Spam What Am (alternate title: Let’s Hear It for the Bandicoot)

I’ve been getting a record amount of spam lately, with really idiotic subject lines. For example:

dampen Pharrgmaceutical
bandicoot Pkharmacy
Psharmacy ranunculus
Pharmmacy cistern

I know that these things only need a success rate of like 1 sale per million e-mails to be profitable, but is there even ONE person strange enough to go, “I’m gonna buy my drugs at THIS pharmacy! They have bandicoots there!” Must be an Australian pharmacy, I guess. Or, I mean, an Australian pkharmacy.

Question for downtowners: If you had your choice between never receiving another unwanted spam e-mail again, or never being approached on the street by a bum again, which would you pick?

The new camera has arrived, and the picture quality is fantastic – far better than my previous camera. I snapped about a dozen pictures last night at the Flying Saucer, including three of the blond Romanian. She and I both agree that they capture her true essence much better than the last round of pics. I need to resize them so they don’t take up all my server space, and then I’ll post them later this weekend.

The camera is small enough to fit in my pocket, so it will go with me to tonight’s Bravo event at the Metal Museum and the Dempseys show at the Saucer, and tomorrow to South Main Trolley Tour and Mpact’s birthday party. This blog may turn into a photoblog in the near future.

Mid-week update: new camera, pork butt, and more

– I’m getting a new digital camera! It’s an Olympus IR-300. 5 megapixels, 3x zoom, and 19 different modes to handle all kinds of lighting. It should be here tonight or tomorrow, so be on the lookout for some new Romanian pics this weekend. I’ll also be able to shoot some new pics for Memphis Wallpaper, the first time in a year I will have updated that site. From the dimensions listed on the site, the camera appears to be no thicker than my cell phone, so I may be able to carry it around in my pocket everywhere I go.

– Take a look at my latest website creation: This is a company that outsources architectural drafting and CAD work to India, saving its clients money. However, they still have a management team here in the States, for the benefit of their clients.

– The Rapscallions suffered a rare loss at Trivia Bowl last night. Our friend Tracy, whose team was not present, joined us. She wanted to use her team name (“Sissy Bitches”) but we wouldn’t hear of it. There were lots of questions about flags. I should’ve studied the flag section in the World Almanac.

– During Trivia Bowl, team member Carmel mentioned that she had been to the fair. “I had pork butt on a stick,” she said. She told us that she had spent quite a bit of time this week wondering how the pork butt got on the stick. I think Carmel may be kinkier than any of us realize.

– Carmel also told us what she looks for in a guy: Someone who can expand her horizons. So, those of you reading this blog looking for Carmel dating tips, there you go.

– She also told me that she likes men who have math skills – like, if she’s out with a guy and he can look at the check and figure out the tip in his head, that’s sexy. You know, the more I talk to women, the more I like sheep.

– There was a question about sheep last night at trivia at the Saucer.

– Speaking of the Flying Saucer… the Dempseys will be playing there Thursday night. Needless to say, I’ll be in attendance, probably with my new camera.

– Friday I’ll be heading to South Main for the monthly Trolley Art Tour, then at 8:00 I’ll head over to Mpact Memphis’ birthday party at 36 G. E. Patterson. The party is open to the public, $5 for members, $10 for non-members.

– I heard that Lacey was thrilled at being mentioned in my blog. So, I’ll mention her again. Two in a row!

– Dammit, just got an e-mail that some friends are going to Hooters tonight. That would be a GREAT place to try out my new camera, but I’m not sure I can get it out of the box and learn how to use it by dinnertime. Nevertheless, in case I do, you might want to check back tomorrow for pics.

– And I’m outta here for now. Time permitting, I’ll post again.

Hair styling tips, courtesy of MLGW

So last night, I was on the Madison rooftop for their weekly party, and I ran into one of my regular blog readers, a redhead named Lacey. So, we were chatting, and then she says this…

“I stuck my hair in an electrical socket today”

I stood there for a moment, trying to imagine how someone could accidentally get their hair in an electrical socket. Couldn’t figure it out. “Wow, how’d that happen?” I asked.

