“Paul is a regular human who walks around and writes about life”

That’s how my friend Q introduced me last night. That may be my favorite description of myself ever.

Z-bo comes home tonight as the Memphis Grizzlies host the Sacramento Kings at FedExForum at 7. First 10,000 fans get a Grit Grind Forever headband to celebrate.

Streetdog Foundation will host a dog adoption day at Hollywood Feed on Union Avenue Saturday, February 10 from noon to 3 PM. Come out and meet some of their adorable, adoptable dogs and get your questions answered by volunteers.

A normal high for Memphis this time of year would be 50. It’s hard to even remember what “normal” feels like after the past couple of weeks.

Forget about the cold weather at a Beach Party tonight at the Ghost River taproom. $3 Beer-itas. Hawaiian shirts encouraged. The Beach Boys and Jimmy Buffet will be among the musical selections, and they will take requests.

Singer Mandy Gonzalez plays the Halloran Centre tonight. She’s currently the star of the Broadway musical Hamilton.

Happy January, YOGA! Downtown Yoga is holding a Vision Board Workshop and Yoga Nidra on Saturday, January 27. The better you are able to visualize your goals, the more likely you are to attain them.

Wine, food and music will be celebrated at the second annual Vintage901 Fest March 2-4. Grand Tasting on Friday, a Perfect Pairings Dinner on Saturday, and Sparkling Brunch on Sunday.

Local musician Chris Hill has launched a merchandise line to raise money for the production of an album. All purchases are 20% off for a limited time.

Ever thought about volunteering at Memphis in May? Here are all the ways you can be involved. Just this week I was having a conversation with a friend about what a rewarding experience it is to be a part of MiM.

BBQ problems:

The TEP Gumbo Contest is Sunday. Sample delicious gumbos while supporting equality for all.

That’s it for now. I’m off to Friday lunch at Felicia Suzanne’s! Back tomorrow with more news.

Thursday update

I met a celebrity last night! The lady who shoots T-shirts out of a cannon at Grizzlies games. That must be a fun job.

We’re getting a new steakhouse Downtown called 117 Prime, and it could open as soon as next month. The people opening it are the same group who operate Sweetgrass and Sunrise Memphis. It will be in the old Belle Bistro space on Union between Main and Second.

Amazon has announced its list of 20 finalist cities for its second HQ. Unfortunately Memphis did not make the cut, despite a strong package offered by Mayor Strickland and his team.

Thanks to Chef Michael Patrick for forwarding this: PBR made a winter jacket that holds 12 hidden beers

Save the date: Memphis Made Brewing Co. has announced its 4th annual Hopped festival for April 21.

Chris Hill plays The Vault this Saturday.

The Memphis Camerata choir is holding auditions.

Finding Neverland comes to the Orpheum next week.

Y’all please forgive me if I seem not myself the next few days. Sunday is the one year anniversary of my mom’s death and between that and getting laid off work I am pretty depressed right now. I felt her presence last night as I lay in bed, the strongest I’ve felt her with me since she passed.

Back tomorrow with more news.

Wednesday update

Very excited about returning to Felicia Suzanne Restaurant this Friday for lunch with some friends. Felicia’s does lunch Friday only. Their menu is fantastic and they have 25 cent martinis, perfect when you have a Friday off and live across the street. I have been researching their menu and already know what I want to order: the Sunday Sugo. It’s described as their take on pasta Bolognese, but with risotto instead of pasta.

Felicia announced on Twitter this week that the restaurant is hiring for all positions. Email felicia@feliciasuzanne.com to learn more.

Also hiring is Aldo’s Pizza Pies Downtown – servers, delivery drivers, pizza makers. Apply in person.

I’ve always thought Congressman Steve Cohen was a super cool guy, and the fact that he drives to work in his mom’s 1986 Cadillac only reinforces that opinion.

Grizzlies announcer Pete Pranica has been voted Tennessee Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sports Media Association. Very well deserved. Congratulations Pete.

