Sunday update

– Well, I never made it to the Ptolemy party at Earnestine & Hazel’s last night. I ran into the gang at the Saucer about 5 and we shot pool for a few hours and I drank 3 beers. My tab (counting tip) there was $12.25, and I thought to myself, “Do I really want to spend another $35?” I had only heard from one Downtowner who was considering going, and I texted him. He replied that he wasn’t going. I was undecided… it felt to me like there was a 50% chance the party would be a lot of fun, and a 50% chance that it would suck. I went home and changed into some clean clothes, then walked down Main Street. As I reached Pearl’s Oyster House – where the gang had relocated by that time – I decided it wasn’t worth it to spend $35 on a 50% chance of a good time, when I could go in Pearl’s, spend a few dollars, hang out with my friends and have a 100% chance of a good time. I ended up in a condo in the South Main area, watching most of the college football Top 10 get decimated.

– I’ve heard a couple of rumors this weekend that Cafe Francisco is closing. Sad to see that place go… it was a good place to take the laptop and work, and they had some good sandwiches and platters on their menu.

New poll in the CA today: King Willie 24%, Carol Chumney 19%, Herman Morris 19%. Because of the poll’s margin of error, the race is considered too close to call. Note that 38% of those polled were undecided, refused to divulge who they were voting for, or were voting for a fringe candidate. I really have no idea who’s going to win this one.

– Lots of stuff to write about this week. Tomorrow I’ll post about the new smoking ban. Wednesday I have a big announcement. Thursday is election day. Friday is the one-year anniversary of the infamous “47 and change” incident, and is also the grand re-opening of Raiford’s. Plus, who knows what else I’ll find to write about? Check back often.

Saturday update

– I found this video on a web page yesterday, and for some reason I’m absolutely addicted to it. I’ve watched it like ten times now. (Warning: This is an absolute waste of three minutes of your life. Some of you may have seen it before – it’s a fairly popular YouTube video)

I think there’s some kind of biting social commentary in there, with the black sheep suffering consequences for not dancing the way the other sheep dance, then finding ways to eliminate the conformist sheep and do what he wants.

– Trolley Tour last night was outstanding. Perfect weather, lots of people. A bunch of us hung out in front of Mikey’s condo on South Main, drank beer, and people-watched.

After Trolley Tour ended, I stopped by the Saucer, but got tired of it by the end of my first beer. The place started to fill up with meatheads, as it usually does on weekend nights, and I didn’t want to be there. I remembered that my friends Crash Kole and Smokin’ Lemon were playing at the Tap Room, so I headed down there.

Only the second time this year that I’ve been to the Tap Room, or on Beale at all, on a weekend night. Odd, considering just two years ago I hung out at the Tap Room more than I did the Saucer, but that was before Beale started getting all thugged out on the weekends. Actually, last night it wasn’t bad at all. My mug was still hanging in the same spot, friendly bartender who I remember from past places I’ve hung out. So I had it filled with PBR and sat and enjoyed the show. I forgot how much I enjoy the Tap Room. I need to start hanging out there again.

– Today: No idea what I’ll do between now and the time the party at E&H starts at 7:30. I may wander down and catch the end of Farmers’ Market in a little while. After that, probably cleaning the apartment, changing burnt-out light bulbs and exciting stuff like that.

From 7:30 on I’ll be at Earnestine & Hazel’s. $35 cover – beer, shots, food, music. Come on out if you’re looking for something to do.

– Back to the Majestic for brunch tomorrow, as we begin the first week of their “two weeks on, two weeks off.” We’ll be there until about 1:00 or when John D finishes his “Pain in the Ass Breakfast,” whichever is later, then head over to the Saucer.

Today’s your last day to early vote, so if you haven’t done it yet, better get it out of the way today in order to avoid standing in line Thursday. Several people have told me my blog convinced them to vote for Herman Morris. All right! Go Herman!!!

Pic: The largest HDTV in town

Tonight I went to EP’s and saw their new TV, the largest HDTV in town. The managers told me its dimensions are 15 feet by 9 feet.

If you look carefully (click the pic for a full-sized image above) you’ll see how tiny the band equipment looks in comparison to the TV. The TV literally takes up the entire stage.

This Monday night: MNF on that TV, beer specials, free chili dogs, free fried mushrooms, free hot wings.

One of the bartenders and I decided: They should put some recliners on the dance floor on Mondays and sell season tickets. As much as I love my waitresses at the Saucer, it looks like they won’t see a whole lot of me on Pint Nite until January.

