Sat update: My pop-up volunteer experience, Downtown news, and the Cris Collinsworth Slide In

Yesterday I called it an early weekend and headed out to lunch at Blind Bear about 11:45. However, I made an unexpected stop on the way.

Outside 60 S. Main at Volunteer Odyssey, a lady asked me, “Would you like to come in and volunteer? We have projects you can do in as little as 60 seconds.” Volunteer Odyssey does good work connecting folks with volunteer opportunities and writing about them. How could I say no?

I got my fortune told by Nicole, the fortune teller who would predict where I would volunteer next.

Nicole asked me a few questions about myself – my favorite hobby, whether I’m into nature, how I feel about children. Then she looked into her crystal ball and predicted my future.

“I see you helping the homeless or those in need,” Nicole told me, underlining a couple of organizations on a card. “Refuge Memphis serves the homeless with food, clothing, and shelter.” I have to admit I had not heard of them before. “The Memphis Crisis Center helps people who are struggling in life.” I had heard of the crisis center. One of my classmates volunteered there when I was in college.

“It’s not on the card, but Urban Bicycle Food Ministry might also be a good fit for you,” she continued. I told her I had heard of the food ministry and know people who volunteer for it. “You can help them in the kitchen making the burritos, or riding around down distributing the burritos to those who are hungry, or both, whatever you choose to do.” Nicole told me.

I thanked Nicole then walked to a table to perform one of three 60-second volunteer activities, and her prediction immediately came true – I did something to help the homeless. “We’re writing cards of encouragement and homeless to be given to them around Christmas,” the lady at the table told me. “You can come up with something original, use Google to find an inspirational quote, or copy what someone else wrote.” I thought for a minute and then came up with something.

They also had a virtual-reality machine where you could experience volunteering with VR, but the rain was starting to pick up and I needed to get down the street so I skipped that one. What a neat experience! They have these pop-up volunteer parties several times a year. Check one out if you get a chance. I think you’ll enjoy it.

On to the news…

Memphis 901 FC, the city’s new professional soccer team, has announced the date of its first home game at AutoZone Park. They will host the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Saturday, March 9. Kickoff time will be determined at a later date.

An urban park costing $5.7 million is coming to The Edge District, picking up where Union Row will end on the eastern side. The park will be called The Ravine, so named because it actually will be an adaptation of an existing ravine running between Union and Madison.

The Daily Memphian reports that repair issues could bring down the curtain at the Cannon Center if they are not addressed soon. The building is still safe and no shows have been canceled, but many spotlights and stage cables have had to be taken out of service.

I saw on TV yesterday that the Cris Collinsworth Slide In is a thing now. At the beginning of Sunday Night Football, the camera starts off on Al Michaels only. After Al spends about 20 seconds setting up the situation for the week’s came, the camera pans over and Cris Collinsworth slides in.

People apparently gather in bars in large numbers, and wait for the Collinsworth Slide In to happen, and when it does they all cheer as loudly if not louder than they do for any touchdown. I would agree, the Collinsworth Slide In is something I look forward to every Sunday night. For someone like me who doesn’t have a lot of interest in pro football, it’s the best part of the NFL week.

That’ll do it for now. Off to watch the UT-Memphis game.

Friday update

Yesterday I was at the Silly Goose for happy hour, and one of the other regulars came in wearing a bow tie. He told us that he posts photos of himself in bow ties to Instagram, and it’s attracted attention from tie companies. They’ve contacted him and said, “Would you like some ties?” I need to start posting photos of myself in my PBR hoodie to Instagram. Maybe I’d get free PBR.

Actually, I’ve been told you need 1000 followers on Instagram to start attracting that kind of attention from companies. As of today I have only 667. Follow me at @paulryburn and help a brother out.

Nikki’s Hot Products has another local collaboration going on. Last week I told you how they’ve teamed up with food truck New Wing Order, and you can now get their spicy dry rub on New Wing Order wings. Well, this time around, they’re teaming with a local institution, The Peanut Shoppe on Main Street, to produce Nikki’s Hot Nuts. This will be a combination of the Peanut Shoppe’s top-quality cashews, almonds, and peanuts and Nikki’s spicy Bloody Mary mix. The hot nuts are coming soon and you’ll be able to get them at 24 S. Main.

