Jan 242015

There’s a screaming deal going on today, Saturday, January 24, only: Get a year of Amazon Prime, normally $99, for only $72. Although I am not a Prime member myself, my “DAWG” John D is and he loves it, and this is widely being acclaimed as one of the best deals to come down the pike in quite some time. As a Prime member you get:

  • Free two-day shipping on almost all orders
  • If you don’t need your stuff right away, a $1 digital credit when you choose a slower shipping method
  • Amazon Pantry, where you can order 45 pounds of groceries for a $6 shipping fee
  • Instant Video including HBO
  • One million free songs
  • Unlimited photo storage that can be linked to any device
  • Kindle Lending Library, where you can borrow one of 600,000 books at no additional charge
  • Kindle First, where you can buy one of four “editors’ pick” books a month before release for $2
  • Exclusive deals on third-party products
  • Share Prime’s shipping benefits with up to four people

The International Blues Challenge Finals are today at noon at the Orpheum. $42.50 ticket. Doors open at 11 and there will be a silent auction preceding the finals.

After the finals, IBC week wraps up tonight with the VizzTone Blues Party on Beale, an all-star party at Rum Boogie Cafe hosted by Bob Margolin. Things kick off at 10:30 and special guests will include Little G Weevil, Gina Sicilia, Erin Harpe, and Brandon Santini.

Folks from High Cotton Brewery will be guests on the Memphis Craft Beer show today on WREC AM 600 at noon. The brewery’s taproom on Monroe is open 4-9 Thursday through Saturday and you can have a beer at the bar or get your growler filled. There are often food trucks parked outside if you need a snack with your beverage.

Last night I took my new iPhone 6, charged to 100%, out with me. I stayed out four and a half hours. Battery remaining when I got home: 92%. That’s impressive. And remember, I have the “little” iPhone 6: The 6 Plus has an even bigger battery. The real battery test will come tomorrow, when I’m out all day and in the evening I watch the 3-hour Royal Rumble on my WWE Network app.

The Grizzlies host the Philadelphia 76ers this evening at the FedExForum. 7 PM tip-off. Meanwhile, the Tigers have an away game at Tulane, broadcast on ESPNU, also 7 PM start.

The Pinch could lose its listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Less than half of the historic buildings in the district at the time it was certified are still standing.

This is sad: One-third of the world’s gorillas and chimpanzees have died of Ebola since the 1990s. Our nearest relatives could soon be facing extinction if the trend continues.

Saturday morning and it’s business as usual. Panda Time at Bardog at 11, then over to the Blind Bear 1-2ish where my favorite pair of librarian glasses will be bartending. Rest of today to be figured out as I go. Time to get it started.

Jan 232015

Youth Villages’ annual Soup Sunday fundraiser is this Sunday at the FedExForum. Your ticket lets you walk around the concourse and sample soups, breads, desserts, and other goodies from 50 area restaurants and caterers. You also get unlimited soft drinks to wash it all down. They give you a holder that holds four bowls of soup at once, although one former Memphian who now lives in Redwood City, California managed to modify the soup holder at a previous Soup Sunday so that it held nine cups of soup at once. Online ticket purchases are closed but you can buy tickets at the door. $30 for adults 11 and up, $10 for children 6-10, children under 6 free. There’s also a VIP Souper Party ticket for $75 if you want to go big.

I will repeat my annual advice for Soup Sunday attendees: This is NOT an event to which you want to show up fashionably late. Lines will get long within 15 minutes of opening time, and by noon a few of the best restaurants will start running out of soup. Best advice is to be in line at 10:55, ticket in hand. The event runs from 11 AM to 2 PM.

A New York-based casting company is searching for “real people” in Memphis to use in commercials, videos, and print advertisements. They are currently involved in a marketing campaign for a major financial institution, and are looking for people who are undergoing a change in their lives: getting married, caring for an aging parent, having a baby, relocating, changing careers, retiring, etc. If interested in being a part of the campaign, fill out this form. If you qualify, they will arrange a quick phone interview with you and a video chat using Skype.

Here are the 2015 International Blues Challenge semifinalists. There’s a $15 wristband to get in to see all the acts at all the venues this evening.

