Tube Top Boutique re-loaded with inventory for 2009

It may be snowing outside here in Memphis, but tomorrow is the first day of meterological spring, and warm weather is right around the corner.  So, while it’s been snowing, I’ve been working, re-loading my web store the Tube Top Boutique with 2009 inventory.

Some of the highlights of the new inventory:

When you shop at Tube Top Boutique, checkout is handled by, the Internet’s pioneer in the secure checkout process, so you can rest assured that your information remains safe.  They handle shipping too.  I never see your name or credit card number; I just receive a notification that items were ordered.  I get a commission on the items, ranging from 4% to 8.5% depending on the total monthly volume sold by all my Amazon affiliate websites.

Tube Top Month is three months and a day away, so it’s time to get ready!  Happy tube-topping!


A few snow pics I just took from my bedroom window:




On that last image, you should be able to see the Mississippi River in the background, to the right above the buildings.  The snow is so thick that a sheet of white has made the river disappear.  I heard we were going to get 2-4 inches and for once it looks like the weatherman may be right.

Saturday update

I ordered a clear license plate cover yesterday. If you park in a garage Downtown, it might be a good idea to get one of these.  The bums have been going into the garages late at night and scraping the “09” and “10” stickers off license plates.  If you have your plate covered, then it’s more trouble than it’s worth and they’ll move on to another car.

There’s a zydeco festival on Beale Street tonight.  This is an annual event and it always makes for some very interesting people-watching.  Would be a good night to hit Beale if you’re looking for something to do.

I also see that there’s an artists’ market with music today at the Burkle Estate at 826 N. Second.  That’s the house that used to be a station on the Underground Railroad.  It’s now been converted to a museum and there are Saturday tours.

Slow news day, so, short post.  Gonna get an hour of online poker in, then head to the bar to watch the noon Memphis vs. Southern Miss game.  Go Tigers!

Friday update

I had a bad beat at the poker tournament at Calhoun’s last night.  I never went above my initial 10,000 chip allotment, and it quickly got whittled down to half.  Not sorry about the hand that took me out though.  I had AJ suited and the flop came down AJ3.  I went all-in.  Little did I know that Otto had pocket 3s, one of the few hands that could beat me.  Sucks to lose, but I wouldn’t have played that hand any differently.  I figured he had paired up an ace and I wanted to get him out of the hand before he had a chance to pair up his other hole card, which might be higher than a jack.

I did learn why playing online for real money is not the best prep to play Buzztime poker tournaments.  Online you have to manually enter your bet (or select it using a slider control), and rarely do I see people betting more than 4 x big blind in the early rounds.  On the other hand, Buzztime has easily-selected options to bet 1/2 pot or to bet pot, and people were using them aggressively last night.  I wasn’t used to those after a week online, and got scared when I saw 16 x big blind bets or more in the opening rounds of the tournament.  Didn’t play those right.  Makes me think I’ll start betting 1/2 pot to pot online, to get better prep for Buzztime tournaments, and to get more money on the table in online games.

So I was out by 7:50, and the Tiger game started at 8.  Calhoun’s was starting to get crowded beyond my capacity to want to be there, with people bumping into each other trying to get down the aisles.  So I paid my tab and headed north, eventually ending up at the Saucer, then moving to Bardog and then Voodoo Room with Glo and Flo.

Calhoun’s got their 120″ projection HDTV hooked up on the back deck last night, so it’s ready for March Madness and other spring events.

Last night I got word that there will be another series of crawfish boils on Sunday, in March and April, in the Downtown core.  More to come after they secure their beer permit for these events.  Calhoun’s already plans on doing crawfish boils on Sunday, so there will be both a core and a South Main option for crawfish.

This morning I received word that the sign in the window at 14 S. Second has been changed to “Paula & Raiford’s Disco,” and that will be the name of the place.  Talked to some people last night who went by to check the place out, and got put to work making handprints on the wall.

Not sure what I’ll do tonight.  It’s Trolley Tour but there’s rain in the forecast, so I may skip it.  Anything else fun going on Downtown?

Buzztime Texas Hold’em tournament tonight at Calhoun’s

Calhoun’s, the friendly sports bar on G.E. Patterson next to Cheesecake Corner, has its weekly Buzztime Trivia Texas Hold’em tournament tonight at 7 PM.

The tournament is played not on a table, but on the Buzztime trivia system, where you use blue hand-held boxes (called “crack boxes” by the regulars) to register your bets and raises.  You can view action against the other players on video screens located throughout the bar.  The boxes are easy to learn to use.  It’s free to play and is done in true tournament style – each player is given 10,000 chips, and the small and big blinds go up every 15 minutes.

Play continues until one person is left with chips, and the prize is a $15 gift certificate.  If you think that sounds small, keep in mind that PBR pints are $1.50 at Calhoun’s, so that’s 10 beers.

