Pre-brunch post: Google Earth, Mongo, Raiford’s, etc.

So yesterday I finally got my wireless router installed, and spent a couple of hours walking around my apartment with my laptop, surfing the web. I fired up Google Earth, figuring that was the program on my computer that would give my Internet connection the most intensive workout. It had no problem keeping up. Google Earth’s satellite images are so good that I was able to zoom in on my apartment building and could actually see the patio furniture, grills and hot tub on the roof.

Discovered something interesting while surfing… Prince Mongo has a MySpace page. For those of you from out of town, Prince Mongo runs for mayor, senate, etc. in just about every election. According to Mongo, he came here from the planet Zambodia and is here to save Earthlings from self-destruction. He calls his supporters “spirits.” He has operated several nightclubs around town, including Mongo’s Planet and The Castle.

I met Mongo a few years back. I was out at Raiford’s on a Friday night… it was fairly early in the evening, about 11, early enough that the crowd had not yet arrived. So when Raiford put on KC and the Sunshine Band, I had the dance floor to myself. I had one of my disco outfits on – can’t remember if I was still wearing the blue leisure suit at that point, or if I had switched over to the sequined shirts. Anyway, I was at just the right point of drunkenness (had consumed about one 40 at that point) and was tearing it up on the dance floor. All of the sudden a man who had been in the DJ booth talking to Raiford came up to me.

“Hello, spirit,” he said to me. “I just wanted to tell you that I like your style. My name is Prince Mongo.” Of course, I already knew who he was. I told him it was a pleasure to meet him and we talked for a few minutes. That was kinda cool, to have someone like Mongo tell me he likes my style. One of the biggest compliments I have received in my lifetime.

Reminds me… last night I walked down to Raiford’s about 12:30 and it was closed! Anyone know what was going on? I hope it was a one-night thing and nothing permanent.

All right… guess it’s time to go buy a Sunday paper and do my Deal of the Week blog for the CA. Don’t forget, Emma’s Sunday Brunch Extravaganza today at Sleep Out’s – I’ll be there from 11 to 3, then I’ll tab out and walk over to the Second Street branch office to see my waitresses.

By the way – the Majestic has been approved for branch office status, but it needs a name. I can’t call it “the Majestic branch office,” obviously. It isn’t on a street like Union or Second, and there are so many businesses on the Main Street Mall that no one would know what I’m talking about if I call it the Main Street Mall branch office.

Time to get it started… have a good Sunday, and I hope to see you at Sleep Out’s.

This Sunday at Sleep Out’s: A brunch extravaganza – it’s a Must Eat

(Edited Saturday, August 12: Bumping this post to the top to make sure everyone puts this on their calendar for tomorrow…)

I would like to invite all my readers to Sleep Out Louie’s this Sunday, August 13, for brunch. I intend to be there from about 11 AM to 3 PM, and it should be quite a party.

“But Paul,” you’re probably saying. “You’re at Sleep Out’s almost every Sunday for brunch. What so special about this week?” A fair question, I suppose.

What makes this Sunday so special is that bartender EMMA will be back on the morning shift, for one week only. I like all of the bartenders at Sleep Out’s, but most of the wild and crazy stuff that has made Sleep Out’s so much fun the past few months has happened on Emma’s watch. Only when Emma is working will you hear pearls of wisdom such as the following:

“Vagisil – rub it on your cooter!”

There will be mimosas, bloody marys, duck farts, steak, eggs benedict, pancakes, NTN Trivia, good friends and good times. It’s a can’t miss. It’s a Must Eat.

Got plans? Cancel them.

Afraid you’ll be too hung over from Saturday night? Learn to deal with it like I do. I’ll probably be out at Raiford’s drinking a 40 or at the Diamond drinking a PBR until the wee hours, but I’ll still make it to brunch. You can too.