Memphis Tigers coach Josh Pastner will be the subject of the NCAA Men of March special on CBS Saturday at noon. Great comment from @CubsTigersGrizz on Twitter: “Probably should be ‘Early March.'”

Congratulations to Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, elected to start in the NBA All-Star Game on February 15. He will tip off against his brother Pau, starting for the Eastern Conference.

A new 7-week trivia league has started at the Green Beetle (Thursdays at 8) with the team that racks up the most points getting a trip to Tennessee Brew Works in Nashville. VIP tour of the brewery, beer samplings, hotel and gas card included in the grand prize. The more you play, the better chance you have: Each week, the 1st place winner gets 3 raffle tickets, 2nd place gets 2, 3rd place gets 1 and Best Team Name winner gets 1. Teams must be present to win on Thursday, March 5, the night the raffle is drawn. Free to play. Weekly prizes as well as points toward the grand prize.

From College football’s next hot coach, Justin Fuente

For those in the service industry: Lifehacker has recommended a calendar app called Shifts that might fit your needs better than Google Calendar.

Good news for Blind Bear poker players: They re-felted their tables this week, so dealing the cards should be smoother.

That’s it for now. I’ll be out at the usual spots about 5:30 to kick off the weekend.

Jan 222015

I learned something this week that I thought I’d share: If you’re a First Tennessee customer and you need a new debit card, if you go to the main branch at Madison and Third they can print you one there on the spot. No more waiting 10 business days for the card to show up in the mail, and then calling a hotline to activate it. All they did was ask for my Social Security number and to see my ID, and three minutes later I had my new card.

I hadn’t carried a bank debit card since my old one expired in mid-2012. Around that time, many of my friends who hung out in the same places I did became victims of credit card skimming. To protect my identity, I never activated the replacement card the bank sent me, instead using a reloadable card linked to my PayPal account so I could control how much money could be accessed by the card. It worked too – in December 2013 I got hit by the Target identity theft scam, and the thieves didn’t get a card number tied to my bank account. However, recently, I haven’t heard about any Downtowners being victims of skimming, and there were two new reasons I wanted to have a bank debit card again:

Apple Pay – More and more retailers are accepting this method of payment, and now that I have an iPhone 6 I want to start using it. First Tennessee is on the list of banks who have partnered with Apple, and I can connect my iPhone to my First Tennessee debit card.

Lyft – I have shared Lyft rides with people who use this service. Lyfts are less expensive than taxi cabs, more reliable, and more convenient. However, they require a bank debit card to use. Three business days from now (the card doesn’t function as a credit card until then, only debit) I will register it with Lyft. After that, field trips to South Main, The Edge, The Pinch, and Midtown will become more common.

The Downtown Neighborhood Association’s monthly happy hour is tonight at Double J on G.E. Patterson. This is a causal event in which no association business will be discussed – just a way to get to know your neighbors – and you don’t need to be a DNA member to attend. Specials for the event include $2 PBR, $2.50 domestic bottles, and $3 well drinks, Fireball shots, and drafts. For $10 you can get a dozen wings any way you like them.

This is the second day of the International Blues Challenge, and once again there is a $10 wristband that will get you in all the participating spots on Beale and nearby this evening. I didn’t get by the Flying Saucer last night but a friend of mine did. They were hosting bands for the quarterfinals and he posted that there was a great vibe in the Saucer, great music and fascinating people. Check it out if you want to get away from Beale but still hear the blues. Second and Peabody, 75 beers on tap, 125 more in bottles.

Bass Pro’s job fair will happen Monday-Wednesday, February 2-4. 600 people will be hired, not only to work in the store itself, but to work in the two restaurants and the hotel that will be opening in the Pyramid. “Excellent wage potential,” benefits, and store discounts for employees.

If you’re into re-thinking the future of cities and urban areas, here’s a free e-book on the future of transportation that may be of interest to you.

This is very cool: electronic glasses that allow the legally blind to see

If you’re looking for a place to order chocolate-covered strawberries for Valentine’s Day, I saw a sign outside Maggie Moo’s last night that says they are accepting orders. has an update on snow chances for tomorrow. It’s not looking promising if you want snow. The post is worth reading if for no other reason than the animated Florida Evans GIF.

