Monday update

I checked out and read my first e-books from the Memphis Public Libraries’ online collection yesterday: A Brief History of Memphis by G. Wayne Dowdy. A good read, and it was indeed brief: I finished it in a few hours. I could keep the book checked out for 21 days but returned it early in case someone else (maybe one of you?) wanted to read it.

On this day in Memphis history: Bluesman Furry Lewis collapsed while performing at a gig at the Cotton Pickin’ Music and Crafts Jubilee. Furry was 84 at the time and would live another four years. This tidbit came from another Dowdy book I checked out, On This Day in Memphis History.

I also checked out a book on digital marketing so I could brush up in case a company where I applied for a job calls me for an interview this week.

And, one more: I checked out Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski. Normally I’m not big into fiction, but people have told me I’d like Bukowski’s work.

Happy Memorial Day! Today is also the day that is considered the anniversary of the end of the Middle Ages. On May 29, 1453, the Ottoman Empire captured the city of Constantinople, the capital and last stronghold of the Byzantines. The city is known in modern times as Istanbul, Turkey.

Three Memphis restaurants made AllTrails’ list of the 14 best BBQ restaurants in the U.S.: The Bar-B-Q Shop, Central BBQ, and the Rendezvous.

The DM has an article about Discover Memphis Naturally, an organization that links folks up to local outdoor fitness classes and activities. I just gave them a follow on Facebook and Insta.

The American Contract Bridge League, the nonprofit that sanctions the card game duplicate contract bridge, has a new executive director. I don’t play bridge myself, but that Horn Lake-based organization is near and dear to my heart because I worked in the marketing and IT departments there from 2009 to 2018. The COVID pandemic caused their membership to decline because no one could safely play face-to-face bridge at a club or tournament for about a year. I hope they claw their way back with flying colors.

All MATA rides are discounted to 25 cents today due to poor air quality. I believe that includes trolleys.

There’s a chance Penny will land Carmelo Anthony’s son Kiyan in the  U of M men’s basketball incoming class of ’25.

That’s it for now. Slow news day, short post, kind of what I expected.

Sunday update… and a riddle

I’m going to star off my post today with something I’ve never done before: a riddle. I thought of this one lying in bed this morning.

There exists a system, and you may have such a system in your home, in which

  • 1, 2, and 3 are undervalued
  • 4, 5, and 6 are perfectly valued
  • 7 is overvalued
  • 8 and 9 never had a chance to be perfectly valued
  • 0 is only perfectly valued when the system stops working

What am I talking about?

I’ll post the answer on Wednesday. Why Wednesday? Because some of my readers only check my blog at work, and because of Memorial Day, Tuesday will be the first day they’re back.

I had a productive morning yesterday. I figured, as much as I’ve been going to the newly-reopened Cossitt Library lately, I might as well get a library card! It’s super easy and you don’t have to go to a library branch to do it. All you have to do is go to the Memphis Public Libraries website and fill out a form to apply for a library card. All you have to do is fill in your name, address, and a few other details.

MPL’s system then tries to verify that your name is connected to an address within the city of Memphis. If it can verify you, it emails you a library card number and a PIN, which can be used from that moment forward. I’m note sure exactly how the system works, but about a minute after I submitted the form, I got an email saying I’d been verified and containing my new card number and PIN.

Once you have a fully verified card, you can check out books from any MPL branch. Also, you can show your card number at any branch and they can print a physical card for you.

In addition to borrowing books from one of MPL’s 18 physical locations, you can also borrow from a library of more than 50,000 e-books and e-audiobooks. You do this using an app or website called Libby by Overdrive. You can read your e-books in the Libby app, or if you have a Kindle, you can ask Libby to send your books there.

You can also use your library card to reserve a public-access computer at any MPL branch.

What if MPL’s system can’t verify that your name is connected to your address? Then you can apply for an Online Only card to gain immediate access to e-books and e-audiobooks. The next time you visit a. physical MPL branch, bring proof of address (current utility bill, voter registration card, etc.) to upgrade to a full library card.

I did another thing yesterday morning, one that will improve your reading experience. As many of you know, I use WordPress to publish this blog. Several years ago they “upgraded” WordPress from its classic editor (which I love) to a block editor (which I hate). Reasons why I hate the block editor:

  1. Embeds of external elements like tweets and YouTube videos often don’t work
  2. Sometimes the block editor would “eat” large parts of a post; for example, I’d have 20 news items in the editor but only 9 would appear on the blog when I published (and the other 11 would disappear from the editor). This was particularly a problem when I started a post at night, went to bed, then got up to finish it in the morning.
  3. When I would do Ctrl-A Ctrl-C (select all and copy) in the block editor, it would select one block (one paragraph, or one bulleted or numbered list, or one image) when I wanted it to select the entire post.

Yesterday I found that there’s a WordPress plugin called Classic Editor. I installed it and BOOM… things were back to the way they used to be.

