Taking duck farts to a whole new level

Several times in this blog, I’ve mentioned a drink called a “duck fart” that has become the unofficial shooter at Sleep Out Louie’s over the past six months. It’s a combination of Bailey’s Irish Cream, coffee liqueur, and whiskey.

Well, this past Sunday duck farts were taken to a whole new level. Brunch regular Chad ordered one and told the bartender, “Instead of putting it in a shot glass, pour it in a cup of coffee.” I’m not a big coffee drinker but Chad told me it was one of the best cups of coffee he ever had.

The Rapscallions talked me into doing Monday night trivia at Huey’s tonight. The team won second place, but I doubt I’ll be going back anytime soon… one trivia night a week is enough for me, and Tuesday nights at the Flying Saucer are much more interesting. Also, the “house cash” won at Huey’s is not redeemable for alcohol. What’s the point?

I’ve decided I’m going to take Wednesday off work. Rumor has it that they’re going to let us go after half a day at work on Wednesday, and since I’m a contractor that means I’ll only get paid for 4 hours instead of 8 like everyone else if I go in. And let’s face it, no one’s going to get any work done on Wednesday anyway. So the way I see it, that will allow me to stay out late on Tuesday, sleep until a reasonable hour Wednesday morning, and drive home to Little Rock and get there by 5:30 or 6:00.

Yawn… guess I’ll go get some sleep now.

Pulse (Pink Floyd tribute band) at Neil’s Saturday night

One of my co-workers plays in a Pink Floyd tribute band called Pulse, and they have a gig this Saturday night, November 25 at Neil’s (corner of Madison and McLean, in Midtown) from 9 PM to midnight. I haven’t heard them before but from what my co-worker tells me, it will be a good time if you’re into Pink Floyd. Didn’t ask what the cover was but I imagine it’s reasonable, probably in the $5 range. Neil’s is also known as a place that has very, very reasonable prices on food and pitchers of beer. So come on down and check them out…

Best birthday present ever

Saturday, which was my birthday, I was told to come over to a friend’s condo in Barton Flats. From there I was taken to Sleep Out Louie’s, where Pam and Terry sang me a birthday song and my friends brought me cake and cupcakes. About an hour later we moved on to EP’s Delta Kitchen, where we had the private room overlooking the stage on the second floor. I had duck gumbo and stuffed chicken and many beers, and EP’s made me a special birthday cake, a white cake with raspberries and blackberries. We hung out there until almost midnight, then moved on to the Flying Saucer.

As one of the organizers of the evening told me, “Paul, we didn’t wrap you up a present, but we gave you the best present you could – your friends.” I said thank you over and over but I knew I wasn’t adequately expressing what the evening meant to me. This group of friends that I’ve developed over the past 3-4 years is the best group of friends I’ve ever had – a group where I totally feel that I can just be myself, a group I feel like I’m a major part of and not just on the fringes, a group I feel completely comfortable with. Throughout the years I haven’t always had that and it’s a great feeling to have that now. Hope that makes at least some sense. I know I’m rambling a little.

So thank you to all who joined me Saturday, but in particular Mikey, Chad and the Nuh-Uh Girl for setting it all up, and thanks also to Pam & Terry and also to Michael Patrick and the staff at EP’s. Mikey the Camera Nazi borrowed my digital camera and took pics, and as soon as I sort through them to determine which need to be rotated, lightened, etc. I’ll post a photo album.

So now it’s Sunday night/Monday morning. After my usual brunch at Sleep Out Louie’s, I ordered a wrestling pay-per-view as a birthday present to myself (TNA wrestling: Kurt Angle ended Samoa Joe’s undefeated streak, and Abyss defeated Sting by disqualification for the NWA World Title). Then I made late night stops at the Saucer, McGuinness, and then I caught some of FreeWorld’s Sunday night gig at Blues City.