There are only 10 crack boxes available, so this will not be a case where you can show up at 7:10, 7:15 and still expect to get in.  I’m fairly sure they will all be spoken for by the time the tournament begins at 7.  In fact I’d recommend getting there by 6:30 if you want to play.  When the crack boxes are gone, they’re gone.  Calhoun’s, being a sports bar, will likely be busier than normal tonight, as people arrive not only to play Buzztime but to watch the Memphis vs. UAB game as well.

You do not have to be a member of the Buzztime network to participate.  As people lose in the tournament, they tend to hold on to their crack box and play Buzztime trivia on one of the other monitors.

I’ll probably get their an hour or so in advance and try their new BBQ nachos or chicken wings before poker starts.  See you there!

Paula Raiford’s Disco

There’s now a sign in the window of 14 S. Second, next door to Elliott’s Burgers, that says, “Coming soon!  Paula Raiford’s Disco.”


Paula is Robert Raiford’s daughter, who served quarts of beer at the old location.  She was known for having a very “hands-on” style there.  Great to see her getting her own spot.  And, once again, it’s a block from my front door, JACKPOT!!!!!

I’ve heard that although it will be Paula’s place, “Hollywood” himself will be the DJ there.  I’ve also heard they will be getting a new limo to transport people to the club.

This is really good news for the nightlife scene in the middle of the core, the area several blocks north of Beale centered around Monroe.  With Flights soon to open in the old Stella space, we’ll have three spots open until 3 AM on the weekends within a 2-block walk of each other.  I bet a popular itinerary will be to start at Flights for dinner and a wine flight, then to Bardog Tavern for a classic cocktail or a mug of PBR, then over to Paula’s to dance the night away.  There should be a lot of synergy among the three businesses.

Bet it will also be a lot easier to get something going in the old LoLo’s space with Paula as a neighbor around the corner.

This probably isn’t such good news for Hollywood Disco, the club in the old Raiford’s location which has attempted to continue on the 32-year tradition of that building.  The two clubs will more or less be in direct competition with each other, and I know a lot of people will be loyal to Raiford.  I hope they both make it, as the new owners of the Disco are super nice people.  Perhaps they’ll be okay.  The Disco is certainly closer for South Main people who want to continue their partying after being out at Calhoun’s, E&H, or the Blue Monkey.  The Disco also has the advantage of having the Green Beetle across the street, giving patrons a chance to get some ultra-late-night food after they get done dancing.

At any rate, congrats to Paula on her new place, and I have a feeling she’ll see me there quite frequently.

A good Wednesday

It’s been a good Wednesday.  Earlier I posted that a man who once ran a very successful business in Downtown Memphis is getting ready to open a new place in the Downtown core.  I hadn’t verified this for myself, so I held back details and took a walk up Second Street, where I was told it would be.  The door was shut and the windows were taped over, so I couldn’t tell what was going on.  However, a Cadillac Escalade was parked on the street.  A white Escalade with the businessman’s name in gold letters painted on the side.

Later in the day, I had another blog reader confirm that he saw the place – it’s next door to Elliott’s on Second, between Madison and Monroe.  When this reader walked by, the door was open and the walls were being repainted white.  With black handprints.  And the man himself was inside.

Yep, the person I’m referring to is none other than Mr. Robert Raiford.  A reader who e-mailed me talked to him last night, and he’s opening a new disco in that location, probably in early to mid April.

So there’s going to be a club owned and DJed by Raiford about a block from my front door?  JACKPOT!!!!!

Today I finished the second long documentation scenario I had to get done, full of screen captures and other stuff I had put off doing.  With that out of the way, I decided it was time for a little poker online.  The free tables are so full of bozos that I decided to drop $20 on PokerStars and play their 2 cent/5 cent tables.

Then I got a text that Dos Equis Lager was on Fire Sale, so I packed up the laptop and headed to the Saucer.  I proceeded to play online poker from there.  The play was much different from the free tables, meaning the people weren’t generally crazy.  I finished the session about $7 up on my $20 bankroll, very acceptable for my first time playing real-money poker online.

My health guru sent me a good site today:  It contains images of dishes like chicken fried bacon with gravy, a Big Mac made with McChicken patties substituted for bread (not for meat – the beef is still there), and deep fried Oreos.  Hopefully the BBQ team cooks will click through to this site and get some ideas for May.

There’s a Sleep Out Louie’s alumni group on Facebook, for those of you who are former SOL regulars.

That’s all for now.  Time for bed.

Ash Wednesday

It’s Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.  Of course, during Lent we are supposed to sacrifice, to give up something we enjoy.  I’ve thought about this long and hard and have come to a decision:  For Lent I will give up Abita Turbo Dog. Everyone knows how much I love Turbo Dog, and I’m going to deny it to myself for 40 days.  Sacrifices have to be made this time of year.

