Saturday update

Happy Halloween! With COVID numbers surging, I’m going to stick to my original plan and stay in all day today. If you go out, please be safe. Wear a mask that properly covers your nose and mouth and carry hand sanitizer if your day’s plans make it inconvenient for you to get to soap and water.

Three other timely reminders before we move on to the news:

  1. Don’t forget to set your clocks before going to bed tonight. Ar 2 AM we “fall back” to 1 AM, Daylight Time ends, and Standard Time begins.
  2. Evening rush hour the first workday after Standard Time begins is when Memphis drivers are at their batshit craziest, weaving in and out of lanes, tailgating, and texting while driving. Don’t be on the interstate Monday about 5 if you can avoid it.
  3. Tomorrow is 50% off Halloween candy day at Walgreens. Doors at the Downtown location open at 10 Sundays. With COVID-19 depressing trick-or-treating, there’s an excellent chance that the good stuff survived on the shelves to see the November 1 sale.

Everybody has their own definition of “the good stuff.” For me it’s the 100-count bags that are a mixture of Hershey’s, Kit Kat, Reese’s peanut butter cups, and Almond Joy. No candy corn!

There will be a Spooky Spokes bike ride departing from River Garden Park, 51 N. Riverside. today at 4:30. Wear your costume (with a mask that protects against COVID-19) and join the fun.

DJ Tree and DJ Mylon Webb will supply the music at Slider Inn Downtown for Halloween this evening. Costume contest with $100 for best, $50 for second, and $25 for worst. Bring your costumed pups into Slider Inn’s large backyard for some edible treats. The fun kicks off at 8 PM.

In other Slider Inn Downtown news, 30 Minute Ego plays 1-4 Sunday.

The Aldo family of restaurants is now hiring for the two Aldo’s Pizza Pies, the two Slider Inns, Bardog, and Momma’s. See flyer below:

In this time of suffering and uncertainty, we need comfort food to reassure us. With that in mind, McDonald’s will bring back the McRib on December 2. The sandwich was last seen on menus eight years ago.

Starting tomorrow, you can legally gamble on sports online in Tennessee. MORE: DraftKings launches in Tennessee

Hat tip to Air Traffic Mike for supplying this link: Shitshow, the perfectly named wine for 2020. I can think of a couple of bars where this could be the house wine.

Memphis reprazent: Metro Nashville Police give chase to two men from stolen car; when arrested, the men told the police, “We’re from Memphis. That’s what we do.”

One of those cool apartments above Huey’s/Automatic Slim’s on Second facing the Peabody is for rent. You don’t see those on the rental market very often.

Riverfront Story Time happens tomorrow from 4:00 to 4:30 PM at River Garden Park, 51 N. Riverside. It’s presented by Cossitt Library and the book will be Feathers for Lunch by Lois Ehlert. A crafts activity will accompany the reading. Everything will be social distanced. Parents are asked to remain with their kids during story time.

The Memphis Tigers play #7 Cincinnati on ESPN at 11. Cincinnati is in the hunt for a New Year’s Six bowl and is a dark horse for the CFP semifinals, so a road win over the Bearcats would be huge. Other games of interest today:

  • Michigan State at #13 Michigan, 11 AM, FOX
  • Mississippi State at #2 Alabama, 6 PM, ESPN
  • Texas at #6 Oklahoma State, 3 PM, FOX
  • Arkansas at #8 Texas A&M, 6:30 PM, SEC Network

In 38 years of watching professional wrestling, I have never seen a heel/bad guy as effective as Roman Reigns is right now. He’s on Smackdown on the Fox network 7-9 every Friday. If an ’80s wrestling connection helps, Reigns is the son of Sika the Wild Samoan and the self-appointed “Tribal Chief” of the large islander family.