Have church on Sunday morning? Skip it. God won’t mind. Seriously. Hang on, let me post a transcript of a conversation I had on AIM last night:

paul38103: so, god, did you hear about sleep out’s?

god: of course i did, i hear everything. emma’s back on for brunch this sunday.

paul38103: can i ask a favor?

god: sure, go for it

paul38103: would you be terribly mad if i told people to skip church and come to brunch instead?

god: fine with me

god: church would be more interesting if they served duck farts like sleep out’s does

god: and if they replaced the choir with music by kermit the me-damn frog

god: anything else i can do for you, paul?

paul38103: yeah, how about sending some more romanians over to memphis?

god: workin on it

paul38103: all right, thanks god, you’re a sport. gotta go, i need to clean the lint out of my dryer

god: ok talk to u later d00d

See? It’s totally okay if you skip church to come to Sleep Out’s on Sunday.

All right… time for another four and a half hours in Cubicle Hell. Tonight I will most likely be at the Saucer, playing trivia and listening to one of my team members complain because the waitress didn’t bring his Duvel in the correct glass. Have a good afternoon everybody…

Late Thursday update

Couple of weeks ago, I mentioned Bren Olswanger, aka Bren from The Apprentice, who ran for judge in the August 3 election. Well, today he found my blog and sent me an e-mail… turns out I know him not only from The Apprentice, but from class – he was one of my computer science students at the U of M in the mid ’90s. I always thought that name sounded a bit familiar but I never could figure out why… he was in one of those big auditorium classes that seated 90 and ended up seating 105 because I’d give people permission to add over the limit. Kinda cool, I taught a celebrity.

After work, I gave a Romanian a ride to the mall. “I had planned to go there at 1, but my ride never showed up,” she told me. Now I only have 4 hours to shop instead of 8.” No kidding. She was going to spend EIGHT hours shopping. I dropped her off at TJ Maxx across from the mall and went in myself to look for shirts (didn’t buy any though – the selection reminded me what a ghettofabulous town Memphis is). By the time I was done, about 10 minutes later, she already had a cart full of purses. Man… I feel sorry for her future husband, whoever he turns out to be. Actually, I don’t feel sorry for him at all, because she’s totally hot.

She had someone else coming to pick her up at 9, so after making a quick visit to OfficeMax to pick up a wireless router, I got out of East Bumblefuck as quickly as possible and headed to Young Avenue Deli for the Blogger Bash.

Finally met Philip in person after reading his blog for the better part of a year. He told me that his readership, which has been averaging about 100 a day recently, jumped to 350 after he posted a sorority pic where the girls all had bare breasts with stickers over their nipples. Wow.

Hey Philip, I wonder how many extra hits you’ll get from people clicking over from my blog in the next 24 hours?

Reminds me… I need to upgrade my tracker, which means I’ll have to reset it and lose all the data I’ve collected over the past 5 years. Kind of makes me sad… it’s recorded over 30,000 visits to my blog, including 81 from Romania. But, I guess it’s time for a fresh start. Actually, it’s probably a good thing because it figures years of time when no one was looking at my blog into the average and reports it as something like 82 visits per day, when in fact I’ve really been averaging 220-250 visits to my blog on weekdays and about 135 on weekends. I’ll reset it sometime this weekend. If you’ve never seen my tracker, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the planet icon – you can get one for your site for free.

Having such a well-read blog is fun sometimes… people send me e-mails all the time saying, “Did you know (person I’ve mentioned in my blog) was at (location) with (other person) last night?” I wind up finding out a lot of things I’m not “supposed” to know. Heh.

It looks like my post advertising the Emma Sunday Brunch Extravaganza this Sunday at Sleep Out’s from 11 to 3 is working. Looks like fellow bloggers Philip and Semi-Charmed Kat will both be there. Boobs have been something of a theme up there recently, and for that reason I have a feeling Kat will feel right at home.

Kat is also somewhat peeved because when she does a Google search for herself, her blog doesn’t come up as the number-one hit – MY blog does. Kat is starting to learn who really matters on the Internet.

Serrabee tells me that Papa Top’s West Coast Turnaround is a good option for Saturday night. They play classic country and are a lot of fun. They’ll be playing at Automatic Slim’s. Might be something fun and different to do – Slim’s isn’t on my normal rotation of downtown bars.

Tomorrow at lunch I’ll be giving a talk at a convention organized by MLGW to teach community members how to blog. My portion of the program (about 10 minutes I think) will be blogger activism, and how blogging was used to successfully address a community issue (crime – I’ll be talking about the formative days of Residents for a Safer Downtown Memphis).

