Sunday update

First of all, check the blog and plan accordingly for this afternoon and evening. As you’ve probably already noticed, it’s quite windy outside and will remain that way all day, with gusts to 25 MPH. Current temperature is 71 and it’s expected to remain right around there all day. I’m debating whether or not to turn the air on. There’s a small chance of rain in the morning and early afternoon. Late afternoon into the evening heavy rain and thunderstorms are expected. Memphis is expected to get around 2 inches of rain, and because of the recently-melted snowfall, the ground is already saturated. We are under a flood watch. Memphis is in the southwest corner of the area expected to get 2-inches-plus of rain, which covers the northwest half of Tennessee and nearly all of Kentucky and good ole West Virginny.

Pro tip I learned yesterday: If you have prescriptions, you might want to look into Amazon Pharmacy. A friend of mine moved his prescription there after finding that the refill that was $30 at Walgreens was $1.42 on Amazon. Prescription medicine has got to be the biggest racket there is. I would be surprised if the Mafia doesn’t have a piece of the business in some way.

Another piece of inside information I learned yesterday: The Downtown Family Dollar may be closing, as in, employees are openly discussing which store they’ll be transferred to.

The Washingtonian has a tell-all by employees who worked at the Trump Hotel that is good for a little Sunday entertainment if you haven’t seen it already. Trump’s standard order was a well-done steak with ketchup, and if anyone at the table had a bigger steak than he did, staff would hear about it.

“How to Spot a Narcissist by the Food They Order” – hey, I think I just came up with an article title for Medium this week.

Here’s a link to James Aycock’s excellent COVID Week in Review analysis. I’ll repeat a plea James makes at the end of his thread – Lifeline2Success needs donations, after their vehicles’ catalytic converters were stolen off their lot this weekend. This is an awesome organization that helps ex-offenders find the path to success in life.

Super excited to try Freshly chef-prepared meals this week thanks to two wonderful friends who ran out of space in their freezer. Homestyle chicken is my dinner plan for today. Later this week, I’ll have beef Bolognese, a steak burrito, chicken rice pilaf, and three-bean turkey chili. It’ll be nice to have a break from “whatever DGX has in the freezer” for my dinner menu this week.

By the way… I can’t remember if I mentioned this on here or not, but I’ve been doing a daily gratitude practice since late December. The dinners are an example of the random good tidings that have been showing up in my life since I started the practice.

Now that really is going to turn into an article on Medium.

The Dirty Crow Inn’s pop-up restaurant is back at the 40et8 in West Memphis today. The special is the Dirty Mac burger, with two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a non-sesame seed bun.

Normally this wouldn’t be newsworthy on my blog because I don’t care about movies, but the Golden Globe Awards are on NBC tonight. Anything that’s a return to normalcy is something I can support.

Tigers on national TV alert: Memphis vs. Cincinnati, noon today, ESPN.

The Grizzlies play today as well, with a 7 PM tipoff at Houston.

Shall we set odds on whether Dr. Haushalter will appear at any more of the 4 upcoming Tuesday-Thursday press conferences during the remaining 15 days she is employed by Shelby County? 2.5 to 1 sounds about right. If she doesn’t show, I wonder which Health Department employee will get thrown under the bus to answer media questions?

I’ll skip the Buy Me a Coffee link today so as not to compete with James’ call for donations to Lifeline2Success. It’s his birthday weekend. Back tomorrow with more news, if there is any.

Saturday update

Well, yesterday was a newsy day. Let’s start off with a photo.

The river looked like a witch’s cauldron around 4 yesterday afternoon. I asked @memphisweather1 whether there was any particular name for clouds like these. He said I was simply viewing fog from the top down.

Let’s get to the great news first: Earnestine & Hazel’s has a new owner. That owner is Downtown Restaurant Corp., the partnership that owns The Vault and soon-to-open The Paramount, with Chef Derk Meitzler as the face of the organization. The dive bar will remain as we know it, with Soul Burgers downstairs, Nate’s bar upstairs, and Meitzler creating a menu similar to the old On Teur restaurant for The 5 Spot.

