Nov 302008
 

It’s a few minutes shy of December 1, but I’m going to go ahead and announce the December BFF of the Month:  Stephanie.  Yes, she has finally won.

Furthermore, it’s not due to a lack of competition.  She deserved to win.  Big time.  When I got laid off all of the sudden one warm October afternoon, she was one of the first people there with words of encouragement.  And more importantly, she was there with a 24 oz. can of PBR.  More recently, she has played a big part in the Downtown holiday festivities, which as I’ve mentioned previously, have kicked ass.  The VIP party for the holiday parade was a massive success (did I mention they had Gus’s chicken? and beer?)  As was the parade itself.  As was the entire holiday lighting project.

She has told me that as BFF, she will send me lots of pictures of her cat Junebug.  I will, in return, send her lots of pictures of prominent Downtown panhandler “June Bug” who is currently in jail for beating up his pregnant girlfriend.

Nov 302008
 

Today I happened upon an article on a website called the Jamaica Gleaner News which offers some outstanding advice about tube tops.  The best part of the article is this:

The days of hiding your tubes under jackets and dresses are over. Over! You’re a beaut, so stop cramping your style. The tube top is an excellent piece to debut on its own. The perspective of longer arms and exposed shoulders is what the tube top is all about today. They are also extremely fun to accessorise.

Well said!  Let’s see those tube tops!  You can read the entire article here.

Nov 302008
 

Yesterday I went to the Red Rooster to watch the flip cup tournament, and more importantly, to drink beer.  First time I’d been there during daytime in about a month, and I quickly remembered how nice the Rooster staff is – they have football on all their TVs (I counted 11 of them), and if you come in to watch, they’ll tell you, “If there’s a particular game you want to watch, just tell us what TV you’d like it on.”  They have big $5 pitchers and half off Maxalicious pizzas during games as well.  If you have a big group that wants to go somewhere and drink beer and watch football, the Rooster would be a good place to do it.

They told me they’re also going to be open for all the Tiger games (including away games on TV), and they will run beer specials.  They’re especially looking forward to February’s Memphis Tigers vs. UT Vols game, which is an away game this year.  They want to have a big watch party for that game.  They also told me that their 12-foot tall rooster that guards the front door will be dressed up as Santa by the end of this week, and that they’re planning a week-long celebration to celebrate their 1-year anniversary in early 2009.

As for the flip cup tournament… eh, it was what it was, an excuse for people to get together and play drinking games.  I didn’t play on a team, just watched.  Sam made me a press pass consisting of a napkin with my name and “PRESS PASS” scribbled on it, which he then proceeded to staple to my shirt.  I have pics in my camera, which I’ll post later.

By 5:30 I was DONE and decided to call it a day and started the walk home… but what’s on the way home from the Red Rooster?  The Saucer.  Of course I had to stop in, especially since one of my favorite beers (Blue Moon) was the Fire Sale.  Ended up hanging out at the bar with my friends Lee and Bicycle Bobby.  Wow there really weren’t a lot of people out.  Guess yesterday was travel day for a lot of people.  We had a good time though.  The manager came over and thanked us for our loyalty.

Around 8 Lee made a great suggestion:  “Hey, you want to go to Bardog?”  Well, let’s see… PBR on tap?  Of course I want to go to Bardog!  So we made the three-block walk up to Monroe.  Found out that the owner’s mom reads my blog.

A female friend at the bar suggested to me, “You know, Paul, there are sweater tube tops.  You ought to do a December version of Tube Top Month to promote those.”  That makes three times this week I’ve had someone suggest that I bring back Tube Top Month six months early in honor of winter/Christmas tube tops.  I’m not up for an entire month of them right now, but if anyone wants to model winter tube tops and send me photos, I’ll be happy to post ‘em.

I made the mistake of getting a seat near the kitchen, which meant I had to sit there and watch them cook sliders for three hours.  Finally I couldn’t take it any more and put in a to-go order for sliders.  The place got super duper packed right as I was leaving – the Thanksgiving holiday may be hurting business at most places Downtown, but it sure didn’t seem to affect Bardog.

