Tuesday update

It’s another not-very-newsy Tuesday. Here’s what I’ve got:

Geoff Calkins of The Daily Memphian tested positive for COVID this month and has since recovered. He provided a full account of what he went through.

In other COVID news, the DM reports that local hospitals are out of the danger zone capacity-wise, with ICU bed usage at 89% and acute care bed usage at 86%.

Shelby County Commissioners passed a motion yesterday forbidding any public buildings to be named after Donald Trump.

The Undefeated has a conversation with the Grizzlies’ Jaren Jackson Jr.

Ja Morant has been added to Team USA’s player pool for the 2021 Summer Olympics™. That doesn’t mean he’ll play, but he’s on the list of those being considered for a spot.

COVID and its related protocols have postponed another Grizzlies game, this one set for tomorrow vs. Chicago. This will be the 5th straight the team has missed.

In today’s POLITICO Playbook there is a most interesting map of who occupies the first two floors of the White House’s West Wing.

Useful: Get access to free Kindle books with your library card. You can also use your library card to watch free movies on Kanopy. You can also get the free movies if you’re a student or a professor. (h/t Morning Brew daily newsletter)

Probably not going to watch the COVID-19 press conference today since it’s too soon for them to think about issuing another health directive. Back tomorrow with more news.

Monday update

Human bones were found at the south end of Mud Island by a landscaping crew and the police were called. They confirmed the remains to be human, but more details have not been released.

Seems like not a week goes by when I don’t see reports on Nextdoor of multiple gunshots being fired in Uptown. Yesterday’s report was from the Third and Chelsea area, and most of the reports I’ve seen are within three or four blocks of that location. That area is still the Wild, Wild West after the sun goes down. Shame because I’d take some walks to Grind City Brewery’s taproom this spring and summer if I felt safe walking through Uptown.

Today’s National Irish Coffee Day. I don’t drink them but have been told Bardog makes a good one.

New York Times: Fauci on what working for Trump was really like

Cool site I found this weekend: Edison Muckers, a blog dedicated to the life and ideas of Thomas Edison. A “mucker” was someone who worked in Edison’s lab, trying his hand at inventing.

All right. Slow news day. Back tomorrow with more.

Sunday update

Hey, y’all want a preview of something I’m going to write about on Medium this week?

We need to celebrate our mental victories more.

For the past 4 months, I called myself a professional writer, but days would go by and I couldn’t think of anything to write about. I made it a goal to become an idea machine. This month I have attained that goal. I can comfortably go to bed with absolutely no clue what I will write about on Medium the next day. But I know that by the time I wake up, I will have a topic in mind. That’s as big a deal as buying a new car. It deserves to be celebrated as such. Really, more. A car is an income-consuming asset. Being an idea machine is an income-producing asset.

I’ve been reading books about spirituality, about drawing your future self to you. Yesterday afternoon, after doing a self-invented exercise (another topic I will write about this week), I am convinced I stepped into my September 2021 best version future writer self, brought him back to the present, and harnessed his wisdom and energy in a 4-hour session on my laptop. That’s as big, and as positive a life change, as adopting a new puppy. I forged a relationship with another being. It’s just that in this case, the other being was an aspect of myself.

So yeah, that’s a writing topic for this week. Just gotta stretch it out to 1000+ words, come up with a snazzy title (on Medium, 75% of your success is how well you write headlines), and pick a free stock photo as the article’s featured image.

Tigers on national TV alert! Penny’s team travels to East Carolina to play this afternoon at 3. The game will be televised on ESPN2.

Take the umbrella if you go out today. MemphisWeather.net predicts a 60% chance of rain today. Tonight there is a 100% chance of rain as temperatures rise from 54 to a high of 70 tomorrow.

Interested in a career in education? Teach901 hosts a virtual job fair this week.

