Thoughts on Texas vs. Ole Miss

So, yesterday after work I was getting ready to go out. I checked Facebook and Twitter, and saw several reports that the Flying Saucer was full of UT orange. Not prison orange worn by the Tennessee Vols, but burnt orange worn by the Texas Longhorns.

Uh-oh, I thought. Being an Arkansas fan who grew up in Little Rock watching Southwest Conference football, hating Texas has been bred into me. But this week I find myself in a conundrum: Texas is traveling to Oxford to play Ole Miss, and I can’t stand Ole Miss either.

I walked down to the Saucer, and the place was indeed full of Texas fans. But you know what? They weren’t loud, they weren’t obnoxious, they weren’t rowdy, they weren’t acting like a bunch of douches and skanks. The Saucer girls weren’t coming over to complain to me how annoying they are, and what bad tippers they are. The Texas fans, from everything I observed, were friendly, polite, and respectful. This is the exact opposite of the way Ole Miss fans behave when they come to town.

It was a real eye-opener about the University of Texas.

Plus, there’s the fact that U. Texas is located in one of the best cities in America: Austin. Ole Miss is in Oxford. Need I say more?

So, the decision whom to root for tonight isn’t hard. Hook ’em Horns! Hope you beat the piss out of Ole Piss.

Lots of random stuff including possums, Rocky Horror, 1800s restaurant menus, and Double J Wednesday poker details

Last night I went to Max’s Sports Bar for their Thursday night poker tournament. They use the Buzztime game system, with one TV tuned into Buzztime trivia and another tuned to poker. You use wireless boxes to play either game. After folding a poker hand, I glanced over at trivia. The question was,

What is eaten on New Year’s Day in the southeast U.S. for good luck?

The five possible answers appeared on the monitor. Note option 4.

The folks at Buzztime, headquartered in Carlsbad, California in the U.S., think that we all eat possum down here in the South. JED! JETHRO! VITTLES IS READY!

What do we actually eat down here? Well, my friend Billy ordered the school lunchroom pizza at Max’s last night. You can get it topped with extra cheese and bacon. Billy did, and this is what came out of the kitchen.

Wow! Billy’s cup runneth over! Well, not his cup, but his pizza. Then again, the way Michele pours a PBR, his cup runneth over too.

Monday night Silly Goose poker host Muruako came in to play. He got there too late to get one of the 10 Buzztime boxes, but while he was there he told me about the new Wednesday night poker night at the Double J Smokehouse and Saloon across the street. He will be hosting, and the start time will be 8:30 PM. They’ll do it upstairs in the Loft Bar. Now I have to choose between trivia at Blind Bear, bingo at Brass Door, and poker at Double J on Wednesdays. So many good options! I guess it’s a high-class problem to have though… I could be in Cordova choosing between Applebee’s and Chili’s.

I came in second at poker. Who taught Kitty how to be such a good heads-up player? By the time I figured out what she was doing, she had so many chips that I couldn’t fight back. Congratulations to her on the win.

Afterward I walked back to the core, where I ended up hanging out with Flying Saucer alumni on the patio.

Brittney, in the orange: “PAUL, IF YOU TOOK A PIC OF MY THONG, I SWEAR I’M GOING TO KICK YOUR ASS.” Nice to see that Brittney still has the same sweet demeanor she had when she was bartending the Saucer.

Tonight is the annual showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Orpheum. They sell bags of props that can be used for audience participation. I went to this two years ago and it is a lot of fun to watch rolls of toilet paper being thrown all over the theater. I bet cleanup staff hates this night the most. More info here.

Random link I found that may be of interest to foodies: An archive of hotel restaurant menus from the 1850s and 1860s.

If you have a Kindle Fire or Android device, the Amazon appstore has Tetris for free today.

I’m looking forward to a fun night… sure is nice to have next-door neighbors who have parties. I’ll probably pre-game at the Saucer about 7 for a couple of beers. Happy weekend everyone!

