Found a place to watch the Cotton Bowl; also, one more place to party tonight

I just received confirmation that Calhoun’s, the new sports bar on GE Patterson Avenue, will be open at 10 AM tomorrow and will be serving beer and bar food.  That’s where I’ll be for the Cotton Bowl then.  Assuming I get up that early, that is.  I’ll take the camera with me and try to get some pics of the interior, as well as a report on what kind of beer they have, how many TVs, menu, etc.

One more option for your New Year’s Eve partying… Hollywood Disco, better known to most Downtowners as Raiford’s, will be open tonight with a guest DJ.  $15 cover.

Where to watch the Cotton Bowl?

I’m trying to figure out where I’ll watch the Cotton Bowl tomorrow, which comes on at the ridiculously early time of 10:30 AM.  I could watch it at home, of course (and I may have to for the first quarter), but what fun is that?  I want to watch my Hogs at a bar, hopefully with other Arkansas fans.

So I’m trying to figure out where.  The Saucer doesn’t open until 5, so that’s not an option.  Big Foot and McGuinness look like the top choices at this point.  Wherever I go, it will have to be a bar with multiple TVs, because Tennessee and Wisconsin will be playing in the Outback Bowl at the same time.

Wonder if Calhoun’s will be open regular hours tomorrow?  Seems like they’d have to be, if they’re going to call themselves a true sports bar, considering all the bowl games that are on.  Not sure I’m willing to take the risk of the 14-block walk down there to find out though, when Big Foot and McG are much closer.

Hmmm… I could go to Big Foot and try one of their new 34 oz. mixed drinks while I watch the game.  That might lead to an early collapse though, not good considering my trivia team plays that night at 7.

Any other Hog fans who plan on watching the game at a bar somewhere?  Yes, I plan on wearing my Hog Hat.

PBRtinis and other notes: Monday update

No idea why I’m up this early, considering that I don’t have to work today.

Yesterday at brunch Otto came up with a great idea for a new drink: the PBRtini.  It consists of Pabst Blue Ribbon in a martini glass.  Now that’s about as lowbrow as martinis can get.  We were discussing what one would use as a garnish in a PBRtini; my vote would be for a cigarette butt.  Most restaurants would have the good sense not to actually put this drink on the menu, but if Hooper and/or Tony see this post I bet it might show up at Hoop’s Bar.  If it does, I can’t wait for the next time a girl asks me to buy her a drink.

Otto is full of useful information.  Yesterday at brunch I learned from him that the SkyCam/cable cam commonly used in NFL broadcasts today was first used in Vince McMahon’s XFL that folded after one season.

Speaking of NFL football:  I usually e-mail the following to my favorite blogger/MILF, but since she reads this blog every day I’ll do it here:

SCOREBOARD:  Titans 16, Colts 10

Yes, her precious Colts lost again.  Saturday night a bunch of us watched the Patriots-Jets game at McGuinness.  The crowd seemed to be majority anti-Patriots, but I rooted for them because I wanted them to have a perfect season.  Not that I’m a huge New England fan, but their perfect season firmly establishes that the best team in the NFL is not the Colts.  Also, I’m not a huge Tom Brady fan, but I find myself cheering for him lately because he proves that the best quarterback in the NFL is not overexposed, overhyped Peyton.

Here’s a Wikipedia page that explains how passer ratings are computed.  That formula makes my head hurt, and I’m a former math teacher.

My favorite blogger/MILF came up in conversation yesterday.  “When are you going to get your MILF to come have brunch with us?” John D asked as he sipped a Bud Light on one of the Saucer’s couches.  Although I don’t link to my favorite blogger/MILF’s blog from here, John D managed to find it and has been reading it for some time.  He commented that her new profile pic makes her look “busty.”  Wouldn’t count on seeing her anytime soon, John.  If she ever does come Downtown, she probably won’t go to the places we hang out, but to places that remind her of her Cordova neighborhood – Jillian’s, Hooters, TGI Friday’s.