News on The Dirty Crow Inn’s pop-up restaurant at the 40et8 in West Memphis:

This week’s special is the Dirty Dawg! A Nathan’s Hot Dog wrapped in Bacon deep fried and topped with Ponchos style cheese sauce and topped with crumbled bacon! Yes it’s as good as it sounds! Come to the 40et8 Sunday starting @3pm. Also bringing back the Dirty Hawaiian, smoked pulled Chicken with soy ginger sauce and topped with a spicy Pineapple Chutney. Live music starting @4pm. See everyone Sunday!!

New flavor of potato chips at Downtown Walgreens!

Trolls prefer foods that are the same color as their hair, so Mendatius T. Roll was very excited about these Game Day Chili flavored Lay’s. (His sister Socially Distant Perjorie prefers dill pickle-flavored Lay’s.) You’re going to want a cold drink next to you when you rip open a bag of these chips. They’ve got a bite to them!

By the end of the day we will know who’s going to be in the Super Bowl. Back tomorrow with more news.

Saturday update

Starting Monday, Downtown businesses will be able to apply for business continuity grants of up to $2500 made available by the Downtown Memphis Commission. The grant can be used for almost any business expense – salary, marketing, rent. It’s meant to tide business over until we emerge from this difficult period.

In other DMC news, they may buy the blighted 100 N. Main building which has stood vacant and fenced off for several years. The plan would be to convert that space into parking. One local reporter played devil’s advocate with regard to the plan:

Yeah I’ve heard just the pigeon droppings alone in that building are something like a foot deep.

If you received the first dose of Moderna COVID vaccine between December 28 and January 3, be prepared to hop on the shelby.community website Monday around 8 AM to make your appointment for a second dose. While you’re on the site, print out a copy of Health Directive 17 and put it in the bathroom for reading.

RIP Hank Aaron. His quest to break Babe Ruth’s record was my earliest memory of the game of baseball.

The MBJ has a slideshow of the Hyatt Centric hotel soon to open at Front and Beale. That’s the building with the oddly-positioned windows.

The MBJ also has a slideshow of the historic James Lee House in Victorian Village. Most recently it has been a bed & breakfast and it can be yours for $2.5 million.

Action News 5 has an update on that stabbing reported at Danny Thomas and Madison this week. It happened in that apartment tower on the southeast corner of that intersection.

A man stole $30,000 of wiring and welding leads from the renovated Renasant Convention Center this week. How do you profit from wiring and welding leads you stole? I mean, you can’t just take that stuff to Cash America Pawn Shop the way you would a stolen guitar or bike. Dark web maybe?

From Nextdoor: A Mud Island resident caught the rooster that has been roaming the neighborhood. Now they’re trying to figure out what to do with him. Anybody want a rooster?

There will be a Mentoring Matters Car Parade today at 11 at FedExForum. Since mentors and mentees are unable to gather at a Grizzlies game this year, this will be the alternative, with Grizz, the Grizz Girls, and a DJ.

School of Rock Memphis will hold an End of Season Performance at Loflin Yard today.

Here’s a site to bookmark if you like podcasts: Listen to this Podcast. Each time you reload the page, it presents a podcast that was randomly selected from a list of podcasts curated by humans. (Hat tip to Morning Brew‘s Sidekick newsletter for that link)

A couple of days ago, I linked to Kamala Harris’ article on Medium about the inauguration and incoming administration. Now Medium’s best-known writer, Barack Obama, has weighed in with his thoughts. The article is free for all to read and it’s only 2 minutes long.

This sounds like a good account to follow on Twitter:

Also seen on Twitter this morning: “Rich people get paid by the project and pay by the hour.” A lot of wisdom there.

That’s it for today. I have a lot of writing-related stuff to get done today, so I’m happy to be publishing this before the 6 AM hour. Back tomorrow with more news.

Friday update

Health Department Deputy Director David Sweat passed along some great news yesterday: The reproductive rate of COVID-19 is down to 0.84, the lowest it has been since measures were kept in Shelby County. A rate below 1 means the virus is dying out.

