Saturday update: Coffee additives, stamping out seriousness, 38103 shirts and more

– This morning I rode the elevator up to my apartment building’s rooftop deck. One of my neighbors was up there, sitting at one of the patio tables, with a styrofoam coffee cup. “My coffee’s ruined,” he told me.

“Why?” I asked.

He explained that he had picked up the cup of coffee, and as he brought it to within a foot of his face, he heard a -SPLAT!- He looked to see what happened.

Pigeon dropping, a direct hit in the center of his coffee cup.

I suppose this is one thing you don’t have to worry about if you live in Germantown or Collierville.

– I’ve been dealing with responses to my downtown crime post all week. By Thursday evening I was highly stressed out, not only due to that but also because of the allergy medicine I’ve been taking and my tendency to overindulge in Mountain Dew as a means of staying awake. So I went to the weekly Peabody rooftop party Thursday night. Venus Mission was playing and it was exactly what the doctor ordered. For the first time in several days I was able to relax, loosen up to the music I listened to when I was growing up. I even busted out some of my classic disco moves when they played a cover of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.” I had a great time.

It reminded me of one of my core beliefs, which I had kind of forgotten the past few days: Being overly serious is the kiss of death. Any activity goes more smoothly if approached with playfulness. It’s hard to imagine bringing an element of playfulness to a topic as serious as neighborhood crime, but damn it, I’m going to. I’m taking my blog back. I’ll still crusade against crime when needed, but my life is going to be fun. And my blog is going to be fun to read once again.

“Stamp Out Seriousness” – Dr.Bob

Last Sunday before all the crime posts started, we got a little crazy with a can of whipped cream at Sleep Out’s. Pics were taken. I’ve refrained from posting them up until now. I’m going to post them soon. I’d post them now but I don’t have the USB cord with me to get them out of the camera. Will it hurt my credibility when people come here to read about downtown crime? Maybe. I don’t care. This is my personal blog and I will be myself, all of myself, all of the time. Take it or leave it.

– I want to make a comment about the Peabody rooftop party: I wouldn’t have had such a great time there if Belz Enterprises had not pumped millions of dollars into downtown redevelopment over the past 30 years. I appreciate and respect everything they have done over the past 30 years to make downtown the community it is.

I also have enormous respect for what Henry Turley has done in Uptown. He could have concentrated solely on building high-end condos and grabbed all the money he could. But instead, he created a development that included all sectors of the Memphis community – high-end homes and people on public housing; owners and renters. Inclusiveness is a trait I appreciate and I see it all over Turley’s development.

My point is this – I’m not anti-developer. When I mention developers’ names when I talk about crime in these posts, I’ve been accused of “calling them out,” but I prefer to think of it as calling ON them. Someone who has sunk millions of dollars into downtown is more able to get things done than a guy who rents an apartment and writes a blog. Also, the developers are the people with the most to lose (if you consider money the ultimate measure of loss) if crime is allowed to take permanent hold in downtown. This is a problem for all of us – those with a financial connection to downtown, and those with an emotional connection. We must all work together to solve it.

People have speculated that one of the root causes of downtown crime is the teenaged cruisers who clog the streets on the weekends and hang out in Tom Lee Park. Let’s see… Tom Lee Park is on Riverside Drive. The new South End Memphis development will be right down the street. When the cruisers get kicked out of the park and decide to make some mischief, what will be the most accessible neighborhood? If the South End developers truly plan on promoting their properties as a “walking community,” as touted in their website intro and in numerous ads and on billboards around town, they better take action NOW to work with the city to develop solutions to the crime problem.

– I do not intend to leave the crime posts up forever. Assuming the problem is addressed in the next few months (which I am confident it will be), it would be horribly unfair of me to leave the posts up and have people doing Google searches in 2007 find posts about crime which are no longer relevant. As soon as I feel safe walking the streets again at night, the posts will be removed.

– I pay approximately a thousand dollars a month to rent a place downtown. The same unit in Midtown or East Memphis, with the same amenities, would rent for $750-800. Downtown condos are selling at a hefty premium compared to condos selling in other parts of the city. The way I see it, we’re not only paying for the living space and the amenities, we’re paying for lifestyle. I’m paying for the ability to walk to get groceries, to get a good meal, to see sports, to meet up with friends. And I’m paying for that ability to walk day and night. The viewpoint “well, of course you shouldn’t walk the streets at night, that’s unsafe” is completely unacceptable to downtowners. I’ll admit, my friend should have known better than to walk alone through an alley. But I should be able to walk the 8 blocks down Main Street from my home to Raiford’s without fear of being attacked.

– By the way, it looks like I’ll be going to Raiford’s tonight. I’ll meet up with friends at the Saucer and we’ll walk down there together. I’ll probably stay later than they will, so when I leave I’ll make a judgment call about whether it’s safe to walk home. If not, there are usually cabs waiting outside, or I’ll get a ride home in King’s limo.

I’ll be decked out in full Raiford’s attire for those of you who have never seen me in it.

Hopefully some of the female patrons of Raiford’s will be observing Tube Top Month tonight.

– I can’t resist mention that I beat the people I’ll be going with tonight, Tracy, Pete, Nigel, and Tiffany, at 3 straight games of NTN trivia earlier today at Sleep Out’s. I think everyone at Sleep Out’s is getting pretty sick of my trivia victory dance. I need to get that dance on digital video for posting on my site.

– It does appear that I may have misspoken in an earlier post when I said that Belz owns the Peabody Place parking garages. I received an e-mail claiming it was owned and operated by someone else; however, the sender of this e-mail refuses to identify himself by anything other than a cryptic AOL screen name, so I don’t consider him a credible source of information. If anyone can clarify let me know, and I’ll post a correction if necessary.

– This blog has received a record number of hits for the week. My previous record was 1,009 hits in a week; as of this post we’re at 1,192 hits with a day and a half to go (the tracking service I use considers weeks to run from Monday to Sunday).

Of those 1,192 hits, six have been from Romania.

– People have asked where they can get a “38103” T-shirt (that’s the downtown zip code) like the one they’ve seen me wear. I got mine at a South Main art gallery which has since shut down. However, I’ve heard they’re now being sold at the Memphis Farmers’ Market, at Front and GE Patterson on Saturday mornings from 7 am to 1 pm.

– I’m sitting here at the Saucer typing this, and the bartender just told me there are rooftop parties on top of the Gibson Lounge every Friday night from 9 to 3. Why didn’t I hear of this? Did some quick web searches and can’t find info, can anyone provide the 411?

– Attn Kat: You went dressed as a ho to a “Golf Pros & Tennis Ho’s” party Thursday night, and I don’t see any pics on your site yet. This matter needs to be corrected ASAP.

– May not make it to Sleep Out’s in the morning. I have a meeting at 1 PM and want to be in good mental condition for it.

That’s all for now. Enjoy your weekend, and be careful if you come downtown.