with them will get there in time to get a shirt.

Also from Memphis 901 FC, check out this offer that combines a special game, flexibility, and a nice price.

Tin Roof will host a Cajun shrimp and crawfish boil Saturday, June 9 from noon to 11 PM. Sylvester Crawfish Farms will drive the crawfish up from Louisiana. DJ Epic, DJ Snow and DJ Desire will spin the tunes. $27 for 5 lbs. June is the end of crawfish season and the ‘bugs should be huge by then.

Cheers to the Green Beetle for doing the right thing. Tomorrow, they will delay their opening until 4 PM so that their employees will be able to spend time with their mothers on Mother’s Day.

Sunrise Memphis over on Jefferson will run Mother’s Day brunch specials today and tomorrow. They will be crab cake benedict, and banana bread French toast topped with candied pecans.

The Grizzlies are seeking a Promotions and Marketing Intern. (Damn, that is the longest URL I’ve ever seen in my life)

The Redbirds are back at AutoZone Park tonight, first pitch at 6:35 with gates opening at 5:00. The first 1000 fans in the gate get an “I Love Memphis” Redbirds T-shirt. $2 beers in the left field bar until the first pitch time. It’s Teacher Appreciation Night, and of course it will be Fireworks Saturday following the game.

From the Washington Post: The XFL plans to change football and avoid the AAF’s fate. There are innovations being discussed including radically changing kickoffs, providing an opportunity for a 9-point play on a touchdown, and an overtime that resembles soccer penalty kick shootouts. The league was founded by WWE’s Vince McMahon and is being run by Oliver Luck (Andrew’s father).

St. Jude has opportunities for you to volunteer at the hospital.

The Memphis Chicken and Beer Festival returns to the Liberty Bowl Saturday, August 3.

Huge beer news this week: Boston Beer, maker of Samuel Adams beers, acquired fellow brewery Dogfish Head. Fortune has a look at what this means for the future of craft beer.

In other beer news, scientists can now explain the cascade of bubbles in a pint of Guinness.

Changing things up today and making my first Saturday stop the Blind Bear rather than Bardog. I’m in charge of team bag handout, and noon to 4 today is my first of three sessions doing handout. Teammates, feel free to stay a while and try the Hung Over Like a Bear brunch menu which runs until 6. $3 mimosas, Bloody Marys, moonshine, and Fireball until 6 as well.

Back tomorrow probably. I may do my usual “how to enjoy BBQ Fest if you’re not on a team” post.