Random fact of the day: In Canada, the Buick LaCrosse is sold as the Buick Allure, because “lacrosse” is Quebecois slang for masturbation.

And with that, you’re smarter than you were 30 seconds ago. Maybe Pete will ask that question on trivia night on Tuesday. I’m still wide awake, so I guess I have time to set up my wireless router before I go to bed.

Doin’ it Dawgie Style

Just a quick post to say that I had lunch at Dawgie Style downtown today. For $5.41 including tax I had a Chicago-style hot dog with mustard, relish, onions, pickle spear, peppers, and tomatoes. The whole thing fell apart as I ate it, and I don’t remember having so much fun making a mess of my food since I was a kid. I scooped it up with my hands and ate it; I believe it’s sacrilege to use a fork to eat a hot dog.

The owners are so nice too. While I was there, the owner noticed a woman who wasn’t eating a hot dog, and asked if she was a vegetarian. When she said she was, he sat down with her and asked what she’d like to see added to the menu, stressing that he wanted to add quality items.

Next time I’ll get the New York style dog with mustard, sauerkraut and red onions. You gotta give this place a try – it’s on Madison between Second and Third, next to the cigar store.

I have a news article to post, and it’s absolutely hilarious, but I’m posting this from my work computer at the city schools, and this article DEFINITELY crosses the boundary of “inappropriate material.” So it will have to wait until this evening when I can post from home or a branch office.

I’m also considering doing F U Friday tomorrow, a concept which has become popular among local bloggers. It will be a one-time only thing, not something I plan on doing every Friday.

All right. Back to work.

Wed. post #2: RSDM, branch offices, Flying Fish and more

I just added a new news article to the Residents for a Safer Downtown Memphis website, summarizing the August 3 Safety & Traffic Task Force meeting that Mike King and I attended. In particular, a question was raised about the wording of the panhandling ordinance – if the wording is what people claim it is, it may be possible to chase the bums off almost all the streets downtown. It’s a good read – check it out by clicking here and then choosing “Latest News” from the menu.

By the way… RSDM finally has business cards. Getting them has been a comedy of errors. First we ordered them and there was a word misspelled. So we re-ordered and they shipped the cards to the wrong address. So we re-ordered again, and because it was taking so long we had no choice but to use the cards with the misspelled word. So for two weeks we’ve been running around town handing out cards saying, “Now, we know ‘positively’ is misspelled, but all the other information is correct.” Anyway, the new cards are in and they’re really nice – on the front they have the address of our website and our Safer Downtown e-mail address, and on the back they have all the Memphis Police contact numbers. Everyone who lives downtown should have one. Next time you see me around town, ask and I’ll give you one. Or ask Mike. If you own a business and would like a stack of RSDM cards to give to the public, let us know.

I’m posting from the Second Street branch office tonight. I decided to skip the Court Square concert because it’s just too damn hot outside. Glad I came here instead – it’s looking good in here tonight. It’s looking REAL good. If you know what I mean.

By the way… I am revoking branch office status from the Germantown Parkway branch office. That office’s management recently made some extremely bad decisions regarding employee retention. I was worried that those bad decisions might extend to the Second Street office as well (it would be awfully hard for me to revoke that location’s status for any reason), but from what I see tonight that does not appear to be the case.

I mentioned a new restaurant coming to downtown, The Flying Fish, in my last post. Thanks to Carmel who found the Flying Fish website. There you can check out the menus from the other locations to get an idea what they have. I see that they already have a Flying Fish in my hometown of Little Rock, located on one of my favorite streets, President Clinton Avenue. I wonder if our current president has avenues named after him. I wonder if our current president can even spell “avenue.”

There was an article in today’s Commercial Appeal about the former WDIA building on the northeast corner of Union and Main. A group of developers plans to turn it into 6,200 feet of retail on the ground floor and 10 loft apartments on the upper floors. It’s the same group who successfully developed the Cornerstone/Wang’s and the Main Street Flats on the New Main block, so they already have a track record of success. Good to see them taking on new projects, and it’s good to see new apartments (not condos, of which there are already too many) opening up downtown.

