Tuesday update

Looking for something to do with the kids this week? Disney’s The Little Mermaid is live on stage at the Orpheum tonight through Sunday.

All Central BBQ locations will be closed today for the company’s annual employee Christmas party.

The original Karate Kid movie will be shown at 8:30 tonight on the big screen at Beale Street Landing. The movie is free to the public.

The Food Network published a list of the best hotel bars in the United States. Twilight Sky Terrace made the list.

In other hotel bar news, The View atop the Residence Inn at the Marriott is now open on Wednesdays.

Dollar King Cotton hot dogs tonight at the Redbirds. First pitch is 7:05.

A subpoena has been issued that will compel Paul Manafort to testify IN PUBLIC tomorrow before the Senate Intelligence Committee. I truly hope they make him testify under oath, so they can get him on perjury charges if he lies (he will).

That’s it for this post. Back tomorrow with more.

It’s time to extend the Main Street trolley tracks all the way to Crump

If you’ve been on the Main Street pedestrian mall lately, you’ve seen that certain sections have been fenced off. The trolleys, absent from Downtown since 2014, are close to making their comeback. MATA is repairing the tracks and cobblestones, damaged by two years of trolley-like buses running that route. I know a lot of people, particularly business owners in South Main, will be happy to see the trolleys back.

However, once restoring the trolleys is complete, the next project should be extending the Main Street line all the way to Crump.

What the trolley tracks were first laid down on Main, it didn’t make sense to go farther south than Calhoun (now G.E. Patterson Avenue). The corner of Main and Calhoun was a destination because of the famous Arcade restaurant. Earnestine & Hazel’s had just been bought by Russell George the year before, transforming the former brothel into a respectable and iconic dive bar. (Yes, E&H really was a brothel into the early 1990s. I won’t name names but I know a couple of people who were customers of the ladies upstairs.) If you didn’t mind a block walk over to Front, you could catch some live music at The South End. But there really wasn’t much south of Calhoun at the time.

Now the south end of Downtown has become a destination. I would like to go to Loflin Yard a bit more than I currently do, but even if I rode the trolley to its end I’d still have another seven blocks to walk. I wish I spent enough time at the Ghost River taproom to call myself a regular, but I have six blocks to walk beyond the end of the trolley line to get there.

Last year The Dirty Crow Inn opened at Crump and Kentucky. Around the time it opened, I had a week off for BBQ Fest and walked down there and checked it out. I immediately got that feeling of “this could easily be one of my homes away from home.” The food there is delicious. Plus, I’d like to get to know Paul who runs the place as well as I know, say, Max from Max’s Sports Bar or Aldo from Bardog. But I’ve only been back twice, because it’s not convenient, with a seven-block walk even after I get off the trolley at Main and G.E. Patterson. Extend the trolley line and all I would have to do is cross Crump.

It works in the opposite direction too. Thousands of homes have been built in South End the past ten years. Give those residents access to a trolley line, and they can use public transportation to get to Grizzlies games and Tigers games at FedExForum, and to Memphis Redbirds games at AutoZone Park. South End residents could use public transportation to get to work at companies like AutoZone, St. Jude, and Servicemaster. Those in South End who want to visit the places I talk about all the time on here could do so without involving a car. They could ride the trolley to get the tacos at Maciel’s, or crawfish mac at Blind Bear, or a pizza pie at Aldo’s.

When I think about the east end of the Madison trolley line at Cleveland, I think, “Why did they stop there? There’s so much good stuff the next couple of miles.” With the rise of South End, the Main Street line has become the same way. There’s too much good stuff south of G.E. Patterson to stop there.

People talk about making Downtown more walkable. Projects like the Main-to-Main pedestrian crossing and pop-up parks on Riverside are all well and good, but you really want to make Downtown more walkable? Lay 6 more blocks of trolley tracks.

Sunday update: Moody Ques to enter Best Memphis Burger Fest

Yesterday we made it official… the Moody Ques will be competing in Best Memphis Burger Fest at Tiger Lane on Saturday, October 7. We will be entering a Bloody Mary, a veggie burger, a specialty “anything goes” burger, and a traditional cheeseburger in our effort to show that we make the best damn burgers in Memphis. We’ll also be giving out burger samples in exchange for donations to Memphis Paws, an organization that funds dog rescues and other nonprofits that make life better for animals. There are still spots open for teams, so if you cook a mean burger, fill out an application and bring it on!