While we were hanging out at the Saucer yesterday, there was an employee meeting going on, and I’m glad I was there just so I could figure out who actually still works there.  Turnover has been high lately.  There was a Kenyan trainee who got jealous of my “I love Romanian girls” T-shirt, and I told her I’d order an “I love Kenyan girls” shirt, but I guess it’s a good thing I didn’t because she wasn’t at the meeting.  The waitress who calls me “Paulie Pocket” and her little zebra-haired sidekick are gone too.  I hate to admit it, but I miss having them around to pick on.  Sundays were a lot more fun when they were working.
The waitress who calls me “Paulie Pocket” did leave a parting gift for me though.  Since I dress up as a Saucer girl for Halloween every year, she gave me a new blue Beer Goddess tank top to wear next October.  “It’ll match your eyes,” she said.  I don’t know about this new tank top though.  It has spaghetti straps.  I understand that the point of Halloween is to scare people, but spaghetti straps on me might be taking things a bit TOO far.  I took an informal poll among my friends – blue spaghetti strap tank top: Good idea, or bad idea?  So far the results of the poll are as follows:

Good idea:  0%
Bad idea:  100%

I tend to agree with their judgment.

One interesting thing I did notice – the new Beer Goddess tank top had an American Apparel label on it.  I had wondered how American Apparel managed to be so successful, given that I never see a whole lot of people in their South Main store.  Now I get it – they go after corporate accounts.  Smart.

Got some new bum pictures to upload to the Handling-Panhandling group yesterday too.  This time of year it’s hard to get pics of them, because the sun has set by the time I get off work, and digital cameras don’t do a great job in dim light.  Hmmm… I have absolutely nothing to do today until 6:50 PM.  Maybe I’ll go out on a photography mission this afternoon.

Hung out at the Saucer until 8, then went over to Hoop’s Bar with my friend Chuck where we had “Anna’s Egg Wolls.”  Now, I thought I had these once before, but I was wrong.  They are NOT the egg rolls you see on the free buffets (Monday Night Football, Q107.5 Thursday nights) at EP’s and Hoop’s.  Rather, these are huge homemade egg rolls, each one about twice the size of the ones on the free buffets.  You get three of them and they are stuffed full of pork.  They come with sweet potato chips, the same ones used on Michael Patrick’s Not-Yo-Crawfish.  At $6 they are a great value.  The Liberty Bowl crowd drank up all their PBR cans this weekend, so I had to settle for a Corona to wash down my egg rolls.

Dinner at Majestic tonight, followed by a private New Year’s Eve party at a Downtown location.  We have reservations for 20 at the Majestic, but I have a feeling so many people have been invited that we may exceed even that.  My friend Mikey who set up the Majestic dinner will be late, so I’ll have to act as coordinator/camera nazi for the first hour or so.  The owners of the Majestic were SO excited when we made the reservation.  They told us that we were the people they really wanted there for New Year’s Eve.  That’s why we kept the NYE dinner at the same place, for the second year in a row, rather than trying someplace different – because they appreciate our business and take care of us like no place else does.

Guess I’ll hit Publish and jump in the shower.  I don’t have much to do today, and I have several topics on deck, so there will probably be more posts.  Check back.

Second Update: New Year’s Eve stuff

Updated Sunday 12/30 with a few more.  I’ve also added a few cover charges which were unknown at the time of the previous update.  Originally posted 12/21, which is why you see me talking about going to Christmas parties at the end of the post.

One of my readers requested that I start making a list of what’s going on for New Year’s, what cover charge places are charging, etc. She sent me a starter list. If you can add to the list below shoot me an e-mail. I’ll update it several times between now and the 31st.

Flying Saucer – $15 cover, The Dempseys will be playing.  New Year’s Eve is on a Monday, which is normally $2.50 Pint Nite for most drafts; I haven’t confirmed this with management but I would assume that Pint Nite prices will NOT be in effect for the New Year’s Eve party.  Also, UFO Club members, who usually can beat cover by showing their card, have to pay to get in for special occasions like New Year’s Eve.