Thur update: Burger Fest bands and participating restaurants, Redbirds, homeless grant, Fire Museum exhibit, Double J adds poker, Saucer stein-holding contest pics, Goose patio and more

Best Memphis Burger Fest made a couple of tweets this morning with more information about the festival. There will be several live bands, including Burn the Sun, Grand Theft Auto Memphis, Saved by Zero – the ’80s Tribute Band, and Denise and the Sofa Kings. The burger competition is open to anyone with a grill, but several restaurants have chosen to compete, including Bleu, Patrick’s, Owen Brennan’s, Cafe Eclectic, and BGR the Burger Joint. The festival is Sunday, September 30 at Minglewood Hall and I’m one of the celebrity judges. Come on out and try some burgers!

Congrats to the Memphis Redbirds, who renewed their affiliation with the St. Louis Cardinals through 2014.

Also congrats to the City of Memphis, which scored a $5 million federal grant to keep homeless families together in temporary housing. Right now, in many cases the men have to go to one shelter and women and children to another.

The Fire Museum has added a new exhibit. It’s called “9-1-1 Safety Theatre” and will teach kids and adults when it’s proper to call 9-1-1. For example, it is not proper to call 9-1-1 because you need an ambulance to give you a ride to the convenience store so you can buy a beer. No kidding, that happens. The Fire Museum is on Adams Avenue just east of Main.

Another poker night is being added Downtown. I’ve been informed that Double J Smokehouse and Saloon is adding a Wednesday night poker game. I wasn’t sent a lot of details, but will find out more before the first game. If you want to play poker Downtown, here’s the complete list of where you can do it. All these games are free to play.

  • Sunday: Blind Bear, 6:30 PM, hosted by Michael Bean
  • Monday: Silly Goose, 8:30 PM, hosted by Muruako
  • Tuesday: Blind Bear, 8:00 PM, hosted by Jamie
  • Wednesday: Bardog, 7:30 PM, hosted by Poker Jon; and Double J, time and host TBA
  • Thursday: Max’s Sports Bar, 7:00 PM, on Buzztime monitors and boxes

I was late for trivia last night because I wanted to cover a contest happening at the Flying Saucer. It was Sam Adams Oktoberfest glass night, and they had a special contest. They had these huge steins, which when filled with water weighed 5 pounds. There was a contest to see who could hold the stein with their arm straight out, no bending, the longest. Winners in the men’s and women’s division would advance to the semifinals on Monday, then the finals next Wednesday, with winners getting a trip to Munich for Oktoberfest. Hmmm, doesn’t Oktoberfest start in, like, 10 days? Gonna be kind of difficult for the winner to get time off work, and a passport if they don’t have one, in such a short period of time. I brought this up to one of the Saucer girls, who commented, “Yeah, the winner’s going to have to be someone with no life and no job.” Here are a couple of photos I took.

Men’s division
Women’s division

So, a little after 8, I walked over to trivia at the Blind Bear. As I passed the Silly Goose, I noticed that the bar had made another change: They have replaced the iron tables and chairs outside with wood benches. That seems like a good move – will probably add an extra 10 seats to the Goose’s Covered patio.

Our trivia team was rather depleted this week for various reasons: Work, a concert nearby, Wednesday night kickball. However, the five of us who were there managed to pull out a first-place win to add $50 Bear Bucks to our coffers. We never seem to win Best Team Name though. Every week the best name is announced, and most weeks I think, “God, that name sucks,” and then I realize we couldn’t come up with anything better.

Stuff going on tonight: Deering and Down play Bleu at 7:00, $10 cover; sports trivia night with Kevin Cerrito at the Green Beetle, 8:00 PM; DJ Cody at the Silly Goose, 10 PM.

Outta here for lunch. Probably going to play poker at Max’s tonight.

Wed update: Fireball, good news for Lawler, Tom Lee Park sinkhole, Silly Goose poker and TV improvements, things happening tonight

Fireball Whisky is a cinnamon-flavored whisky that has become very popular Downtown in the past two years. If you want to hear about local Fireball events, join the FIREBALL WHISKY Memphis group on Facebook. All you have to do is request to join and if you’re over 21, local Fireball brand ambassador Clay Thompson will approve you. As a group member you’ll hear about opportunities to party with the Fireball folks and possibly score some sweet Fireball swag. If anyone in Oxford is reading this, the Fireball people are heading your way tonight and tomorrow.