Mick Danger Parrish will be the special guest at the Ghost River taproom’s Songwriter Sessions tonight from 5:00 to 7:30, hosted by Crockett Hall. Flying Sobies will be on site all day (doors open at noon) selling their Cornish game hens with your choice of sauces and waffles. The brewery is at the corner of Main and Crump.

It’s a day game with the Redbirds playing Vegas (or as my friend Bicycle Bobby calls it, LAS Vegas) at 2:05 this afternoon. Players will be signing autographs in the concourse prior to the game. First 2500 kids get an ice cream treat and kids get to run the bases after the game. Gates open at 1:00.

Vinnie Hines from the 15th season of American Idol will play the Hard Rock tonight from 9 to 11. He will be taking requests.

25-year-old Scott Blumstein won the World Series of Poker main event last night, taking home over $8 million. I watched much of the final table live on TV, with Blumstein playing classic big stack style, forcing the smaller stacks to make tough decisions with marginal holdings and play bigger pots than they would like. Blumstein is from New Jersey, one of three states whose attitude is “online poker is a nice source of tax revenue” rather than “Jesus didn’t play poker online and neither should you.”

Don’t forget, all you can eat Maciel’s tacos at Rizzo’s tonight from 5 to 8 in a fundraiser to get Maciel’s back open. Sache will be selling a special Maciel’s shirt for $20.

That’s it for now. Off to D-RANKS with B-RAD at the Blind Bear for Sunday brunch. Back tomorrow with more news.

Saturday update: MLB scheduling, Princess and Pirate Night, and more

Last night I got into a fascinating discussion… how does scheduling for Major League Baseball work? You have to play each team in your division so many times, and you have to play teams in your league so many times, and then you have to fill in remaining games from the other league. There are dates when a team has to play at home – for example, you would want the Washington Nationals to be at home for the July 4 game, and you’d probably want the Yankees and Mets at home on September 11. Perhaps the Texas Rangers can’t be at home August 13 because Justin Bieber is having a concert in their stadium, that kind of thing. Then there’s logistics. You wouldn’t want a road trip to the Los Angeles Dodgers, then the Miami Marlins, and then the San Diego Padres, because it would be a waste of jet fuel. As someone who programs computers for a living, I nerd out on stuff like that. I would love to see the scheduling algorithm. “I bet in the 1940s before computers, the schedule took weeks to get done,” I said. “Now you can probably open an app on an iPhone and it’ll spit out the complete MLB schedule in two seconds.”

Well, as it turns out, there’s an ESPN 30 for 30 about that very topic. The Schedule Makers

Big night at the Redbirds tonight, as they play Las Vegas at 6:35 (gates open at 5:00). First 1500 in the gate get a free fidget spinner from Prarie Farms Dairy. It’s Princess and Pirate Night with Moana, Elsa, Jasmine, and other characters, a costume parade, and a horse and carriage for photos. There’s a special ticket ($17 field box, $20 dugout) that includes your choice of a pirate eye patch or a princess tiara. Live music by Jamie Baker Duo in the plaza before the game with select $2 draft beers. There will be fireworks following the game.

Hmmm… looking through the press release for this homestand, it looks like next Friday night will be Cougar City at AutoZone Park. Details to come.

I don’t know if I have any fellow webmasters who read this blog, but if I do, I want to recommend a tool I’ve been working with lately: Cludo. It takes search on a website to an entirely new level. It lets me create banners for featured search results, and the banners can even include video. I’ve been using banners this week to intercept searches for names of cities and returning links to everything we offer in that city. It understands that play, played, playing are basically all the same search. It can handle misspellings. It can let me define which pages I want to come up first, second, etc. for particular keywords and key phrases. I can boost particular areas of the website that are the most relevant. It has analytics including ineffective searches (users didn’t click on any of the links) and searches with zero results, so I can find opportunities to create content my users are looking for. I thought nobody could beat Google Site Search for search within a website, but I was wrong. Cludo takes things to a whole new level.

