Wed update: Blind Bear final table result, Petrino gets fired, Peabody rooftop news, hockey and cheap beer, Madison rooftop dinner, electronics recycling, Grizzlies/Food Bank

My new iPad on the felt at the Blind Bear

Last night was the final table at the Blind Bear, with the top nine point earners in the Bear’s 12-week poker league competing for the chance to win an iPad. By the end of the second hour I had a short stack and looked to be on the way out the door in 6th or 7th place. Then I hit a hand and tripled up, getting back in the game. I still had a fighting chance when it got down to three of us left, and an opponent went all in. My pocket Sevens seemed too strong to fold, so I called. Flop came 7-7-K, leaving my opponent drawing dead on the turn and river. It’s not very often you flop four of a kind! We took a break and then went to heads up, where after a couple of hands I went all-in with Ace-Jack, got called by King-Seven, and hit an Ace on the flop to win the iPad.

Thanks to the Bear for the prize and for giving us a place to play every Tuesday. Shout-out to my opponents as well. I’ve met many wonderful people playing these weekly poker games. A new 12-week league starts next Tuesday at 8.

I couldn’t be prouder to be a Razorback fan today. Jeff Long, Arkansas’ AD, didn’t try to cover up facts, and he didn’t put a possible national title ahead of ethics. He got right in front of the camera, laid out all of Bobby Petrino’s lies and inappropriate behavior for all to see, and then announced that Petrino had been fired. Take note, Penn State, Ohio State, Tennessee, and whoever replaces R.C. as Memphis’ AD. I don’t normally link to CA articles anymore because of their stupid paywall, but if you haven’t used your 10 articles this month, Geoff Calkins has an excellent take on Long’s actions.

The Peabody has announced a new way to keep cool during their rooftop parties: Frozen drinks. You’ll be able to choose from strawberry daiquiris, vodka mojitos, Pacific Breezes, maragaritas, banana daiquiris, and pomegranate cosmos. Of course, another good way to stay cool on the roof is to wear a tube top to the Thursday parties.

The rootfop party series starts next Thursday, April 19, at the Peabody. They’ve announced that Neon Trees has been added to the existing lineup of Free Sol and Chris Rene for that night.

The NHL playoffs start today. Kooky Canuck is serving $3 34 oz. Molson Canadian during all playoff games.

On Wednesday, April 25, eighty3’s executive chef Connor O’Neill will hold a dinner on the Madison Hotel rooftop. It will feature a menu of Southern small plates paired perfectly with bourbon and finished with a tasty cigar overlooking the Mississippi River and the Downtown Memphis skyline. It’s a celebration of bourbon from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Cost is $39, excluding tax and gratuity. Cigars sold separately. For more information and to make reservations, visit or call 901-333-1224.

Do you have electronics sitting around that you want to recycle? The Commercial Appeal is partnering with the DMC for an electonics recycling event in the parking lot of their 495 Union office on Friday, April 20. There is no limit to the number of unwanted, obsolete, or broken electronics you can bring. 9 AM to 5 PM. Call 901-575-0555 if you have questions.

The Memphis Food Bank is still in desperate need of donations. If you’re attending Saturday’s Grizzlies game vs. Utah, bring money or canned goods to donate and get a buy-one-get-one-free voucher for a future game.

Looks like I’m going to get one more use of my PBR hoodie this spring. The Weather Channel has us at a low of 41 tomorrow morning, with temperature in the 50s at 9 PM. Weather has been great the past month, but you better put on more than a T-shirt and shorts if you venture out tonight. I’ll probably set up my new iPad on iTunes and then head out somewhere after work.

Tue update: TechCamp Memphis looking for speakers and topics, Wolf River Harbor, Easter egg hunt ends in hammer fight, final table tonight at Blind Bear

TechCamp Memphis is looking for speakers and topics for its May 2012 event. They are looking for topics/speakers for three tracks:

Developers – Data encryption, Developing against SQL injection and other hacks, Mobile payment development, jQuery primer, .Net, PHP, Native mobile apps, etc.