Holly has a great post about the recently-reopened Brass Door.

Calvary Episcopal has announced the speakers for its 2018 Lenten preaching series.

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

Monday update

Memphis Brewfest is returning for its ninth year, and this year brings a fabulous new location: ON THE FIELD at the Liberty Bowl! It will be 4:00 to 7:45 Saturday, April 14. This beer fest brings a lot of beers to Memphis not normally sold here. Purchase tickets here.

City Tasting Tours is organizing a Pure Memphis Cocktail Tour on Saturday March 3 from 4 to 7 PM. The tour will start with cocktails from Memphis’ very own Old Dominick Distillery. Next they will visit The Civil Pour, the bar inside the food hall at 409 S. Main. After that they visit Belle Tavern with its vast array of whiskeys. Tickets are only $55.

Miss Cordelia’s is starting a daily rotisserie chicken happy hour from 5 to 6. Come in during that time and pick up a rotisserie chicken for only $4.99.

The Rec Room will be hosting a Royal Rumble Watch Party on the 28th.

Today is King Day at the National Civil Rights Museum. $5 to get in, $3 with a donation to the Mid-South Food Bank. Donate a pint of blood and you and three guests get in free.

The Grizzlies host the Lakers in the annual MLK Day Game at FedExForum at 4:30.

All right, that’s it for now. I had MLK Day scheduled off so I am going to treat it as a vacation day, then tomorrow I’ll get started with “figure out how to get my life together” kind of stuff.

It’s IBC Week! Sunday news

The International Blues Challenge returns to Memphis for its 34th year this week. Bands, duos, and solo artists from all over the world will come to Memphis this week to compete and get noticed by record labels. Things kick off Tuesday with an International Showcase at Clayborn Temple. The quarterfinals happen Wednesday and Thursday on Beale Street, with a wristband getting you access to all the music. Semis are Friday on Beale, and Saturday the finals are at the Orpheum.

Tennessee legislators are considering Sunday liquor sales. They want to align the hours with those which beer can be sold. ‘Bout time Tennessee considers entering the 21st century.

Crosstown Brewing Company has announced its opening date: February 16.

My friend Ryne Hancock has a great series going about 50 things to know if you’re going to Mardi Gras in New Orleans for the first time.

Oishii Japan, a celebration of Japanese home cooking, ramen, dessert and sake, happens at the Memphis Botanic Garden noon to 3 this coming Saturday. $5 to get in and then you can buy $10 or $20 books of tickets to taste food. Note that this is a cash only event, so stop by the ATM on your way there. There will be door prizes donated by local Japanese companies.

This Friday, January 19 from 7 to 9 at Loflin Yard, they will have The Forgotten Martini. They’ve been aging a batch of gin and vermouth since October 2016. Supplies are limited so get there early.

Great day at Blind Bear yesterday. My troll was quite the conversation starter. Apologies for not making it down to Max’s Sports Bar for their 10th anniversary but the sidewalks were just too icy.

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

Saturday update

The bluff is normally our friend. It protects us from Mississippi River flooding. When it snows, however, not so much. I’m hearing that it was near impossible to get from Riverside up to Front on any of the connecting streets – Jefferson, Court, Monroe, Union, Beale – even trucks spinning their wheels and turning sideways. People had to go to Georgia Avenue on the very south side of Riverside to have a shot at getting into Downtown. One of my friends reported an 18-minute drive from Riverside and Georgia to his parking garage at Second and Gayoso. The streets Downtown weren’t salted and were terribly icy. And still are. Be careful if you go out today.

Ghost River is having a cupcakes and beer dinner on Thursday, January 25. The cupcakes will be from Two Girls and a Whip and there will be savory cupcakes and sweet ones, paired with Ghost River beer. The savory cupcakes include a BBQ cupcake and a beef tenderloin cupcake. Yummy!

By the way, Bardog Tavern is now carrying cake from Two Girls and a Whip on its dessert menu.