So relieved… I was worried a particular group of South Main people, a group known for bad ideas, would try to pool their money and purchase the place. Good to see people with proven track records running that type of business taking over.

Yesterday was one of those days when I mumbled “Daaaaamn” over and over as I updated the news. Things just kept looking worse and worse for the Health Department

  • Vaccine was apparently stolen February 3
  • Two children were vaccinated at an SCHD-managed site; the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have not been approved for children
  • When the state investigated, Health Dept. director Haushalter and her team were asked, “Is there anything else we need to know?” by state officials, and indicated “no” multiple times, only reporting the two items above when warned that a federal investigation was coming
  • State officials observed improper storage of vaccine at sites this week, causing even more of it to have to be thrown out; some of the vaccine was said to be warm to the touch.

Coverage of the first half of yesterday’s events here.

Then it was announced the FBI would investigate what happened with the SCHD, since theft of COVID vaccine is a federal crime.

Then Gov. Lee came to the Pipkin Building site and gave a news conference. He gave a political answer when asked if he thought Dr. Haushalter should resign, but it was an answer that was certainly much closer to “yes” than “no.”

By 2 PM the writing was on the wall for Dr. H. Around 3:30 Mayor Harris, addressing the County Commission, reported Haushalter had resigned – but not effective immediately. She will remain in office until March 15 and on the payroll through March 31 for a transition period.

Yet, despite still being a paid Shelby County employee, Dr. Haushalter did not show up to the Commission meeting – despite a presentation by her being on the agenda. Mayor Harris, by the way, showed up for the Commission meeting via Zoom, unwilling to travel mere floors on the elevator to attend in person.

Right now, Shelby County is at least an embarrassment of statewide proportions – Gov. Lee pointed out that 94 of 95 county health departments were distributing vaccines properly. I wouldn’t be surprised if this makes the national news.

So now we’re going to have a new health department director. It’s going to be kinda like the third season of The Real World where they kicked Puck out of the house and then Jo joined the cast.

The Memphis Tigers’ home game against Houston on March 7 is now a road game. The reason why is that the Memphis program’s COVID issues were responsible for the cancellation of the road game at Houston earlier this season. So now all three of Memphis’ remaining games are road games as the team tries to impress the NCAA tournament seeding committee.

Has February in Memphis been a shitshow or what?

Job news:

  1. Innovate Memphis has a Research Associate position open that sounds pretty cool. You’d be working with the Memphis Fire Department analytics team to provide data for EMS.
  2. A bartender at Slider Inn Downtown posted that the restaurant is hiring for both front-of-house and back-of-house. Apply within.
  3. Curfew Memphis is hiring talented cooks. It’s the restaurant by celebrity chef Fabio Viviani in the new hotel at Union and B.B. King. Apply here

Available for the first time in cans: Red Handed by Memphis Made, a 5.5% altbier.

From the CA: 5 things to know about the new Craft Axe Throwing location out in The Edge.

Tonight is Open that Bottle Night.

Temps will rise into the mid 60s today and stay there overnight. Shorts weather! Of course, I’ll bring a jacket since Bardog keeps its ceiling fans blowing. Back tomorrow with more news.

Friday update

It’s a celebration of good news this morning.

First of all, for the first time since last Wednesday, I have HEAT! We finally hit 50 PSI and the boiler was able to fire. No more wearing sweatshirts and long underwear to bed!

I also have drinkable water… we all do, because the Boil Water notice has been lifted!

Plus, I woke up to this piece of good news:

I scored a Top Writer tag on Medium in Creativity! That’ll help get me noticed on that platform, increasing my articles’ read time, and therefore, my earnings. It’s my second Top Writer tag on there, having scored one in Ideas at the end of last month. I want Top Writer in Writing and Self, but those are super-competitive and the very best writers operate in those spaces. That’s OK, I’m in it for the long haul.

As an added bonus, I hit the 3000 follower mark on Medium overnight too.