I’ll be at the Silly Goose 6th anniversary party for a couple of hours tonight. Possibly stops at the Saucer (to check out IBC) and the Blind Bear (to see my favorite pair of librarian glasses) too. It looks to be an unusually fun January evening in Downtown Memphis tonight.

Jan 212015

Tonight would be a good night to buy a wristband and cruise the clubs of Beale Street. The quarterfinals of the International Blues Challenge start this afternoon and continues into the evening hours. For $10 you can buy a wristband that gets you into all the clubs on Beale and nearby that are hosting IBC participants. Bands play short sets and the changes over to the next act are quick, so you will get to sample many forms of blues in one night. If you can’t make it to Beale tonight, the quarterfinals continue tomorrow.

Down the street from the IBC, the Grizzlies will be playing a game at the FedExForum. They host the Toronto Raptors tonight at 7. Forbes recently valued the team at $750 million, up from the $377 million Robert Pera’s group paid for the team a couple of years ago.

Kevin Cerrito and Holly Whitfield interview Paula Raiford of Paula & Raiford’s Disco on this month’s I Love Memphis podcast.

Memphis Made Brewing Co. will host a “Pints for Half-Pints” event to benefit the Peabody Elementary PTA on Saturday, February 7. The event will be in the brewery’s tap room on South Cooper. Your ticket gets you Memphis Made beer, as well as food from Central BBQ, Sweetgrass, and Celtic Crossing. There will be a silent auction with items from local businesses, and music by DJ Michael Kuntzman.

After yesterday’s post, I have already received one inquiry about sponsoring the Moody Ques BBQ team. We can work with multiple sponsors, so if your company is interested shoot me an email at Still plenty of room. Plenty of room for new members too, and we will have the PayPal form up shortly so you can join and pay dues for 2015.

Short post this lunchtime. May be back with a second post after work.

Jan 202015

MATA is presenting its plan to get the trolleys running again to the City Council this afternoon. According to this Flyer article, some of the Council members have questions about the Madison Avenue line. I for one am glad to see these questions being raised. Perhaps the trolley line should be replaced with a bus line that runs from Main to Cooper, connecting Downtown and Overton Square. The bus would get people where they are going faster and would not require any additional infrastructure. Ride the Roo has proved that bus lines that connect two entertainment-destination neighborhoods can be successful.

From FiveThirtyEight: See how your city’s public transportation stacks up. Memphis was 154th out of 290 cities, with 9.5 trips per capita. New York was first with 229.8 trips per capita, followed by San Francisco (131.5) and Washington (99.6).

City Market has rolled out a new breakfast special, where you get one meat, one side, and a biscuit or toast for $4.99. Choices include turkey/pork sausage, bacon, sausage & gravy, oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar, scrambled eggs, grits, housemade potatoes, and apple cinnamon compote. Extra sides can be purchased at additional cost.

There was a large fire at PB&J Towing on Main near Virginia shortly before noon. Several cars caught on fire and then it spread to the building. MFD put it out and no one was hurt.

The Memphis Flyer releases its 20 Under 30 issue tomorrow. To celebrate, there will be a party at the High Cotton taproom, 598 Monroe, tomorrow starting at 6 PM.

The growler shop inside the Cash Saver on Madison is selling limited-edition Grizzlies logo growlers. Only 2000 were made and as of about noon today, more than 1100 have already been sold.

If I have any Collierville readers, you’re about to get a growler shop called On Tap Growlers, and local Memphis Made beer will be among the taps with Lucid, Fireside Ninja, and Reverberation.

Here’s the drinking game for President Obama’s State of the Union speech tonight.

Former Memphis Tiger Joe Jackson is excelling in the NBA D-League. A Draft Express writer says Joe looks like a totally different person and may have the best defense in the league.

This is really cool: A 13-year-old built a machine out of Legos that prints Braille for use by the blind. The machine really works and costs 85% less than traditional Braille printers. The boy is believed to be one of the youngest entrepreneurs ever to receive venture capital funding.

That’s all for today. Time to hit Publish and go get a PBR.