Content Creators, Curators & Consumers – Blogging, podcasting, photography, online music offerings, aggregation & curation tools, plugin/website functionality, etc.

Online Marketing – Social media, online best practices and other online marketing topics relevant to small business owners and those tasked with online marketing as part of their job.

Presentations usually last about 30 minutes with 10 minutes of Q & A time following for a total for 40 minutes. If interested in speaking, pitch your idea here. Date is Saturday, May 12.

The TechCamp format will be somewhat similar to BarCamps that have been held in the past, except topics will be determined weeks in advance, rather than the day of the event.

Good news for Mud Island residents, especially for those on the northeastern part of the island. There has been a problem with trash accumulating in Wolf River Harbor. Channel 3 reports that a new device has been installed to clean the harbor. It will catch all the trash washing in from Downtown storm drains.

Only in Memphis: Fight at Easter Egg Hunt Ends with Hammer Attack. Yes, a fight involving a hammer broke out at a children’s Easter egg hunt, over a “golden egg” that contained a whopping SEVEN DOLLARS. As one of my Facebook friends has been saying lately, you just can’t fix stupid.

Very excited about tonight. It’s the final table of Jamie’s 12-week poker league at the Blind Bear. He had a special table brought in that seats the 9 finalists and a dealer (who will be Jamie himself). I accumulated enough points to earn a seat at the table. Grand prize is an iPad. Jamie went shopping last weekend. “They still had iPad 2s,” he said. “But I decided to pay a little more for the new iPad 3, with retina display.” Sweet!

If you want to play poker but didn’t make the final nine, come on down anyway. Michael Bean will be running a side game with a prize of 50 Bear Bucks. Start time is 8 PM. Other things going on include pint night at Bardog, with all draft pints $2.75 from 7 PM to 3 AM. There’s also trivia at Ferraro’s (8 PM), Silly Goose (8 PM), and Flying Saucer (7:30 and 10 PM).

I just discovered another use for the banana pudding at Blind Bear

Order it as one of the four choices on the veggie plate ($6). Bring home, put the pudding in the fridge, then chow down on the other three veggies, which should be enough for the hungriest of appetites. Then take the banana pudding, if you got it to go in a container, to work for a snack or lunch the next day.

I’m sitting here eating the pepper jack mac ‘n’ cheese, turkey soup and caesar salad – remember, the pudding is in the fridge – and just marveling at how much you get for $6.

See Dale Jr.’s car in Court Square

Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s race car and several other race cars will be in Court Square tomorrow, Tuesday April 10, from 10 AM to 1 PM. It’s part of a citywide tour to promote the upcoming Super Chevy Show, the first major event at Memphis International Raceway in two and a half years. It will serve as the kickoff to this spring’s series of “Downtown Alive!” lunchtime events presented by the Downtown Memphis Commission.

Mon update: Food Bank needs donations, tennis tournament may leave, Western Conference post-season

The Mid-South Food Bank is desperately short of food right now. If you want to donate canned goods, the items most in need are tuna, peanut butter, chunky soup, cereal, and beans. An alternative is to donate cash. Because of relationships they have with distributors, every $1 you donate will buy $4 of food.

This isn’t a Downtown news item, but it affects all of Memphis: The MBJ reports that we may lose the annual Regions Morgan Keegan tennis tournament that happens every February. A buyer wants to move the tournament to Rio de Janiero, and the last hurdles are close to being cleared. Although I’m not a tennis fan personally, I hate to see Memphis lose this – not only for the loss of revenue to the city, but because Memphis would be less diverse sports-wise.

Flyer writer Chris Herrington has analysis of the Western Conference post-season. The Grizzlies had a heck of a weekend, beating Miami to snap their 17-game home winning streak on Friday. The team then beat Dallas at home the following night. We’re currently fifth in the Western Conference, and it’s possible we could surpass the Clippers and the Lakers to get as high as a 3 seed. Herrington has us at 4, and I tend to agree. No matter what our seed is, the one thing I’d like for us to do is avoid the OKC Thunder as long as possible in the playoffs, and hope another team eliminates them early.