Great news this morning for a local legend. A CAT scan was run on Jerry Lawler and it found that The King did not suffer any brain damage from his heart attack on WWE Monday Night Raw this week. He remains hospitalized in Montreal and it is uncertain when he will be able to return home. Family members, including his son Brian who wrestles as Brian Christopher, have crossed the Canadian border to be with him.

The King’s longtime broadcast partner, Jim Ross (J.R.), posted a commentary on Lawler’s heart attack and the Montreal Monday Night Raw. Well worth a read. Few people know the King as well as J.R.

There’s a sinkhole that has appeared in Tom Lee Park. Hope the city gets that fixed before BBQ Fest next year!

I forgot to blog about a couple of changes to the Silly Goose’s Monday night poker game. The start time has been moved back to 8:30 – as I found out Monday when I showed up at 8:55. They let people come in through the first four blind levels, though, so it was OK. For the third poker game in a row, I finished in third place. However, for purposes of league points, I came in second, because owner Daniel was one of the other two left and he can’t win his own prizes. But there was more, and I totally forgot about it until I checked my Instagram feed last night and found that I’d taken this photo:

They’re now awarding a $25 certificate for second place. First place has always received $50, but the second-place award is new. Combined with other poker winnings, that gives me a nice little tab at the Goose.

In other Goose news, their new 70″ projection TV has arrived.

That will be great for Monday Night Football and for their Sunday fantasy football league parties with happy hour domestic beers and $4 Fireball.

Last night I stopped by the bar at Bluefin, where current and former Saucer people nearly killed me with hot sake. The bartender, Daniel, remembered that I like extra limes in my Dos Equis Lager, despite having last served me a beer in August 2010. That’s really impressive.

Stuff going on tonight: Glass night at Flying Saucer featues a Sam Adams Oktoberfest stein, and they’re having a contest to see who can hold up the stein the longest with one arm, 7 PM; Tim “Badboy” Bachus at Bleu, 7 PM; poker with Poker Jon at Bardog, 7:30 PM; bingo with Diamond Dave at Brass Door, 7:30 PM; trivia with Charles at Blind Bear, 8 PM. I’ll be at the Bear, earning extra points for my team with my checkin on social media.

Tue update: Big events this weekend, Park(ing) Day, new businesses Downtown, job fair

There are a few big events coming up this weekend. Longtime Memphians may know about these, but I want to mention them for those new to Memphis:

Smokin’ Aces BBQ Festival at Harrah’s Tunica Friday to Sunday. This festival is smaller than Memphis in May BBQ Fest, but the teams who compete tell me it’s more fun. If you know anyone on a team who will be there, this would be worth checking out.

The Cooper-Young Festival is this weekend. This is Memphis’ largest street festival, running about half a mile down South Cooper Street and a couple of blocks down Young Avenue. Hundreds of arts and craft vendors sell their work. There are bands on several stages. Plenty of food and beer vendors, and the restaurants and bars on the festival route often run specials as well. Cooper-Young is one of the most open-minded neighborhoods in the city, and there will be booths with info on the environment, women’s issues, gay/lesbian issues, homeless issues, etc. The festival is Saturday 9 AM to 7 PM. This is a different festival from the Cooper-Young Beerfest I’ve written about – that one is October 13.

Downtown Museum Day is this Saturday. 15 museums and attractions will offer free or half-price admission. Not only are the big names participating, but lesser-known museums like the W.C. Handy Museum, the Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum, and the Fire Museum of Memphis. Lots of cool stuff to do, although I think they’d draw better crowds if they didn’t schedule this the day of C-Y Fest.