By the way, I posted this to Facebook yesterday and someone commented, “I thought that place was closed.” No, the Peanut Shoppe on Main is alive and well. It was a different peanut shop on Summer that closed.

The @memgrizz account tweeted photos of the Mike Conley Elf on a Shelf that will be given to the first 5000 fans tonight:

The Green Beetle is seeking a bartender/server. They’re looking for someone with a current ABC card and 4 years experience.

My neighbor Mary Ann Gross will be back with her pop-up shop from 11 to 5 tomorrow at the Center for Southern Folklore.

Mary Ann will have jewelry, mixed media, and hand-made ornaments. Other artists will have their work for sale at well. Come back to the Center at 7 this Saturday for music by Zeke and Paulette.

There’s a seasonal Partner Activation Assistant job available with the Redbirds.

Yesterday I learned of another reason to love late president George H.W. Bush. He and his wife Barbara were both wrestling fans and according to his former press secretary, they watched wrestling every Saturday. In 1992 the Bushes had to fly through Charlotte, and his staff contacted the WWF office and invited Ric Flair to fly on Air Force One with them. When Flair met them, he turned on the charm, causing H.W. to comment, “After 48 years of marriage, I think I’ve lost my wife to someone named the Nature Boy.”

That’s it for now. There may not be a post tomorrow because I’ll be under a time crunch, but I’ll be back Sunday at the latest.


Thursday update: I was feeling a little crabby at lunch today

Today I walked over to the Thursday food truck rodeo in Court Square to find some lunch. I wanted to try a new food truck, and I walked over to the Stanley’s Sweet Street Treats truck to check out their menu.

Soft shell crab BLT? That sounded like something I had to try. I went to the window and placed my order. The lady at the window said, “Would you like a side of smok’d Gouda mac & cheese to go with that?” That brought back memories of smok’d mac & cheese in the Moody Ques BBQ team booth a couple of years ago. I wasn’t about to turn that down!

Just look at that thing! That’s an entire crab, covered in aioli, on a bun with bacon, lettuce, and tomato. Fantastic! The Gouda mac was every bit as good as I anticipated. My compliments to the folks at Stanley’s truck!

For those of you thinking, “Wait, Paul… you posted a food photo without the troll in it?”, there was a reason. I told the lady at the counter I write a blog, and she left the container open when she presented it to me so I could take a photo without messing up the aioli. I didn’t bring the troll with me to Court Square. Don’t worry, though, she will appear later in this post.

The food truck rodeo happens every Thursday 11 AM to 1:30 PM in Court Square. About 15 food trucks show up (sometimes not as many if rain is expected during the lunch hour). Trucks vary from week to week, but today I saw BBQ, burgers, fried Cornish hens, Mexican food, hibachi, fried rice, Asian noodles, and a lot more.

The Blind Bear has its Christmas party this Friday at 8. Jeannette couldn’t decide upon a theme, so she’s doing a little bit of everything: Naughty Santa, funny hats, funny pants, ugly sweater, whatever you want to do. Spiked eggnog, $3 moonshine, $3 cinnamon whiskey. The band A.M. Whiskey plays at 10 PM.

The Daily Memphian is selling gift subscriptions. I am a subscriber and I can personally attest, this is worth the money. It’s people who live in Memphis and love Memphis writing for people who love Memphis. It’s not like turning on the local news and hearing, there was a shooting over here, there was a carjacking over there. The DM has stories about things going on that matter in Memphis. It’s a nonprofit business model, placing an emphasis on quality writing, rather than circulation numbers or ad revenue.

Speaking of which, here’s a Daily Memphian story. Mighty Lights, the project that lights the I-40 bridge over the Mississippi, is seeking dedications for individual lights.

Here’s a great piecce of journalism from the Daily Memphian’s Geoff Calkins: Is it possible to be a fan of both Memphis and Tennessee? NO! “You cannot be a fan of Memphis and Tennessee. If you are, you are not really a fan.” EXACTLY! In all the years I’ve been reading Calkins, this may be his finest work ever.

Dillon Brooks, doing commentary in the booth while out on injury reserve for the Grizzlies, had a sport jacket and a hoodie on last night. I think I may have to try that look. My PBR hoodie would look great with a blazer! Then again, what doesn’t look good with a PBR hoodie?