Sometimes being nice pays off… After winning/contributing to a win for 3 years straight, I decided not to go for the Flying Saucer Easter Keg (and the $100 bar tab for finding it) to give someone else a chance to win. About 7:30 last night the guys who found the keg brought it in, and invited me to their party. That was a very considerate gesture. Congratulations to them on the win.

Plans for tonight: Saucer. Pint Nite. I’m going to take the night off from poker at the Silly Goose, since I have the big final table at Blind Bear tomorrow night. If you want to play at the Goose, the games are 7:30 and 10.

Weekend recap

Not getting out until 4 this afternoon. By coincidence, the Saucer opens at 4. If anyone is looking for a place to get out earlier, the Brass Door is already open and is showing the Arsenal-Man City game. I’m going to get this post up, then do laundry and taxes.

I started Friday evening at the Saucer. We had a friend in from out of town, and it was just like old times, hanging out on the rail, watching the Grizzlies and discussing the BBQ team. About 9 I headed south to The Warehouse. The Warehouse is the green building at Front and G.E. Patterson. It’s the private residence of our friend Kris Kourdouvelis. Occasionally he opens up the back part of the Warehouse, where he has a stage, and invites his friends in to mingle and hear some of the best music in Memphis. Friday was his birthday party. His actual birthday was March 16, but he allowed a few extra weeks to make sure the word got out. There was food from Double J SmokeHouse and Saloon, and music by The Mudflaps, RT Scott, Al Kapone, Mixbreed, and Jason James.

Here’s a pic of the Nuh-Uh Girl eating at the Warehouse party.

Al Kapone rocked the Warehouse like you wouldn’t believe. Great show.

The Nuh-Uh Girl working on another plate of food.

Thanks Kris for a fun-filled Friday evening, and for all you do for Downtown Memphis and the local music scene. Great party.

Saturday I woke up debating whether or not to go to the Overton Square Crawfish Festival in Midtown. I was about 50/50 on going. I don’t drink and drive, so the trip to Midtown would cost me cab fare out there and back. I posted to Facebook that I was thinking about it, and I might as well have a beer at the Saucer while I decide. My friend Terry responded, “I’ll drive?” and met me at the Saucer not long after I got there.

One of the reasons I wanted to go to the Saucer was that it was the starting point for Urban Dare, a fun race/scavenger hunt in which teams of two run around Downtown in search of clues. I thought there’d be maybe 10-12 teams. Was I ever wrong! I forgot that they sold a Groupon for entry. I was told 120 teams brought the Groupon.

The Saucer about 20 minutes prior to the start of Urban Dare

Here’s a video of the racers stampeding out of the Saucer, after it was announced that the first clue was at the Statue of Elvis on Beale. Special appearance by Jessica and Katie near the end of the video.

In my opinion the smartest Urban Dare participants were these two:

They asked the Saucer girls if there were any locals in the place. Since all the clues were about Downtown locations, it made sense for them to seek expert advice. The girls directed them to Terry and me. The questions were HARD! I didn’t know about half of them.

The race started at noon, and we were still there at 1:25 when the first team reappeared with all the clues solved. More teams poured in over the next half hour. People who did the race told us it was a lot of fun. No doubt they learned a lot about Downtown too.

We told the Saucer girls we were on our way to the crawfish fest. “The Downtown one is next Sunday [April 15],” one of them said to the others. “It’s a lot of fun. You have to be careful what you wear though. The sun is bright and you’ll get bad tan lines. So wear something that won’t give you tan lines, like a tube top.” YES YES YES!!!! Wear a TUBE TOP! What a great idea! Everyone else who plans to attend Rajun Cajun on the 15 (well, females anyway) needs to make a note of this.