Majestic Grille – no cover. They’ll have their regular menu plus some special dishes Patrick is making to ring in the new year.

EP’s – $35 cover. (Edit: Chef Michael Patrick just e-mailed to let me know the cover includes 15 hors d’ouevres served until midnight.)

Pearl’s Oyster House – Party downstairs 8 PM – 1:30 AM with DJ Andy Boone, free champagne at midnight. $10 in advance, $20 at the door. Or, you can have a $50 four-course fixed price dinner upstairs which includes free admission to the party.

Big Foot Lodge – no cover, $2 34 oz. Big Foot beer 8-10. DJ Tonyology 10-3, free champagne at midnight.

Huey’s Downtown – Eric Hughes Band takes the stage at 9 PM. The newsletter didn’t mention a cover and I doubt Huey’s would charge one.

Hard Rock – Aquanet takes the stage at 9 PM. $15 cover. Aquanet rocks and this would be one of my updated recommendations.

Calhoun’s, the new sports bar on G.E. Patterson Ave. next door to the Cheesecake Corner, will open tonight according to e-mail bulletins sent out last week.  Given that it’s opening night, I doubt they’ll be charging a cover.

McGuinness will be open with no cover and a “champaign” toast at midnight.  (“Champaign?”  Geez.  That’s a typo worthy of the Flying Saucer.)  I’m adding this one to the recommended list simply because they’re keeping it low-key and not making it a big, huge party.

Circa – Dinner from a special New Year’s menu $90, wine accompaniment $60.

83 Lounge inside the Madison Hotel – Amy and the Trampps will be playing. Ice-carved martini luge bar and gourmet hors d’ouevres. Champagne toast. Reservations required. $83 cover.

Also at the Madison – elegant 5-course New Year’s Eve dinner for $80.

Encore – $65 for 4-course fixed price menu. Music by Jim Wenger and the Jim Spake Duo.

Automatic Slim’s – 4-course fixed price menu ($70); music by the Roy Brewer Combo with Renee Kemper.

Pat O’s – $15 for cover and a beer, or $99 for VIP free drinks and buffet all night.

TJ Mulligan’s Pinch – 3-way will be playing; no idea what the cover is.

Marmalade Lounge – 25th annual New Year’s Eve Ball 10 PM – 2 AM.  $25 cover.  The Al Rudd’s “Soft Fire Trio” with special guest Willie Covington.  Champagne and hors d’ouevres at midnight. Hors d’ouevres menu includes fried chicken tenders, wings of fire, meatballs, salad bar tray, bread and crackers.

Peabody – $50 cover. Cowboy Mouth, Lord T and Eloise and some other bands will be playing. (Edit: You can also get free admission with a dinner at Capriccio for $95 or at Chez Philippe for $125.)

Handy Park on Beale – Free Sol, Oracle & the Mountain, and Richard Johnston.

Senses – $10 cover or $200 for a table. Are you f-ing kidding me? TWO HUNDRED??? Nothing screams “poser” like paying two hundred bucks for a place to be seen sitting.

Note that just because I’ve listed the options above doesn’t mean I recommend them. First of all, let me fill you in on a bias I have: I like crowds but I absolutely HATE bars that are elbow-to-elbow crowded, where you can barely move. I also hate New Year’s Eve because it tends to turn into amateur night at the most popular bars – they fill up with drunk people who believe that the fact that they’re “partying” gives them the right to be as loud and obnoxious and as rude to the people around them as they want.

For that reason, even though I love these two places every other night of the year, I cannot recommend the Saucer (even with the Dempseys there) or EP’s on New Year’s Eve. Sorry guys. Nothing personal. It’s just that I know what kind of crowd will show up.

I went to the Peabody party in 2004 and was not impressed at all. There was a 25-minute line to get drinks, and they had jacked their drink prices to the moon. There was a 15-minute line for the men’s room. It’s possible they’ve improved it in the years since, but I’m not betting on it.