Popping some popcorn… looks like the “public health experts” on Facebook who think we should be in lockdown until 2023 have turned on County Mayor Lee Harris. I have to agree with them on that point. He’s on the COVID-19 task force, but I notice he only turns up at the Tuesday-Thursday noon press conferences when there’s a PR opportunity, when there’s a new grant program to announce. I can’t remember a single time since May when he has shown leadership with respect to the pandemic.

We also now have a City Council member, Chase Carlisle, calling for Health Deparment Director Dr. Alisa Haushalter’s firing. Poor Dr. H. I really do feel bad for the position she’s in… yeah, I wouldn’t exactly give her an A+ on vaccine distribution. However, it’s not like she had a textbook. We last saw a pandemic of this magnitude 102-103 years ago. With the city having taken over vaccine custody and distribution, it seems like we’re good now. I don’t see the point in firing either her or county health officer Dr. Bruce Randolph.

The person I do want to get rid of is the COVID-19 task force member who came up with the INCREDIBLY POINTLESS, RIDICULOUSLY STUPID rule that bartenders must wear a face shield as well as a mask if customers sit at the bar area. I don’t have proof, but this sounds like an idea that has Dr. Jeff Warren written all over it. Following his other resolution reducing the default speed limit in the city from 30 to 25, I’m ’bout ready for him to go.

Drs. Haushalter and Randolph appear before the County Commission today. It will be a repeat of a Health Department presentation to a closed Commission meeting earlier this week that may have violated sunshine laws.

The big pump truck with giant hoses was parked outside of Downtown Walgreens again yesterday. There’s a door boarded up except with space for a hose to fit through. Based on my past knowledge of businesses that have faced water damage, I can tell you that those of us who live in the northern half of the Downtown core may be making the long trek to DGX for quite some time. Which I am fine with, considering DGX has the same items as Walgreens for 15-25% less in many cases.

The Central Station trolley stop on Main south of G.E. Patterson opens this weekend. Hopefully this’ll be big not only for the hotel and movie theater, but smaller businesses like Walking Pants Curiosities, South Main Book Juggler, and Little Italy.

Craft Axe Throwing’s grand opening is today. They’re out in The Edge at 344 Floyd Alley.

Make your appointment to donate blood at Vitalant’s blood drive at FedExForum tomorrow 8 to 3. COVID-19 has increased the need for blood and you can help out. Donors are informed of their COVID-19 antibody status, so if you’re curious whether you’ve had it, this is a way to find out, and if you have had it, you’ll have a unique opportunity to further help coronavirus patients.

Support locally-owned Black businesses tomorrow 3-7 PM with a special Black History Month edition of Grizz Shop Local. RSVP here

Speaking of the Grizzlies, they rolled to a 122-94 win over the L.A. Clippers last night.

The first episode of the new podcast by Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen has dropped. In the episode they discuss how they met, and how they both felt like outsiders growing up.

Working from home and miss the sounds of the office? Work at Dunder Mifflin can help with that.

Potato Head (they/them)

Today is For Pete’s Sake Day.

Back tomorrow with more news.

Wednesday update

The Tennessee Department of Health released its results from its audit of the Shelby County Health Department’s handling of COVID-19 vaccinations, and the results were not good for the SCHD:

  • The estimate of 1315 vaccines expiring and being thrown away was incorrect. The actual number was about 2400, stemming from 7 separate incidents.
  • SCHD had 51,000 doses in inventory at the time of the investigation, 30,000 more than it should have had. Some of those doses are nearing expiration. The SCHD lacked procedures for managing doses in danger of expiring.
  • Insufficient record-keeping and procedures for storing the vaccine were problems at the SCHD too.

Management of the COVID-19 vaccine has been taken away from SCHD and will be handled by the city and hospital and pharmacy partners.

Twitter was raging about the health department yesterday afternoon, and who can blame them? Allowing 2400 vaccine doses to expire is a little more serious than someone sitting on a stool at a bar, or a restaurant serving a guest at 12:04 AM.