Went home, ate my sliders, went to bed.  After the hustle and bustle of the Downtown parade on Friday, Saturday turned out to be a peaceful, relaxing day with good people in good places.  And because I went to bed relatively early last night, I actually am up in time to go to Sunday brunch, for the first time in weeks.  I’ve gotten so out of the loop that I don’t even know if it’s a Majestic week or Blue Monkey week… if anyone knows, shoot me an e-mail.  Otherwise I’ll start texting people about 10:30.

Nov 292008
 

Recap of this weekend so far, going back to Thursday:

I was extremely late getting to the Saucer Thursday afternoon.  It opened at 5, and due to the fact that I had to stop by the Peabody to get money from the ATM, I didn’t get there until 5:08.  Everyone was in a laid-back, festive mood.  I ended up hanging out there talking to people until almost 11:30.  It was odd how it worked… several times I was about to tab out and leave, when new people came in that I wanted to talk to.  If you caught my last post (“why Downtowners hang out the places we do”), you noticed I mentioned circulation, or the “you never know who you might run into” effect, and the Saucer definitely had it Thursday night.

Quote of the night from Thursday: bartender Brittney proudly patted herself on the ass and said, “I’ve got plenty of turkey right here.”  Then she said, “Why don’t you blog that, Paul.”  I swear I’m not kidding.  She actually said that and furthermore suggested I blog it.  We certainly do think a lot of ourself, don’t we?

The guy next to me at the bar followed up with a comment:  “Turkey?  Looks like a couple of hams to me.”  Then he added, “Not exactly honey glazed.”  Makes me wonder why I pay 70 bucks a month for a cable package including the Comedy Channel, when I can get great comedy like this for the price of a beer.

So I hung out with my friends Wayne and Judy, then Bicycle Bobby, then people from the Rooster, then some more Downtowners who came in… by 11:30 I realized, “Okay, I’ve got to get out of here and head to Earnestine & Hazel’s for their party,” realizing I’d probably already missed the Jello shots.  So I made the walk south… the E&H party was as fun as I remembered from last year.  It was packed with people dancing, drinking, having a good time.  If you’ve already bought your 2009 calendar, write “E&H party” on Thanksgiving.  It’s a can’t-miss if you stay in town for the holiday, and it benefits charity, too.

Friday I headed to the Memphis Holiday Parade’s VIP party at one of the galleries on South Main.  Possible future BFF Stephanie had given me passes to the event.  There was a sumptuous spread of food – Central BBQ, a salmon platter, Gus’s chicken, many different kinds of cheeses, vegetable platters with hummus and ranch dip, chips, chocolate, and a lot more items I can’t remember.  I wish I had taken a picture of the buffet to send to the Nuh-Uh Girl, who would’ve been devastated that she missed all that free food.  They had Boscos beer (golden ale and brown ale) and wine as well.

The parade was fantastic.  It was one of the longest parades I’ve ever seen, over an hour from start to finish.  The CCC really hit the ball out of the park this year.  Getting everyone down to South Main was a great idea.  It exposes thousands of people to the shops and art galleries in the neighborhood, and as several people mentioned, South Main is a lot more family-friendly than Beale Street.  I can’t say enough good things about the job they’ve done with not only the parade, but the entire holiday season.  Ten thousand percent improvement over last year.

Once again, a large portion of the day was spent bouncing from one conversation to the next.  Saw a lot of people I hadn’t seen in a while, including my friend Nicole – check out her site if you’re into photography.

I stayed at the parade VIP party until almost 9, then wandered down the street to Calhoun’s.  I ended up staying for 6 PBRs and didn’t get out of there until 1:30.  See, I really do like the place; I just get tired of people who are more rah-rah about Calhoun’s than I am constantly trying to herd me there.  About 1:30 I hopped in a car with a couple of friends and headed to Raiford’s, where I stayed until 3 or so.

Another great weekend in Downtown Memphis… and it’s still only half over.  Flip cup tourney at the Red Rooster at 1 today.  No idea what I’ll get into after that.  Have a good Saturday everyone…

Nov 292008
 

Last night I got in an interesting conversation with Mikey at the bar, and wanted to post thoughts… he told me that people from other parts of town ask him, “Why do you always hang out the places you do?  You’re always at Calhoun’s, Bardog, the Saucer… it seems like you’re in a rut.  Why don’t you ever hang out at Hooters?  At Alfred’s?  At Silky’s?”  It’s a valid question – with so many choices down here, why do we go to the same bars day after day after day?