What I would recommend, based on what I’ve seen so far: Majestic or Circa if you want to celebrate with a nice sit-down dinner; Big Foot or Pearl’s if you want to party. (Edit: Add Aquanet at Hard Rock to the “party” list.)

What I’m doing for New Year’s Eve: My group of friends and I are going to hit Majestic about 7 to get a good meal in us. Then, we’re moving on to a private party that I’m helping to organize at an apartment building Downtown. The deal is, about 5 Downtowners (me being one of them) who have large groups of friends decided to bring all our friends together to party on New Year’s. Cool, fun people to hang out with, away from the crowds, and safe.

Whew… so far I’m surviving the Christmas party season. Big Foot’s party last night was awesome. Tonight I’ve got my office Christmas party at Earnestine & Hazel’s, followed by a Sleep Out Louie’s reunion party at TJ Mulligan’s. That party ends at 9… after that I’ll probably end up at the Saucer or Hoop’s.

Sorry I haven’t been posting much – just haven’t had time between work and Christmas parties. Post frequency should pick back up starting tomorrow.

The Klitz, Memphis first all-girl punk group, at Automatic Slim’s tonight

The Klitz, an all-girl punk band that formed in Memphis in 1978, reunites tonight to play a show at Automatic Slim’s. They were well before my time, but I’ve been told that they were the most talked-about girl group in Memphis during that era. Might be something interesting to do tonight if you’re looking to get away from the UCF, Mississippi State, and (edit: Oops, I mean Tigers not Grizzlies) crowd that will surround Beale Street and the surrounding bars… and it’s a chance to experience a piece of Memphis music history.

This time I may finally be done with Blogger

As many of you know, I’ve been fed up with the Blogger blogging engine for quite some time now. I almost switched to WordPress about this time a year ago, but there were problems importing my existing posts due to Google rolling out “Blogger beta/the new Blogger.” Well, WordPress is now able to import from the new Blogger, so that’s no longer an issue.

So, one of the things I plan to do during my four-day weekend is convert this blog from Blogger to WordPress. I should be able to bring all the old posts over into the new format with no loss of data. One thing that will change is the current blue template, which is Blogger-specific. However, I’ve found a new template which I really like and which is a lot more readable – it will be white text on a black background, with a larger font that’s more pleasing to the eyes.

Like the current template, the new one will be 3 columns. I’m going to get rid of the “Paul’s Mall” column on the right (although I may keep the Amazon search box, that’s pretty handy) and instead I’m going to put SOMETHING there which will contain useful information for people who plan to go out Downtown. I haven’t figured out exactly what yet.

Working on the import now… have run into one snag, in that my blog is so large that the file size is beyond the maximum allowed import size. Fortunately I can Google the problem to look for solutions, and my friend Otto is a WordPress expert and I’m sure he knows a way around it. So sometime between now and January 1, you’ll probably see this blog switch over to the new format. In the meantime, you may see some weird stuff as I experiment with the import. I’ll continue to post over the weekend as ideas come to me.

Thoughts on the upcoming presidential primary

The Tenessee presidential primary is less than six weeks away (it’s on February 5) and I have no idea who I’m going to vote for. Early on I was a huge fan of Barack Obama. I appreciate his fresh ideas and I believe he’s the candidate most likely to use the presidency as a bully pulpit the way Teddy Roosevelt did. A few months ago, though, I swung back to Hillary’s side, believing her experience would be valuable on the world’s stage, and besides, it’s time for America to have a woman president. Now I’m back to undecided. I just don’t know.

As of right now, I think the environment will end up being the issue that determines my vote. I believe that 100 years from now, Bush will be seen as a president who sat by and did nothing during a crisis (the climate crisis) the way Hoover did 75 years ago during a crisis of his own (the Great Depression). I want to see a president aggressively implement the suggestions Al Gore and his group came up with, before it’s too late.

So between now and 2/5 I’ll be researching where Hillary and Obama stand on that issue, and if they make big promises, I’ll consider whether I can really trust them to keep their word. I haven’t looked into John Edwards much. I have nothing against him though. If anyone reading this is a big Edwards supporter and wants to make a case for him, feel free to e-mail me and I’ll read with an open mind.