Election prediction roundup this morning as of about 7:30:

I got hit with an unexpected expense (had to pay $70 to upgrade to Evernote Premium) so I’m going to stay home until after the election to make up the cost. Wednesday will be a going-out day though; I’ll either be drinking to celebrate, or to drown my sorrows, or out of frustration of not knowing an outcome. I plan to keep the blog going between now and then though. Check back tomorrow for more news.

Friday update

The COVID-19 task force has brought back their Thursday press conferences in response to the rising number of cases in Shelby County. I was caught off-guard and didn’t bring my earphones to work yesterday, so I will have to rely on WREG’s recap.

The big takeaway by David Sweat, the health department’s assistant director, is that of those testing positive, 78% were symptomatic, and of those, 63% were still engaging in social activities. They were going to the grocery store, going to sporting events, and even inviting people over to their homes. So, the biggest problem is people not taking COVID seriously. Those with symptoms need to go get tested and otherwise stay home.

Manufacturing sites, schools, and health care settings were said to be the environments in which clusters of COVID were most common. I also want to highlight this tweet by Local 24’s Jeni DiPrizio:

So to the social media “health experts” out there barking “close the bars!” as a knee-jerk reaction to the rising case numbers, there isn’t proof that such a move would be effective. Back in July, the health department didn’t have targeted local evidence and had to rely largely on what other cities are doing. Now they do have it and can make laser-focused moves, as health department director Dr. Haushalter is fond of saying.

Speaking of restaurants and bars, there is a marketing agency, ROI on Tap, that is focusing on helping those businesses bring in extra revenue to help them through the pandemic. They have solutions to get pre-pandemic customers back in the door and spending more per visit.

Local 24 has a list of the current Shelby County COVID clusters.

Those of you who walk/jog Downtown with your dogs, make sure you keep them on a leash. There was a report of an off-leash pit bull, brown and white or gray and white in color, 35-40 pounds, attacking a service dog on the Mud Island river walk yesterday. The owner ran away. A follow-up post indicated that there are other reports matching the same description of dog and owner on the island. Be careful out there!

And before people start emailing me: Yes, I understand it’s just as likely to happen with any other breed. It’s not that the breed is vicious, it’s that the owner is a piece of shit.

The Downtown Memphis Commission is accepting proposals for development of the Shopper’s Garage at 85 N. Front and the Downtown Memphis Mobility Center to be built on the parking lot north of the Orpheum.

A new ride-share service will offer convenient rides to residents of Downtown, the Medical Center district, and the New Chicago neighborhood. It’s said to be halfway between riding the bus and a Lyft/Uber in terms of both expense and convenience. You order the ride via an app, then walk to a bus stop not more than a few blocks away. You’re then dropped off a few blocks from your destination, where you pay by credit or debit card. The service will operate 7 AM to 8 PM Monday-Friday.

Looking at the map of service, I want to point out two things to my fellow Downtown residents:

  1. The eastern boundary appears to be Cleveland, between North Parkway and Peabody Avenue. That means Crosstown Concourse is within reach, as is the Kroger at Poplar and Cleveland. Bhan Thai on Peabody would fall within range as well.
  2. The service covers Second Street as far north as Mud Island Drive. That means that Grind City Brewing Co. is within reach. Downtowners who don’t want to drive there, don’t want to walk there, and don’t want the expense of a Lyft to get there now have another option.

Boxlot at 607 Monroe hosts the first of three Charlie Brown drive-in movies, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, tonight at 6:30. $40 per car gets your family a guaranteed parking spot (only 25 available), a bucket of concession-style snacks (you can bring your own snacks too if you want), and a craft related to the movie. You also get coupons for other Edge District businesses.

Big Cypress Lodge at Bass Pro at the Pyramid made the USA Today yesterday, in its list of unique lodging spots that offer COVID-weary travelers social-distanced splendor.

Holiday lights will light up South Main this evening through the end of the year. The Downtown Memphis Commission funded the lights, using money not possible to spend on events this year due to COVID-19.