Check out this mini sampler from The Peanut Shoppe on Main Street just north of Monroe Avenue. They can take care of your chocolate, nut, and candy needs for the holidays, and they have decorative tins that look so pretty that there’s no need to gift wrap. This is a wonderful  local business and one I stopped in many times on the way to go see my mom for Christmas.

The Vault on G.E. Patterson will become The Vault Gastropub with a new menu and new branding for 2019. Some of the old favorites like the Smashburger will be retained, but there will be a lot of new dishes and new hours as well.

MakeUseOf compiled a list of the best online sites to shop for ugly Christmas sweaters. Hmmm… the other day I saw a photo of my friends Rahul and Tony at the Electric Cowboy in matching Western wear. If I could get that image on a sweater, I’d win every ugly sweater contest in town.

Our team name wasn’t good enough to win Best Team Name in trivia last night, but we came in second on the questions.

Always nice to place well in trivia and get a few beers knocked off my tab.Having Perjorie T. Roll on the bar seems to make my teammates and me smarter.

That’ll do it for this post. Back tomorrow with more news.

Computer problems – Windows Recovery, Portable Linux (scroll down for Wed update news)

I’ve already done a Wednesday Update post, so for those of you just here for the news, scroll down and you’ll see it. However, I thought I’d post about the computer issues I have had lately in case anyone has suggestions.

In April 2017, my MacBook died. At that point I started using the Windows 10 laptop I inherited when my mom passed away. For over a year and a half it served me well, but about a month ago I ran into problems. It tried to do a Windows 10 Update, but the update failed, so it tried to roll back to the previous version, and couldn’t. So I’ve been stuck on the blue “Automatic Repair couldn’t repair your PC” screen, with options to shut down or try advanced options.

A little research revealed that I was supposed to have used Windows 10 to create a Windows Recovery DVD or USB drive in case I ever needed it. Well, since I inherited the computer I never knew to do that. There was what seemed to be good news though – there’s a Windows 10 Recovery image online that can be copied to DVD or a USB stick, and because Windows 10 was a free release you don’t need a product key.

I went to Walgreens and bought a 16 GB USB drive. I plugged it into the little 9-year-old blue netbook I use as a backup computer, and started downloading the Windows Recovery image to it… but download failed. Odd, because the recovery image was 4.7 GB and should easily fit on a 16 GB drive. However, on several attempts it failed at the 4 GB mark. I concluded, incorrectly, that I must have a defective USB drive.

I ordered a 64 GB USB drive from Amazon and tried once again, but it too had the download fail at the 4 GB mark. Now I thought maybe it wasn’t the USB drives that were the problem. I did some research and learned that the real culprit was that the USB drives were partitioned as FAT32, which cannot handle single files of sizes larger than 4 GB. My netbook gave me the option of re-partitioning the drives as EXT4, which would allow larger file sizes. However, when I tried to partition the 64 GB drive, I got “partition failed.” At that point I gave up and just accepted the fact that I’d be stuck using the 9-year-old netbook with the dimly-lit 10-inch screen for the time being, as the working but unusable 3-year-old laptop with well-lit 15-inch screen sat there in a chair.

Earlier this week I was having a discussion with a friend about what’s known as “The Dark Web,” and he told me, “You can access it from any computer. All you need is a USB drive.”

“Yeah, I know how that works,” I replied. “All you need is a portable version of the Linux operating system that’s entirely on a USB drive, and have the computer boot from the USB drive rather than an internal drive. There’s a version of portable Linux specifically designed for hackers.”

A few minutes later, an idea popped into my head. I could not care less about hacking or the Dark Web, but that’s hardly the only use for portable Linux. There’s quite a few flavors of it out there. I could put a portable Linux installation on my 64 GB USB drive, configure my mom’s laptop to boot from USB, and I’d be back in business on that computer. No, I wouldn’t have access to my Windows applications, but that wouldn’t matter much. All the programs I use regularly – WordPress, Gmail, Evernote, Dropbox – are in the cloud anyway, accessible through a web browser. Plus Linux is a fun operating system to play around with. I could install a web server on it and teach myself some new programming languages and frameworks.