About 2 we got in the car and headed to Midtown. The Overton Square crawfish festival was much better than I remembered! I stopped going around 2008 because it wasn’t fun anymore. They tried to pack too many people into too small a space, and it seemed like they ran out of crawfish too early. Not this year. They blocked off Madison and there was a lot more space! More room for vendor booths as well.

Terry and Aubrey

The Nuh-Uh Girl eating crawfish

They still had crawfish when I ordered about 4:00. The crawfish were $15 a box. They were at best average. Not as spicy as last week’s crawfish at Mudbugs in March, and no corn or taters. Plus, I was still hungry after spending $15. I went back and bought a muffaletta for $5 which was really good and a much better value. Next year I’m going to stick to the other menu items at this festival – muffalettas, gumbo, red beans and rice.

After I ate, I walked around and looked at the vendor booths. I bought this shirt from Hoop City Memphis:

That’s right, I traveled to 38104 to buy a 38103 shirt! This immediately became my new favorite shirt. I’m going to have to start doing laundry more often so I can wear this more than once a week.

I didn’t want to impose on Terry for a ride back Downtown, so I walked down Madison and caught the trolley just past Cleveland. I give MATA a lot of grief on this blog, but this time I have to pay a compliment. The trolley driver was super nice to me and to the other passengers. Whether they realize it or not, the trolley drivers are in a sense ambassadors for Memphis, and the driver I had yesterday helped build a fine image for our city. Great job!

Rested at home for a few hours, then back out. The running order was Saucer, Bear, Goose, Saucer, Bardog. I haven’t been spending enough time at Bardog lately. It’s a great bar and the closest one to my front door. When I saw friends check in on Foursquare, I went right over.

One thing I didn’t do last night was find the Flying Saucer’s Easter keg. Every year they hide a keg somewhere Downtown, and post clues as to where it is on their chalkboard. This year there were 7 clues, and they got no farther than clue 2 before I figured out its location. First one to retrieve the keg and return it to the Saucer gets a $100 bar tab. The three previous years, I’ve either found it or helped the person who retrieved it figure out clues. You have to wait until Easter to find the keg, but both the Saucer and the keg’s location were still open at 12:01 AM, so it could be had last night.

So it got to be about 11:40 and I was trying to decide whether to go get the keg. I decided not to for three reasons. 1) If I won it four years in a row, people might think the contest is rigged, which it’s not; 2) the bartender told me there are other people, who the folks at the Saucer really like, who have tried unsuccessfully to find the keg for the past 3 years; and 3) I didn’t feel like walking down there! Since I’m not sure it’s been found yet, I won’t reveal the location. I’m 30 beers away from my sixth plate, so I have a $150 party coming up even without the Easter keg.

Plan for today: Laundry, taxes. The Blind Bear opens at 3, but for me it would be a break with tradition to make any bar other than the Saucer my first stop on a holiday. Happy Easter and RIP Mike Wallace.

Fri update: Stolen packages, Purple Haze, Bon Ton Cafe, Memphis Roller Derby, Chisca Hotel, Hard Rock job open, Petrino and more

An alert for Downtowners: ABC 24 reports that UPS packages are being stolen from Downtown doorsteps. I live in a secure building, but I still usually have my packages delivered to work for this reason.

The Memphis Business Journal reports that Purple Haze will move into the old Red Rooster space at Second and Lt. Lee later this month. Purple Haze has previously been operating as a dance club in the Old Daisy on Beale. When it opens, the club will hold 160 plus a patio, and will have a full menu.

The MBJ also reports that Bon Ton Cafe is expected to reopen next month. It will be open for breakfast and lunch, with the downstairs space available to rent for special events.

Congratulations to Memphis Roller Derby, who defeated #12 Knoxville Saturday to become the Tennessee state champions. The team hopes to improve its ranking to break into the top 10 teams in the region. If they do, they will be invited to the regional tournament. At the end of the season, the top three teams in each region will compete for the national championship.