Beware of a text scam going around saying someone logged into your Amazon account from other states. They want you to click on the link and install malware on your phone.

Nightmare on Beale Street, part 1 happens tonight at Tin Roof. Here are the details:

Celebrate Halloween Eve with DJ Epic and live music by Semi-Average Joe and Twin Soul. $5 Fireball shots, $3 PBR, and $4 Bud Light Seltzers. Limited VIP tables available so secure your spot!

Elmwood Cemetery hosts A Virtual Visit with Edgar Allan Poe tonight at 7.

That’s it for now. Back tomorrow with more news.

Thursday update

The Memphis Flyer’s 2020 Best of Memphis poll results are out. Read the issue online or download the PDF. I have not had a chance to read yet, but congratulations to all the winners! The Flyer poll is widely considered the most credible public poll reflecting the best of the best in our city.

… Okay, now I am a few pages in, and I have got to say CONGRATULATIONS to my friends at New Wing Order, who tied for first place for Best Food Truck. To earn that recognition a mere two years after the wheels first hit the pavement is quite an accomplishment. Not only are they great cooks but kind and generous people who are a part of the community. Go see them when the truck visits your neighborhood.

Congratulations as well to Slider Inn Downtown on first in Best New Bar. Their Slider Out backyard has been rocking the live music this month.

Most of the other winners are about what you’d expect: Central BBQ, Huey’s, Gus’s, Bhan Thai. This was not the year to get out and get adventurous with restaurants.

The COVID-19 pandemic was the perfect time for the Orpheum to send its Mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ to Chicago for a complete restoration. The organ will be back next month, and will have a homecoming on Thursday, November 19. A historian will share tales of the organ’s legacy, and tunes from the organ will accompany the 1928 Buster Keaton silent film The Cameraman. Free admission.

Tonight is the final edition of the Downtown Dinner + Music Series, 5-7 PM. Tonight’s live entertainment:

  • Tia Henderson at southwest corner of S. Main and G.E. Patterson
  • Jeremy Shrader at the mural across from Rizzo’s on S. Main
  • Ghost Town Blues Band at The Vault

Come out, listen to some music, and support one of our great South Main restaurants. Also, don’t forget that new gift shop Feelin’ Memphis is open until 6 tonight at 509 S. Main.

A plan is underway to get a statue of Ida B. Wells erected at the corner of Beale and Fourth. Wells was an African-American investigative journalist who lived in Memphis in the 1880s and 1890s, documenting lynchings and other civil rights abuses.

I had to contact a website’s tech support team this week, and I want to share a tool that made it super simple to get them the information about my computer that they needed to troubleshoot: What’s My Browser. Load the page and it will tell you

  • What web browser (Chrome, Edge, IE, Firefox, Safari, etc.) you are using, and what version
  • What operating system (Windows, Mac OS, Linux, iOS, Android, etc.) you are using, and what version
  • IP address
  • Whether Javascript and cookies are enabled
  • Whether Flash and Java are installed
  • Whether certain protocols are supported
  • What is the default language (US English for most of us)
  • Display settings
  • Whether you’re using an ad blocker

Best of all, you don’t even have to copy and paste all this info to send to tech support… they provide a link that you can simply send them that contains all this information. As someone who has had to do tech support calls in former jobs, I can tell you this link can save many minutes of frustration on both ends of the phone. If you know someone who is not good with computers, I recommend you show them this link and help them bookmark it.

While reading fellow authors on Medium yesterday I found a related link: SeniorNet, an organization that helps bridge the divide between older people and technology. They have a full calendar of online social programs, as well as over 100 free courses through a company called TechBoomers. This would be a good site to share with parents and grandparents who might otherwise be left behind by the current technological wave.

There’s a Halloween Paint & Pour class tonight at Tin Roof at 7. Tickets include all painting supplies and one complimentary draft beer.