Local Memphis reports that water pressure Downtown is improving. For me, living on one of the upper floors of a 15-story high-rise, I never lost water pressure, but we still haven’t been informed we can turn the heat back on.

I tried to go to work yesterday, also in a Downtown high-rise building, but the doors were locked and there was a “NO RESTROOMS” sign on the door. So I walked up the street to River Time Market & Deli on Court Square and treated myself to breakfast.

Left: Spicy “Just Sausage” biscuit. Right: Deli Ham & Cheeser biscuit with house-made pimiento cheese. Top: Perjorie T. Roll

I also got a blueberry & lemon muffin from the deli.

I was full from the biscuits so I saved the muffin for later. About 25 seconds in the microwave and it was perfect.

Check out River Time’s menu. They’re back open following the water main break and are slowly stocking back up.

On the way over to River Time, I noticed a big pump truck outside Downtown Walgreens, and men unraveling a huge hose and carrying it inside. So I guess they had a pipe burst. Based on what I saw yesterday, I don’t know if I’d expect them to be open soon.

Protestors marched down Main past my apartment about 12:45 yesterday, voicing their opposition to the Byhalia pipeline. The City Council, which was set to vote on the pipeline, delayed its vote to give themselves time to gather more information. We need to say NO to the pipeline! Memphis’ aquifer water is too important to risk. We’ll be hoarding bottled water long after this week if that pipeline is allowed to go through.

The City Council unanimously passed a resolution yesterday ordering all car washes to close for the duration of the Boil Water order. Washing cars is not essential in a time when people do not have water in their homes. Code Enforcement will enforce the order.

Even the Fire Department isn’t immune from pipe breaks. The Memphis Fire Museum will be closed for a few weeks to clean it all up.

News from Ben-Yay’s, the New Orleans-themed restaurant at 51 S. Main:

Mardi Gras festivities in Memphis may have been cancelled due to snow, but we didn’t want you to miss out. We have a few new dishes that we are thinking of adding to the menu that wanted to try.
Oyster Rockefeller- – $15
Fried Green Tomato Salad – -$15
Twin Lobster Tails- – $36
Creole Lamb Rack- – $36
Also, stop by and check out our new Happy Hour times and specials!

South Bluffs residents: There’s a thief in your area. He walks with a distinctive limp and he was last seen in a plaid shirt and dark pants. Lock your gates. Have your packages delivered to your work if you won’t be at home to receive them.

Craig Unger, Memphis Redbirds president, is hopeful that the new Triple-A divisional realignment will benefit Memphis tourism. He believes it’s possible the Redbirds’ rivals’ fans will follow their team on the road for games in Memphis.

From Nikki’s Hot Products:

It’s true! We have just made the LAST batch of chips EVER! I’m addicted, so not exactly sure how I’ll get by but I’ve decided to focus on my other passion . . . Jabberblabber Family Magazine and all the new adventures that are ahead. There’s just no way for me to continue at this pace with both businesses. I feel that teaching children to read is much more important. If you’re addicted like I am and you want to stock up – you can still buy a case of chips while supplies last. Available on our website. We are also discontinuing the Bloody Mary Mix but will continue on with the seasoning in small batches. A huge THANK YOU to all of you that have been fans and supported me over the years. Much LOVE!

Assistant Director of the Shelby County Health Department, David Sweat, conducted the noon COVID-19 task force press conference yesterday while Drs. Haushalter and Randolph were getting yelled at by the state. A couple of notable tidbits:

  • The South African variant of the virus has been found in Memphis. However, the person who had it recently traveled out west, and the belief is they picked it up out there, and that the strain isn’t spreading through the community.
  • The reproduction rate of the virus has been below 1 since the beginning of January, and is currently at 0.74. That means the virus is dying out in Shelby County.

The Memphis Tigers host Tulane at 7. The game will be on the ESPN+ premium subscription service.

The CA has a photo gallery: Inside the Hyatt Centric at One Beale. The hotel will have 227 rooms, a Latin-American restaurant, and a rooftop bar.