Since voters don’t have to declare in advance for one political party or the other in Tennessee, I do have one other option if I can’t find a clear favorite among Hillary, Obama, and Edwards by February 5… I could cross over to the Republican primary and vote for Giuliani. Of the Republican candidates, he’s the only one I could be completely happy with as president. If he gets the nomination, I’ll give him serious consideration against the Democrat. In any other case, my vote in the general election will go to the Democrat for sure.

Trouble is, I wonder if a vote for Giuliani in the primary is a wasted vote in a conservative state like Tennessee.

I was very happy with Mike Huckabee’s performance as governor of Arkansas, and if he were running for governor I’d vote for him. As president? No.

I admire Ron Paul’s independence and his willingness to do what’s right as opposed to toe the party line. Several of my blog’s readers have e-mailed requesting that I give him a serious look. But the president appoints Supreme Court justices, and for that reason there’s no way I can support a candidate who is pro-life.Guess I’ll figure it out who I’m going to vote for sometime in the next six weeks. At least I can be encouraged by the realization that no matter who ends up in the White House on January 20, 2009, it’s going to be a huge improvement over the current occupant.

Meat and two

Just had lunch at Blue Plate Cafe. Turkey and dressing with blackeyed peas and boiled cabbage and cornbread. It was excellent. Service was great too – food was out in 5 minutes and the waiter brought me an extra Coke without me even having to ask.

While I was eating I flipped through RSVP Magazine. One of their monthly profiles was about… can you guess it?… Kevin Kane. Said his favorite album was Sgt. Pepper and the first concert he ever attended was a Led Zeppelin show. My respect for Kevin went way up after reading those facts.

As for the rest of the magazine… well, let’s just say I’m considering not buying any more toilet paper and instead putting a stack of RSVP Magazines in my bathroom. Fun game to play if you’re really bored – go through the magazine and try to figure out whose pictures the photographer actually wanted in the magazine, versus who chased the photographer around and begged to have their pics taken.

Um… otherwise… not much new to report. I have a post on the presidential race saved in Drafts, and I’ll put that one up next. That’ll save me from having to tell the disgusting bum story from last night, which is really too nasty even for this blog.

Friday update: Calhoun’s sports bar, Liberty Bowl stuff, South Main Trolley Tour and more

I’ve heard from two different sources that Calhoun’s, the sports bar on G.E. Patterson in the old convenience store space, will open for business on the 31st. The info, I’m told, went out in an e-mail newsletter that its neighbor down the street Delphinium sent to its customers.

Liberty Bowl parade on Beale today at 4:00. Better get there early if you want to grab a spot – this one tends to draw a lot more people than the Christmas and St. Pat’s parades on Beale. I’ve been seeing people in UCF attire all week long… guess the Mississippi State folks are waiting ’til the day of to drive up. The game is tomorrow at 3:30.

Tonight is the last Friday of the month, which means it’s South Main Trolley Art Tour. I’ll probably head down there at some point in the evening.

And tomorrow night it’s (2) Memphis vs. (17) Arizona (Edit: not Arizona State as I originally posted) at the FedExForum, 9 PM. With the game going on and the Liberty Bowl crowd coming downtown to party after the game, it’s going to be a wild and crazy night.

Didn’t make it to Sauces’ happy hour last night after receiving a text that my bartender Ugly Steve is no longer there. So instead I went to (can you guess it? can you?) the Flying Saucer. Hung out with the gang there until about 9, then we moved down the street to Hoop’s Bar. I had their “pizza of the week,” a philly cheese steak pizza, and it was very good. Lasted until a little after midnight… wandered through EP’s on the way out, and it was DEAD. I guess people are saving up their partying energy for this weekend.