Tomorrow (or today really, since it’s already Monday as I type this) I’ll be at Pint Nite at the Saucer. In the interest of providing other options to my readers, I’ll mention that it’s also Pint Nite at McGuinness, Dollar PBR Night at the Tap Room, Team Trivia at Huey’s (starts at 9), and NTN QB1 at Sleep Out’s (win points for correctly predicting the next play on Monday Night Football). It’s Margarita Monday at Pancho’s, but it’s also Shitty Food Monday at Pancho’s, so if you want Mexican, go to Rio Loco instead where they have a $5.99 jumbo margarita every day from 2 to 10 for extended happy hour.

Tuesday I’ll be back at the Saucer for Trivia Bowl. Wednesday and Thursday nights I’ll be in Little Rock. Friday I’ll be back in time for South Main Trolley Art Tour – yes, it still happens in the winter, yes, it still happens on holiday weekends.

Happy birthday to my friend and former bartender Kevin, who’s the same age I am exactly two days out of the year.

Time to go get some sleep so I’m rested up for an exciting day in Cubicle World.


Several people have asked me, “The Marmalade Lounge, what goes on there?” The Marmalade is in the South Main district, on G.E. Patterson just east of the building that contains The Arcade and Cheesecake Corner.

I’ve never been in there so I really didn’t have any idea what that place is all about… but as I was walking around downtown taking pics last week I discovered this flyer taped to a post:

(If the menu is not readable, click on it to view a full-sized image.)

Wow. Their prices are VERY reasonable compared to most of what you find downtown. I guess I need to check this place out. I’ve been told they also have live music on the weekends with cover in the $8-10 range.

New template

As you can see, I have a new Blogger template. This one is so cool that I may actually not go ahead with the move to WordPress.

I tested it in Firefox and IE – if other browsers have trouble with it, let me know.

Looks like I’ll be meeting a friend at the Tap Room for some beers later in the evening. Before that, I’ll probably make the usual stop at the Saucer to see my waitresses. After the Tap Room, my plan is to wander down Main to E&H, although those kinds of plans frequently get derailed.

The archives are back: Blogger gets a new lease on life

Well, this morning my archives have reappeared, so I’m going to continue to use Blogger as my publishing engine for a little while longer, at least until WordPress releases a new version that can import Blogger Beta files.

I am, however, going to convert to a new template in the next few days. So don’t be surprised if you hit this blog and it looks different. I have some new stuff I want to include, most notably a “Make a Donation” button which fellow blogger Otto convinced me is a good idea (I’d link to Otto but his site is in a state of transition right now). I’m not expecting regular readers to donate, but a lot of visitors to Memphis hit this site and learn about downtown and about Memphis, and if they want to whip out the ol’ Visa and send some beer money my way, I’ll certainly take it.

I’m going to add a Donation button and Google ads to my grade calculator as well, which tends to be real popular among college students during the last month of the semester (in April-May it was getting 1000 hits a week). I’m working on a redesign for the grade calculator as well so it doesn’t look so 1997. In nine years I haven’t changed that page and it’s time for an upgrade.

In other news… Semi-Charmed Kat has a great FU Friday post about the PlayStation 3. I’m in total agreement with everything she said.

Circuit Playhouse is running one of my favorite Christmas plays, The Santaland Diaries, now through December 23. It’s about a disgruntled elf working a department store Christmas display. Just hilarious. You need to go see it if you haven’t in past years. Tickets are $25, $20 for seniors and students. CA theater writer Christopher Blank has an article on the play and the actor playing Crumpet the Elf.

That’s all I can find to write about… looks like not much is going on this weekend.

I hate Blogger: Update on the migration to WordPress

As I wrote in the last post, I’m fed up with Blogger and am planning to migrate my blog to the WordPress publishing engine. Been working on it the past couple of hours.

First, the good news. I downloaded and installed WordPress to a test directory and it is WAY cool. Its templates are better than Blogger’s, and as I suspected, it’s far more customizable. Furthermore, it has a feature that has been on my wish list for a long, long time: I can keep comments turned off for the blog overall, but enable them for specific posts. In general, I’m not a big fan of comments on my blog – for “controversial” topics like my COGIC tipping guide or my June 5 post about downtown crime, allowing comments can stir up a shitstorm that I simply don’t want on my site. On the other hand, I also make posts like, “I’m working in Midtown now, where are some good lunch spots?” where I would love comments. So I’m pleased that WordPress offers the comment option at the individual-post level, unlike Blogger, where it’s all-or-none.