I Googled and found a recent article on the 7 best portable Linux distros to run from USB. The distro the hackers use, BackTrack/Kali Linux were on there. However, it was not the one I chose, because I have no interest in “The Dark Web” and because it’s more command-line-based Linux. I want a pretty window-based graphical user interface.

The distro I decided upon was Porteus. It can work with a variety of window managers included the widely-used KDE, and it has a footprint of only 350 MB. That would be less than 1% of my 64 GB drive, leaving plenty of room for saved files and add-ons. I grabbed a copy from an FTP mirror, did an MD5 check to make sure it downloaded without error, used 7Zip to unpack the ISO, and copied the directories I needed to the root of the USB drive. I ran a program to make the USB drive bootable, and at that point I appeared to be good to go.

I took the USB drive out of my little netbook and inserted it into my mom’s computer. Still on the Automatic Repair blue screen, I clicked Shut Down. I did a little research and found that on an HP Pavilion 15, I needed to hit F10 upon startup to access the computer’s BIOS menu, where I could tell the computer to attempt to boot from USB drive first and the internal hard drive second.

I restarted the laptop and furiously hit F10… but the computer didn’t notice, and after a minute that blasted blue “Automatic Repair” screen came up and I was right back where I was before. This time I clicked the Advanced Options tab, and there was a “Restore from USB” option. That was as close as I was going to get to “boot from USB,” so I gave it a try. The computer shut down, restarted, and immediately told me “Cannot boot from this device.” However, it gave me an option to go to the computer’s BIOS menu, which is what I had intended to do all along.

I went to the Configuration menu and set USB as a higher priority boot device than the hard drive, and tried again, hoping Porteus Linux would appear on my screen along with the beautiful KDE windowing system a minute later.

It was not to be. The computer ignored the USB drive and went right back into “Attempting Automatic Repair…” and that led me to the blue screen again. Once again I found myself stuck in a loop where I can’t boot into Porteus and I can’t boot into Windows. What I need to do is tell the computer “Forget you ever had Windows installed on you, and look for any other boot device attached to you that has an operating system on it.” As of yet I can’t figure out how to do that, though. So here I type on my 9-year-old netbook.

If anyone reading this has ideas I haven’t thought to try. I’d love to hear them. Email me at Thanks.

Wednesday update

Yesterday I found myself screaming obscenities at a computer that wasn’t doing what I wanted, and decided to turn on the TV and find something mindless to lighten my mood. The 1970s sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter was on. It’s a comedy about four students and their teacher in a Brooklyn high school.

In yesterday’s episode, one of the students, Vinnie Barbarino, played by John Travolta, was running for president of the student body. His social studies teacher, Mr. Kotter, was trying to prepare him to properly campaign. “Vinnie, you have to do this the right way,” Kotter advised. “You need to have a platform. If you were president, what would you want to do?”

Barbarino smiled and said, “Not get caught.” It’s amazing how a sitcom recorded 43 years ago can be so relevant today.

Yeah, yeah, I know I normally save anything political until the end of my posts… but this was humor, not politics. And now, let’s get on with the news.

There will be an ugly sweater party at Earnestine & Hazel’s this Friday. You can win some fabulous prizes, and the Fireball Girls will be there and Fireball will be on special for $3.

The last Songwriter Night of the year happens at South Main Sounds at 550 South Main this Friday at 7 PM. Casey Weston, Daniel McKinnon, Brandon Ingle, and Allie Keck will perform.

This is not Downtown news but it’s still news that is going to matter to a lot of people. Both locations of Fino’s on the Hill will close later this month. I lived in the Gilmore at Madison and McLean for two years, and it was so nice to be able to go in the back door and get quality food without ever leaving the building. The open-faced roast beef sandwich was my favorite.

The Memphis River Parks Partnership has a survey you can take about Tom Lee Park. They want to know how you use the park now, and what you would like to see in Tom Lee Park in the future.

There will be Labatt Blue specials during the Nashville Predators vs. Chicago Blackhawks game at Kooky Canuck Tuesday, December 18 6-11 PM. $7.50 for a 24 oz. can or $25 for a bucket of four. There will be Predators and Labatt Blue giveaways during that time.