Party Saturday night at Earnestine & Hazel’s

The Ptolemy carnival crew is throwing a party Saturday night at Earnestine & Hazel’s. The theme is going to be doing it old-school, debauchery like we did in college, with beer, shots, soul burgers and music. The cover is $35 for the public, free for Ptolemy members. Hmmm… this party sounds custom-made for Downtowners. Check Philip’s blog for more info, as Philip is a Ptolemy member and knows all the details. There’s a very good chance Ptolemy Kat will be at this event as well, chasing the RSVP photographer around.

Most likely I’m going to go to this. The other big party in town Saturday night is The Pat Kerr Tigrett Show, also known as The Blues Ball, too expensive for my tastes.

Tomorrow night, of course, is South Main Trolley Tour. A bunch of us Downtowners will be hanging out outside one of the condos in between Huling and Nettleton, on the same block as Jay Etkin Gallery.

Drunk post

So, if you have 7 beers at the Saucer (Flying Dogtoberfest – it was the fire sale) you have two options:

1) call it a night
2) walk to Rio Loco, order shrimp fajita nachos and a jumbo margarita, then go back to the Saucer and drink more beer

Guess which option I chose.

This worked well last year, so let’s try it again…

An e-mail I received Monday brought back memories. A quick story…

In early September of last year, I received an e-mail inviting me to a party to be held on the last Wednesday night of the month. This event is known to be one of the most fun parties of the year, thrown by a major Memphis print media publication, with food from the very best of the city’s restaurants, open bar, Blue Moon and another good beer (can’t remember what it was) on tap. I had been to the 2003 version of this party and it was an absolute blast, so I was excited.

Not long after receiving the invitation, I made my morning run to Walgreens for Mountain Dew. Coming out of Walgreens was a girl who, at the time, I thought was pretty hot. So I asked her if she wanted to go. She said sure, but she needed to wait until her schedule came out to be sure she had the night off. Fair enough, I thought. She worked in the service industry and wouldn’t know her schedule weeks in advance.

Over the next two weeks, I saw her a couple of times and in each case she still expressed interest in going, but stressed that she was unsure of her schedule. “I’ll let you know,” she said. During this time frame I started to notice the way she treated people, the way she always had many, many guys hanging around her, and the way she evaded questions she didn’t want to answer. I began to get the sense that she was something of a flaya (female playa).

A week and a day before the big party, I stopped by the bar where she worked to have lunch. After waiting 40 minutes for her to bring me my check (in addition to being a flaya, she was a pretty horrible waitress – I had to write it up on my time sheet as an hour and a half lunch), I again inquired about the party. “Well,” she said, taking a little longer than normal to respond, “…… I still do not know my schedule yet. … But, I will let you know.”

By this point I was pretty well convinced that “I’ll let you know” meant, “The party sounds like fun and I’d like to go, but I don’t want to say ‘yes’ so I can keep my options open in case a better offer comes along for that night. Also, I don’t want to say ‘no’ because then you might invite someone else, and I don’t want you thinking about any woman but me.”

I had an ace in the hole – I was friends with almost all of her co-workers. So that evening, I came back to the bar and pulled one of my favorite servers there aside. “Got a question for you,” I asked. “Have you guys been given your schedules for next week?”

“Yes,” she said. “Our schedules came out a few days ago, for the next four weeks.” Then she smiled and added, “Oh, I bet you want to know when (the flaya) is working. Want me to get my schedule and show it to you?”

“No, that won’t be necessary,” I told her, and thanked her. “You’ve given me all the information I need.”

That night I went home and made a post to my blog, where I had already mentioned the big party a couple of times. “I had a date lined up for the party, but her invitation has been revoked,” I wrote. “So if I have any secret admirers out there, now would be a good time to reveal yourself.”

Two days later I hit the Saucer to catch the Dempseys. After their first set ended, a cute blonde sitting on one of the benches called me over. She introduced herself and told me she was a regular reader of my blog. We talked for a few minutes and she had this look on her face like she was trying to work up the nerve to say something. Finally she did. “…. So, that big party you have coming up….. do you have a date for it yet?” Based on the few minutes we had talked, she seemed like she’d be pretty fun to hang out with, she didn’t seem like a psycho, and she was pretty hot, so I asked her to come with me to the party.

I didn’t even bother to tell the flaya that her invitation had been revoked… but someone must have alerted her to my blog, because when I came in her bar the following Monday, she didn’t even speak to me, just scowled at me from across the room. “She looks like she wants you to die,” commented a friend. For the rest of the time she worked there, she wouldn’t speak or even smile when I was around, up until the time she quit her job and she mysteriously starting acting nice to me again on her last night… but that’s another story for another post.