I thought about it, and while I can’t (and don’t claim to) speak for all Downtowners, there are 4 main reasons this Downtowner goes the places he does:

1) My friends hang out there.  I like places where I can walk in and just about be guaranteed to find someone I know.

2) At least one value drinking option.  Examples: PBR at Calhoun’s and Bardog; the Fire Sale at the Saucer; pretty much everything at Big Foot.

3) Circulation.  A feeling of “you never know who you may see there.”  Not the same people day in and day out, every day.

4) The sense that the people who work there are like us.  Meaning, if they weren’t on the other side of the bar serving us, they’re the kind of people we’d like to have on our side of the bar having a beer with us.

I’m going to come back and go into detail on each of these points (with examples) sometime next week.  For now, though, here’s my latest version of my “favorite places to hang out” list.  Where you see a series of dots below, think of them as an asteroid belt indicating major separation.

1. (Tie) Bardog Tavern

1. (Tie) Flying Saucer

………………………………

3. Calhoun’s

………………………………

4. Big Foot Lodge

5. Red Rooster

6. Earnestine & Hazel’s

7. Automatic Slim’s

8. Jillian’s

Notes on this list:  This is “places I hang out,” not “places I go to eat.”  I don’t really hang out at the Majestic (other than Sunday brunch) or Circa much these days, but if I were going somewhere for a good meal, they’d be at the very top of the list.  Also, Raiford’s is such an unusual place that I find it impossible to rank against my other hangouts.  It’s a permanent honorary #1 in my book.

Quick recap of Thursday and Friday to come, then I gotta head to the flip cup tournament at the Rooster.

Nov 292008
 

Thanks to fellow Downtown blogger Sig for passing on this piece of sad information:  Corey Osborn, who played regularly in B.B. King’s and other Downtown clubs, was killed in a one-person wreck on Highway 385.  He was only 23 years old… I remember not long after I moved Downtown, he was being billed as the 18-year-old prodigy who was a good enough guitar player to play in B.B.’s club.

Downtown is poorer because of his loss.  Thoughts and prayers to Corey’s family.

Nov 282008
 

It’s Black Friday!  Hopefully you’re not hopping in the SUV to head to Target or Best Buy or the mall for the 5 AM Black Friday sale – that kind of thing is SO Cordova.  To help you locate gifts for Downtowners, I’ve decided to put together a Black Friday shopping guide.

First of all, check out Amazon.com’s Black Friday page for a lot more Black Friday deals than you’ll find at any store or mall – plus no sales tax, and many of the items are eligible for free Super Saver shipping.

Now let’s talk about gifts specifically for Downtowners… a flask is always a great gift idea, to sneak concealed booze into special occasions.  Here are links to a few flasks that Downtowners would love:

A cooler to keep beer, wine and liquor cold is another thoughtful gift for a Downtowner.

Other thoughtful gifts for Downtowners include:

For Downtowners who are Memphis Tigers fans, why not give the gift of time?  You can choose from about 100 Memphis Tigers watches here. Or you can buy Memphis Tigers jewelry, choosing from a selection of earrings, necklaces, bracelets, pendants, and charms.  If you’re more into pro teams, you can shop for Memphis Grizzlies watches and jewelery, or you can commemorate the Tennessee Titans’ amazing season with watches and jewelry.  Are you a fan of some other team?  Find what you’re looking for here:  College watchescollege jewelryNFL watchesNFL jewelryNBA watchesNBA jewelryNHL watchesNHL jewelryMajor League Baseball watchesMajor League baseball jewelry

Do you know someone who consistently loses at pool, over and over again, to the point of embarrassment?  I do.  His name’s Pete.  But anyway, a pool training ball is a great gift to help that person improve their game.  It will teach them where to shoot for different types of English and bank shots.  Or you may want to get a paper arm trainer that they can lay on the table itself to help direct their shots.  If you want to go high-tech, you can get them an electronic pool training aid, or a laser-sighted cue stick to help them line up shots.  Maybe a pool training video is what they need.  Or maybe you can confuse them with a crazy 8 ball that doesn’t behave like a normal ball when hit.