From Morning Brew: Barclays Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets, is requiring a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of game time for in-person fans. However, they send attendees a home test kit as part of the price of admission. They are the first arena in the US to do so. Could that practice spread to FedExForum?

It’s National Tortilla Chip Day. Sounds like a good day for some of Maciel’s house-made chips and chorizo queso.

Action News 5 looks at Clayborn Temple in its latest 5-Star Story.

Well, that’s more news than I’ve had on one day in a while I’ll be back tomorrow to do it again.

Tuesday update

County health officials got grilled by the County Commission yesterday about some of their actions last week. Of course, it was bad that they let over 1000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine expire, but I’m also very happy Commissioners called SCHD out on what they did to the restaurants last Friday. The day after the Boil Water order was issued, Dr. Bruce Randolph said that in combination with pandemic regulations, all restaurants had to close. Then, about 2 hours later, he reversed that statement and said restaurants that could boil water and make it safe for food preparation could stay open. But by that time, restaurants had sent all their employees home and canceled reservations for the day.

It seems to me, that after 11 months of troubled times, the health department’s default value ought to be “how can we work with restaurants?” rather than “how can we further penalize restaurants?” Commissioner Mick Wright: “All I can do is ask the Health Department to be cognizant that when you say something … that it has real-world consequences for many people.” THANK YOU Mick! That needed to be said.

As for the vaccines, I’d like to ask a question that has not been asked enough: All the vaccination sites are drive-through. How does that not discriminate against people who do not own vehicles? And since a disproportionate number of people who don’t own vehicles are poor and/or people of color, how is that not racial and economic discrimination?

The DM has a look at the life of Bobby Ellis, who started working at the Rendezvous at age 13 and remained with the restaurant until his death yesterday at age 66.

From Grizzlies returning to grit-and-grind roots in Ja Morant era

MLGW does not yet have a timeframe for lifting the Boil Water order, but they have crews working around the clock. I still don’t have heat but the sun beating through my big south-facing windows has warmed my place up to about 65. Actually I have south-southwest facing windows, because the Downtown core does not run on a true north-south grid.

Action News 5 has a list of government buildings closed today due to the water situation.

Fox 13 reports that the water crisis is affecting those jailed at 201 Poplar. Can’t flush the shitters at 44 PSI. A 5000 gallon water truck is assisting.

Tigers basketball is back following a COVID-19 outbreak. Penny is looking to reschedule Quadrant 1 games at Wichita State and Houston in hopes of improving Memphis’ chance for an invitation to the NCAA tournament.

Elmwood Cemetery is offering an encore of its popular African-American history tour tonight at 7. The one-hour tour will highlight African-Americans laid to rest at the cemetery, including doctors, lawyers, saints, politicians, and musicians. The tour will be hosted on Zoom and the cost is $10.

That’s the news for today. Off to work, then home to write something on Medium and listen to podcasts. I don’t plan to go out today. Back tomorrow with more news.

Monday update

MLGW announced in its Boil Water update last night that they now have been able to fill all the reservoirs, but they have been unable to maintain water pressure when they begin pumping them. That means there are additional, undetected water main breaks they have to locate and fix. The Boil Water advisory has been extended “indefinitely” past the previous announced expiration of today at noon.

Also in last night’s update, they announced they were suspending residential disconnections indefinitely and offering a new 12- month payment plan. Now, COME ON for a minute here… the utility did not just pull those plans out of its ass late on a Sunday afternoon. My guess is the PR flacks got together and said, “If we need to distract the public from bad news (i.e. the Boil Water order being extended), we have those measures in our back pocket to announce Sunday night.”

If I were a bettin’ man, I’d take even money that much of Downtown Memphis is still without water pressure at 8 AM Tuesday morning.

My (completely uneducated) guess is there’s a 25% chance Downtown still won’t have water restored at 5 PM Friday. I commented on a friend’s Facebook thread yesterday, I predict the water situation will temporarily surpass COVID as the number-one cause of inconvenience and discomfort in Memphis before things get better.

