Mon update: Best Memphis Burger Fest radio interview, crucial votes for Chisca this week, TNA BaseBRAWL results

Short post this afternoon. Mondays are rarely big news days.

This weekend Seth of the Best Memphis Burger blog went on MemphiSport Live, the 11 AM-1 PM radio show on AM 560 with Kevin Cerrito and Marcus Hunter. Seth discussed his plans for the first ever Best Memphis Burger Fest, to be held September 30 at Minglewood Hall. You can listen to the interview here.

The Daily News reports that the Chisca Hotel renovation project faces crucial funding votes this week. I hope the votes go well. We need that landmark to shine once again and be a vital connector between the core and South Main.

Here’s a link to results from TNA BaseBRAWL at AutoZone Park Saturday night. The main event saw new champ Austin Aries successfully defend his title against former champ Bobby Roode. Jeff Hardy had been advertised to face Aries, but he ended wrestling Crimson instead. The hottest woman on Earth, Velvet Sky, unfortunately lost to Madison Rayne.

That’s all I’ve got for now. On my way to the Saucer for Pint Nite. Probably going to skip poker at the Silly Goose.

No lunchtime post on this blog today because…

I posted to my poker blog instead. About a week ago, I started playing Zynga Poker on my phone. I’ve figured out a way to consistently beat the low blind level games with little risk and great reward.  You can read the post here.

I may do a “Monday update” post after work. I’ll be at the Saucer for Pint Nite tonight about 6 PM.

I happened upon a really good beer blog this morning…

(Edit: Well great. I typed this Sunday morning and forgot to hit the Publish button.)

Last night I saw a new beer at the Flying Saucer, Timmerman’s Strawberry. I’d already done my three beers toward my 7th plate for the day, so I decided to delay trying it. In the meantime, I wanted to learn more about this beer, so I did a Google search. The search led me to an excellent blog titled A Year in Beer. The blogger reviewed a beer a day for 365 days. It’s like those beer-a-day calendars, except the descriptions are way more in-depth.

Here’s the review of Timmerman’s Strawberry. As I was reading the review, I noticed the photo of the Timmerman’s tap handle, and thought to myself, “that looks a lot like a Flying Saucer tap wall.” I read the blog’s About page, and the reviewer is in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, where there are several Saucers, including the original one. So, he has no shortage of good beer to review.

Computer Literacy 2012

In the late 1990s I taught Computer Literacy classes at the University of Memphis. Recently I ran into a former student who asked a great question – “What would you recommend I learn to make me computer literate, and more marketable for employment, in 2012?” Here’s a list.

HTML – This is the markup language behind web pages, including the one you’re looking at right now. I would rate basic knowledge of HTML as the #1 must-have skill as far as computer literacy goes. You don’t have to become an expert, but you should learn how text is presented as bold, italic, or underline, and how to create tables and alter the spacing between cells at the minimum. There are many good HTML tutorials out there. Just do a Google search for “HTML tutorial” or “learn HTML” and look through the top results.

ZIP files – If you don’t know how to download software in a ZIP package, unzip it, and install it, learn. ZIP is a standard compression format designed to package files while taking as little room as possible. The ZIP standard was developed back in the 1980s when storage space and bandwidth to transfer files were much more expensive than they are today.

FTP – If you don’t know how to use FTP (File Transfer Protocol) to transfer files between your local computer (that’s the one in front of you right now) and a remote server at another location, it’s worth learning.  For FTP software, I like 7-Zip for Windows and Cyberduck for the Mac. There are public servers out there you can use to practice getting files (and the files will often be in ZIP format, so you can practice that too).

Microsoft Excel – Most people know the basics of how to get around Microsoft’s powerful spreadsheet. Therefore, I recommend you go a step beyond and actually buy a book that will make you an Excel power user. Work through all the exercises. You can look through Amazon to find a book. Look for something that has lots of reviews and preferably 4 1/2 stars ranking or higher. Avoid introductory books unless you have no familiarity with Excel at all.