Be careful if you live on Mud Island: There is a rooster loose, according to posts on Nextdoor. He was last seen in the 1000 block of Island Place East. Well, at least people on the island won’t have to depend on their iPhones to wake them up in time for work with nature’s original alarm clock running around.

This week’s Downtown Memphis Commission weekly email spotlighted a couple of jobs that are open in the area:

There will be filming for a TV show called “Women of the Movement” next Wednesday and Thursday in South Main. They will film on Main between Nettleton and St. Paul, and G.E. Patterson between Front and Mulberry.

COVID and related protocols have forced the NBA to postpone the Grizzlies’ next three games.

Mayor Jimbo from Mempho gave his State of the City address last night. WREG has highlights.

A man was found stabbed to death last night near Danny Thomas and Madison in The Edge District.

Memphis Magazine has a story on the new King & Union Bar Grocery inside the Doubletree. I still need to check that place out. Do I spy pulled pork tamales on the menu?

The USL, the league in which Memphis’ pro soccer team Memphis 901 FC competes, has announced a 32-game round-robin schedule for the season that will kick off around May 1.

The Tigers got a blowout 72-52 win over Wichita State last night.

So nice to see Dr. Fauci behind the podium giving COVID-19 status updates again. Fauci no longer has a malignant narcissist as his boss who is threatened by his popularity.

Final day of the Safer at Home order and 25% capacity at restaurants. Things are getting ever so slightly more normal. Back tomorrow with more news.

Thursday update

Got a recommendation for you from the City Market grab & go case: Mediterranean Quinoa & Grilled Chicken. I took it home last night. It was so delicious that I could have devoured the entire thing. However, about halfway through, I thought, I bet there are 35 grams of protein in here. The body can’t use that much at one time, so I put the rest in the refrigerator and saved it for this morning. Give it a try if you’re looking to eat healthy without sacrificing yumminess.

22-year-old poet Amanda Gorman stole the show yesterday at the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris:

Gorman was so captivating that Morgan State University offered her a job as poet-in-residence. You can pre-order her books Change Sings and The Hill We Climb on Amazon. Both have already attained bestseller status.

The cocktail lounge going in at 631 Madison in The Edge District has a name now: Inkwell. The CCDC threw its support behind Inkwell and two other projects in The Edge yesterday. Interesting: There are four apartments behind Inkwell that connect to the former Spectrum/Six-1-Six nightclub. Never knew that.

The state legislature, with the support of Gov. Lee, is considering a measure that would endanger Shelby County Schools students, teachers, and employees: Require 70 days of in-classroom learning this year and 180 next year, or risk losing state funding. That measure actually threatens not only those involved with the schools, but the entire county community, as it would increase the spread of COVID-19.

Speaking of COVID, let’s take a look at James Aycock’s COVID-19 mid-week report. Reported cases are down 29% over one week, although more testing is still needed. The positivity rate has dropped from 17.8% to 12.5%.

Job news for number crunchers: There’s a Night Audit part-time position available at Hilton’s new Canopy Hotel Downtown.

CodeCrew, a Memphis nonprofit that helps kids and adults develop coding skills, has received a $300,000 grant from Niantic, developer of Pokemon Go.

Tigers on national TV alert: Penny and the team host Wichita State at FedExForum tonight at 6. Catch the game on ESPN2.

Today is Squirrel Appreciation Day. There’s certainly no shortage of opportunities to observe that holiday Downtown.

The Grizzlies had to postpone their game at Portland last night. Due to COVID-19 contact tracing, the team did not have the required 8 team members available at the start of the game.

Health Directive 17 has been formally issued. Note that Health Directive 16 ends at 11:59 PM Friday and Health Directive 17 is effective at 12:01 AM Saturday. Know what this means? We have a minute without a health directive, at midnight Saturday, to party like it’s 2019! SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS SHOTS

Meaning shots of liquor, of course. In Memphis it’s necessary to clarify.