“Well, I didn’t stick it all in at once, obviously. I divide my hair into fourths, or even tenths, and stick it in.”

“Wait a minute,” I asked. “You’re telling me you stick your hair in an electrical socket ON PURPOSE?”

“Sure,” she said. “I do it all the time. Doesn’t my hair look good?” I have to admit, her hair did look good. This, I told her, was worthy of mention in the blog. “I’m going to be in the blog?” she asked excitedly. “Oh, Paul, you’re breaking my heart! (that’s her favorite expression) Now, promise me you won’t get too drunk when you go out later on and forget this conversation. You have to put me in the blog!”

Later, I went to the Flying Saucer (I’m mentioning the Saucer in what, 90% of my blog entries these days?) and asked the opinion of two women there (not the Romanians, in case you’re wondering). Neither of them had ever heard of such a thing. One of them added, “I’d be insulted if someone told me it looked like I had been sticking my hair in an electrical socket.”

My conclusion: Lacey made the whole thing up, to get mentioned in my blog. Lacey… am I right?

The Rapscallions are back, baby!

Last night, The Rapscallions, trivia team consisting of No. 10 Main neighbors Imran, Carmel and myself went to the Flying Saucer for the weekly Trivia Bowl. We faced tough questions about buffets, space shuttles and chefs among other things, and managed to finish a very respectable third.

I was expecting a crap prize for third place but I was wrong. Our prize – a $25 gift certificate to dish. Nice! The other team members commented that “we need someone responsible to hold on to it” and pushed the certificate toward me. Not sure what on earth caused them to think of me as “the responsible one,” but, okay. We plan to claim our prize sometime in October.

Carmel told me a lot of details about her social life, but “don’t put this in the blog” preceded all of them, so no new reportable news on her. Don’t worry, though, I have a Carmel-themed blog entry in the works, coming soon.

And since I’m the trivia king, I’ll toss out another trivia question to my readership as I close out this entry.

Which Flying Saucer waitress has the same birthday as me?

E-mail answers to paul at paulryburn dot com. (I’m not linking to my e-mail address this time; last time I did it I was buried under a deluge of spam.) First person to answer correctly wins a can of Coke, three Taco Bell hot sauce packets, and the lint from my clothes dryer. So get your guesses in now!

Cooper-Young Fest notes

– Saw a lot of good T-shirts. One read: “I can only please one person a day. I PICK ME.” Thumbs up for having the right attitude.

– I signed petitions to demand a paper trail for voting machines, so there’s a hardcopy record, making elections harder to rig as happened in Florida in 2000; and to demand a living wage for the city.

– Another T-shirt: “Who Would Jesus Bomb?”

– A friend of mine met me up there. She has a special form of dyslexia where “Cooper-Young Festival PLEASE, NO PETS” is misinterpreted as “Cooper-Young Festival PLEASE BRING YOUR G-DAMN DOG.” She was stopped at the entrance and told she couldn’t come in. So she snuck in anyway, and another cop stopped her and told her to stay away from the food vendor area. I suggested she go back to the car, make sure she’s parked in a nice sunny area, and leave the dog inside with all the windows rolled up.

– T-shirt: “Dogs have owners. Cats have staff”

– Stopped in a very cool gift shop – Dylan Blue, at 933 S. Cooper just north of Young. They have handmade jewelry and crafts, and Fair Trade items made in developing countries. Got to chat with the owner for a few minutes – the shop is named after his grandson, who is named Dylan after Bob Dylan and Blue after the blue states.

– I didn’t get to meet Leon Gray from Progressive Talk 680, though. He has the best local talk show in Memphis – 4:00 to 7:00 pm on AM 680.

– My favorite Leon Gray quote: “We can sing together, but we can’t talk together”

– Saw a gay couple with T-shirts that read, “MAN HOLE” and “MAN HOLE COVER.” I would pay those guys to wear those shirts to the Germantown festival next year.