In other news: 16 groups have been selected for Park(ing) Day. On September 21 these groups will transform Downtown parking spaces into miniature parks, each with a different theme. Among the themes will be a life-sized Jenga game, a roller skating disco opera, a mini tennis park, and a bike maintenance and repair station.

The Daily News reports that new businesses are moving Downtown, including an antique/gift shop on Union and a public strategy planning business in Pembroke Square.

The company that makes White Cloud toilet paper is running two job fairs in DeSoto County today. They plan on doubling their Memphis-area workforce, and 100 positions are open. Pay is in the $13-17 range, not bad at all.

Jerry Lawler is said to be stable in a cardiac care unit after suffering a heart attack on WWE Monday Night Raw. His ex-wife Stacy “The Kat” Carter” tweeted that he had a stint and a balloon put in. Best wishes to the King as I close out this lunchtime blog post.

Praying for the King

Just got home, checked Twitter, and discovered that Jerry “The King” Lawler collapsed on the set of WWE Monday Night Raw tonight. He was taken to the hospital. This was not a wrestling storyline.

Praying for you, King. If any one human being summarizes all the good there has been in Memphis the past 40 years, it has to be you.

Mon update: Downtown after SHC, Sunday @ Blind Bear, Hogs fall out of Top 25, Double J MNF specials, Lil’ Rockers night at Hard Rock Tuesdays

If you checked this blog for a lunchtime post, you may have got a database error… or nothing at all. GoDaddy’s servers were hacked this morning, and it took the web hosting company several hours to get service working again. Below is the post that I typed into Notepad and saved at lunchtime, since I couldn’t get to my blog.

I want to start off this Monday blog post by dispelling a myth that was prevalent this past weekend. Time and time again I heard, “You don’t want to get within about a quarter mile of Beale Street on the night of Southern Heritage Classic. It’s scary and it’s not safe. You could get robbed, you could get shot, you could get run over trying to cross through the heavy traffic.”

Well, Saturday night I decided to see if this was really true. I left the Brass Door about 10:30 (the costume contest I was to judge kind of didn’t happen, at least not while I was there) and I walked south. I reached the Flying Saucer about 10 minutes later. The doors and garage windows were open and people were having a good time. So much for the rumor that all the bars within a block or two of Beale lock the customers in for their own safety about 10 PM. I walked past the Silly Goose and they were letting people in too. No problems at all. I stayed at the Saucer until they turned the lights on at 2:15 and never felt the least bit unsafe. Then I walked to the Blind Bear, had a beer there, and got home about 3. I saw no evidence that Downtown is any more unsafe during Southern Heritage Classic weekend than it is during any other busy weekend. Of course, I didn’t go on Beale Street itself, but then again I rarely go to Beale most weekends anyway.

Due to my late finish Saturday night, I didn’t get out until noon Sunday. I had a couple of new options, with both Max’s Sports Bar and the Blind Bear opening at noon for NFL games. Because of that, I decided to delay my Saucer visit until 5 and try something new. I pulled up Foursquare on my phone and saw the Sunday brunch crew checking into the Bear. That sounded like a plan to me, so in I went.

The Bear was a good call indeed. Sound was on for the game, but it wasn’t so loud that we couldn’t hear each other talk. Neither private room was in use for football viewing, so people might want to keep those in mind for future weeks. Cold PBR at the bar (can’t get that at the Saucer), great service, and damn Kalista can rock a black skirt. I ordered a BLT and pepper jack mac & cheese to try and clear out the cobwebs from Saturday night. About an hour after I finished my meal, kitchen manager Michael Bean came over and said, “Paul, I’m going to bring you another bowl of mac & cheese. I didn’t realize how salty that last batch was. I’m sorry you had to eat it and I threw it out and am bringing you some from the new batch.” I didn’t really think the bowl I had was that bad, but it was a nice gesture that is indicative of how the Bear treats its customers. If the brunch crew makes the Bear its regular noon stop on Sundays, I will really have no choice but to demote the Saucer to mid-afternoon.