Even better, they did all the implementation for me. They worked for a few days then sent me a PDF. Put this code here, put that code there, and boom, I had a working search box. No CSS to tinker with, no Javascript functions to write, no XML or JSON to parse. I’ve been using Cludo for two weeks now and am already a huge fan.

It’s very possible that a bipartisan bill strengthening sanctions on Russia will land on the Trumpster’s desk for his signature this coming week. That will put Mr. Tangerine Man in a bind: If he doesn’t sign the bill, he pisses off his own party. If he does sign the bill, he pisses off his new best friend Vlad Putin. By the way, the president threw another tantrum on Twitter this morning.

That’s it for this post. Off to Bardog. With an Excessive Heat Warning today, I don’t see myself walking very far from home.

 

All-you-can-eat Maciel’s tacos at Rizzo’s Sunday (pop-up fundraiser) and more Friday news

I know a lot of my readers are missing Maciel’s right now. The authentic Mexican restaurant will be closed 3-4 weeks for repair after the ceiling collapsed Saturday. But, guess what… you don’t have to wait 3-4 weeks to have Maciel’s tacos again. You can have them this Sunday night, July 23, at a pop-up fundraising dinner at Rizzo’s on South Main. From 5-8 PM enjoy unlimited Maciel’s tacos for $15 per person, with all proceeds going to repair Maciel’s. Rizzo’s will have a cash bar for those who want beverages. Thanks to Chef Michael Patrick for opening his doors and helping another member of the Downtown restaurant community.

To-MAY-to, To-MAH-to is the theme at the Memphis Farmers Market this Saturday. Vine-ripened tomatoes are in season at the market. There are many varieties of tomatoes sold there, so ask the local farmers which variety is right for the cooking ideas you have in mind. From 8 AM to noon, kids will be able to make their own farm visors at the crafts table. Live music by Zoo Girls 8:30-10 and surprise acts 10-11 and 11-12:30. The Farmers Market happens every Saturday 7 AM-1 PM under the pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson.

AutoZone Park turns into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry tonight as the Redbirds return to town to face Las Vegas on Harry Potter Night. Expect a costume parade, and Butterbeer and Every Flavor Beans available for purchase. There will also be rides on the Hogwarts Express and more. First pitch is at 7:05, but the gates open at 6 for a pre-game block party with music by Zigadoo Moneyclips and select $2 drafts. Line up outside section 111 by 6:15 if you want to be part of the costume parade.

An Evening with Joe Leathers and Friends happens tonight at South Main Sounds, 550 S. Main, from 7 to 9 PM. Hit songwriter Joe Leathers (Hemingway’s Whiskey) brings in friends Rice Drewry, Barry Jenkins, Chase House, Tony Fisher and Trey Robison for a night of songs and stories.

This is a real story, not from The Onion: Woman farts in first yoga class, heads straight to McDonald’s

Grease plays on the big screen at the Orpheum tonight.

This article will be useful to those who hang out in the bars Downtown: How to exit an awkward conversation. The inspiration for the article came from the First Lady of Japan, a fluent speaker of English, who pretended not to know English so she wouldn’t have to talk to Donald Trump.

So, holier-than-thou Hugh Freeze is out at Ole Miss. Could this be Kiff’s ticket back to head coaching in the SEC?

That’s it for now. I will probably happy hour at the Silly Goose again tonight, then figure out the rest of the evening. Back tomorrow with more news.

Thursday update

The 29th annual WEVL Blues on the Bluff happens this Saturday at 6 PM at the Metal Museum. Come support public radio while drinking Schlafly beer, eating Central BBQ, and enjoying river views. There will be a silent auction and free guarded parking. $20 in advance, $25 at the gate; kids 11 and under $12 at the gate.

The Edge District Association is having an outing to the Redbirds next Monday, July 24. This is a friends and family event with non-members welcome. Tickets are $12 and include a bluff ticket, hat, hot dog and drink. For Edge Association members tickets are half off at $6. The plan is to meet at 6 at Stop 345 for drinks, then walk over at 7 to the Fourth Street entrance at AutoZone Park. Seating is located on the right field bluff near that entrance. You can purchase tickets the day of the game (cash only) at Stop 345. First pitch is 7:05.

Family-friendly film The Princess and the Frog will be shown at Clayborn Temple tonight as part of the 15 Film Series. There will be face painting and a live princess. Dressing up in costume is encouraged. The event starts at 7 PM.