The Memphis Business Journal has an update on the Liberty Bowl, still scheduled to happen New Year’s Eve. Officials are working closely with the Health Department to implement proper COVID safety protocols so the game can proceed. There is no requirement to win 6 games to be bowl-eligible this season, so the Big 12 and the SEC will not have any difficulty sending a team.

North Main Street has reopened following convention center construction. There are new trolley stops and a new walkway from the center to the Sheraton Hotel.

If you want a very tiny piece of good news in the pandemic fight, the reproduction rate has fallen to 1.23 in Shelby County. It hit 1.24 earlier this week. Hopefully that’s the beginning of a trend and not just a blip in the measurement.

The CA has a story on haunted tours and ghost tours in Memphis.

Advice to employers: Don’t schedule any important meetings for next Wednesday. The day following a presidential election tends to be a huge sick day/mental health day. Many of those who do come in are going to be super tired from staying up late to watch the results come in.

People who are COVID-19 positive can still vote in person in Shelby County on Election Day. Special precautions will be taken to allow people to vote from their cars. If you are positive, call the election commission to set up drive-in voting at 980 Nixon Drive.

Eat at Eric’s Grill is scheduled to be at Grind City Brewing tonight from 4 to 7:30.

There’s Halloween trivia tonight at Miss Cordelia’s.

Temperatures will be dropping through the afternoon, so I recommend you take a jacket even if it seems like you can get by without one this morning. Back tomorrow with more news.



Wednesday update

I recapped the weekly COVID-19 county task force press conference yesterday afternoon. Keep scrolling past the end of this post to read. We are in the early stages of what could be a surge that cripples the community. The big thing to know is that if you display ANY symptoms of the coronavirus, you need to go get tested immediately and otherwise STAY HOME until either 1) you test negative or 2) you test positive and isolate for 10 days, including 24 hours without a fever or symptoms. Do not go to work if you have any symptoms. Employers should send workers displaying symptoms home immediately.

The CEO of the alternative care hospital on Union, in the former Commercial Appeal building, now believes it will have to open to handle overflow COVID-19 cases. A month ago, no one would have thought that would one day become necessary.

From the CA: Memphis in May’s key to survival is big crowds in 2021 following the cancellation of 2020’s events. Are we really going to be back to normal by May 2021 though? The traditional weekend of Music Fest is barely more than six months away. The festival drained its cash reserves to pay bills this year, and would face bankruptcy if its revenue sources again dried up in 2021.

The CA article is also worth a read for speculation that the festival could relocate to Mud Island, perhaps temporarily while construction is done on Tom Lee Park, perhaps permanently.

My prediction is that Memphis in May in October will happen in 2021, it will be a huge party, and will save the nonprofit behind the month of festivals.

Whoa… Biden has moved up to a 89/11 favorite in FiveThirtyEight’s electoral vote projection. That is the biggest lead he has had in that projection to date. Iowa and Georgia, which flipped to red last weekend, have flipped back to blue in the projection. Pennsylvania is still the most likely tipping-point state and Biden is an 86/14 favorite there.

On the other hand, Florida has flipped to Trump in the RealClearPolitics no toss-up states electoral map along with Georgia. That reduces Biden to a 311/227 advantage when he had been in the 350s before.

Momma’s will host live music by Smoke Stacks Friday night at 6:30.

If you don’t mind a drive to Millington, logistics firm Ingram Micro is hiring. They need “selectors” and equipment operators and plan to hire 750 people. Overtime pay is a possibility.

There’s horror movie trivia tonight at Tin Roof starting at 6.

It’s going to be an extremely rainy day from about 10:00 on, so take an umbrella if you go out. I anticipate staying home and working on my writing career this afternoon. Back tomorrow with more news.

10/27 COVID-19 task force press conference: “We are at a critical time”

MOST IMPORTANT TAKEAWAY: If you display ANY symptoms of COVID-19, go get tested immediately and otherwise stay home until you get your results. Do not keep going out. Do not keep going to work.