Jan 202015

My Memphis in May BBQ Fest competition team, the Moody Ques, is seeking sponsorship for 2015. Below is a document created by our team co-founder outlining what we offer for different levels of sponsorship. Keep in mind that we can customize any package listed below to create the exact experience that meets the sponsor’s needs.

If you have questions or are interested in sponsoring, shoot me an email at and I will put you in touch with the team leaders.

(I’ll be back this evening with a Tuesday news post)


Hello All,

That wonderful time of the year where Downtown Memphis smells of World Class BBQ from around the world is rapidly approaching! The Moody Ques have been involved with BBQ Fest for going on 8 years in some shape or fashion and we are looking to add some new sponsors/members to our team. We have had a great run in the last three years and would love to continue having the best party on the Bluff as well as providing our team with championship quality food and drinks!

We are changing things up a bit this year by offering different levels of sponsorship. We realize that in these difficult economic times many companies that want to be involved cannot, so we came up with a 4 tiered level program to allow more of you the opportunity to enjoy BBQ Fest just as much as large corporations. Please note, these levels of sponsorship and what we can offer are just suggestions and we are willing to discuss any issues or changes. We can also offer team t-shirts and Wednesday night tickets to sponsors depending on sponsorship level and availability.

Normal Team Dues

  • $350 per individual
  • $500 per couple ***NOTE: Must be a real couple; not two friends joining together.


  • two meals a day and access to the tent and bar

Platinum Hog Level ($10,000):

  • 25 Guests
  • Exterior and Interior Signage (according to Memphis in May rules)
  • Company logo on cups and t-shirts

Gold Hog Level ($7,500):

  • 15 Guests
  • Interior Signage
  • Company logo on cups and t-shirts

Silver Hog Level ($5,000):

  • 10 Guests
  • Interior Signage
  • Company logo on cups and t-shirts

Bronze Hog Level ($2,000):

  • 4 Guests
  • Interior Signage


  • 2008 3rd place Best Shoulder (as our predecessor team The Ques Brothers)
  • 2012 3rd place Best Booth
  • 2013 1st place Best Booth
  • 2014 1st place Best Booth

We do our best to provide a great atmosphere for our members and sponsors and to date have succeeded! We look forward to hearing from you and/or your company in the near future!

Clay Thompson
Co-Founder of The Moody Ques

Monday news

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Jan 192015

I woke this morning about 5 to the sound of a helicopter flying over Downtown. It’s very rare to hear a helicopter flying that early and I wondered if there was a manhunt. There was not. Protestors planned to shut down the I-40 bridge in a peaceful MLK Day demonstration and I assume the chopper was flying to ensure the safety of participants; however, the protest didn’t happen.

There’s a new pedal tavern cruising the streets of Downtown. I saw it this weekend on the Main Street Mall. Choose901 has full details. It seats up to 14 and is BYOB, with the tavern supplying the cups and coolers.

The Silly Goose is having its sixth anniversary party this Thursday, January 22, starting at 9 PM.

From the Flyer: Memphis Tigers basketball attendance: Is there reason to worry?
This appears to be the first season since 2006-07 that average attendance is likely to finish below 16,000.

Stats site FiveThirtyEight gives the Grizzlies a 98.5% chance of making the playoffs.

Congratulations to WMC reporter Michael Clark, who won the WSOP Media Poker Tournament yesterday at Horseshoe Tunica. $1000 was donated to Clark’s favorite charity, the Tunica Humane Society.

That’s it for now. If your company has any interest in sponsoring a Memphis in May BBQ Fest team, check back – I will be posting sponsorship packages for my team the Moody Ques within the next day. Back tonight or tomorrow with more news as well.

Jan 182015

This week is the International Blues Challenge, when blues musicians and bands from all over the world travel to Memphis to perform in front of live audiences and be heard by judges, with the winner receiving a recording contract. The way it works is, there are two nights (Wednesday-Thursday) where all the bands perform in the clubs of Beale Street and nearby, and you can buy a wristband and get into all the clubs to see them for one price. The next night (Friday) is the semifinals, where bands selected by the judges perform again, and there is once again a wristband at a slightly higher price. The finals, along with presentation of the award for best self-produced CD, happen at the Orpheum on Saturday.