If you want to help migrants passing through Memphis, there is an organization called Mariposas Collective where you can do that. Currently they are in need of non-perishable food snack foods like chips, granola bars, and cracker packs. They also need fruit, jackets of all sizes, bottled water, toothbrushes, travel toothpaste, and deodorant. These can be dropped off at the rear (hostel) entrance of First Congregational Church in Cooper-Young, 1000 S. Cooper. The Facebook post I saw said these can be dropped off “at” 6 PM. I think they mean “until” 6 PM? Anyway, this is a way you can show our migrant brethren that the spirit of Lady Liberty, of Ellis Island, of the great melting pot that is America still lives on in the hearts of many U.S. citizens.

700 jobs are coming to the Toyota Center in Downtown Memphis. Boston-based Indigo, an ag-tech company, will be hiring. Toyota Center will be renamed Indigo Plaza.

The Grizzlies return to FedExForum to host the Portland Trail Blazers tonight at 7.

The Orpheum will start offering regular tours beginning in January.

Watching Local 24 News as I type this. They’re reporting that first-team All-American running back Darrell Henderson will not play in the Birmingham Bowl for the Memphis Tigers, and he has already hired an agent. That’s disappointing but understandable. If he thinks he will go high in the NFL draft, an injury in the Birmingham Bowl could cost him a lot of money.

Michael Cohen has been sentenced to 3 years in prison for a variety of crimes, including felony campaign finance violations committed at the direction of President Trump. He will serve that sentence concurrenrly with a two-month sentence for lying to Congress.

That’ll do it for now. I may do a second post about the computer problems I am having, in case anyone has ideas.

Tue update: Ministry, volunteer opportunity, sports news and a lot more

Ministry plays the New Daisy tonight, with opening bands Carpenter Brut and Allen Weaponry. Tickets are $38-50 with doors opening at 7:00 and the show starting at 8:00.

Got a tremendous volunteer opportunity to tell you about. The Memphis River Parks Partnership is seeking ambassadors to help spread the good news about the transformation of our riverfront. Applications will be taken today through the end of the year, with volunteers selected in January. Man oh man… if my legs were totally healed from the problems I had last month (they’re much better by the way) I would absolutely sign up for this.

I’m watching Price Is Right as I type this. Just saw a man, the first of three to spin the Big Wheel, hit a 75 on his first spin and he spun again and went over a dollar. Spinning again on a 75 seems like a really bad mathematical move. I would think if you’re first to spin, you spin again on a 65 and stay on a 70. If you’re second to spin and the first person went over, you spin again on a 50 and stay on a 55. (Technically, spin/stay on 50 would be even money if all you care about is getting to the Showcase, but because you have a chance to hit another 50 and win $1000 and a bonus spin, the math tilts in favor of spinning again on 50.) Fellow math people, do you agree? Anything I’m missing in my logic here?

Hozier has been announced for the Orpheum for March 26.

South Main Book Juggler has announced the January meeting of their book club for Thursday, January 17 6 to 8 PM. The book will be Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westower. Books can be purchased at the Juggler.

The Memphis Redbirds have announced that Cardinals Caravan will return to AutoZone Park on Friday, January 18. Meet team members and coaches of the Redbirds’ major league affiliate the St. Louis Cardinals and learn about their plans for 2019. More information will be coming soon.

Memphis Tigers running back Darrell Henderson has been named a first-team All-American. Here’s the complete list.

More good news for Tiger football fans: Coach Norvell has indicated he isn’t leaving for greener pastures at the end of the season, that he really likes Memphis and intends to stick around. There was interest in the head coach of the Tigers from several Power 5 schools.

Saturday is another doubleheader day at FedExForum, with the Tigers hosting Tennessee at 11 and the Grizzlies hosting the Houston Rockets at 7. If you’re attending the Tigers-Tennessee game and want to make Christmas better for a child, bring a new, unwrapped toy for the Tiger Toy Drive. Toys will be distributed to local children.

As for the Grizzlies game, be one of the first 5000 there to receive a special “Winter Slam” holiday card to celebrate the second of several Wrestling Nights throughout the season. The cards are made by Mercury Printing. There will also be a Wingsday Special where you can get two Terrace IV tickets and two 5-piece boneless wings from Wing Guru.