Health Department Director Dr. Haushalter stressed that we are at a critical time with the pandemic here in Shelby County. We are averaging over 300 new cases a day. R, the reproduction rate, is at 1.24, and we need to get that back below 1 in order to starve the virus of new hosts.

The positivity rate is increasing (over 15% for those being tested for the first time ever this week), and the duplication period is shortening. We’re at about 36K total cases, and that could double to 72K by the end of November if things don’t change.

The reason we’re at a pivotal time as compared to March (when the Safer At Home house arrest was issued) or in July (when the bars were closed and restaurants were put under restrictions) is that back then, transmission in the surrounding counties was low. Now, transmission in those counties is high, and they are sending Shelby County their patients, affecting hospital capacity.

Dr. H outlined decisions we can make individually to help reduce transmission:

  • Masking. Mask up not only when you’re out in public, but when you’re indoors and around vulnerable members of the population. When you go over to someone else’s household to see friends or family, mask up there too.
  • Social distancing and hand washing are still important
  • Get your flu shots
  • As mentioned above, if you have any symptoms that could mean you have COVID, get tested immediately. Also get tested if you’ve been around someone who tested positive, or if you work in a high-risk industry. Testing is underutilized right now.
  • If you host a gathering, keep attendance extremely small, and practice social distancing and masking at those gatherings. If invited to attend a gathering, think about whether you really need to be there.

County Health Officer Dr. Bruce Randolph emphasized that if you are ordered to isolate and you don’t, you are in violation of the health directive and could face misdemeanor charges. The same applies if you don’t quarantine when ordered.

  • Isolation – for those who have COVID – need to stay isolated for 10 days after onset including 1 day with no fever or symptoms.
  • Quarantine – for those exposed to someone with COVID – need to quarantine for 14 days.

Dr. Randolph said there is no set plan for reversals of reopenings, but they are discussing things that may have to be included in the next health directive if the numbers continue to trend bad.

Dr. Randolph said the health department is working with the criminal courts to come up with a system for safe trials.

David Sweat, assistant director of the health department, said the situation is rapidly evolving with all counties in the region except Tate County, MS now in the “red zone” for new cases per day. Sweat urges all to wear masks, even if your community doesn’t have a mandate.

Brad Broders (Local 24) asked how close we are to reinstating restrictions, and which ones. Dr. H said they are exploring all options, but the surrounding counties make this situation quite different from past ones.

Sweat said that in urban areas, transmission initially is usually the heaviest in the urban core, then spreads out to the suburbs. We are seeing that now, with transmission strongest in East Memphis, Hickory Hill, and the part of the county between Hickory Hill and Collierville.

Sweat emphasized to mindful of the vulnerable as you plan Halloween, Thanksgiving, and holiday gatherings: those over 55 or with heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes.

Sweat said that the decision to open the overflow COVID hospital (the old Commercial Appeal building on Union) will be a state one, not one by the county health department.

The health department has been working with RedRover on a website,, with information about testing, masking, and ways to prevent the spread of COVID during the holidays.

That’s it. I typed this pretty quickly and while sipping a PBR. Back tomorrow with more news.


Tuesday update

I want to start off with a cheap but delicious food hack I discovered over the past week. Go to Walgreens and get you a package of these for $1:

These are microwave Ramen noodles with the usual packet of carrots and peppers and stuff, and then a packet of spicy hot powder. However, if you mix the hot powder in with the cooked noodles, it will set your tongue and your throat on fire. Too hot… for noodles.

So, here’s what you do. Buy the noodles, set the spice packet aside, mix in the carrots ‘n stuff, and use whatever other seasonings you want to make the noodles palatable. I have a can of Tony Chachere’s seasoning so I shook a bunch of that on the noodles. Eat those and save the spice packet, because we’re about to put it to good use.

Now what you do is, you go buy four cans of Hormel Chili. I find that brand of chili to be rather flavorless and boring, but you shake in a quarter of the leftover spice packet from the noodles and stir it all up good… man, that is some of the best chili I’ve ever had.