SQL – This is the language of databases. When you know SQL you will be able to select data from one or more tables, as well as insert, update, and delete data. As with HTML, you don’t have to become an expert, but you should at least know how to select data from two tables that are joined by a common field. There are plenty of good SQL tutorials on the web, and there are also plenty of books you can buy. There are a lot of variations of SQL out there. For example, the SQL used by Microsoft SQL Server is slightly different from that used by the MySQL language, which is slightly different from the SQL used in Microsoft Access. I’d look for a book or tutorial that teaches general SQL principles, rather than one that focuses on a particular platform. Of all the skills on this list, SQL is probably the hardest to learn (although it’s not that hard) and the one that will get the most attention on a resume.

Content management systems – A content management system (CMS) allows users to update website and/or blog content without knowing HTML. By far the most popular and easiest to use CMS is WordPress, which is estimated to be running on 16% of the world’s websites (including the one you’re looking at right now). Easiest way to learn is to create your own site for free at Learn how to add new posts and pages, publish them, and update them. Learn the difference between a post and a page – posts have timestamped content and are often (but not always) associated with blogs, while pages have content that stands alone and the time they were created is not relevant. Learn how to change the theme (look and feel) of your website – an important concept is that the presentation is completely separate from the content. Learn how to put widgets in the sidebar of your website.

(Disclaimer: I’m partial to WordPress because they sponsor my Memphis in May BBQ team. But being objective as I can, WordPress has moved so far past competitors like Drupal and Joomla in the past two years that I can’t imagine building a site with anything else.)

Image/photo editing software – I’m talking about something powerful and sophisticated, not the free junk that came with your computer. If you have Photoshop, that’s ideal. If not, there’s a free open source program called The GIMP that is every bit as good. (In fact, I have both The GIMP and Photoshop installed on my work computer. 95% of the time, I use The GIMP.) Although there are plenty of web tutorials, I recommend buying a book and working through the exercises to learn either program the right way. When searching for a book, look for something that has good reviews (at least 4 stars, and 4 1/2 would be better). Also look for a recent publication date, so that it addresses the current version of your software, not an old version.

Very important: If you learn The GIMP, put on your resume that you know The GIMP (similar to Photoshop). You want that keyword “Photoshop” on your resume. Hiring managers will understand that if you know The GIMP, you have skills that are transferable to Photoshop.

Social media – You don’t have to have accounts on all of these, but you should be able to describe the purpose of each in two or three sentences: Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Foursquare, Google+, Tumblr, Flickr, Wikipedia, Yelp, GetGlue, Instagram.

How to recognize malware, Trojan horses, viruses, and phishing attempts – This isn’t really something you’d put on a resume, but necessary to have anyway. If you land a new job and experience a malware attack your first week there, you probably won’t be too popular with your boss or your network admin. However, it occasionally happens to all of us – I’ve been hit with malware twice in 3 1/2 years at my current job.


iOS and Android – iOS is the operating system that powers iPod Touches, iPhones, and iPads. Android is the operating system that powers a variety of phones and tablets. I’d really like to put basic knowledge of both on the “required” list above, but there’s really no way to get that knowledge without purchasing the devices, which can be expensive. Note: Owning a Kindle Fire doesn’t really count as having knowledge of Android, even though Android powers it, because Amazon stuck an additional layer on top of Android.

Hardware: Building and repairing computers – If this is something that interests you, by all means, learn it. That said, I don’t think it will be a huge resume boost for most positions. Warning: Learning this will earn you a reputation as “that guy/gal who knows how to fix computers,” leading to desperate phone calls from family and friends all hours of the day and night.

Linux – This is a computer operating system, equivalent to Windows on PCs and Mac OS on Macs. Linux is open-source, meaning anyone can examine and alter the code behind Linux, and many Linux installations are free. Although Linux can be used as a home computer’s operating system, it’s often found on web servers. Linux is based on an earlier operating system called UNIX which is still quite popular (in fact, a flavor of UNIX runs underneath the hood on Mac OS computers). For non-technical jobs, knowledge of Linux probably won’t be a huge boost to most resumes – but it will provide you a deep knowledge of how computers work that may be beneficial in ways you wouldn’t expect.