I’ve mentioned live music at Wang’s at Main and Gayoso several times in this blog. Up until recently it has been a hit-or-miss proposition – more miss than hit. However, it appears that they’ve finally got their act together. According to a poster I saw today, Jimi Jamison is doing 8 PM and 11 PM shows there Thursday through Saturday.

Memphis in May has picked Spain as their country to honor for 2007, ignoring my repeated pleas to choose the country that the hottest women in all of Europe: Romania. Maybe I’ll choose Romania as my own personal country to honor in this blog next May, and mention it in every post, kind of like I mentioned tube tops in every post during June and July.

Walking down here, I noticed an interesting sign outside Rio Loco on Union: “Happy hour daily 2-10.” That’s a nice sign. They have $5.99 jumbo margaritas (just one will knock you on your ass) and they also have specials on cervezas as well. Kinda like Chili’s having happy hour all day. Except that Rio Loco doesn’t suck like Chili’s does.

Speaking of Mexican places: Monday I came downtown for lunch, and I decided to hit Sgt. Jalapeno’s Tortilla Company on Adams. I walked up there and guess what – it’s gone. There’s no furniture left in that place. I feel sad for them – they were really good people. They just had a less-than-ideal location and happened to open within two months of two other Mexican restaurants downtown.

The Romanian waitress has a black Beer Goddess tank top on. She didn’t have a black tank top last year; she had the pink one and the lime green one. Ioana had a black tank top. I wonder if Ioana gave her the black tank top, since Ioana didn’t come back this year. I miss Ioana.

Now that I think about it, I have a black Beer Goddess tank top – it’s part of my Halloween costume. Hmm, I wonder if the Romanian went through my closet when she was over at my place? Better check when I get home and make sure it’s still there.

I’m sitting here with a couple of my guy friends, and we’re playing a game called “guess the waitresses’ bra sizes.” The one I’m looking at right now, I’m thinking, 32C. If I were sober I’d probably delete this paragraph from the post.

There are Blogger Bashes Thursday and Sunday at Young Avenue Deli. Not sure if I’ll make either or both. The Sunday one is a “probably not” since Emma is bartending at Sleep Out’s brunch – I’ll likely be too drunk to get out there. Any Memphian who writes a blog is invited. Check Serrabee’s blog for more details – she’s the queen bee who set all this up.

Battery’s almost dead so it’s time to get going. I’ll probably hit Blues City for The Dempseys’ first set, then come back to the Second Street branch office for round two.

Wednesday lunchtime post

Just got back from the FedExForum, where the City Schools had a pep rally for all their employees. Fifteen thousand people. Rally wasn’t all that exciting but it did give me an excuse to stop by the gift shop and buy a Grizzlies T-shirt. Afterward I walked through the Saucer but just didn’t feel like having lunch there (translation: the Romanian wasn’t working), so I went to my usual hangout, Sleep Out Louie’s.

I forgot to write that we invented a new game while hanging out at Sleep Out’s last Sunday: Bait-a-Bum. What we’re going to do is get a fishing pole with a really long line, attach a dollar to the hook, and go up to the rooftop of my building. We’ll lower the dollar down to about six feet above street level, and wait for a bum to notice. Just as he goes to grab it, we’ll reel it up about a foot, just out of his reach. Then we’ll raise and lower it and see how many times we can get him to jump. I suppose if we get tired of using a dollar, we could put a pint of Thunderbird on the hook instead.

In the past 24 hours I’ve received e-mails from both Carmel and the Nuh-Uh Girl about The Flying Fish, a new restaurant that is opening soon downtown. It’s a “fast casual seafood concept” and is run by the same company that runs the Saucer. It will be at 105 S. Second, a block north of the Saucer.

The Rapscallions rolled on to a first-place victory last night at trivia night at the Saucer, earning another $50 certificate to contribute to Chad’s plate party. Chad is considering putting a $6 upper limit on individual beer purchases, and I think that’s an excellent idea. There are plenty of quality beers at the Saucer that can be had for under six bucks.

T-shirt I saw recently: “SORRY – mind closed until further notice.” Hey, it’s the official T-shirt of the Republican Party!

The Court Square Concert Series is tonight from 6 to 8. This week The Tennessee Boltsmokers and Friends are playing. I’ll probably drop by, but with temps in the upper 90s I really don’t know how long I’ll last. After that I’ll probably drop by the Second Street branch office to see my waitresses, and then I’ll probably hit Blues City to catch The Dempseys.