Now, the bad news. WordPress has a feature that allows it to import old Blogger posts. That way, I’d be able to bring in the 676 posts I’ve made over the past two years and continue to have my entire blog in one place. Well, I would be able to do that had I not “upgraded” to the “new, improved” Blogger Beta a few days ago. WordPress doesn’t know how to import files from the “new, improved” Blogger Beta because the Beta is too new (it’s definitely not too improved). So, it looks like I won’t be able to unite my blog posts new and old in one place.

So, here’s what’s going to happen over the next week:

1) For now I’ll continue posting to this blog. Don’t worry, not all the posts will be about how much I hate Blogger. I’ll be reverting to my usual themes of bums, pigeons, tube tops, Romanians, bars, beers, etc.

2) I think the Blogger template I’m using is the reason the archives don’t show up properly. So, sometime soon (probably tomorrow) I’m going to switch back to one of the generic templates Blogger provides and see if that helps. So don’t be surprised if you check back tomorrow or Friday and this blog looks different.

3) Meanwhile, I’ll be hard at work customizing my new WordPress blog. When I get it the way I want it, I’ll tell Blogger to publish to a different directory, maybe “oldblog” or something like that. I’ll tell WordPress to publish to the current “blog” directory that you’re viewing now. At that point you’ll see a new blog with one or two posts, and a link to the old blog with the previous 600+ posts.

That will all happen over the next week. Normally it wouldn’t take that long for me to get this done, but my birthday is on Saturday and I’ll probably be out celebrating most of the weekend.

Here’s the thing that worries me: I’m afraid if I split my blog into “new” (WordPress) and “old” (Blogger) blogs, that I’ll lose my rankings on the search engines. Last I checked, if you Google “downtown memphis” my blog comes in sixth. I kind of like that and don’t want to have to spend months rebuilding my search engine appeal. These days, my blog is averaging about 300 hits a day on weekdays, and about 100 of those come from Google searches.

In other news… the Memphis Business Journal recently ran an article discussing the Blue Monkey’s plans to reopen downtown. Thanks to Mike W for forwarding that to me.

Also, if you’re looking for a cheap place to drink tomorrow (Thursday) night, Sleep Out Louie’s is having a special happy hour from 7 to 10, with Bud family longnecks on sale for only one dollar. There will be live music as well.

Also, check out Pam and Terry’s photo archive from their November 11 gig at Sleep Out Louie’s for a couple of pics of me in my Hog Hat.

That’s all for now. I hate Blogger.

That’s it, I’ve had it with Blogger; this blog may be down at times today and tomorrow

I use Blogger, the most widely used blog publishing engine, to post to my blog. But not for much longer… for the past six months, I have gotten progressively more irritated with Blogger. Its servers don’t seem to be able to handle the traffic around lunchtime on weekdays, and oftentimes Blogger would crap out in the middle of the publishing process, making it unclear whether my posts made it to my site. So I’ve had multiple posts, posts that were eaten by Blogger and I couldn’t recover them, photos that took forever to upload… it just got worse and worse.

Now Blogger’s new “beta” has rolled out, which is supposed to be faster and full of new features. One of those “features” is that Blogger can no longer find the links to my archives. Click on the archive links and you’ll see what I mean. Luckily the posts are not gone, they’re just not showing up on my site.

I’ve had it. I’m DONE with Blogger. Later today I’m going to download and install WordPress. It claims it can import archived Blogger posts, and WordPress seems to be a lot more customizable than Blogger.

Since I want the URL to remain the same (in order to maintain my Google search rankings), I’m going to have to do some fancy footwork on the server, backing up all my old Blogger posts, installing WordPress to a temp directory, testing it and then moving everything over. So, for a while later today (or tomorrow, if it proves to be more than I can get done in a day) this page may go down while I get everything moved. Unless I run into problems everything should be working again by Friday.