All eight Downtown Shelby County government buildings will be closed today due to lack of water or water pressure. I’m aware of private office buildings on the Main Street Mall that will also have to be closed today due to no working restrooms.

Good Morning America airs from Memphis 8 to 10 AM today and is expected to announce a deal to get food from the Rendezvous shipped to your home.

Today’s National Margarita Day and World Thinking Day. You can celebrate one or the other well, but not both.

The zoo is closed today, so don’t factor that into your plans if your office is closed due to no water.

Question for anyone who’s been to Slim & Husky’s: I’ve heard they have $10 pizzas on Tuesdays. Does that apply to all the pizzas or just particular ones? Since I’m off in the afternoons, I may walk down there tomorrow while the place is not busy.

COVID Act Now has Shelby County in the yellow zone for the first time in many months, with 9.4 new cases per day per 100k. That number will probably rise a bit, as bad weather no doubt prevented some asymptomatic testing last week. The site has the reproduction rate at 0.67, well under the target number of 1, and a positivity rate of 5.5%, approaching the 5% number that has long been the county health department’s goal. If we hit 5%, can we have our bar stools back in groups of larger than two?

The Grizzlies play Dallas tonight at 7:30 on the road.

Interesting: Nine lessons a political editor at FiveThirtyEight learned about political journalism from four years of covering the Trumpster

Time to jump in the shower – we have water pressure and hot water here, just no heat. Then it’ll be time for me to get an article published on Medium and brainstorm article ideas for the rest of the week. Later today I will spend time with beloved animals. Back tomorrow if there’s any news to report.

Sunday update

I apologize for starting off with a subscriber-only link, but this is important. The Daily Memphian reported today The Peanut Shoppe on Main will have to find a new home, and doing so won’t be easy. After the lease runs out on December 31, the building’s owner plans to take 6-8 months to renovate the building, modernizing the two storefronts (the former Court House Deli being the other) and converting the currently unusable upstairs space into residential apartments.

Owner Rida wants to keep his business Downtown, but there are two elements of The Peanut Shoppe that are tricky.

  • If he relocates, he’ll need to add a vent for his peanut roaster
  • The Peanut Shoppe is absolutely a business that relies on foot traffic – if he relocates, it will have to be in a walkable neighborhood, on a street with a large number of pedestrians

Please show The Peanut Shoppe some love with nut and candy purchases, and if you can think of a suitable space, please let Rida know.

Restaurants: I want to make a comment here, having observed the past week. If there is ANY doubt what time you will be open on a particular day (even if you plan on opening at the normal posted time), get that out on social media (your official company social media) as early as possible. Don’t rely on individual employees to put it on their social media, and don’t get around to it two hours after you open and happen to think of it. Being open and customers not knowing it is bad. Being closed and customers not knowing it (and showing up) is worse, because then they won’t trust you to be open in the future.

To make it clear: If there is ANY doubt what time you will be open, for any reason – be it COVID, be it water main breaks, be it a Boil Water order, be it an employee quitting – let people know when you’re opening, let them know as far in advance of that time as possible, and do it on an official channel. Don’t make social media an afterthought. People rely on it.

And no, I don’t have any particular business in mind when I point those things out. We all need a reminder.

As of 9 last night, MLGW still did not know when the Boil Water order will be lifted. They are asking residents to delay things such as doing laundry in order to help with the water pressure. I’ve changed clothes once in the past week, so I guess I can take a week off from laundry.

MATA resumes its fixed routes and MATAplus today. They plowed Main and got the trolleys running yesterday.

Overnight rain should melt the remaining snow tonight. Temperatures will remain well above freezing.

From the Dirty Crow Inn:

Due to the weather, we will not be selling the Dirty Crow food at the 40et8 this weekend. Sorry for any inconvenience, but I don’t want to put any of my people or me in harms way. We WILL be there the 28th and the 1st with The Dirty Mac and Wings and all other favorites!! Thanks for understanding. Stay warm and safe throughout this Snowmageddon! Ka-Kah!!