If you previously followed the @POTUS account on Twitter, you need to re-follow it if you want to keep seeing its tweets. Its followers were reset to zero when Biden became president.

Get to know Vice-President Kamala Harris in this podcast series by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Action News 5 has new safety guidelines you’ll need to follow at attractions reopening when the Safer at Home order ends Saturday.

I probably won’t watch the COVID-19 press conference at noon. We already know what’s going to be in the health directive. I will keep an eye on @shelbytnhealth around 10 for the daily case number and @local24brad at noon for press conference coverage.

Excited about my first full day living in a democracy since January 19, 2017. Back tomorrow with more news.

“America: The Reality Show” series finale day update

Health Directive 17, which will loosen restrictions a little for Shelby County, will be released today and will go into effect Saturday at midnight. Key points county health officer Dr. Bruce Randolph made yesterday concerning restaurants:

  • Capacity will increase from 25% to 50%
  • 6 people maximum per table. Tables must still be distanced so that diners not in the same group are 6 feet apart
  • Restaurants still have to close for dine-in at 10 PM
  • Live music is allowed, but performers must be 18 feet from the audience and 6 feet from each other
  • Dancing is only allowed outside
  • Smoking (including vaping and hookahs) is not allowed indoors
  • 2 hour limit on service
  • Dr. Randolph didn’t comment on whether bar seating would be allowed, but I’m fairly certain the answer is no

Health Department director Dr. Haushalter said the reproduction rate of the virus has dropped to 0.89, so COVID’s spread is no longer exponential. (Should we call a number below 1 logarithmic spread?) New case numbers are down. The positivity rate, although still too high at 14%, is substantially down from previous weeks.

The Health Department folks say a list of businesses closed due to violating health directives is on the shelby.community website. WHERE?????

The CA’s Jennifer Chandler has a look at new Downtown breakfast restaurant Sugar Grits. It’s run by the same folks as Zinnie’s and Ben-Yay’s is located in the ServiceMaster building on Second Street. For those who work nearby, note that they’ll have a grab & go. In my entire life, all but 6 months of which was lived in the South, I have never had grits and red-eye gravy. I’ll have to do something about that soon.

I want to take a minute to note the passing of Krazi Beckii, my neighbor, friend, and hairstylist, and an icon of the late 1980s Memphis scene. She was one of a kind and lit up every room she was in. My thoughts go out to all who loved her.

The Memphis Flyer reports that Sushi Jimmi is starting his own cooking channel on YouTube.

It’s always a pleasure to discover new writers on Medium, the platform where I write professionally. I discovered a new writer yesterday: Kamala Harris. (That article is not marked as behind the paywall, so you should be able to click through and read)

If you eat pepperoni Hot Pockets, might want to lay off them for a while. (hat tip to Morning Brew for the info)

Here are a set of articles on the history of Inauguration Day in the United States. Did you know the Trumpster is not the first president to skip his successor’s inauguration? These presidents skipped too:

  • John Adams, 1801 (Thomas Jefferson’s inauguration)
  • John Quincy Adams, 1829 (Andrew Jackson’s inauguration)
  • Andrew Johnson, 1869 (Ulysses S. Grant’s inauguration)
  • Richard Nixon, 1974 (Gerald Ford’s inauguration)

NBC News has a viewer’s guide to today’s inauguration.

The BBQ team made the decision this week that we aren’t going to do BBQ Fest 2021, to be held May 12-15. Because only about one-third of Shelby County will likely have been vaccinated against COVID at that time, there will be many restrictions and protocols in place – masking, social distancing, capacity limitations, and the like. Our team felt such restrictions would prevent us from offering a fun time for our team members, their guests, and our sponsors. The Moody Ques will be back in 2022, though.

I held off sharing my personal feelings about BBQ Fest being scheduled for its normal May slot until the team could figure out its plans. Now I will say it – I am relieved by the team’s decision and stand behind it 100%. If the team had decided to compete this year, I would have taken a year off. BBQ Fest is spring break for adults and I wouldn’t want to take part in it any other way.