Wednesday arrived, met up with cute blonde and we went to the party and we had an awesome time. She was interesting to talk to and a lot of fun. Definitely somebody I would have been interested in seeing again, but it was not to be… three days after the party, she was set to move out of town, to take a job in another city.

Nevertheless, we had a great time. A great party was even better, thanks to her company.

Anyway, here’s my point in telling this story. I received an e-mail telling me that I’m invited to this year’s version of same party, with 4 bands, free food from the best restaurants in town, open bar, good beer on tap. It will be held on the evening of Wednesday, October 3.

Once again, I find myself wondering, “Who the hell am I going to ask to this thing?”

So, if I have any secret admirers out there, now would be a good time to reveal yourself. You can reach me via the e-mail link under my picture.

Tentative plans for tonight:

  • I may do the happy hour appetizer thing at Daily Grill again, around 5:30. I haven’t decided for sure yet though.
  • I’ll be at “Bands, Beer, and Bums” at Court Square by 7. Tonight’s band: Reba Russell. With one of the most well-known acts Downtown and great weather (high 82, low 66), I’m looking for a big turnout tonight (if it doesn’t rain).
  • After that, most likely the Saucer for a little while. I believe Kings of the Delta will be playing tonight, at 9:30. It’s Oktoberfest “Buy the Beer, Keep the Glass” night. Why can’t they have “Buy the Beer, Keep the Waitress” night?

Waiting on a project to be finalized, so not a lot of work to do today. I may hit the U of M campus this afternoon and visit some old friends there.

Tuesday update

– Mayoral candidate Herman Morris has proposed a “green” use for the Pyramid. He suggested that the city could install a photo-energy cell farm on the empty arena to generate electricity, reducing the city’s need for a coal-burning plant in South Memphis. The Daily News has more details (you’ll need to scroll down, it’s the third story).

– Speaking of the mayoral race and other local elections, I had an idea this morning… the concept of negative votes. What if voters were given the option of voting FOR a particular candidate, adding 1 vote to that person’s total, or voting AGAINST a candidate, which would subtract 1 from that person’s total? Seems like that would be a more accurate way for voters to express their true sentiments. I know there are a lot of people in this city who haven’t made up their mind between Morris, Chumney, and the other candidates, but they’re dead-set against Willie. In a race with more than two candidates this could be a really effective way to measure the will of the people.

It could even be taken to a national level. For example, in 2004 I wasn’t all that excited about John Kerry, and would’ve voted against Bush rather than for Kerry if I had the option of negative voting. Then again, in a two-person race I don’t know that it would make a lot of difference.

– According to the CA, early voters are hitting the polls in record numbers. There have been almost 30,000 votes cast so far and it’s estimated that early voting may make up 30-50% of the total. Early voting ends this Saturday, September 29. Have you voted yet? Here’s a list of early-voting locations, and you can vote at any of them, whereas on October 4 you have to go to your assigned polling place.

– Did anyone make it to EP Delta Kitchen for Monday Night Football last night? If you do, shoot me an e-mail and let me know what you thought of it. I was going to head down there, but I was at the Saucer and a friend who was having a birthday showed up, so I had to buy him a birthday beer. Then my opponents on the pool table kept buying my partner and me beers, and I certainly wasn’t going to turn that down!

– Tonight’s trivia night… we’ll see if The Rapscallions can get their third consecutive first-place victory. Last week we had a record 21 people on our team, and we took up an entire rail (the rail is designed to seat 6… the poor waitress had her hands full). The team sitting at the table behind us was blatantly trying to overhear our answers. This week I’m going to try to get there early enough to grab the other rail, which isn’t near any tables.

– For those of you who think East Bumblefuck is so much safer than Downtown, here’s a story from Eyewitness News about a woman who was carjacked in Cordova. It happened at the Kroger on Macon Road at 7:30 AM, and the carjacker fled with her child still in the car.

… And that’s all I’ve got for now. Time to get some work done.

Two things… Downtown dental site, and eat at Chili’s today to support St.Jude

Last night I took my laptop to the Saucer and got my entire Monday’s worth of work done. Yay! I’ve gotten in the habit of always sticking my tongue out at one of the waitresses, and I happened to sit in her section last night.

So at one point she came up and asked if I needed anything. “Yes, two things,” I told her. “Number one, I’d like another Dos Equis Special Lager. And number two, THHHHHHPPPPPPPPPPTTTTTTTT”

It’s a wonder no publishers have contacted me about writing a book on how to talk to women. I gots mad game, yo.