That’s my list. If you think I left anything important out, or if you know how people can get iOS and Android experience without having to buy devices, shoot me an email at

Fri update: Green Beetle, make your own iron objects, Bastille Day Dinner, TNA BaseBRAWL, local on Big Brother, National Night Out

The Green Beetle celebrates its first birthday tonight. Acoustic good time band The Po Boys will perform at 8 PM, and there will be specials and freebies as well. Happy birthday to the Beetle!

The Metal Museum will hold a hands-on demonstration of sandcasting tomorrow from 11:30 to 2:30. For $15 you can create your own mold, made out of sand, and then Foundry Artists will pour hot iron into the casts, creating one-of-a-kind objects. Viewing the sandcasting is free. Here’s a video of a previous iron pour.

Chez Philippe at the Peabody will hold a Bastille Day dinner tomorrow night at 7 PM, with cuisine to celebrate the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789. $85 per person, $30 extra for wine pairing. Call 901-529-4188 for reservations.

Also tomorrow is TNA BaseBRAWL at AutoZone Park. The stars of TNA wrestling will perform, including world champ Austin Aries, former champ Bobby Roode, Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle, “The Charismatic Enigma” Jeff Hardy, and the hottest woman on earth Velvet Sky. Event starts at 7:30 PM. There’s also a meet and greet at 5:30 PM for $50 that includes admission to the event.

A local with a celebrity connection is a contestant on Big Brother this season. Frank Eudy is originally from Marion, Arkansas, although he now makes his home in Florida. Eudy is the son of Sid Vicious, a pro wrestler who held world titles in both WWF and WCW, as well as titles in local Memphis promotions. Sid recently appeared on an episode of WWE Monday Night Raw as “Sycho Sid,” the name under which he held his WWF championships. I occasionally see Sid at the Saucer and elsewhere around Downtown Memphis.

The first Tuesday of August every year is National Night Out, America’s night out against crime. Neighbors gather together for a block party, meet their police officers, and learn how to stay safe. South Main is having their National Night Out party at the pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson where the Farmers Market is held. Lawn chairs and coolers are encouraged, and you can bring a pot-luck dish to share or buy dinner from the food trucks. Event is from 6-8 PM.

So, last night I headed south to Max’s Sports Bar for poker. I checked in on Foursquare, and one of my friends on that network commented “Yawn.” Then she checked in at the Texas Roadhouse in Horn Lake. Are you kidding me? I’m enjoying cold PBR, my favorite game, and good friends, and you have the NERVE to yawn at my checkin while at a boring chain restaurant in Missi-frikkin-sippi??? REALLY? Some people shouldn’t be allowed to use social media.

All right, time to hit Target and Zaxby’s then back to work. Maybe I’ll see the deer again this afternoon. Plans for tonight TBD.

Thur update: Thursday parties, Sandusky report, classic horror films, law prof analyzes Jay-Z lyrics, Supreme Court, and turkey ribs

Oh deer! We had a visitor at work yesterday afternoon.

Assuming the rain stays away, it’s time for Thursday night outdoor parties. Let’s see what we’ve got going on tonight.

– The Bo-Keys headline the Peabody rooftop party. 6-11 PM. $10 cover includes your first drink and a food buffet; ladies free before 7.

– Billy Gibson brings the blues to the Madison rooftop tonight. 7-11 PM, $7 cover, cash bar and small plates available on the roof.

– Ira Dean, formerly of Trick Pony, plays the “Rebel on Beale” country concert series tonight. It’s free to get in, at Handy Park at Third and Beale.

The independent report on the Jerry Sandusky scandal has been released and it’s available here. I’ve only skimmed it briefly, but it’s not pretty. Top school officials, including football coach Joe Paterno, knowingly allowed an environment to exist where Jerry Sandusky could do inappropriate things with young boys, even after officials became aware of allegations. Penn State president Graham Spanier seems to have covered matters up even more so than Paterno. I have a feeling Dr. Spanier will be coming to a prison near you in the not-so-distant future.