Dignity, compassion, and competence will have returned to the White House by the time I get off work, and I am so ready for it, Wednesdays have been stay-home-and-write days lately but not this one. I’ll be out celebrating! Back tomorrow with more news.

Donald, you’re fired.

Monday update

The Memphis Grizzlies host the NBA’s 19th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration, tipping off against the Phoenix Suns this afternoon at 4. Related events today:

  • Virtual Coaches Forum – noon, YouTube Premiere
  • Earl Lloyd Sports Legacy Symposium – 2:30, Fox Sports Southeast

The National Civil Rights Museum will offer afternoon and evening live streams of their virtual celebrations of the life of Dr. King.

I received 5 scam voicemails between the 10 AM-11 AM hour yesterday from “Apple security” saying my account had been compromised. Most of the calls appeared to be from toll-free 866 U.S. numbers. However, one scammer didn’t have number spoofing set up correctly, revealing his true location: Bangladesh. Watch out for those kinds of scams this week.

The Tigers dropped a game to Tulsa for the second time this season yesterday.

That’s it. Slow news day.

2 more days.

Back tomorrow with more news.

Sunday update: We’re not gonna take it anymore

It is completely ridiculous that Memphis restaurants are forced to obey draconian COVID restrictions when any one of us can take a 20-minute ride to Southaven or Horn Lake and patronize a restaurant or bar where there are no restrictions at all.

You can sit at a bar area.

You don’t have to order food to have a damn beer.

There’s no limit to how long you can sit there.

You can sit with as many people as you like. Hell, you can even stand.

You don’t have to be kicked out at 10 PM if you’re in a restaurant or bar that stays open later.

It’s time for Shelby County to open things back up. Yes, keep the mask ordinance in place. That’s smart. But let adults make their own decisions about whether they feel a business is safe to patronize. We don’t need Dr. Haushalter and Dr. Randolph being our surrogate mommy and daddy and telling us what time we have to be home anymore.

Open things back up, one hundred percent.

If you agree, I ask that you go out to a locally-owned restaurant or bar between now and 11:59 PM Friday (i.e. before the expiration of the Safer at Home Order) and dine in. Take a pic of your food on the table and post it to social media, and tell the health department that you’re an adult and you’re not gonna take it anymore.

On to the news…

Exciting news coming out of The Edge District this weekend, according to the Daily Memphian. Sweet Magnolia Gelato Co., most recently in Puck Food Hall, plans to open a storefront at 655 Marshall. In addition, three other buildings are being renovated and “a locally owned cocktail bar” plans to relocate to the neighborhood. Very curious to hear more about the cocktail bar. The CA reports that the new cocktail bar will be located at 631 Madison and that a national tech company could relocate to the area as well.

Curfew, the restaurant in the new Canopy Hotel across from the ballpark, has announced a special dinner along with a cooking class.

We are excited to announce that our super-talented Chef Aaron will be hosting an amazing Cooking Class & 3-Course Meal on Thursday, January 28th at 5pm! 👏
🎟️ Tickets are only $65 per person with a $15 upgrade option for Wine Pairings.
📱 Give us a call at (901) 467-0308 to order your tickets!

The Memphis Tigers play their first game in three weeks at Tulsa today at 2. Premium subscription service ESPN+ will carry the game.

Yesterday was big for the Grizzlies. Ja Morant rejoined the squad and they got a win over the Philadelphia 76ers, clawing their way to .500 on the year. Don’t count Memphis out of a playoff berth!

Artist and metalsmith Ben Dory will present a free online talk about his exhibition, “Tributaries,” currently on display at the Metal Museum, today at 2.

For the first time since I joined Medium, I wrote about a political topic yesterday – specifically, my prediction that Donald Trump will die before the end of calendar year 2021 because he’s leaving office in disgrace and really has nothing left to live for. Yesterday was my highest-earning day so far on Medium. I don’t really aspire to be a political writer, but the earnings bump has been duly noted.