William Michael Morgan along with special guest Brooke Eden will be the live entertainment at KIX on Beale tonight at Handy Park at 7 PM. This is a free concert. Listen to KIX 106 FM for a chance to win VIP seating.

Very sad to hear that a true American hero, Senator John McCain, has been diagnosed with brain cancer. Few people embody the concept of service as Mr. McCain has, both in uniform and in Washington. He’s said to be itching to get back to work after a recent surgery, but he’s been told not to travel for two weeks.

The Unlikely Candidates headline tonight’s Peabody rooftop party. $10 admission, free for ladies and hotel guests before 7. Admission includes a buffet of pigs in blankets and potato chips. If you’re in VIP you get a second buffet of Chicago dogs, New York dogs, and Memphis dogs. A cherry margarita and Firefly ginger snap moonshine are the drink specials this evening.

If you have an iPhone or iPad, you need to update to iOS 10.3.3 right now, especially if you use public Wi-Fi on your device.

Nice to see the St. Louis Post-Dispatch tipping its hat to Redbirds manager Stubby Clapp. It’s not easy managing a AAA baseball club. The players on the team are all waiting on their big call-up to the majors, yet you have to keep them operating as a team while they are here. Clapp has done a superb job balancing player goals with team goals. Thirteen times this season the Cardinals have called up a Redbirds player. Seven are still in St. Louis.

Newsy day for the Trumpster. Trump bashed his attorney general Jeff Sessions, saying he never would have offered the AG job to Sessions had he known Sessions would recuse himself from the Trump-Russia investigation. Trump feels that Sessions should have informed him before taking the job that he planned to recuse himself, in which case Trump would have offered the job to someone else. It’s nice to see the crazies fighting with one another.

Bloomberg Politics reports that special counsel Mueller has announce that he’s expanding the investigation beyond just Russia and is going to investigate Trump’s business transactions as well of those of Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort. Gosh, I’m sure nothing shady went on there!

To top it all off, Don Jr., Kushner, and Manafort have to testify before Senate committees next week.

Oh, and one more thing: When you apply for a security clearance, you have to fill out an SF-86 form disclosing all of your foreign connections as well as those of your immediate family. That would mean you disclose foreign connections of your husband, your older and younger brother, and your father. Trump’s favorite child Ivanka could lose her security clearance if it is found that she didn’t fully disclose.

By the way, all of the stories above were reported by the mainstream media, not the counterintelligence Twitter accounts I posted earlier in the week. Things are going off the rails for the crazy train in the White House.

That’s all the news for now. Rolling through the workday this Thursday and planning a Silly Goose happy hour trip. Back tomorrow with more news.

Wednesday update

Yesterday architecture and design firm presented a 120-page brochure (read it here) of its concept for the future of the Memphis riverfront. It proposes connecting five major areas of the riverfront and making it a destination as well as a place to walk, run, and bike. The proposal is pretty ambitious.

Cafe Pontotoc is having a celebration for its third birthday Friday and Saturday night. There will be a $10 taco bar.

Been reading a good book lately: Red Flags: Frenemies, Underminers, and Ruthless People by Wendy L. Patrick, a criminal prosecutor for the past 25 years. It trains you to spot deception and hidden motives in the people around you. Now, I’m not saying you should be paranoid and not trust anyone, because the vast majority of people are good. However, this book will help you figure out which people are not worthy of your trust, which people have only their own best interests in mind while claiming to have yours or others’. I can definitely see shades of a few people I have known over the years in the real-life examples Ms. Patrick tells.

The St. Louis Cardinals will be hosting a fantasy camp at AutoZone Park September 14-17. Campers (players) will participate in a four-team round-robin, with playoff games on September 17. Campers are guaranteed four games and will be managed by a Cards alum and will have two Cardinals alumni on the team. Package includes three nights at the Doubltree Hotel, with a reception and Cardinals alumni autograph session September 14. There will be a dinner banquet on September 15 featuring Whitey Herzog and a live auction. Campers receive two authentic Cardinals jerseys. Cost is $3995 per camper (player) or $2500 coach, with a $500 deposit to hold your spot. To be clear, this is a camp for adults, not kids, and the press release said minimum age for campers is 27.