As my friend Tex would say, follow me for more recipes!

COVID-19 numbers are looking really bad right now. The Shelby County Health Department reported 404 new cases yesterday. COVID Act Now reports 32.8 new cases per 100,000 in Shelby County; Harvard advises stay-home orders when the number is above 25. R, the reproduction rate, is at a staggering 1.25, and the positivity rate is back above 10%. I hope the health department can maintain its “laser-like focus” and target individual venues that are hotspots of disease spread, rather than institute a third wave of mass shutdowns of certain businesses by type (such as bars).

We will hear what they have to say at the noon COVID-19 task force press conference. Follow the City of Memphis on Facebook and pull up their page at noon to watch along.

StyleBlueprint has a profile of Ashley Parham, co-owner of Walking Pants Curiosities with her fiance Daryl. The profile covers how the business got started, and how it has grown over the years – and how the owners have grown over the years, too.

In French Fort news, The Daily Memphian reports that the transformation of the former Marine hospital into apartments with river views is almost complete.

Once again, I have a problem with WREG’s Manhunt Monday piece, which this week profiles a man who was gunned down “downtown just a couple of blocks from his home.” A street sign at Fourth and Gaston is shown. Gaston is an east-west street that runs two blocks north of McLemore Avenue and about 6-7 blocks south of E.H. Crump Blvd. which is generally considered Downtown’s southern boundary. Stop implying that my neighborhood is unsafe to try to score ratings!

WREG is the same station that reports car accidents “downtown on I-55 near the Third Street exit.” Just because a street runs through Downtown does not mean that every single block of it is a Downtown street.

From Local 24: Alcenia’s is making it through the pandemic with the support of its extended family. Go visit the family restaurant on North Main in the Pinch District for some amazing soul food.

That’ll do it for this post. Back tomorrow with more news.

Sunday update

I strongly encourage all of you to read James Aycock’s end-of-week COVID analysis thread on Twitter, and take it into consideration when planning your activities for the coming week, especially on Halloween. To sum it up, new cases are spiking this week, not just in Shelby County but across Tennessee. Other counties are starting to send their cases here. Aycock fears that we will have to put the old Commercial Appeal building to use as an alternate hospital by Christmas.

I’m not going out on Halloween at all. My friends and I have even canceled our normal 11 AM Saturday meetup at Bardog. That holiday will make too many people feel as though they have license to disregard masking and distancing guidelines.

I completely agree with James on this point:

Shutting things down again will force business owners, possibly including friends of mine, to close permanently. We can’t do that. On the other hand, if cases rise to the level of 500 or more new ones per day, which the data suggests they will, we can’t just keep on with business as usual.

We’re close enough to Halloween now that weather forecasts are out. Let’s see what we’ve got:

  • Normal: 69/49
  • Mid 60s, mostly sunny
  • Weatherbug: 64/49, mostly sunny
  • Weather Channel: 67/49, mostly sunny
  • WREG: 62/45, mostly sunny
  • WMC: 63, partly cloudy
  • Local 24: 63/45, sunny

Big news for those who live on the island: Soon you won’t even have to drive across the A.W. Willis Ave. bridge to get Cocozza Italian-American Kitchen dishes. Their line of Take & Bake products comes to Cordelia’s Market Thursday, October 29.

The Forsyth County (Georgia) News has a good piece on the history being how Elvis acquired Graceland.

The Broke Backpacker has a list of places to stay when visiting Memphis. Not surprisingly, they recommend Downtown as the neighborhood to stay when visiting Memphis for the first time. They have some AirBNB recommendations and for those who prefer a hotel, they recommend Springhill Suites.

We ordered Insomnia Cookies again yesterday. Here’s a pic of Pejorie T. Roll eating a chocolate mint cookie. Those are her favorite because the chips are the same color as her hair.