Edit: One of my Medium readers left a comment that is worth sharing here. Many elderly people lose the will to live after a loved one passes away. They no longer have the one they live and breathe for.

Donald Trump’s loved one is himself. And the Donald Trump who is the center of the world’s attention will be no more at 12:01 EST Wednesday.

Time to get to my length Sunday to-do list. Back tomorrow with more news.

Saturday update

We are now in the last 7 days of the Safer at Home order and Health Directive 16. Health department officials say all options are on the table for when the directive expires at 11:59 PM Friday – extending the restrictions, making some minor adjustments to them, or rolling them back in a sweeping way. However, this tweet from 117 Prime steakhouse is promising:

I don’t have this confirmed, but having observed many health directives come and go, it’s my theory that the restaurants have an “inside line” to the health department. Meaning, assuming current conditions remain largely unchanged, they’re given a rough idea in advance of what the health department intends to do. It gives them time to hire employees back and order inventory so they can hit the ground running.

117 Prime setting a reopening date seems like a sign that the ridiculously stupid 25% capacity restriction on restaurants is going away.

You know, a bartender friend of mine posted to Facebook that he received his W-2 yesterday. He made about 35% of what he would have reasonably expected to make at the start of 2020, but had 100% of the bills. That’s the situation our service industry folks have been in for 10 months now. A Shelby County grant of $1000 per worker is nice, but it in no way is fair compensation for what these folks have been put through. Enough is enough. It’s time to open up.

The owner of Primetime Movers has been charged in the Capitol riots. This is not the only time recently he has been in trouble with the law – he was featured in Scoop Memphis late last year.

You can order Girl Scout Cookies to be delivered through GrubHub for 2021. Even the Girl Scouts are pivoting to these pandemic times.

Neat site I discovered yesterday: Antiweather. You choose your location and it gives you the weather at your location and the exact opposite location on Earth by latitude and longitude. Let’s give this a try. As of 5:56 AM Central Standard Time:

  • Memphis: Partly cloudy, 33 F
  • Indian Ocean: Clear, 66 F

Apparently, nearly the entire continental US corresponds to the Indian Ocean, confounding a goal many children have of digging a hole so deep that they end up in China. The only US location I could get to correspond to land was

  • Honolulu: Clear, 74 F
  • Ghanzi District, Botswana: Overcast, 84 F

If you liked the two stories above, I got them from Morning Brew‘s Sidekick newsletter, a “newsletter full of ideas” that’s emailed Monday and Thursday afternoons.

The Memphis Grizzlies’ game at Minnesota was postponed last night after Timerwolves’ center Karl-Anthony Towns tested positive for COVID-19. KAT’s mother was one of the first in the U.S. to catch the virus and she passed away from complications last April. Get well soon, KAT, and we’ll see you on the court.

Look for a pop-up art gallery at 55 S. Main for the next 6 months, featuring regional artists. Cat & Nick Peña are the current exhibitors, and they’ll do a live Zoom interview next Friday 6-7. It’s part of the DMC’s Open on Main project to keep storefronts on the pedestrian mall occupied and open for business. You can safely view the artwork from outside if you’re scared of COVID. The pop-up gallery is just steps away from Ben-Yay’s, so my suggestion would be to stop in for some gumbo and the signature beignets before or after you view the art.

There’s a booklet that advises readers to remain 6 feet apart, to avoid shaking hands, and to send only one person from a household out to shop. What sets this booklet apart is that it was published in the 1580s. One can imagine the 16x-great-grandmother of Dr. Haushalter at a Renaissance-era podium telling people how to stop spreading the plague.

The Grizzlies host the Philadelphia 76ers tonight at 7. Catch the game on Fox Sports Southeast.

That’s the news today. Not much going on this cold late-pandemic weekend. Back tomorrow.