All right, lunch is over, back to work. At least I escaped the cubicle for half the day.

Pics: Rapscallion party at the Saucer

Last night the Rapscallion trivia team had a big party at the Flying Saucer to spend some of the $245 in gift certificates we had won over the past seven months. Before we handed them over we took a team pic with all the certificates:

Congratulations to team member Chad, who was able to knock out his 200th beer last night and complete the quest for his plate. Of course, that means we have another party to attend in a few weeks – his plate party! He selected the Rogue Imperial Pilsner as his final beer:

And, once Chad was done with the Imperial Pilsner, Saucer management updated the leader board to reflect his accomplishment:

ATTN CHAD: Believe it or not, we didn’t make it through the entire 245 last night. As our tab approached the upper 100s it was obvious that everyone was getting very tipsy. So the group made the decision to cut it off at 195, with the other 50 to be added to your plate party tab.

People who have had conversations with me over the past 12 or so months have noticed that one topic seems to come up over and over again: Romania, Romania, Romania. And I know a lot of you have been asking each other, “What’s gotten into Paul? Why does he keep going on about Romania like it’s the greatest place on Earth?” Well, hopefully this pic of my guest at the party last night will help answer that question:

*drool*… Look at those BEAUTIFUL brown eyes. I’ve taken pics of her before (she’s the Romanian who was here last year), but this is the first one that really does her eyes justice.

After the party ended, we decided to go eat at Dawgie Style, the new hot dog restaurant on Madison between Second and Third, next door to the cigar store. They were in the process of closing but when they saw us, they opened back up. Great people, great menu. In this pic one of the owners displays a Dawgie Style T-shirt:

Dawgie Style has specialty hot dogs including Chicago style, New York style, Memphis style, chili cheddar dog, and more, as well as traditional dogs like slaw dogs and cheddar dogs. They also have sub sandwiches and wraps including turkey club, turkey wrap, Italian roast beef, trio club, and veggie wrap. Their combos are all under $5. I’m really happy to see this restaurant open, because even at an inexpensive place downtown it’s hard to get out for less than $10. And they’re open evenings and Sundays! Welcome to the neighborhood, glad you’re here.

Oh – funny thing – as we were ordering they asked, “Is one of you the guy with the blog?”

Here’s a pic of team member Ish, who singlehandedly drained a third of the tab at the Saucer with his expensive Duvels and Chimay Grand Reserves.

Ish made quite a first impression on the people at Dawgie Style by screaming “MOTHER FUCKER!” over and over again at the top of his lungs, as well as lines from random Metallica songs. He also exclaimed “I am slightly drunk!” several times.

ATTN CHAD: At your plate party you might want to consider restricting Ish’s drinking options to O’Doul’s and Abita Root Beer.

These are only a sampling of the 33 pics I took – the full photo album is available here. The festivities continued later in the evening… a visit to Raiford’s was planned for around 1 in the morning, but by that point the assortment of beer I drank and the chili dog had gotten the better of me. For me, Raiford’s will have to wait for a future week.

Great party everyone!

How the Left Lost Teen Spirit

One of my favorite things to do these days is to type random names or phrases into Wikipedia and see what comes up.

So the other day I was listening to some MP3s, and some Led Zeppelin came on. That reminded me that I had a biography of the band that I hadn’t read in about 10 years. So I went to the closet, found it, and started reading. In 1973 they hired a publicist named Danny Goldberg who eventually became vice-president of their record label, Swan Song. He was an interesting character because he was several years younger than the members of the band (who were in their mid-20s when he was hired), and at the time he had longer hair than any of the band – not what you’d expect from a “corporate” guy. So I decided to type Danny Goldberg’s name into Wikipedia and see what he’s been up to the past 30 years.

As it turns out, he’s been up to a lot. He’s been the president or chairman/CEO of several record labels, and he managed Nirvana when they were at their peak. He was also CEO of Air America Talk Radio from February 2005 to April 2006 and remains with the company as vice chairman. I noticed he had his own site,, and being a big fan of people who own their own name as a domain, I clicked on it.