– The kids from White Station were there, doing the thing they do every year where one of them stands there like a statue, and if you put a dollar in their hand they will move and sing and dance for a minute. Why can’t the bums downtown do that? I mean, if you’re going to beg for money, at least be entertaining.

– There was a guy in a “W” hat. It takes guts to wear that to Cooper-Young.

– There were also “W” bumper stickers for sale, with “Worst. President. Ever.” written under the W.

– Got a flyer for a new coffee shop called Quetzal which is open at 688 Union. That would be at the corner of Union and Marshall across from Sun Studio, I believe. I’ll have to go check it out.

– All right. I’m typing this on my laptop at the Saucer, and the battery is just about gone. Time to go drop off the laptop, and get back down here for Trivia Night. Not sure if the Rapscallions will be entering as a team tonight, or if I’ll just be Professor Paul and enter by myself. I have an invitation to be a part of the Sissy Bitches but, you know, I just can’t deal with that name. Anyway, I’m outta here until later….

Two more opportunities to help Katrina victims, and an additional event

If you want to have fun and support Hurricane Katrina victims at the same time, here are two events coming up this week.

Wednesday night, September 21, the Flying Saucer will hold a “Buy the Beer, Keep the Glass” night with glasses costing $20 and 100% of the proceeds going to the Red Cross.

Thursday night, September 22, the bars of Beale Street will hold a Katrina Relief event. It will be a wristband night, with your $20 wristband getting you in all the clubs (except possibly Alfred’s, which doesn’t participate in regular wristband nights, not sure about this one).

However, I’m not sure if I will make it to Thursday’s event, because The Dempseys are perfoming at the Madison Hotel’s weekly rooftop party. I missed their June performance on the Madison rooftop (due to a cute blonde having a birthday that night) and am glad they’re back for one more show before the end of the season.

And that’s what’s going on this week. Back later with a Cooper-Young summary and probably a drunk post.

Help the Blue Monkey

Forwarded message from Terre Gorham of the Downtowner magazine:

As most of you know, the Blue Monkey Downtown
burned to the ground Sunday morning.

The owner plans to rebuild, but he needs our help! And
this is the kind of help that provides a GOOD TIME, to

Please soak off, air dry, and save your wine labels. Also
save your wine corks. The Monkey is going to need
plenty of both when they get to that point in order to
recreate the gorgeously original interior of the former

Pass this on to anyone who may want to participate,
and thanks!

Friday update

– New panhandler to avoid at all costs: Those of you who lived in Midtown in the mid-late 1990s may remember a blond woman, about 5 feet tall, somewhat overweight, who would beg for money and was extremely nasty. One day she approached me in the Piggly Wiggly parking lot, and when I politely refused she proceeded to follow me to my car cussing at me, and continued to scream at me until after I had driven off the lot.

Well, bad news: She’s downtown now. She’s one of the few bums for whom I will actually alter my route to avoid interacting with her. Complete description: White female, probably late 30s-40, 5 feet, ~170 pounds, blond hair worn up or in a ponytail, suntan/sunburn, usually has a button-up shirt tucked into pants. Last night I saw her down the street cussing out a tourist, and I quickly doubled back and went inside the lobby of No. 10 Main until she had passed. One conversation with her and you will understand why I try as hard as possible to stay out of her way.

– Sad news: Ms. Zeno, one of the sweetest people on Beale Street, lost her husband Monday. Her band was performing at Blues City Cafe (he was the drummer) and he died during the set.

I had been to see them the previous Monday, with a friend who had been displaced from New Orleans. When Ms. Zeno found out he was an evacuee, she came over and gave him a big hug and a free CD and lots of attention.

She’s in need of help with burial expenses, and several Beale Street businesses are taking up donations. If you want to help, I recommend dropping off donations at Tater Red’s gift shop – they are personal friends of Ms. Zeno and will see that she gets the money. I know people are tapped out with Katrina donations, but please help if you can – this is a sweet lady with a big heart.