If you’re into classic horror films, check out the Orpheum’s double-feature tomorrow night: Psycho at 7:15, followed by The Shining at 9:30. The films are part of their summer classic movie series. Info and tickets here.

My friends who are attorneys will enjoy this link: A law professor analyzes Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” line by line.

Great editorial by the Memphis Flyer: It’s the Court, Stupid! People tend to forget that the President nominates Supreme Court justices. That’s an important factor to consider when choosing a candidate. A bad president may only serve four years, but if the president a bad Supreme Court justice, we could be stuck with him/her for up to 30 years. Four members of the current Court are in their 70s, so retirements are likely by the end of the next presidential term.

The Flyer’s Hungry Memphis blog posted about a food I’d never heard of before: Turkey ribs. You can get them at A&R Bar-B-Que at Third and Court.

Plans for tonight: Nothing definite, but you never know where I might turn up.

Drunkass Wed night update

So tonight I was walking to the Saucer and Findlay saw me and invited me to come in Aldo’s Pizza Pies for a tour. Among the things I learned: Their draft pints will be served in boots. Bar furniture is really nice. People watching potential is unparalleled.

While there, I learned that the space inside the ground floor of 10 S. Main is being renovated to house a cafe that will serve only breakfast and lunch.

Also tonight, I learned that a guy who runs a Downtown Memphis bar used to breakdance.

I went to Blind Bear for trivia. Afterward, I advised Kelly on a veggie plate. She ordered three veggies for there, which she split with her bestie Beth.


Above: Kelly eating pepper jack Mac n cheese. As the fourth veggie, she got banana pudding to go, an excellent choice.

At Saucer now. The Nuh-Uh Girl is here with the Nuh-Uh Mom. The Nuh-Uh Girl went to the Masters’ (Wine) Tasters Club at the Peabody tonight. Based on pics she posted, the complimentary food was more interesting than the wine.

Bonus pic of Kelly:


Wed update: Flyer poll voting open, Hunt-Phelan Home for sale, inspirational quote, 901 Day, craft beer at West Memphis Walgreens, Wednesday events, and more

Voting for the Memphis Flyer’s annual Best of Memphis poll has begun. You can vote here. Note that you can only vote once (rather than once per day as with other polls), and you must fill out 50 percent of the ballot for it to count. Because of the 50 percent rule, I like to get a print copy of the Flyer and fill out the ballot on paper before I get online and enter my selections.

After voting has ended, I’ll do a post about who I voted for in notable categories. I don’t like to talk about it while voting is going on, because I don’t want to skew the results. (You can probably figure out my vote for “Best Blog” though. I doubt my “Best Bar” vote will be much of a mystery either.)

The Hunt-Phelan Home is for sale. This historic pre-Civil War mansion is on Beale just east of Danny Thomas. It was most recently used as a bed and breakfast with a fine restaurant; honestly, I didn’t even realize the B&B had closed. If you have a little under $2.9 mil this home can be yours.

This morning I saw a great quote tweeted by Eric Mathews of EmergeMemphis/LaunchMemphis:

“Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are asking, ‘What’s in it for me?'” -Brian Tracy

This could not be more true, and is worth printing out in 144 point type and placing where you can see it every day. If you’re an entrepreneur in Memphis, by the way, you need to follow Eric. He’s @ecmathews on Twitter.

September 1 has been designated 901 Day, a celebration of all the things that make Memphis a great place to live. (901 is Memphis’ area code, and September 1 is 9/01.) They are building a list of 901 Day celebrations on the website. I already know where I’ll be on that day – at the Memphis Music and Heritage Festival, the Center for Southern Folklore’s 2-day celebration of local and regional music, food, and culture.

The FuzzyBrew blog has a good post up on craft beer you can buy at West Memphis Walgreens. Beers include Goose Island beers, Boulevard beers, and higher-alcohol New Belgium beers that can’t be found in Memphis.