Wishing a very happy birthday to Mama Bear AKA Jeannette, proprietor of the Blind Bear, today.

The Memphis Tigers got a win over Temple, 41-29, yesterday. Alabama rolled to a 48-17 win over Tennessee.

The first College Football Playoff rankings will not be revealed until Tuesday, November 24 since COVID has totally f’d up the schedules this year.

From Scoops Memphis: Man gives officers fake name after being caught with chopped catalytic converter. I wonder if this is the guy who has been stealing catalytic converters in The Edge District and from parking garages in the Downtown core.

Time for a full day of professional writing-related stuff. Back tomorrow with more news.

Saturday update

Big news: The parking lot that spans the block between Front, Main, Peabody Place, and Beale, commonly thought of as “the Orpheum parking lot,” will be turned into a Downtown mobility center. It will add far more spaces than are currently there (1400 total), will provide amenities for those on bikes as well as for those using alternatives to owning a car, and will have a rooftop restaurant.

I love it, and not only because it adds parking and amenities. It will fill in a gap that creates a perception of a divide between the Downtown core and South Main.

On the downside, this move will eliminate jobs, well, sort of. That parking lot is the closest thing Downtown’s crackheads and panhandlers have to “work,” posing as fake attendants and collecting $10 (or more, if they think they can get it) from unsuspecting people who park there.

There’s a sidewalk sale for Black Entrepreneurs Day going on outside Makeda’s Cookies, 488 S. Second, today from 11 to 4. Vendors:

  • Respected Crown
  • Pickles & Co.
  • Jazmon’s Jewels
  • Cynthia’s Secret Garden
  • JenGin Wellness Boost
  • Local Vibes Only
  • Meekies Munchies

TamiTPower99damix will provide the music, and the Maja Wings food truck will be on site. Giveaways by Makeda’s Cookies and L.V.O.

Text from one of my readers: “Just paid $14 for 7 hours in the garage above Silly Goose. You might want to let your readers know.” I don’t deal with parking garages anymore so I’m guessing that’s high?

My guess is because there was a classic Halloween movie at the Orpheum last night. Now, a social-distanced 20-year-old ghost flick is by no means going to fill up a 12-story parking garage. My guess is, like everyone else, they’ve been hit hard financially by the pandemic and are trying to get their money where they can, and you just have to go with it.

It’s kind of like, later today, I will go to one of my favorite watering holes and pay $4 for a PBR. Every time I do that, it burns my butt because a PBR is not worth anywhere close to four bucks. But by paying it, I realize I’m helping good people stay open during a pandemic. So I mind it a little less.

New Memphis is hiring a Manager of Collegiate Engagement. The successful candidate will manage a program called Launch that connects college students to professional opportunities in our city.

From Action News 5: Website tracks every broken McDonald’s ice cream machine in America

Catch a performance of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet at Wiseacre Brewing’s Broad Avenue location today at 2.

Gary Hardy plays Alfred’s this afternoon 3 to 6.

#2 Alabama plays Tennessee at 2:30 on CBS. I’m guessing this will be a very fun game to watch.

The Memphis Flyer has a look at tarot readings at The Broom Closet on South Main. The readers note that they started seeing the Tower Card, representing big change, disruption, for more people beginning last fall.

Time to do weekly laundry, then go out and pay for $4 for PBR while watching the Vols get slaughtered. Back tomorrow with more news.

Friday update

I had an unfinished idea yesterday. Maybe someone can pick up the ball and figure out how to run it into the end zone.

It was about 5 PM and I had spent the evening doing stuff related to my professional writing career: learning how to set up an email list, taking notes on the posts of authors on Medium I admire, that kind of thing. I felt like I was getting a little burned out, so I decided to take a quick break.

I signed into Amazon Mechanical Turk as a worker and accepted 14 activities where I would look at two pictures and determine which looked more like a reference picture. Each activity took about a minute to complete and paid 7 cents, so I made 98 cents on my break.