– Thanks again to Carmel for the use of her digital camera last night. For those of you who read this blog for the latest info on Carmel’s social life, she says that Mr. Date Guy is “still in the picture.” Whatever that means. I could go into more detail about Carmel’s social life but I only have 50 MB on this web hosting account.

– Today on “Days of Our Lives”: Carmel finds out she has been dating her sister’s cousin who has been in a coma for the past 3 1/2 years.

– A guy who’s been in a coma for 3 1/2 years, that’s the perfect date for… never mind, she’ll never let me borrow her camera again if I continue this, and I want to re-shoot one of the Romanians because I don’t think I captured her true essence in the last round of pics.

– Dammit, I just missed Fish Races at Sleep Out’s! Everyone picks a goldfish and they race them down these rain gutters. PETA probably wouldn’t approve.. I’ve never been but have been meaning to go for 2 years now.

– All right, quiet evening at home. No drinking tonight (although I did go out for a couple of happy hour beers before typing the second half of this post). The caterer in my building is cooking out on the roof tonight, but it’s a very limited menu – filet mignon only. Fine, I guess I’ll just have to deal with it. Anyway, no late-night partying tonight, because I want to be well-rested for Cooper-Young tomorrow. It’s a 4-day weekend, so there will be plenty of time for partying Saturday, Sunday, and Monday nights. Time to eat! Talk to you later.

Pics: Romanians

(Special thanks to Carmel, also known as Ms. It’s-Almost-A-Tube-Top-It-Has-Straps, for loaning me her digital camera.)

This is Liana (lee-AH-nah). Liana is the sensitive Romanian – if you walk out on a $2.50 Pint Night tab without paying her, she will cry. She thinks Ron, the drummer from the Dempseys, is cute, and upon hearing that he is married she said, “oh, that is too bad.” Despite working 120 hours a week, she still finds time to party like a rock star.

This is Ioana (eee-WAH-nah). Ioana is the lazy Romanian, working a mere 90 hours a week. She is also the Apology Machine. “Paul, I am sorry, I have to transfer your tab so I can go to my other job. Are you upset? Are you mad at me? I apologize, I’m sorry…” If you zoom in, you can see that she has 4 ballpoint pens in her pocket. This, and the fact that she wears thick glasses when not at work, lead me to wonder if Ioana is secretly a nerd.

This is an iguana (ig-WAH-nah). The iguana could not present proof of citizenship, so I’m having to take him at his word that he is indeed Romanian.

Group photo. The iguana was called away on important business (he was needed in surgery or something) and was not able to be a part of the picture.

Other notes:

  • I’m taking a risk here, considering they work in a bar with wireless Internet access. At some point someone will probably find this page and show it to them. If they show it to Ioana, she will reply, “Yes, I will speak to heem about thees”
  • If they show it to Liana: “Oh, I am going to keel heem”
  • Meanwhile, dozens of guys will be going, “Cool, now I not only know how to pronounce their names but spell them too! Thanks Paul!” If you found this blog entry helpful you can always BUY ME A BEER – I accept charity
  • This blog has been averaging 20-25 hits a day this week. Bet that jumps to 35-40 hits once this gets posted

All right – I’m outta here. I’ll be at the Cooper-Young Festival all day on Saturday, then I’ll be celebrating a friend’s birthday at the Saucer Saturday night, and doing the usual drunken antics at Sleep Out’s during Sunday brunch. I have Monday and Tuesday off as vacation days, haven’t decided what I will do with those yet. Have a good weekend everyone, and holler at me (and BUY ME A BEER) at the Cooper-Young Fest…

Silver lining

If there’s such a thing as a silver lining to this Katrina disaster… I haven’t heard a thing about this stupid controversy about whether three Memphis parks should be renamed in almost two weeks.

For those of you who think the parks should be renamed, take solace in this fact… a pigeon is probably crapping on the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest as you read this.