Congratulations, by the way, to Paul from the Dirty Crow, who learned this weekend that he’s going to be a grandfather.

That’s it for today. Going to take another day off from going out and get some completed articles in the queue for Medium this week. Back tomorrow with more news, if there is any.

Saturday update

Since the last week of 2020, I’ve been doing a gratitude practice. Every morning before I get up, I thank the universe for the warm bed I’m in, my Downtown apartment, my job across Main Street, my writing career on Medium, my Downtown friends, opportunities to help others, and whatever else comes to mind.

However, part of a complete gratitude practice is being grateful for the undesirable stuff in life too. The idea is that everything you experience was sent to you because it was supposed to happen. So bless all of it and be grateful for all of it. Accept what is.

Man, are we getting a heaping helping of “accept what is” this week or what?

Let’s start off with the Shelby County Health Department. As lawmakers at the state level have wanted to pass legislation to take away some of its autonomy, I have always supported the department. However, after this week I’m rethinking my position. Bozo the Clown could have run the health department better.

Twice yesterday I attempted to get out and support my friends’ local businesses… and in both cases, minutes after I ordered I was told that the health department had ordered them closed. Then, in both cases less than three hours later, they were allowed to reopen. It’s just ridiculous after the past 11 months that the health department decides to dump even more restrictions on restaurants. Seems like if any business would know a thing or two about boiling water, it would be a restaurant.

Then there’s the fact that an inventory error by the department forced 1315 doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to be thrown out, the vaccine having expired.

Then there’s the ridiculously stupid rule that goes into effect today saying that if restaurants reopen their bar areas, anyone behind the bar must wear a face shield as well as a mask.

Okay. Two points I want to make here. For the past 7 or so months I’ve been served by servers in restaurants, and they get way closer to customers than bartenders do. With servers, there is no barrier between them and the customer. So if the face shields serve any useful purpose limiting spread of the virus, why do servers not have to wear them as well?

Second: When you think of face shields, who comes to mind? First person I think of is the exterminator. The Orkin man. The Terminix guy who gets down in the crawl space and meets rodents and termites on their home turf. I have to wonder if the face shield requirement was put in place to subliminally communicate, “It’s not safe to sit here” at the bar?

Back to the water situation: It’s not just Memphis. Much of Texas is in the same boat, as is Jackson, Mississippi. I still don’t have heat in my apartment because the water pressure is too low for the boiler in the basement to fire. I hear that other high-rise buildings are having the same trouble, most notably the building at 45 S. Idlewild in Midtown.

The Grizzlies host the Phoenix Suns tonight at 8:00.

Here’s a list of locations where you can get free bottled water around the city Sunday beginning at 10 AM. Closest to Downtown: Lewis Senior Center, 1188 North Parkway.

Memphis Tigers baseball Opening Week has been delayed because of the weather.

I’m not going to attempt to keep a running list of what restaurants are open this weekend. The clown show at the health department changes the rules every two hours, so I’m concerned any info I might post on here would be wrong. Best advice is to call the restaurants before you go and ask if they’re open.

Not sure this is still happening, but Wiseacre 2 is scheduled to show the classic John Travolta/Olivia Newton-John movie Grease tonight. The snack pack they’re selling includes bottled Coke, so you’re safe there.

Looking out my window, it appears they cleared the ice and snow off Second last night. Monroe did not get cleared.

Despite not having heat, I’ve had my best week ever writing on Medium. My past 11 articles have been selected for further distribution, meaning they’re eligible to appear in topic listings and on members’ home pages and in daily emails. Four publications that use Medium as their platform – The Startup, Curious, Blank Page, and Wholistique – have contacted me and asked to publish articles I wrote. I’ve earned as much in the first 19 days of February as I earned in all 31 days of January.

I seriously doubt I will make any attempt to go out this weekend. Going to wait it out and be happy that I get to go to work on Monday for the first time in 10 days. Back tomorrow if there’s any news.