Dining with old people

When I was a kid, my grandmother used to love to go eat at cafeterias. Sometimes she’d take me with her. I quickly began to notice a couple of things about those cafeterias: First of all, the food was universally bland and boring. Sure, there were a lot of options to select from, but the baked fish was incredibly bland, as was the baked chicken, as was the meat loaf, as was the pork chop. And I wasn’t even about to touch my grandmother’s favorite dish at those places, liver and onions.

The other thing I noticed about the cafeterias was that there were people over 60 at every table in the room. In most cases, waaaayyyy over 60. Cafeterias seemed to be a haven for old people. I remember looking around the room and thinking, 20 years from now, most of the people here right now will be dead.

One notable memory comes from the Golden Host cafeteria in central Little Rock, where I was having lunch with my grandmother one day in the early 1980s. An energetic old man of about 75 greeted his friends at the next table over, saying, “I’m here to get me some VEGETABLES!” He said it with the same enthusiasm that a 21-year-old frat boy might go to a party and tell his brothers, “I’m here to get some p…” Never mind, but you get the idea. I sat there eating my flavorless salisbury steak thinking, this is what the cool people in their 70s do. They go out to get vegetables. That Who song where Roger Daltrey sang “Hope I die before I get old” came to mind. Roger Daltrey is in his 60s now. I wonder where he eats lunch.

When my uncle and aunt would come to town to visit, my grandmother would always suggest that we go eat at Golden Host or one of the other cafeterias. “That way everyone can get what they want,” she would say.

“Well, yeah, if everyone wants food that has no taste whatsoever, that’s true. But why don’t we go somewhere that has GOOD food instead?” I never won those arguments.

One time around 1986 my uncle and aunt came to visit, and my uncle picked up the check for dinner. My grandmother was horrified that I ordered the fried shrimp, at $3.95 the most expensive item on the menu. I tried explaining to her that you’d be lucky to get out of KFC or Burger King or most fast-food restaurants for less than that, that $3.95 was really a very cheap price for a sit-down dinner. She couldn’t understand. She commented several times through the dinner how much I loved shrimp. I think I had eaten shrimp maybe 3 times in the previous year.

Occasionally old people venture out of the world of the cafeterias to try other dining options. The results are not so good. I remember one time in the mid ’80s I was in line at Taco Bell, behind a woman who appeared to be in her mid ’80s herself. She asked the cashier, “Now, a taco, what comes on that?” I thought to myself, YOU OLD BAT, HOW CAN YOU LIVE EIGHTY PLUS YEARS ON THIS PLANET AND NOT KNOW WHAT A FRICKIN’ TACO IS??? It took the cashier at least three minutes to explain the concept of the “taco” to her. I think she ended up ordering something else. I didn’t see her leave, but I’d be willing to bet that when she did, she drove at least 15 MPH below the posted speed limit.

And that concludes today’s lunchtime post, which was NOT typed while sitting in a cafeteria. Back to the cubicle for 5 more hours of fun. I had actually intended to do a post about cubicle culture today, but the old people topic just popped into my mind and I ran with it.

Pics: A. Schwab on Beale

This post is a salute to one of my favorite places to go in Downtown Memphis, A. Schwab, a “dry goods” store on Beale that has been there since 1876. Much of the merchandise resembles what you’d find in dry goods stores of 100 years ago, and some of it is just wacky and off the wall.

Here’s a view of the interior of the store:

Need size 70 overalls or a cowboy hat? Schwab’s has got you covered.

Need panties? Schwab’s has got you covered.

When you find boysenberry preserves and a lime green pimp hat with zebra trim at the same store, you know you’re at Schwab’s.

“Random assortment of crap” is the only description I can come up with for this one.

Ladies’ hats and spiritual books dating back to the 1920s.

A. Schwab’s, your source for cooking utensils.

If you’re a visitor to Downtown, or if you live here and you’ve never been to Schwab’s, you MUST MUST MUST go. One of a kind and a great place to buy Christmas presents. It’s open 9 to 5, Monday through Saturday. Sometimes they stay open late on Saturday, depending on tourist traffic and the mood of the people who work there.