I talked to Seth from Best Memphis Burger Fest this week, and he told me there are still spots open to compete. Fill out a cooking application if you think your burger could be a winner.

Mario Chalmers is back with the Grizzlies as backup PG for a one-year deal. Good signing.

Evelyn and Olive has a good Wednesday special today: Five jerk wings and a glass of wine for $9.

Lisa’s Lunchbox on Front Street has this as the special today. I have heard very good things:

The Joy Ride and El Mero Taco food trucks will be at Miss Cordelia’s tonight from 5 to 8. Live music by Jamie Baker.

The building that once held a firehouse at MLK Jr. Ave. and B.B. King Blvd. near FedExForum finally has a tenant. Memphis Music Initiative, a diversity-focused nonprofit, will move in this coming January. In 2015 the firehouse was home to a pop-up business with beer bar, food trucks, and live music.

On Stage at the Halloran, showcasing a diverse array of solo, duo, and ensemble acts, is returning for a second year.

Time to hit Publish and then it’s off for sushi! For those who work in Horn Lake, here’s a tip – the Kroger at Goodman and Horn Lake Road has $5 sushi days on Wednesdays. They have a real sushi chef in-house who makes the rolls. After work I’ll be out at Silly Goose as usual. Back tomorrow with more news.

Yngwie! + Tuesday news

Last night I was at the Blind Bear, and my friend Bob asked Mary, the bartender, “Hey, can you put the Pandora radio station on Yngwie Malmsteen? Just for a minute?” Mary did. Malmsteen is a guitar virtuoso who is coming to the New Daisy Saturday, October 21. Given the preference for metal by Bob and another friend who is attending the show, I expected the music to be too hard for my tastes. It was not. It was excellent. All instrumental, but just excellent. Check this show out if you’re a fan of great guitar work.

WREG reports that Maciel’s Tacos and Tortas will be closed 3 to 4 weeks following a ceiling collapse. As much as I hate to hear it will be closed for any length of time, I consider that good news. I was worried the structural damage would be so great that the popular Mexican restaurant would be closed permanently. A GoFundMe has been set up to help Maciel’s reopen.

Purple Haze has been granted an extension giving the owners of the club to prove it’s part of the Beale Street Historic District and should be allowed to stay open until 5 AM like its neighbors around the corner on Beale. The lawsuit pushing for the earlier closing time was filed by the owners of Club 152. The lawsuit is supported by the City of Memphis and the Downtown Memphis Commission.

59 cent short stacks at IHOP today in celebration of the restaurant’s 59th birthday.

Two new shows have been announced for the Orpheum: Ryan Adams and Band on Saturday, September 30, and Wilco Thursday, October 5.

You just can’t make this stuff up: You know that wall that President Trump wants to build at the U.S.-Mexico border? He thinks it should be a glass wall because passersby could get hit in the head with drugs being thrown over the wall if it isn’t see-through. Seriously, how can a human being be this stupid?

That’s it for now. Time to go get in the 130 degree car and get some lunch. Back tomorrow with more news.

Run. Party. Eat. Support the kids of St. Jude at the Breakaway-Bardog 5K and Monroe Avenue Fest Sunday, August 20

One of Downtown’s biggest outdoor parties of the late summer, the Breakaway-Bardog 5K and Monroe Avenue Fest, will happen on Monroe Avenue on Sunday, August 20. Every year this festival raises tens of thousands of dollars (they’ve been getting close to $50,000 the past few years) to donate to St. Jude, so that children can continue to be treated for cancer without their families ever receiving a bill.

The event’s footprint will expand this year to cross Main. There will be a food truck court and a new and improved main stage location. The event will start off with the 5K in the morning, and then there will be live music, local food, VIP catered area, T-shirt making booth, dunk tank, face painting, Grandma’s meatballs eating contest, and local celebrities. An attendance of 5000 is expected. Although most event attendees will be Downtowners, Midtowners, and East Memphians aged 21-45, the festival has appeal to all Memphians including families. The festival started in 2009 and was known as “the Bardog alley party” until 2015 when other businesses along Monroe decided to get in the game.

Official Event Packet

There are various ways you can show your support for this event. See the event packet above for complete descriptions of all the things described below.