The CA reports that Ear Tumor Guy has been arrested for the 4th time this year for indecent exposure.  (Scroll down to the second story in the crime report to read)  I’ve seen this guy panhandling Downtown ever since I’ve been down here.  Apparently bumming isn’t his only hobby – he also likes to pull down his pants and play with his pee-pee in the area around Beale and the FedExForum.  Lovely.  If you walk around Downtown you’ll run into this guy eventually – look for his sport jackets, the likes of which have not been seen since Charles Nelson Reilly was a regular on Match Game ’76.

Check back for a news update about a new place opening in the Downtown core.  I got e-mailed a rumor about this from a very credible source, and just want to walk over and confirm it for myself before I post.  I will say that it’s someone who has operated a very successful business Downtown in the past.

Time to take a walk around the block…

Tuesday drinking holidays

I just looked at the calendar and noticed that the three big party holidays this time of year – Fat Tuesday, St. Patrick’s Day, and Cinco de Mayo – all fall on Tuesday in 2009.  Of course, Fat Tuesday is always on a Tuesday, but this year the other days are as well.  Hmmm… I’d venture a guess that Tuesday is usually the day of the week when the least people go out.  Wonder how wild and crazy it’ll get.

Of course, the major St. Pat’s celebration Downtown is on Beale Street the weekend before, when they have the big parade and Silky hoists that goat up on the platform.  Weather has a lot to do with it.  If it’s unseasonably warm (70s-80s) then there will be a huge crowd.  If it’s colder than normal (50s) the crowd will be thinned out a good deal.  There are advantages to both.  I catch more beads thrown from the parade floats if it’s cold, but on the other hand if it gets warm then we usually get to see the first tube tops of the season.

St. Pat’s day itself falls on a trivia night.  Wonder if the Saucer will even do trivia that night… if they do I will likely skip it.  St. Pat’s tends to be the biggest amateur night of the year after New Year’s Eve, and the Saucer will fill up with frat kids and douchebags.  I probably won’t go there, or if I do I doubt my stay will be more than an hour.

Fortunately, there are three good locals’ bar choices that have sprung up in the past year, Bardog Tavern, Silly Goose, and Voodoo Room, that will probably hold my attention that night.  Silky’s is always an option as well, but it gets super crowded for St. Pat’s.  If the weather is nice and the patio is open, maybe.  If everyone is packed to the gills inside, I’ll look elsewhere.

I’ll miss McGuinness on St. Pat’s.  Well, a little anyway, until I remember how stupid expensive their beers were last year.

For Cinco de Mayo, great weather is pretty much guaranteed, and I’ll tell you why… it’s the Tuesday after Music Fest.  That means it will be rainy and barely into the 60s Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, but then by Tuesday it will be sunny and probably around 89 for the high.  My favorite blogger/MILF has always said that Cinco de Mayo is a better holiday than St. Pat’s, and I agree, not only because of the weather but because there are fewer people out, and usually more mature and experienced drinkers.

Still planning to see what Bardog has got going on for Fat Tuesday tonight, then get to the Saucer in time for the drawing for the Fat Tire bike.

Productive morning this morning… I got up at 4 AM and cranked out a 34-page piece of documentation, complete with screen captures, that I’ve been dreading having to do.  That makes up for yesterday, when I got frustrated, gave up early in the afternoon, and downloaded one of those online poker applications from  That’s the one that lets you play for free – with the .com version you play with real money.

Wow the players in those free poker rooms are bad – really, really bad.  My competition at Buzztime Poker at Calhoun’s look like finalists at WSOP compared to the clowns I see online.  I’m not sure I can even hone my poker skills at tables full of people making such idiotic moves.  One had 4-2 unsuited, and the flop came down QQJ.  He stayed in through the final card… which would’ve been a smooth move if he’d been betting and raising in order to bluff, but this guy was simply checking and calling ’til the end.  Why?  Maybe he just enjoyed handing other people money.  I’d be running for the hills if I held that hand and saw that flop… if I even stuck around to see the flop at all.

Don’t know… maybe I’ll deposit a little money in a pay-to-play site and try my luck there.  Surely people wouldn’t be doing such dumb things if their real money was at risk.  Any recommendations for poker sites?  I know there are a lot out there.  Guess I’m partial to PokerStars because a former co-worker of mine won a tournament on that site and his prize was a seat at WSOP and an all-expense-paid trip to Vegas.  He made it to the second day, then got wiped out, but still, how many people can say they got to play at the World Series of Poker for free?

Back to the grind… gotta crank out a second 34 pages of documentation before I go out tonight, to get my current project back on track.  By the time I make it to Bardog, I’m going to be ready for that beer.