Last night I did something I haven’t done in over a year – played trivia at the Flying Saucer. Five of us from the old 2005-11 Rapscallions team were there drinking beer, and we were invited by a few people on the rail to join them for the 10:00 game. Fun times. That place was packed for the earlier 7:30 trivia game… the inside room was as busy as a typical Friday night. Gift certificates of $50, $35, and $15 are awarded to the top 3 for each of the two Tuesday games.

Also last night, I got the paperwork done for my 6th plate party at the Flying Saucer. If you drink 200 different beers, you get a plate on the wall and a party for you and your friends, compliments of the bar. Normally the party bar tab is $100, but because it’s my sixth time around, I get a super-sized tab of $150. Email will be going out soon announcing the date and time.

Wednesday night. What’s going on?

  • LaunchMemphis Tech Cocktails happens at South of Beale tonight at 5:30. Techies, entrepreneurs, and creative people are invited to take part. $5 donation to LaunchMemphis gets you great networking and happy hour specials on food and drinks.
  • Brass Door Bingo, Open Mic Night, and wine specials at Brass Door. Yuengling kayak winner to be announced at 10.
  • Wine and pizza specials at Papa Pia’s
  • Also wine specials at Silly Goose and Itta Bena
  • Poker night at Bardog. I believe I remember Poker Jon saying there’s a special 9:15 start time tonight. Someone must have rented the Underdog Room for a private function for the early evening.
  • Trivia night at Blind Bear, 8:00
  • Belgian glass night at the Flying Saucer. Not only do you get to keep the glass, but you get a raffle ticket for a drawing for a trip to Belgium. Drawing to be held July 21. This is a sweet beer vacation worth about $6500.
  • There’s also a public meeting for the Lower Mississippi Resource Assessment from 4 to 8 PM on Mud Island.

Quick lunch, some fun with RSS feeds this afternoon, and then I’ll be out tonight. Probably start at the Saucer and figure out the rest of the night from there.

Tue update: Kayak giveaway, OKC signs Thabeet, city iPhone app, beer/food pairing Groupon, Memphian on TV, Aldo’s Pizza Pies

The Brass Door gives away its Yuengling kayak tomorrow night, Wednesday, July 11. Get in there and drink some pints of Yuengling to earn chances to win.

Here’s one for the “things I never thought I’d see” list: Free agent Hasheem Thabeet has been signed to an NBA contract. The OKC Thunder signed the former Grizzly center/#2 draft pick to a two-year guaranteed deal. Thabeet brings a lot to the team, including being 7’3″ and… uh… well, not much in the way of basketball skills… um… did I mention he was 7’3″? As a Grizzlies fan, I am very happy to see Thabeet on an opposing team in our division, and I hope he gets a lot of minutes.

The city of Memphis now has its own iPhone app. The app will keep you informed of things like weather, street closures, and special events. You can also use the app to report potholes and problem properties, and can attach photos with the reports you file. An Android version of the app will be released soon.

In the past I’ve written about beer and food pairings at the Flying Saucer and other Downtown restaurants. If you’ve enjoyed those and want to take it to the next level, there’s a Groupon for a beer and food pairing class at L’Ecole Culinaire. The class is normally $250, but with the Groupon you can get it for $99. If beer’s not your thing, there’s also a World of Wine class available via Groupon today.

Memphian on TV alert: A Memphian who moved to Norway will be featured on the TV show House Hunters International tonight. Show is on HGTV at 9:30 PM Central time.

Check out this Memphis Flyer article on Aldo’s Pizza Pies if you haven’t already. Yesterday I walked past the place and they were doing orientation. Several people saw me and saved. I suspect I’m going to feel right at home there from day one, just as I did at its sibling restaurant Bardog.

Last night I made my return to poker at the Silly Goose after several weeks off. It was the “super satellite” for a seat at the final table next week in Poker Jon’s league. Grand prize for the final table is an entry to the World Poker Open at Gold Strike in Tunica happening later this month. Pretty nice prize! I didn’t win the satellite, but might have if I’d played one hand differently. I’ll probably write a post about it in my poker blog sometime this week. That’s it for now, busy afternoon ahead.