Even more local sports news: The University of Memphis will be offered an even bigger piece of the American Athletic Conference’s TV deal if they and other top schools commit to staying in the conference through the end of the deal.

Okay, let’s see if we can find some non-sports news to talk about… the Orpheum has a few holiday shows this week and weekend. Tomorrow night (Wednesday) Harry Connick Jr. will toast the city and sing a selection of holiday favorites. Saturday there will be three performances of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical at 11, 3, and 7. Mannheim Steamroller Christmas by Chip Davis, a holiday tradition for many years, rolls into the Orpheum on Sunday.

Downtown’s Visible Music College has a radio station that broadcasts all Memphis music, all the time. Check it out at 100.3 FM. Broadcast range is pretty limited but covers Downtown, Midtown, and areas inside the 240 loop.

There’s a GoFundMe for medical expenses for Benny Elbows, a local comedian who was injured in a carjacking this past week. Ben performs as part of the Bluff City Liars and recently brought Kids in the Hall co-founder Kevin McDonald to Downtown Memphis. Cerrito Trivia and Bingo tweeted yesterday that Ben is also one of their hosts.

I found a good new Memphis wrestling blog and wanted to pass it along for my readers into pro wrestling. The first post covers the end of 1973. Those of you who started watching Memphis wrestling around the time I did remember Jerry Lawler as a good guy fighting Jeff Jarrett and Eddie Gilbert. In 1973, though, Lawler was a heel/bad guy fighting Jeff’s dad Jerry Jarrett and Eddie’s dad Tommy Gilbert.

Whew! Finally to the end of the massive amount of news I had to cover today. Time to spend some time investigating portable Linux installations to revive a dead computer, then after that I’ll get out and about. Back tomorrow with more news.


Monday update

There will be a celebration of the life of Chef Gary Williams tomorrow at Growlers, 1911 Poplar, from 6 PM until midnight. Come share the things Gary enjoyed – food, art, music, friends and family. Donations to the family will be accepted at the door, and 50% of proceeds from food and drink will go to the family as well.

Hockey and whiskey fans: Jack Daniel’s rye specials and Jack and Preds giveaways at Kooky Canuck Thursday evening.

Friday night at Walking Pants Curiosities on G.E. Patterson, there will be a puzzle party from 6 to 9. In addition to puzzles, there will be S’mores and eggnog slushies from Max’s Sports Bar.

Evelyn & Olive, the Caribbean restaurant out in The Edge, is hiring a full-time cook.

Save the date: The Rendezvous is going to be on TV again.

Accused Russian spy Maria Butina appears to have reached a plea deal. This is a news story that’s flown under the radar but may turn out to be a bigger deal than the Mueller filings on Flynn, Cohen, and Manafort last week.

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

Sat update: Troll recruits another BBQ member and lots of news

This year, I had koozies ordered with our BBQ team name and logo on them, hoping they’d be a conversation piece. I bring them out with me every day and use them on my PBR cans. I hoped people would ask about them and then say, “Hey, can I join your BBQ team?” However, in six months (granted, it’s the offseason) that hasn’t happened a whole lot, and has not led to any new members or sponsors.

So yesterday, I took my troll out for her 2nd birthday. For those of you who don’t know, the troll serves as deputy director of public relations for the BBQ team.

We went to the Blind Bear and then the Silly Goose, with the troll standing on the bar by my beer. And I’ll be damned if she didn’t recruit a new member.

“Can I be on the team next year?” I was asked by the person to my left, a former member of a team that was disbanded after 2015. Officially I don’t have the power to say yes, because we’ve got to give our existing team members the chance to renew and then vet people for remaining spots. This is someone I would vet though, if there’s room.

I just continue to be amazed at what this little troll brings to the table. You know, I have a meeting with team president John D this morning at Bardog, and I am going to recommend she be promoted to Senior Deputy Director of Public Relations. She’s earned it.

I mistakenly thought 99 Cent Soul Food on South Main was closed, because I saw an ad on Facebook that the building was to be auctioned. I have now been told the restaurant has been open as recently as this week.