After a brief Saucer visit, I came back to the Bear for poker night at 6:30. As I expected, it was much more laid-back than the Tuesday game, with a crowd of about 20. Most of the night we were playing six-handed, where it’s a lot easier to get creative with your hands than at a full table. I came in third, earning some league points.

Because I was at the Brass Door Saturday night, I didn’t get a chance to see the ULM-Arkansas game. Probably a good thing. After entering the season being talked about as a national title contender, the Hogs lost in overtime to a Sun Belt team. As a result, Arkansas fell out of the top 25 after being ranked 8th last week. I guess this illustrates that top-level players need a top-level coach. There’s no way we would have lost to ULM had Petrino been coaching. Then again, we couldn’t have kept Petrino without becoming a program where the coach runs the university (see Penn State football, Ohio State football,, and Kentucky basketball in the past five years). My God. Alabama is going to kill us on Saturday, and then we’ll be 1-2. On the bright side for Arkansas fans in Memphis, the Hogs’ chances of ending up in the Liberty Bowl just got a lot better. If we can get 6 wins, that is.

Important PBR news: Double J Smokehouse and Saloon will have $2 PBR 5 to close tonight as a Monday Night Football special. Other specials include $3 Fireball and a French Dip sandwich with au jus and hand-cut fries.

More important PBR news: Max’s Sports Bar has PBR Monday going on right now, with $1 PBR and hot dogs from open until 7.

In Downtown news, the Hard Rock Cafe has announced Lil’ Rocker Tuesdays. Every Tuesday from 5-10 PM, kids 10 and under will eat free off the menu from the Hard Rock scratch kitchen. They’ll be adding area attractions to the night in future weeks – everything from ice cream socials to live music by kids. Two free kids’ meals per adult entree purchased.

All right. Site is back up. Today’s post has been published. Time for a beer. Pint Nite at the Saucer at 6, poker hosted by Muruako at the Goose at 9.

Blind Bear Sunday news

Blind Bear will be open at noon on Sundays starting this week. Previously they had been opening at 3 for “Hung Over Like a Bear” brunch, but with NFL season starting, they want to be open for all the games. They’ll turn the sound on for the game being shown at the bar if you request it. If you’d prefer to watch a different game, you can reserve the Den or the dining room and put your game on the TV, with sound. They will have RedZone as well.

The Bear has a pool table for those who wish to play a game while they watch football.

Also, Blind Bear is adding a second poker night to the week, Sundays at 6:30. Winners on Sunday night will earn points toward the poker league that has been ongoing on Tuesdays. There will also be a $50 weekly prize. Free to play. It’s only week 3 of a 16-week league, so plenty of time to earn points. Previous grand prizes in the league have included an iPad and $500 in gift cards to local restaurants. Michael Bean will be the tournament director. The Sunday game is good news for several reasons:

1) It probably won’t draw the huge crowds of as many as 50 that show up on Tuesdays. Jamie told me he expects maybe 20 or 25, and I agree with that estimate.

2) Since Michael Bean will be running the game, Jamie will actually be able to play. Jamie says he hopes to play every other week, and Jeannette will play some too.

3) Since Michael Bean will be running the game, that means he won’t be playing! No nuisance raises, none of him saying “all-in” on the turn when he folded his cards on the flop, no foolishness.

Last night, Jamie showed me the new poker table he has on order. It will be the largest size made – I think he said 96 inches. It will sit where the dining room table is now (“Jeannette and I will finally get our dining room table back” and will have black felt with “The Blind Bear” on it. It will come with a cover, so it will be able to be used as a dining table on non-poker nights.

The company that made the Bear’s poker chips is making the table, and it will be here in about a month. Or, if they screw up the order like they did the chips, it will be here in 3 months and a poker table with “Blind Bare” will be marked down cheap at a warehouse sale somewhere.

Sundays just got more fun. Maybe I’ll see you tomorrow night for poker!