However, the folks who run the Blues Foundation have told me in past years about a “sleeper” event that precedes the start of the competition, a hidden gem that folks either overlook or can’t attend because they have not yet arrived in town. That makes it a good chance for the locals to slip in and hear some excellent music before things swing into full gear. It’s the International Blues Showcase, happening Tuesday night at the New Daisy Theater on Beale. The doors open at 5:30 and throughout the evening you will hear blues acts from all over the world. You might catch a band from Poland, or Germany, or Australia… you never know. (Me personally, I’m hoping for an all-female Romanian band.) Tickets are $10 at the door.

Tomorrow is MLK Day, and there will be several events happening Downtown. As I mentioned earlier, there will be a parade down N. Main and Second Streets starting at 10 AM.  The Grizzlies will play their annual MLK Day game at 4 PM, wth a pre-game ceremony honoring NBA legends Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, Chauncey Billups, and Jason Collins. Earlier in the day there will be other events including a high school classic (admission to which is free with your Grizzlies ticket) and an MLK Sports Legacy Symposium (also free with your ticket but space is limited). More details here.

You think after he retires, Zach Randolph will be honored in one of these celebrations? I certainly think there’s a case for it. He has paid many thousands of dollars keeping people’s lights on and providing toys for inner-city children’s Christmas. When elementary school kids in Memphis are given a “Who’s your hero?” writing assignment, I bet a lot of them write about Z-bo.

Of course, the National Civil Rights Museum will have a special all-day-long King Holiday Celebration from 8 AM to 5 PM. There will be tours of the newly renovated museum highlighting Dr. King’s involvement in the civil rights movement. Outside on the Founder’s Park stage there will be entertainment all day, including jazz, drums, dance, spoken word, gospel, and the recordings of Dr. King. $5 admission, reduced to $3 with a canned food donation, and free for up to four people with the donation of a pint of blood.

Last night I got some to-go food from Yao’s and climbed in bed for a two-hour nap. However, it turned into a 14 hour nap so I never got out. Not that I much care… it was cold outside and I doubt much interesting was going on. If I did that in April I’d be mad at myself, but January, not so much. Being fully rested for Sunday Fun Day seems like a good move. I’ll lead off at Bloom’s bar at Bardog at 11, then bounce over to Blind Bear at 1 for D-RANKS with B-RAD. No librarian glasses today though. I’m on the fence about playing poker at the Bear tonight. Lately the Sunday game has gone down the crapper, with people going all-in in the early blind levels rather than playing proper poker, not because they don’t know how to play but just because they’re drunk and want to be annoying. I may stick to the Tuesday night game only for a while. Anyway, it’s almost time for the first PBR of the day, so let’s hit Publish and get this thing going.

Jan 172015

Do you like gumbo? Three weeks from now, you’ll be able to taste some of Memphis’ finest gumbos and vote for the one you like best. The Tennessee Equality Project (TEP) Gumbo Contest will happen at BRIDGES on A.W. Willis Ave. Sunday, February 8 from 4:30 to 7 PM. Tickets are $25 and include gumbo tasting, voting in the People’s Choice award, live jazz, craft beer, and soft drinks. For those under 21 there’s a $15 ticket that includes everything but the beer. If you want to go to this, better buy now, because the ticket prices go up by $5 on the 1st.

2015-01-16 20.12.25

Click image to view in a larger, more readable size. Thanks to Fireball Joe for holding the poster while I took a picture.

Nordstrom is scouting a location in Memphis. The department store chain is famous for its customer service and already has a Nashville location.

Good news for the entrepreneurial scene here in Memphis: Start Co. is partnering with Innova Memphis, an early-stage venture capital firm. The partnership will make funding more accessible to startups that go through one of Start Co.’s four accelerator programs. If you have a startup you’d like to take through a 2015 accelerator program, here’s how to apply and you have until March 1.

The Daily news has Q&A with the Grizzlies’ Vince Carter.

To no one’s surprise, Kuran Iverson is done with U of M basketball and is transferring after spring semester. After getting suspended, Iverson retweeted criticism of his coach. Not smart. Some other coach will take a chance on Iverson, though. My prediction is Bruce Pearl brings him to Auburn.