The Streetdog Foundation event at Carolina Watershed, Sippin’ with Santa Paws where your dog can get a photo with Santa, has been postponed from today until tomorrow due to weather. Silent auction, adoptable pups, and Memphis Made special-release “Pawliday Plaid” beer.

Early opening time for the Grizzlies vs. L.A. Lakers at FedExForum tonight: MVP and Premium 5:00, general admission 5:30. Everyone wants to see LeBron I guess.

I noticed a premium giveaway for the game next Friday: A Mike Conley Elf on the Shelf. Normally I hate Elf on the Shelf but for that one I’d make an exception.

The Redbirds are offering free dugout tickets when you spend money in their online store:

Memphis Made Brewing Co. will have four vendors on site Sunday afternoon for Handmade with Memphis Made. Note that they will be closing the taproom early at 5 on Sunday for their annual holiday party.

I just got back from my morning trip to Walgreens where I saw HotHands disposable hand warmers on the bottom shelf beneath the cash register. I read recently that these are a useful and inexpensive gift to give the homeless during these cold winter months. They’re only about 50-60 cents apiece. The hand warmers, I’ve been told, are something the homeless wouldn’t think of buying for themselves, but they sure do appreciate them when given to them.

The annual Liberty Bowl parade has been announced for Beale Street the afternoon of Sunday, December 30. Although this parade is more corporate than the locally-produced parades (St. Pat’s/Christmas), the fun is in mingling with the fans in town for the game – in this case Missouri and Oklahoma State. Both of those schools travel well and it should be a festive day.

Death Cab for Cutie will play an Orpheum show on April 7.

The application period is open for Urban Fellows working as interns for the City of Memphis. These are for college students or recent graduates, and interns work part-time on challenging projects in areas of the city they are interested in. This is a way to get a first-hand look at how city government works and make some valuable connections that can be useful as you advance your career.

I haven’t read the Mueller memos on Cohen and Manafort yet but I am about to. The headlines (except Fox News) are all like “This is bad, bad news for Trump,” so I have an idea what to expect from the memos.

Off to Bardog for that meeting with John D. Back tomorrow with more news.

The Terrible Twos and Friday news

Top o’ the mornin’ to you, everyone! I have lots of interesting Downtown news to share with you, but first, we have a very important birthday to celebrate.

My little green-haired sidekick Perjorie T. Roll turns two years old today. Trying to figure out what to do for her birthday… don’t two-year-olds like going to Chuck E. Cheese? I guess I should invite some other trolls too, although I’m not exactly sure where to find other trolls on such short notice.

All right, let’s get on to the news. Yesterday I was chatting with some friends about different meats, and one of them opined that bison is the best meat of all. Then he mentioned a reason to go to Flight, the restaurant at Main and Monroe that recently made TripAdvisor’s top fine dining restaurants: They have bison on the menu. As a matter of fact, their current dinner menu includes a flight consisting of boursin stuffed filet, elk tenderloin, and bison ribeye. Pair it with a Big Bad Cab wine flight and you’ve got a meat lover’s dream.

VIPit passes for BBQ Fest 2019 are now on sale on the Memphis in May website. These give you a backstage look (and taste) of what it’s like to be on some of the best BBQ teams in Tom Lee Park. Question for my readers: Has anyone purchased one of these in past years, and how did you like it? Email me at if you have feedback.

It looks like the One Beale project will finally be getting under way. New permits and renderings have been filed. The MBJ has a photo gallery.

If you want to shop local for the holidays, go by the Center for Southern Folklore this Saturday or the next between 11 and 5. My neighbor and BBQ teammate Mary Ann and a few others will have pop-up shops at the Center, selling jewelry, journals, hand painted ornaments, hand painted angels, and funky bird paintings. The Center also has unique Memphis music, art, and gifts. It’s on the Main Street Mall just north of the Majestic and Bluefin.

Another excellent place to get some holiday shopping done is the Memphis Farmers Market’s holiday market, which will happen under the pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson tomorrow from 9 AM to 1 PM. The vendors will be there to stuff your stocking with lots of goodies and crafts.

Yesterday I saw the worst parking job ever outside of 100 Peabody Place:

Maybe – MAYBE – 2% of the SUV is in the space. I have to wonder if the driver just didn’t understand parking on Peabody Place, or perhaps they just didn’t care.