Fri update: Brass Door costume contest, Court Square Sunday concerts, block political rants on Facebook, traffic alert, tour guide licenses in NOLA (relevant to Downtown), basketball-related news

costume contestFor the second time in two days, I’ve been asked to be a celebrity judge. I will be judging the costume contest at the Brass Door’s alley party tomorrow night, Saturday, September 8. To celebrate the first birthday of the Irish pub, the male and female best-dressed as leprechauns will win prizes of $100, $75, and $50. The contest will happen around 9, so come on down. Actually there’s plenty of reason to come earlier than 9, because the bands start at 3. Bands will include Forklift, The Door Knobs, Striking Midnight, Joe Guyton, Big Betsy, Favourite Fallen Idol, and Reverend Hitchhikers. Although yesterday I suggested a tube top as a good start to a female leprechaun costume, I promise I will be open-minded about non-tube top costumes as well.

There will be a series of concerts in Court Square on Sundays from September 23 to October 14. Concerts will be from 4 to 6 PM. Coolers and lawn chairs are welcome, and pets are too as long as you clean up after them. You can view the lineup here. Excellent time of year for concerts. It will have cooled off so it’s not 100 outside like it was yesterday, but it will still be warm enough for ladies who want to rock a tube top on a fine fall Sunday.

Sick of people’s political rants on Facebook? Lifehacker has a tutorial on how to block people’s annoying political posts.

Traffic alert: The Southern Heritage Classic is tomorrow night at the Liberty Bowl at 6 PM. A lot of fans of the Classic come Downtown after the game, so expect heavy traffic after 9 PM, especially around Beale Street. If you plan on going to the Beale district, expect super-long security lines.

New Orleans is trying to require a license for tour guides. To get the license, guides would have to pass a history exam, a criminal background check, and a drug test. Living in Downtown Memphis which is also a popular tourist district, I know exactly why they’re doing this. “Hey mayne, you from out of town? You look like you’re from Germania, or one of them countries. That over there is the Peabody, they got ducks that swim in a pond in the lobby. And that over there, that’s Redbirds Stadium, where the Cardinals play. And down there is Beale Street where you can hear a lot of good bands. Hey big time, hey bro, can I get a dolla? Come on, I’m showing you around Downtown, let me have a dolla or two. You ain’t gonna give me no dolla? Well, f*** you then! F***ing bitch!” I’m sure the same thing happens in NOLA, and it’s probably worse down there.

Several Memphis basketball-related items this morning:

1) The Grizzlies are getting a new court. It will replace the one they’ve been using for 10 years. It costs $200,000 and can be installed or taken down in 75 minutes. That’s necessary for days when there’s a Tigers game at noon and a Grizzlies game at 7. The Tigers will get a new court in 2013 after they join the Big East. More details in the MBJ.

2) Speaking of the Big East, they’re considering a name tweak. With San Diego State and other Western schools joining the conference, that’s probably a good idea.

3) Justin Timberlake will be part of the local minority ownership group of the Grizzlies. Buyer Robert Pera recruited Timberlake to be part of the group. Details here.

That’s it for now. Not sure what I’ll be doing tonight, but I’ll be out about 6 PM.

Announcing the newest person to sign on as a celebrity judge for Best Memphis Burger Festival…


Seth has been bugging me on Twitter to come on board as a judge for Best Memphis Burger Festival for about a month now. “Let me think about it,” I kept telling him. Then yesterday, I went to the Saucer for after-work beers. The manager told me that I had two beers that had already been paid for, and said, “hang on, we have something for you.” He brought me a Best Memphis Burger sign, with a note on the back asking me to please consider being a judge.

I thought about it. Burgers? Beer? I mean really, why would I say no to this? I tweeted Seth this morning agreeing to do it. Not sure I’m the most qualified person in the world to judge burgers – I don’t think there are courses on being a burger judge as there are for BBQ – but, why not. I’ll be at the festival at Minglewood Hall on Sunday, September 30. About 20 teams will compete for the title of Best Memphis Burger. There will be a Kookamonga challenge and other fun stuff as well. Hope to see you there.

They’re moving me to a new workspace this afternoon, so I need to cut this post short, grab a quick bite from Wendy’s, and then get packing. If any news comes in I’ll do an after-work post.