The Main Street Journal blog had an excellent post about the Chisca Hotel this week. It points out that we have a responsibility not to let the buildings on newly-named Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue become blighted, as has happened with MLK Aves./Blvds./Streets in other cities. We need to either renovate it or knock it down, although it would be a shame to knock down the building because it’s where Elvis was first played on the radio. Agree with everything said in the MSJ’s post.

The Hard Rock Cafe is looking for a Sales & Marketing Manager. Email for more information.

Bad day to be a Hog fan. Arkansas Razorbacks coach Bobby Petrino was placed on leave last night. The AD is investigating Petrino’s failure to report that there was a female riding with him – a former UA volleyball player and current UA employee – when he crashed his motorcycle earlier this week. At least it didn’t involve any NCAA violations, but lying to your boss is never a good thing. Kudos to Petrino on hooking up with a hot 25 year old blonde though.

Thanks to those of you who signed up for Dropbox via my link earlier this week. Because you signed up through my referral link, my 2 GB of free space has been bumped up to 5 GB.

Time to grab some lunch. Saucer and a friend’s birthday party are on my agenda tonight.

Thursday recap

Last night  I started the evening by heading south to Max’s Sports Bar for poker. I didn’t have time to stop in Double J across the street, but I saw their new sign for the first time.

Then I got to Max’s and saw their new liquor bar for the first time. Michele asked if I wanted a mixed drink, but the only thing that matters to me there is the PBR tap.

Before poker, a payoff of a bet was planned. One of the regulars at Max’s had said earlier in the season, “If Kentucky wins the national championship, I’ll run down Main Street wearing a tiger head and sipping thousand island dressing out of a straw while wearing a Speedo.” It looks like Sunday, April 22 will be the day for the bet’s payoff. More details to come.

I came in third in poker. Here’s a pic of the winner, Mikey, taking a photo of “WINNER: MIKEY” on the monitor.

After that I caught a trolley north. After a quick checkin at the home base (Saucer), I went over to the Blind Bear, where modern speakeasy band Tumbledown House was performing.

Perfect fit for the venue. It’s too bad the Bear can’t hire Tumbledown House as their house band, but they’re a traveling act.

Here’s a pic of Uncle Ray at the Bear.

After that I went over to the Brass Door, where Diamond Dave was having his “Love Train” 70s extravaganza in the Cavern.

I ended the evening at Bardog with a couple of PBRs. I was going to get those bacon wrapped shrimp again but they sold out. Here’s a pic of Uncle Ray at Bardog.

A fun filled Thursday night. Probably back at lunchtime with a news post.

Thur update: BB’s/car crash, new banquet halls on Beale, Muck Sticky, free food samples, Trojan horse on Macs

WMC-TV reports that a car crashed into B.B. King’s club shortly after 3 this morning. The club was already closed. The front of the building is a mess, and it looks like the car took out a traffic control box too. The club will be open regular hours today though.

The Daily News has a good article about the three banquet halls planned for the old Pat O’Brien’s space. It sounds like these event spaces could help attract conventions to Memphis in the future.

Live music recommendation: Muck Sticky’s “Hullabaloo” album release concert at the New Daisy, 7 PM Saturday, April 7, with Taco and da Mofos, $10 cover. I’ve been a fan of Muck Sticky since I caught a performance of his on the Peabody rooftop two years ago. I was impressed not only with his music but the positive message he spreads to his audience.

ATTN NUH-UH GIRL: Today Mashable posted about a startup company called Swaggable that will send you free samples. The idea is that consumers trust peer reviews more than ads. So, the company is willing to send you free samples if you’ll write reviews and share them with friends. The samples that are easiest to obtain are said to be free food from specialty food companies, and personal care items. More info here.

Mac owners: 600,000 Macs are said to be infected with a Trojan horse called Flashback. It infects you with an installer that appears to be for an Adobe Flash update. Once installed, it looks for your passwords. Find out if you’re infected here.

Weather permitting, I’m going to hit Max’s for poker tonight, then stop by the Blind Bear to hear the modern speakeasy band that’s peforming tonight, then over to Brass Door for Diamond Dave’s “Love Train” party.