When you give a hot girl a tube top, you’re not only giving a gift to her, but to men in general.  The Tube Top Boutique has hundreds of tube tops in all shapes and sizes, and has recently added tube tops being sold on eBay for an even larger selection.

The Skank-o-ween costume store has hundreds of skanky outfits.  These would make great gifts to your girlfriend if you enjoy seeing her dressed up as a slut in the privacy of your own home.  Better yet, dress her up and bring her out in public so we can have a look too!  Slutty costumes: They’re not just for Halloween.

Restaurant.com sells $25 gift certificates to popular restaurants for only $10. They’re a way to give your family and friends great dining experiences while saving 60%.  Big Foot Lodge, Blue Fin, Blue Plate Cafe, Cafe 61, Circa, Green Beetle, Ground Zero, McEwen’s, Onix, Papa Pia’s, The Pier, Safari, Sauces, Silky O’Sullivan’s, Stella, Superior Bar on Beale, and TGI Friday’s are among the Downtown restaurants that are part of the program; there are dozens more elsewhere in Memphis. The Dinner of the Month on Restaurant.com lets you give the gift of dining out once a month for 3, 6, or 12 months.

More thoughtful gift ideas:

Hope this list helps you get started… happy shopping, and a happy holiday season!

Nov 272008
 

This morning, an ad on my Gmail introduced me to one of the most brilliant products ever: Baconnaise.  The makers of this bacon-flavored mayonnaise believe that “everything should taste like bacon” and recommend its use on sandwiches, salads, dips, sauces, chicken, fish, and fries.  It’s vegetarian-friendly, and is available in “regular” and “lite.”  Their site has Baconnaise recipes, and says it’s available at Kroger.  I’ll have to look for it next time I go shopping.

One important addition to the “What’s open Thanksgiving Day” list: Jack’s Food Store, open until 7 in case you need to do last-minute shopping.

The “Chef’s Special” in the Commercial Appeal today features Patrick Reilly, chef at the Majestic Grille.  The Majestic is a regular Sunday brunch spot and one of my favorite places to send out-of-towners who are looking for a good meal.  As I’ve said many times, I think Patrick’s filet is possibly the best I’ve ever had.

For those of you who want to start Christmas shopping but don’t want to endure early morning Black Friday crowds, I’ve created a Black Friday guide to help you shop for gifts for Downtowners.  It will auto-post at 12:01 AM tomorrow, so it will be available even before the stores open.  The very first link in the guide will give you more options than you’d have at Target, and the remainder will be full of suggestions for gifts that Downtowners would like.

I’ve been getting e-mail about this year’s Stumbling Santa pub crawl.  I’m not involved in the organization of the event… I just participated last year and posted pics.  However, I do know the basics, so here they are:

  • Meet at Earnestine & Hazel’s on Saturday, December 6 at 7 PM.
  • The first important thing to know is to bring a toy for a child’s Christmas.  It’s a toy drive for Porter-Leath.
  • The second important thing to know is that you’re asked to dress up.  It’s a spectacle seeing 250 Santas walking around Downtown from bar to bar.  If you don’t want to be a Santa, you can dress as Mrs. Claus, an elf, a reindeer, a Christmas tree, or other holiday costume.  You can get these at Party City for as cheap as 30 bucks.
  • Eventually you’ll leave E&H and walk through Beale Street, the Peabody, and several bars.  I think the Saucer and Raiford’s are on the list.

I have a wedding to attend that night, so I won’t be able to make it to Stumbling Santa this year.  Like I say, I’m not involved in the event, but if you have questions I can pass them on to my friend Billy who can probably answer them.

Counting the minutes until 5:00 when the Saucer opens… I’ll be at the E&H party later tonight.

Nov 272008
 

The owner of Calhoun’s Sports Bar on G.E. Patterson e-mailed me to let me know that the bar will open early tomorrow.  He’s a big Arkansas fan and they play LSU at 1:30.  Last year’s game was one of the best of the 2007 season, with Arkansas knocking off then-#1 LSU in three overtimes.  Come on down to Calhoun’s and catch the game before the parade.  $1.50 PBR!