Now, some of you may be wondering: Why in the world would someone with a master’s degree perform rote activities for below minimum wage?

Well, two reasons, really. One is that I never have to pay for books anymore. Every so often, I accumulate enough in my Amazon gift card balance to buy a book. Alternately, I could use the money to buy other writing-related supplies (Pilot G2 blue extra-fine 0.5 mm pens are my jam). Or, since it’s Amazon, I could use the money to buy groceries.

More importantly, though, it’s the reminder to myself that at anytime I want, I can go earn myself a little money. No one has to choose to hire me for a job. It’s all up to me. Now, when my writing is earning me $500 or $1000 a month, Amazon Mturk will not be worth my time anymore. But in the early months of my writing career, it’s reinforcement that I can earn money on my own.

After I logged off Mturk, I looked out the window and saw some of our homeless friends sitting on the benches outside. I thought, how cool would it be if they could log in and earn a few bucks anytime they like? If they could earn 20, 30 bucks a day on Mturk or something similar, that money could be life-changing – not only in terms of spending power, but in the feeling of empowerment it would give them to earn their own money.

But there are reasons why I can earn that 98 cents on Mturk on my break, and they can’t. There are reasons I could earn 30 bucks a day on there if I wanted to, and they can’t.

One, I have a $500 laptop and I pay $100 or so a month for high-speed Internet. If I didn’t have those things, I could still use Mturk on my $650 phone and whatever I pay AT&T for unlimited data.

Two, I have a bank account that I could deposit Mturk earnings into. They don’t.

Third, I have an Amazon account that I alternately divert the earnings into, so I can buy books and groceries. Now, they could set up an Amazon account as well. But what they don’t have is a shipping address.

How cool would it be if they could log onto a site like Amazon Mturk or Microsoft Rewards or Qmee (a new site I found recently that pays you to take surveys) and earn a few bucks anytime they liked, and then were able to transfer the earnings onto an electronic gift card they could actually use Downtown – like a Walgreens e-card or a Jimmy John’s e-card?

Or what if they could transfer the earnings into an account that can be spent on nights at the shelter?

Just an idea. Like I say, if anyone wants to take it and run with it, be my guest.

On to the news…

Those of you who live in South Junction apartments, this is another reminder to lock your car doors. A member of Nextdoor observed two males jump the complex’s fence around 9:00 last night and start checking door handles to see if cars are unlocked.

In other news gleaned from Nextdoor, speeding is said to be a problem on Island Place East, the major thoroughfare on the “inland” portion of Mud Island.

Free A. Schwab’s shot glasses when you buy an AM/PM bourbon shot at the Beale Street dry goods store’s Harvest Fest Saturday beginning at 2 PM. While you’re getting liquored up, the kids can enjoy $1 ice cream, $2 hot dogs, balloon “carving,” and a Jones Orchard pumpkin patch.

Slider Inn Downtown weekend entertainment schedule:

FedEx will hold a job fair Saturday for positions at its hub. These positions are in and of themselves not glamorous, throwing boxes. However, they offer a major perk: A foot in the door. If you show up on time for work for a year and do your job, that’ll put you in the top 20%, and you’ll be able to bid on corporate jobs with the company. Some of the company’s top leaders started out in the hub. Pay is $15 an hour and some jobs pay $18 an hour. Also, if you’re uninsured, the health insurance alone can make these jobs worth your consideration.

Big weather changes coming today. If you go out this afternoon, take an umbrella. If you go out tonight, take a jacket.

Yikes, the morning got away from me! None of the remaining news in my queue is time-sensitive so I’ll push it until tomorrow’s post. I watched the debate last night. Trump was much, much, much more in control this time. Perhaps no pre-debate nose candy this time around? Biden stuttered and stammered a bit but his performance was in no way bad. We will see if the debate allowed Trump to catch up enough ground but I don’t think it did. Back tomorrow with more news.