Anyway, I have two things for you, my readers, this morning, and in neither case will I be sticking my tongue out at you. First of all, a friend of mine sent me a link to the website of Jodi Rump, DDS, the Downtown dentist with an office on the Main Street Mall. This is an awesome site. Although, it took me a little while to figure out how to navigate it: Look for the arrows in the lower left.

Second of all, today is Chili’s “Donate Our Profits Day.” 100% of all profits at Chili’s restaurants for the day will be donated to St.Jude Children’s Research Hospital. So, if you haven’t decided where to eat lunch or dinner, why not hit up Chili’s and support one of Memphis’ finest institutions!

Probably back later today with another post… if you missed the one I made last night, make sure you scroll down and read about the awesome Monday Night Football party at EP Delta Kitchen. MN MF’N F at G.D. EP’s. That’s an acronym full of profanity… a profacronym.

Sunday update: MNF at EP’s, smoking at the Saucer

Home from Sunday brunch, and surprisingly, SOBER at 5:30 in the afternoon. A few quick items before I pack up the laptop and head out to get some work done this evening.

– Last night I talked to one of the bartenders at EP Delta Kitchen for a while, and he told me what they’ve got going on for Monday Night Football… they have the biggest HDTV in Memphis on order, and it will be here in 4 days. He said that during the games they plan on having beer specials, free chili dogs, free chicken wings, and free fried mushrooms. WOW. It’s nearly impossible to pry me away from Pint Nite at the Saucer on Mondays, but this just may do it.

– Speaking of the Saucer… an article in Friday’s Memphis Business Journal reveals that the Saucer will become a 21-and-up venue on October 1 so they can continue to allow smoking. DAMN!!! I was looking forward to it being smoke-free. However, I have to admit it’s the right business move – they rarely had any kids in there anyway, and far more of their business came from smokers than from families.

– Eyewitness News has a story about the city’s newest voters – those who live in recently-annexed areas of East Bumblefuck – and how they could potentially swing the mayoral election away from King Willie.

– Downtown Night at the Westin, the monthly event that brings Downtown neighbors together to mingle, happens this Monday night the 24th from 5:30 to 7:00. Good people to talk to and a very nice FREE appetizer buffet.

– In case you missed it, yesterday there was an article in the Commercial Appeal on the reopening of Raiford’s. Says the new owners are doing everything they can to make it exactly the way it was before, with Raiford acting as a consultant and DJ.

That’s all for now… heading back out to get a headstart on the week’s work.

BUSINESS NEWS: Downtown’s pigeons increase output by 15.8% in fiscal ‘07

This week a new survey was released, showing that for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2007, the pigeons of Downtown Memphis increased their output by 15.8%. A simple walk down the Main Street Mall provides plenty of evidence of the pigeons’ increased production.

“We’ve been saying for years that Downtown is a great place to do business,” said Center City Commission president Jeff Sanford. “And no one is more prolific about doing their business all over Downtown than the pigeons. We congratulate them on this fine achievement.”

Sanford pointed out that the pigeons showed a larger increase in production in the 2005 fiscal year, but in that case the numbers were skewed. “The Hurricane Elvis windstorm, which occurred on July 22, 2003, at the start of fiscal 2004, decimated the pigeon population. Things did not approach a return to normal until the start of fiscal ’05, so for that year we saw a year-over-year increase of greater than 25%. But this year is different. This year shows real growth, rather than recovery from disaster. This increase is sustainable. We have every reason to believe that we can look for another 15.8% increase in the pigeons’ output in fiscal 2008.”

Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton was invited to comment. “Well, just let me say this,” he responded. “I believe all of Memphis is familiar with my position on the pigeons.”

Mayoral candidate Carol Chumney, however, accused Herenton of tinkering with the results. “Come on, think about it,” she said. “You know his staff is out in the park feeding those birds every day, to artificially inflate the numbers so he can take credit. You think they’ll be out there after the October 4 election? Of course not.”

Mayoral candidate Herman Morris encouraged Memphians to look to the pigeons as role models. “We can all learn from the pigeons’ example. With a little hard work, it’s possible for all of us – whether we’re producing auto parts, paper, shipping supplies, or in the case of the pigeons, droppings – to increase our output by 15.8%.”

Some Downtown business owners have been searching eBay and Internet poster/framed art sites for pictures and posters of pigeons to hang at their workplace, as an inspiration to their employees. One eBay auction saw a pigeon poster sell for more than $150, with nearly all the competing bids coming from the Memphis metro area.

“It’s really amazing,” Sanford said. “The pigeons have become the unexpected stars of the Memphis business climate.”