Speaking of which… starting at 5 PM today, I have a 4-day weekend!!! Maybe a happy hour or two and trolley tour tonight, then tomorrow night I’ll go somewhere to watch the Tigers with the gang, Sunday is of course Sunday Fun Day at the Majestic and the Flying Saucer, Monday is New Year’s Eve at the Majestic followed by the private party I’ve talked about previously, and Tuesday I’ll go somewhere to watch the Hogs kick Missouri’s ass at the Cotton Bowl, then kick some ass at trivia with the Rapscallions.

May have one drink at Circa tonight before moving on to the Saucer and then trolley tour… I’m kinda curious about this “free hors d’ouevres at the bar” thing they do at the bar on Friday and Saturday nights. In the words of pro wrestler Stevie Ray, “suckas gots to know.”

Just checked my MySpace account… the signal-to-noise ratio is getting really bad over there. For every one real message or friend request I get, I get about 20 from webcam girls wanting me to pay to look at their pictures. If this keeps up I may quit MySpace altogether. Facebook is better anyway.

I’ll try to find SOMETHING to post at lunch today, since some of my readers have expressed disappointment in the lack of recent midday posts. Unfortunately the only thing I have on deck right now is a rather obscene story about two of the bums Downtown. If I can’t think of anything better by noon or so, that’ll go up.

C’mon get happy… and other notes

Last night I hit Circa’s Wednesday night happy hour where they have $8 wine flights – three 2 oz. servings of any of their by-the-glass wines, normally $12. I did two flights, first a red flight and then one with sweet white wines. Not being a wine expert (that’s part of why I’m doing it, to learn), I let bartender Steven pick the wines. I trust his judgment, as he served me many a beer in my mug at the Tap Room in a former life.

My favorite of the reds was Earth, Zin & Fire red zinfandel. Loaded with flavor. Steven told me the story of the wine… the winery had a big party and got Earth, Wind and Fire to play. They made the wine specially for the party, and it was supposed to be a one-time thing. However, the wine was so good that they kept it around, and they now have a party with Earth, Wind and Fire once a year. How many bands have a wine named after them?

The whites were VERY sweet. I know it’s more sophisticated to be into dry white wines, but come on, I drink PBR cans at some of the other bars Downtown. My favorite of the three was Champalou Vouvray.

I definitely take notes when I’m in there, for future trips to the liquor store to stock up on wine to keep in my apartment. Heh… think I’ll buy a bottle of Mad Dog 20/20 too, for the next time I bring a date back to my apartment and offer her a glass of wine. I’ll let her get freaked out by the MD 20/20 for a minute and then pop a bottle of good wine.

Saw fellow blogger Downtown Amy in there. Circa seems to have quite a few bloggers who are regulars. John Bragg e-mailed me about a month ago asking what he’d have to do to get me in there more often… the happy hours are working. Another suggestion: Hire some Romanian waitresses. Wait, I sit at the bar at Circa. Hire some Romanian bartenders.

The Rapscallions took not only first, but second at trivia Tuesday night. With a shortage of teams, the manager told us he might not award all three prizes. So half the team split off and played, with the Rapscallions taking first and Mormons for Gay Polygamy (don’t ask me, I didn’t name them) coming in second. That brings our gift certificate stash to $170. Currently the plan is to throw our money in with a couple of people having plate parties at the end of January to have a mega-party.

Bumper sticker I saw while in Little Rock: “1.20.09: The End of an Error.”

Tonight I’m thinking about doing another happy hour with another former Tap Room bartender – Sauces happy hour with Ugly Steve. I’ll be there until about 7 (I DEFINITELY won’t be sticking around once the beers revert to full price, which at Sauces is a very full price indeed). Next stop will be the Flying Saucer. After that MAYBE Hoop’s Bar/EP’s, depending on how tired I am. Only about a 50% chance I’ll make it that far though.

In news from around the blogosphere… my favorite blogger/MILF is so hot that her car caught on fire.

Sorry there wasn’t a post yesterday. I wasn’t feeling well and slept until 8:30 yesterday morning, got up, brushed my teeth and went to work. Which meant I had to come home at lunch and shower. Which meant there simply wasn’t any time to post. Not that it would have been all that interesting anyway.

Off to another exciting day at work.