One way to help is to be a sponsor. There are three levels of sponsorship, at $6000, $2000, and $750. Each sponsorship level gets you logo placement and a ton of perks (see the event packet for full details). Sponsors will have their logos displayed in ads and will be talked about on many forms of media, including the one you are reading right now. :)

You can be a vendor. See event packet for details, registration, and rules and regulations vendors must follow.

You can donate a raffle item. This is a great way to introduce Memphians to your business and your products.

You can create a fundraising team to raise money for St. Jude. The top teams get some fabulous prizes.

You can buy a VIP table or seat. Being a VIP at Monroe Fest has never been better, with access to the VIP Food and Beverage Menu, admission into the craft beer tent, a private server, reserved admittance to private restrooms, and door prizes. Tables of up to 10 can be reserved.

There are other ways to support the festival as well. You can run in the 5K, which costs $35 in advance or $40 if you sign up the day of. Possibly the best post-race after-party in the city happens after you’re done with the run.

If you’re 21 or over, you can get a wristband to the VIP tent at a cost of $80 in advance or $100 the day of. In the tent you get food and drink, including alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. You also get admission to the craft beer tent. Under 21 can get a VIP wristband that does not include the alcohol for $20 in advance, $25 the day of.

Admission to the craft beer tent (must be 21+ obviously) is $25 in advance, $35 day of.

There’s a Race Royalty package that includes the race, race after-party, VIP tent and craft beer tent (21+) for $100 in advance, $120 day of.

This is one of the most highly anticipated parties of the year, and I plan on being there all day (the Monroe Fest part, not the race). This is going to be the first “normal” Monroe Fest for me in 3 years (had a conflicting event in 2016, and 2015… well, just don’t get me started on that year) and I am SO looking forward to it! I plan on being out with the camera to get photos for the blog. I hope you will be there, for a very fun Sunday and to support the kids of St. Jude.

(One note: Normally I don’t ask my readers to share my posts on social media. This time, I am asking. I want as many people as possible to become aware of opportunities to get involved with this event.)

Sunday update: Sad news about Maciel’s Tortas and Tacos

Sad news to report today. I wish I were making this up but I’m not. About 8:00 last night the second floor of Maciel’s Tortas and Tacos collapsed. Maciel’s was open at the time and there were injuries. From what I have been told at least one person had to go to the hospital. Needless to say, Downtown’s most authentic Mexican restaurant will be closed for a while. Don’t know if they will reopen. I hope they do, but I understand if the hurdles are too high.

To the folks at Maciel’s: I cannot overstate how many happy faces you have made with your delicious food the past two years. If your Downtown neighbors can do anything to assist, please reach out to us.

From what I’ve heard, the damage would’ve been a lot worse (possibly killing people) if not for the Vent-a-hood that Maciel’s had installed. Scary thing is, I seriously considered having dinner there last night.

I’ve been vacation planning this weekend. Probably for 2018 because I want to save up some vacation days, which are a bit scarce right now. Everyone needs to make the pilgrimage once in their lifetime. I am talking, of course, about the pilgrimage to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, home of the Pabst brewery. I looked it up on Google Maps. It’s in a neighborhood called Westown with no shortage of shopping, dining, and hotels. I want to go to Westown! It will have to be between May and September – wait, June and September because of BBQ Fest – because I don’t like cold weather. I am totally gonna make this trip happen in 2018!

This has also made me realize what I’m looking for in a woman. Someone who will choose going to Milwaukee with me over the beach or a glamorous destination like Las Vegas. Any takers?

I had a good time at the Saucer last night listening to SNOZberry. The Saucer has undergone some improvements lately and I definitely see it coming back on to my rotation of bars at which I spend time. Now that we have reasonable people in charge, can we PLEASE talk about getting some PBR in the place? Several other Saucers carry it.

PBR at the Little Rock Saucer, January 2017

Make ya a deal… get PBR in there and I won’t drink it exclusively. I’ll even start back up on my ninth plate, which I haven’t worked on in three years. I miss drinking high-gravity beers there.

That’ll do it for now. D-RANKS with B-RAD at the Blind Bear is the plan for today, and then possibly over to the Saucer to visit Christina for the night shift. Back tomorrow with more news.