If you don’t feel like cooking for the holidays, Cordelia’s Market can do it for you. Scroll down a bit on the home page to see their menu. They’ve got turkey, ham, pork tenderloin, brisket, sides, and desserts. Orders need to be in by December 17.

Get a look at plans for the future Wiseacre Downtown brewery in this Memphis Business Journal photo gallery.

This is very, very cool: A Memphis teacher created a website, Positive Physics, to make learning physics more accessible to his students, especially students who were not reading at grade level. Now the website is being used by teachers and students around the world.

The SEC commissioner had the nerve to say UCF should look inward and fix its strength of schedule issues if it wants to be considered for a playoff spot in future years. I’m sure the folks in UCF athletics would love to do just that, but how can they? The top three schools in Florida (including the University of Florida, an SEC school) won’t schedule them. Not that the problem is unique to Florida… I love my Arkansas Razorbacks but I think it is ridiculous that they won’t schedule an intra-state rivalry game with the Arkansas State Red Wolves. Power 5 schools care more about holding on to their power than they do about fairness and equity.

The Woodruff-Fontaine House will have a Victorian Yuletide Open House tonight from 5 to 8. Come get a taste of Southern holiday traditions during the Victorian era.

That’s the news for now. Time for me to start rapidly refreshing Twitter in hopes of breaking news about the Mueller investigation. Happy Friday and I’ll be back tomorrow with more.


Thursday update

Sad news this morning about one of our Downtown community. The Krewe of DejaVu Facebook page reports that Chef Gary Williams has died. Williams came to Memphis after Hurricane Katrina and opened his restaurant on 936 Florida 10 years ago. In 2013 he opened a location on the Main Street Mall but it closed last year. Williams’ specialties were Cajun and Creole cuisine.

Flight has been named one of the top ten fine dining restaurants in the country by TripAdvisor. Flight is known for its “flights” where you can try three portions of different entrees. There are also dessert flights and wine flights. The restaurant is in the ground floor of the Broadnax Building at Main and Monroe.

Speaking of Flight, it appears that a movie was filmed there yesterday. Uncorked is a movie made for Netflix. Courtney B. Vance stars as the patriarch of a family that owns an iconic BBQ restaurant here in Memphis. The son of the family, however, was not feelin’ the whole BBQ thing, and chose to go in a different direction, becoming a wine sommelier.

I found out about the filming because my troll and I decided to walk over to Bardog to see what the lunch specials were yesterday. It was a good day, with a fried pork chop on the menu.

This was a huge, meaty pork chop that was so big I barely finished it. It came with a good-sized portion of mashed potatoes with gravy. My troll, who likes foods that are the some color as her hair, really liked the vegetable medley.

Going to the Memphis Tigers men’s basketball game Saturday? You’ll want to get there early.

The game is against UAB at 12 noon. Saturday is a doubleheader day at FedExForum, with the Grizzlies hosting LeBron and the Lakers at 7.

The City Council is still at a stalemate trying to fill the District 1 seat. They voted over 100 times two weeks ago but failed to reach the needed 7 votes for a candidate. They tried again Tuesday and failed, after which Council meetings were scheduled for every day until the seat was filled. Yesterday four members walked out, making a quorum impossible, and now there may be court action to compel those members to attend meetings. Even after they fill the District 1 seat, there are two more seats to fill. A local activist I’m friends with on Facebook referred to the body as “the City Clowncil,” and more and more I am beginning to think he has a point.

Locally made Delta Sunshine beer is now available in Memphis bars. They had it at Bardog yesterday when I was in there.

The Green Beetle is hiring a restaurant server.

Those of you with kids, fifth grade and up: CodeCrew has some very cool afterschool programs.

Wagner Place, the street that runs parallel to Riverside Drive between Union and Beale, is getting a look by the Memphis River Parks Partnership. Currently it is hardly the prettiest street in the city, and as a connector between the future Brooks Museum and Tom Lee Park, improvements are needed. In other news, a cafe will be coming to the new River Garden in Mississippi River Park.

Wiseacre is gearing up for the yearly release of Astronaut Status beer on December 21.

Burger King is trolling McDonald’s with a penny Whopper deal through the 12th.

All right, that’ll do it for this post. Back tomorrow with more news.