There will be a percussion explosion tonight at the Cannon Center by the Memphis Symphony Orchestra.

The open container proposal for Downtown drew a lot of criticism Thursday. Currently only legal on Beale, the amended ordinance would have allowed open containers of alcohol in most of what is considered Downtown. I was on the fence about this proposal but after reading my friend Patrick Reilly’s comments, I oppose it too. One thing it is not hard to do down here is get a drink. Loosening things up even more would cause more problems than it would create revenue.

Speaking of dranks, yesterday I was scrolling through Twitter looking at Downtown closing announcements due to the ice, and Felicia Suzanne’s was among them for their Friday lunch. It made me realize, it’s been over a year since I did their excellent 25 cent martini lunch that they have only on Fridays. I suggested it to my friend Stacey and we got our friend Mr. Bill in too. It’s on for this coming Friday. Anyone else want to go, let me know… Wednesday or so I will make the reservation.

LITE Memphis is an organization that teaches entrepreneurship to African-America and Latino students in the city. They are currently searching for a full-time outreach assistant.

Just a reminder, Max’s Sports Bar’s 10th anniversary party is today noon to 6. $1.50 PBR and plenty of shenanigans.

Memphis in May is hosting an international teachers’ conference on February 24. Teachers can learn about this year’s honored country, the Czech Republic, and learn how they can promote international studies to enhance their curriculum.

Muddy Magnolias play the Halloran Centre tonight.

The steeple has returned to First United Methodist, 12 years after a 2006 fire.

The Redbirds are holding a seasonal job fair Thursday, January 25. Positions are seasonal and part time and include box office, field crew, bat boy/girl, and Redbirds promotional crew. They are only able to hire people 18 and up. Offers may be made on the spot. More info here.

Perjorie T. Roll wanted me to remind everyone that there’s $2 Fireball at Bardog when it’s snowing. As of the time I am typing this, about 9:30 AM Saturday morning, January 13, it is snowing outside.

Time for Saturday Fun Day. I’m thinking of this as Independence Day in January. Back tomorrow with more news.

Carolina Watershed

My BBQ teammates Jeremy and Jeana came to town yesterday. Among other stops we went to Carolina Watershed, the new bar made of silos on East Carolina.

It was a beautiful place.

Really nice place. I would recommend checking it out if you haven’t already. It’s on Carolina Avenue just east of Main. PRO TIP: If you go during the day, hit the candy store across the street.

I awoke to the sound of sleet hitting my window this morning. A look out the window revealed snow-covered rooftops. If you have plans today, might want to call ahead and confirm the place you’re going is open. A brief 1-minute glance at Twitter revealed that Lisa’s Lunchbox and Downtown Yoga are closed today. I thought about calling my former company’s inclement weather hotline to see if they’re opening today. Didn’t do it though.

Just a friendly reminder to my readers – Bardog Tavern has $2 Fireball when it’s snowing. And it opens at 8 AM. Not saying that’s where I’m going, because I have a lot of important things to do today. Just letting you know it’s an option if you find free time on your hands.

Back tomorrow with more news.

Kickin’ chicken spaghetti @ Lisa’s Lunchbox and Thursday news

Last summer I was talking to one of the owners of Lisa’s Lunchbox, which had just opened a Downtown location at Front and Gayoso. He told me about their casseroles, and their Kickin’ Chicken spaghetti sounded incredible. Trouble was, I worked in Horn Lake, and on my rare days off it wasn’t Kickin’ Chicken day.

Yesterday I was pacing around the apartment trying to decide what to have for lunch, when I thought, I wonder what the special is at Lisa’s? I pulled up their Twitter account.

It was Kickin’ Chicken Day!!!

Generous helping of chicken spaghetti topped with cheese, biscuits and a side salad for $8.99. The spaghetti lived up to its reputation, for sure. Delicious! There were a couple of people in front of me in line ordering sandwiches and I watched the people in the kitchen make them. They looked amazing. Up until now I have tended to forget Lisa’s exists because it’s off the beaten path on Front Street, but let me tell you, once you eat there, you won’t forget the place.