The most fascinating part of the site, I thought, was an interview that he did. In the interview he explains that he supports the policy goals of the Left, but that Democrats have been ineffective in wrestling power away from Republicans because they have forgotten how to talk to the common man (and woman). Democrats, he says, come off sounding like they’re only concerned with what people in Washington think. Republicans, on the other hand, learned early on to speak to the people. Reagan was “the Great Communicator.” Dubya wanted his rationale for the Iraq mess to be so simple that “even the boys in Lubbock could understand it.”

Until Democrats learn to connect with the public – particularly young people, Goldberg says, they will continue to lose elections, no matter how destructive the Republicans’ policies are. He outlines how pop culture can be used as a hook to connect with the younger generation in the interview and in several books he has written. John Kerry should have hired this guy as an adviser, because he personifies the problems Goldberg talks about. Hopefully Hillary Clinton will ask his advice in ’08.

Song currently stuck in my head: “Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp” by Led Zeppelin. There will never be another drummer like John Bonham.

Thursday update

I just got home from a meeting of the Center City Commission’s Safety & Traffic Task Force. Very, very productive meeting and well worth taking an afternoon off work. All the major groups were there – Center City, Convention & Visitors Bureau, MPD, Ride the Ducks, Redbirds, Peabody Place Security, and many more… and, of course, Residents for a Safer Downtown Memphis. I took extensive notes, and as soon as I get them typed up I’ll post them on the news section of RSDM’s site.

However, I’m so excited about one thing that I’m going to go ahead and let the cat out of the bag: The Memphis Police Downtown Entertainment District has a new commander, Major Johnny Currin. The EDU is the unit that provides extra coverage from 7 PM to 3 AM when people are out having a good time. Through RSDM I have known Johnny for a couple of months now, and let me tell you, he is ready to take action. He has been out on the streets on foot himself the past several weekends. I can’t tell you how encouraged I am about the safety situation downtown with him in charge.

I finally made it to Wine Wednesday at LoLo’s Table last night, after meaning to go for several months. Every week they select a couple of reds and a couple of whites and put them on sale for $12 a bottle, which for a restaurant is an incredibly low price. So I brought a gorgeous blonde up there and we shared a bottle of Falling Star chardonnay. Food was great too – I ordered the trout, which turned out to be the biggest serving of fish I have ever seen in my life; she had the evening’s special, which was a southwestern pasta with chicken.

Keep in mind that they also have Sangria Saturdays – pitchers of either red or white sangria for $8 when you also order food. I’ve never seen white sangria before – I’m going to have to go back sometime soon and give it a try.

ATTENTION NEIGHBORS IN MY BUILDING: Last Monday evening, the aforementioned gorgeous blonde came over and hung out at my apartment for the first time… and as soon as I mentioned the rooftop deck, the first words out of her mouth were, “We need to have a party up there.” YEAH! Haven’t we been talking about having a party on the roof for months and months? Enough talk; it’s time for action! Let’s make it happen.

I’m not going to the weekly party on the Peabody roof tonight. Sister Hazel is playing, and I avoid that place like the plague when they have a big-name band. Extra expensive and the lines are too long. Instead, I’ll be hitting the Saucer for a couple of hours to type up the meeting notes on my laptop, then I’m going to a private party for my friend Novella Smith Arnold who is running for County Commission. Hopefully it will be a victory party.

Other than a private function on Saturday afternoon, I have no plans at all for the weekend at this point. Sometimes those turn out to be the best weekends though. I will say that I plan to be at Pint Nite at the Saucer on Monday. For some reason I have a feeling Pint Nite will be looking better than it has in months… about 10 months.

Dawgie Style, the new restaurant on Madison between Second and Third, is now open. According to the Center City Commission’s Livin’ It Up newsletter, they serve hot dogs, sub sandwiches and wraps. They’re open 7 am to 11 pm Monday-Friday and 11 am to 10 pm Saturday and Sunday. Downtown residents: Please go by and give this place a try. We really need to support restaurants that have the guts to stay open into the evening hours downtown, rather than just for lunch. And they’re open Sundays too – so I have a new place to stumble for a meal after my champagne bottle at Sleep Out’s is finished. Cool.

All right. Time to pack up the laptop and go visit my waitresses.