On this day in 1987: Hulk Hogan was the guest on Piper’s Pit. Andre the Giant, up until that point a beloved fan favorite, crashed the interview.

Last night I made a trip south to my “home away from home” in the South Main District, Max’s Sports Bar. I hadn’t made it down there in four or five months and it was like I had never left. I’ve said for years that Max’s is probably the friendliest bar Downtown and I have sent newcomers there because it’s easy to get to know the locals. I plan to get to Max’s, as well as other South Main spots, a lot more than I did in 2014.

Today, though, I’m leading off with one of my favorite places in the Downtown core. Can’t go wrong with Panda Time at Bardog to kick off a Saturday. It’s PBR hoodie and shorts weather and this is going to be a great Saturday.

Jan 162015

I didn’t do a post at lunchtime yesterday, but I had a very good reason: I used my lunch break to drive to the AT&T Store and upgrade to the iPhone 6. My 4S was over three years old and didn’t have enough space left to upgrade to iOS 8, so it was time. Let’s proceed with the news and then I will come back and talk about the phone.

Paula & Raiford’s Disco, recently featured in a New York Times article on what to do in 36 hours in Memphis, has added a disco photo booth so you can capture your moment at the best nightclub in the world. It’s on Second between Madison and Monroe and will open at 10 this evening.

The planning meeting for April’s MEMfix Pinch event is this afternoon at Ferraro’s at 3:30.

Memphis Magazine has a nice article about BBQ classes taught by pitmaster Troy Black.

Tomorrow is a doubleheader day at FedExForum: The Memphis Tigers host the UCF Knights at 1 PM, and then at 8 PM the Memphis Grizzlies host the Portland Trail Blazers. Former Grizzly Shane Battier will be back in FedExForum tomorrow to call the Grizzlies game on ESPN.

There will be a King National Holiday Parade Monday at 10 AM. The parade will start at Main and A.W. Willis, take Main south to Exchange then cut over to Second, then south on Second to the National Civil Rights Museum.

The Redbirds have five positions open including account executive, graphic designer, and manager of premium sales.

Lifehacker has tips on how to get around paywalls using either Incognito Mode or Private Browsing, depending on which web browser you use.

If you want to learn to play the ukulele, there’s a Groupon for that. $15 for $108 worth of lessons.

The Memphis Animal Shelter has killed six animals by mistake that had people ready to adopt them. Now that A.C. Wharton has competition in the mayoral election, maybe he’ll realize it’s time to remove his buddy as head of MAS and hire someone who knows how to run an animal shelter. If Strickland emphasizes animal shelter reform as part of his campaign platform, I will consider voting for him.

My new iPhone 6’s Health app told me that from the time I got the phone activated, about 1:30 yesterday, until the end of the day, I walked 2.32 miles. I had no idea I walked that much. That’s the advantage of the Downtown lifestyle. Downtowners walk to the place that most people drive to in their cars.

I want to thank the folks at the AT&T Store in Southaven on Goodman near Airways for the fine job they did yesterday taking care of me. I had told work that I was getting a new phone and might be gone longer than my 45-minute lunch break. However, AT&T had me in and out quickly and I got back to the office on time.

Rather than spending an extra $100 on the larger iPhone 6 Plus, I decided to stick with the iPhone 6 and get the 64 GB model rather than the base 16 GB. My iPhone 4S was 16GB and I had nearly filled it up. Seems like the 16 GB iPhone 6, with the large footprint of iOS8, would be practically useless. Thanks to my Facebook friends who confirmed that my decision to go 64GB was the right one.

I’m grandfathered into AT&T’s unlimited data plan. They make you go to the store to buy a phone if you want to keep it; you can’t keep it if you order online. Furthermore, I wonder if AT&T salespeople get a bonus for every unlimited data plan given up. The salesperson was very interested in finding out if unlimited was “too much” data for me and maybe I’d be better off with a different plan. No way, no how am I giving up my unlimited data!

Time to hit Publish and get back to playing with my new phone. I will be out at the usual spots after work. Possible second post later today.