Tomorrow’s rush hour commute is going to be a mess. MemphisWeather.net’s latest blog post has rain moving in today. After a high in the upper 60s, temperatures will drop rapidly tonight, dropping below freezing in the early AM hours of Friday. Freezing rain is anticipated in the 3-5 AM time frame, converting over to sleet, then snow.

Geoff Calkins of the CA wrote a great article on Stan “The Man” Bronson who passed away this week. I did not know Stan was in the Guinness Book of World Records for longest-serving bat boy. Further proof that no matter what your situation in life, you can achieve great things.

The people running the Madison Hotel have bought the building next door at Main and Madison. Sam’s Hamburgers will be converted into a restaurant serving upscale Americana cuisine. Check into Cash will be converted into a small barbershop in the front of the location and a speakeasy in the back.

The Flyer has an article about recently opened-Sunrise on Jefferson Avenue. The chicken biscuit is considered to be a big hit, with its spicy, crisp Cajun batter. The house-smoked meats are an attraction as well. They have one beer on tap: Miller Lite. Hmmm.

Loflin Yard will feature the beers of Virginia’s Devlis Backbone brewery at Pours & S’mores next Wednesday, January 17 from 5-8 PM. S’mores will be paired with Vienna Lager, Danzig Baltic Porter, Sixteen Point IPA, Trail Angel Weiss, and Cran Gose.

Enjoying my unexpected time off so far. Topic yesterday at Bardog: Collective laughter at people who go to the latest hipster restaurant and pay $6 for a piece of avocado toast. I didn’t get a chance yesterday but I hear Aldo has reorganized the jukebox and I’m excited to see what new stuff is in there.

All right, time to get this day started. Getting a haircut at Rachel’s Salon at 11, and am stunned at the fact that I will be going over there in a T-shirt and shorts in January. After that I’ve got to get a promotional packet out to a potential BBQ team sponsor. By Tuesday I have to have a resume together, and am debating whether the BBQ team should go in the “Other activities” section. Yeah it’s spring break for adults but since becoming Director of Public Relations I have reformed communications for our team. I’m also a voting board member of the corporation behind the team, and as a former Burger Fest judge my feedback played a part in us winning a recent trophy. Yeah I kind of think it should be on there.

Time to get going. Back tomorrow with more news.

Unemployment, RIP Stan and lots of Wednesday news (this is going to be a long post, bear with me)

This post was going to be all about me, or mostly about me. But I got superseded.

Stan “The Man” Bronson was an icon on the University of Memphis campus. He was the Memphis Tigers baseball team’s honorary bat boy from the 1950s on. I had the honor of being introduced to him when I was a graduate student. I had lunch with him several times at Tiger Den and even got to attend one of his birthday parties. He was goodness personified. Stan was a reminder just how far basic kindness will get you in this world. He passed away after breakfast yesterday in his late 80s.

“How yew?” Here’s a Daily Helmsman article about Stan.

Okay, let’s get on to my personal situation. If you’re just here to read the news, scroll down, I won’t be offended. Yesterday morning I was sitting in my cube at work, sorting out one-to-many data relationships in our new CRM (customer relationship management software). I was pulled into a meeting and told that our new CEO was reorganizing things and my position had been eliminated. They assured me it was no reflection on my work, and offered me pay for my unused vacation time and a very generous severance package. I would have been there 9 years in March.

Change happens and I am looking at this as an opportunity. Within two hours I was in touch with career coach Angela Copeland and we made an appointment to write my resume. You know, it’s funny – I used to help other people write their resumes, but it’s been so long that I need help myself now. Part of the problem is that I don’t even know what kind of job to apply for. My background is in PHP with frameworks like Zend and Laravel, but my strength that sets me apart from other IT people is my ability to communicate technical things to non-technical people. I’m also what’s known as a “connector,” intuitively knowing how to put people in touch with the right other people to further their career and/or social circles. Just gotta figure out how to monetize that.

I want to make it clear that I have no ill will at all to my (now former) company. If you’re in need of a mental challenge, the card game bridge is fantastic. I hope the company continues to spread awareness of the game and grow membership in the future.

In the meantime, my HR manager suggested I take a week or two to “just be Paul Ryburn, the guy.” And that’s what I’m going to do.

Let’s get on to the news, and there is a lot of it today. Lisa’s Lunchbox on Front Street has added a catering form to their website to make your office lunchtime needs easier.

A new concert series has been announced for Old Dominick’s rooftop bar. It will feature only artists who have strong ties to Memphis, kicking it off with John Nemeth & The Blue Dreamers on January 25. Doors for shows will open at 6:30, concert at 7:30. $25 ticket includes one Old Dominick cocktail. Shows will take place twice a month.

The Grizzlies will have a special ticket for a Wiseacre beer tasting for their Friday, January 26 game. Tickets include Wiseacre beer samples, hors d’oeuvres served periodically, and a seat to the game. Terrace IV, Terrace II, and Pinnacle III seats available.

The CA’s Geoff Calkins has a great article about Memphis’ new soccer team. You know, The Brass Door has had its ups and downs, but I wonder if the USL team would have happened had the Door not been a hub for enthusiastic Memphis soccer fans the past seven years.

The Memphis Hustle will participate in the NBA G-League Showcase in Mississauga, Ontario. They will play tomorrow and on the 13th. Games can be watched on Facebook Live (wonder if Roser got to go to Canada for this) and on NBA TV.

The Civil Pour, Daniel Masters’ (Silly Goose, Pontotoc Lounge) new bar in the 409 S. Main food hall, now has a Facebook page you can “Like” for news and updates.

MemphisWeather.net is predicting morning freezing rain and sleet, changing over to snow for Friday. Low 31 Thursday night, high 31 Friday. I am going to take the advice of my HR manager and “just be Paul Ryburn, the guy” Friday. And you know what the guy doesn’t do? Drive in icy weather.

Sometimes he goes to Bardog though. :mrgreen:

All right, none of the rest of the news is time-sensitive so I’ll save the rest for tomorrow. Just saw it’s Kickin’ Chicken Spaghetti day at Lisa’s Lunchbox and that sounds like a plan.



Tuesday update

Remember the days when college football games got done in three hours? I miss those days. The game was worth it but staying up until 11:30 on a school night can be rough. How do people on the east coast, who would’ve stayed up til 12:30, do it? Do they just all show up groggy for work?

Great game though. Both teams played well. Congratulations to Bama on a great season and yet another national title. Also congratulations to the Memphis Tigers, ranked #25 in the final AP poll released today.

Details of Memphis’ new pro soccer team were revealed at AutoZone Park yesterday. Memphis is the third USL expansion team announced for 2019, along with Austin and Birmingham. Other teams in the league will include Nashville, Louisville, Charleston, Charlotte, St. Louis, and Kansas City.

This morning I read the results from WWE Monday Night Raw at FedExForum. It sounds like it was an average but not great show. It was interesting to check Facebook during the show and see non-wrestling fans who went to the show wonder why everyone was chanting “DELETE!”

Before the show yesterday, Sasha Banks, Titus O’Neil, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and Apollo Crews visited the National Civil Rights Museum.

Memphis 1968 will be a four-hour workshop at Clayborn Temple on the afternoon of Saturday, January 20. Multimedia will be used to explore the conditions in the city that led to the sanitation workers’ strike and that brought Dr. King here. The workshop is open to the public and is particularly relevant to those who teach youth about the civil rights movement.

Downtown agency Red Rover is hiring an account executive. Great place to work and unlike any other agency. Insider tip: If you interview for this position, bring pictures of your dog. I’m not kidding.


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