Here’s an embedded tweet:

And here’s an embedded YouTube video:

Let’s get on to the news…

From We Are Memphis: 5 Memphis music stores to build your collection. Three of the five are Downtown:

  • River City Records (101 S. Main)
  • Memphis Music (149 Beale)
  • A. Schwab (163 Beale; records are on the second floor)

All three stores are within about a three-block walk of each other, so you could hit them all in one afternoon.

From Forbes: A travel writer’s guide to the best bars in Memphis. Hey Max, your Malort Challenge made Forbes!

Memphis Public Libraries is holding an A. Schwab Collection digital scavenger hunt. Explore the contents of the basement of this dry goods store that has been around since 1876, all without leaving your computer.

From the DM: Calvary Place Childcare Center, located inside Calvary Episcopal Church, is closing at the end of this month.

Today is International Hamburger Day.

The Downtown Memphis Commission is now accepting applications for its summer 2023 Hip-Hop Architecture Camp. The camp will happen July 10-14 at a Downtown location and is for 7th-12th graders. Cost to attend this camp is FREE.

That’s it for now. Holidays are typically slow news days, but if there’s anything to report, I’ll be back tomorrow.

Saturday update

The Brass Door will host a UK in Memphis Trivia Night next Wednesday, May 31 from 6 to PM. RSVP to if you plan to come and play. Interesting… the logo of the British Consulate-General in Atlanta appears on the ad for this trivia night.

WREG reported on their noon news broadcast that the law allowing Tennesse restaurants to sell to-go drinks expires July 1. The law was passed in 2020 to help restaurants stay afloat during the COVID pandemic.

Today is National Italian Beef Day.

Author Cassie Brooks will appear at The Broom Closet from 2 to 4 PM today to read from and sign copies of her children’s book Sticks and Stones.

Potliquor will happen at the Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum on N. Second Street Sunday at 2 PM. This is a cultural storytelling event There will be live demonstrations, education, and potliquor and candied yam cornbread. Charolette & Pickens will have food offerings as well, and there will be African cultural exhibits and music. This event is free but donations are accepted.

I always get one of three things when I eat at the Blind Bear: Hibernation Tots, Crawfish Mac & Cheese, or the Jager BBQ Burger with sides of mac & cheese and baked beans. So yesterday as I walked up there, I told myself, “Today I’m gonna try something different.”

I looked at the menu. Now, my favorite Captain of all time is Captain Kangaroo…

Bob “Captain Kangaroo” Keeshan. Public domain image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

… but my second-favorite of all time is Captain Morgan. And that Captain has an entree on the Blind Bear’s menu, Captain Morgan’s Chicken. I decided to give it a try.

Oh my goodness yummmmm. This is a roasted chicken breast sitting atop a bed of mashed potatoes, topped with sauteed spinach and a Captain Morgan’s rum sauce. Bartender Cinnamon thought I’d really enjoy the interaction of flavors between the rum sauce and the mashed potatoes, and she was not wrong. I cleaned my plate. I recommend this dish highly and will get it again.

From YouTube: A WNBA legend wants a WNBA team in Memphis. I see there’s a petition to make that happen.

Live entertainment team auditions are coming up for the Memphis Grizzlies. Here’s a list of teams that will be holding auditions and how to prepare for them:

  • Grizz Girls dance team: Girl Play classes – Learn the style of the dances in a non-competitive environment
  • Grizz Girls dance team: Pre-audition classes – Learn the choreography for the audition
  • Grannies & Grandpas dance team (age 50 and up)
  • Blue Bunch dance team (age 7-17)
  • Grizzline drum/percussion team
  • Claw Crew marketing team

The DM interviewed former Memphis men’s basketball head coach Josh Pastner. Pastner was recently fired as Georgia Tech’s head coach and won’t be on the sidelines for the upcoming season. He says he may do some TV before attempting to break back into head coaching.

This week’s DM’s Behind the Headlines podcast is a roundtable of reporters discussing the Greenlaw Community Center. MPD recently abandoned plans to use the center as a holding area for juveniles violating curfew.

In his weekly update, Mayor Jimbo from Mempho provided a list of activities available to Memphis kids while they’re out on summer break.

Interesting: How an algorithm solves Wodrle. The algorithm was developed by an MIT professor and Ph.D. student. It uses SALET as its starting word. The article also has links to the Wordle strategies of Bill Gates and Kamala Harris.

Hey, I haven’t played yet today. Let’s see how I do:

Wordle 707 3/6


“Impressive!” Wordle commented. No, I did not start with SALET.

That’s it for today. Meeting my friends Randy & Theresa at Bardog for Saturday brunch. Back tomorrow with more news.

Friday update

It’s the last Friday of the month and that means it’s time for South Main Trolley Night. Many of the shops and galleries in South Main will stay open until 9 or later. Some will offer appetizers, beer, or wine. Others will offer discounts. Great chance to get out and meet your neighbors.

The Bugaloos will play Slider Inn Downtown tonight from 6 to 9.

From the DM: How to run your best race at the Great American River Run

Blvck Hippie will perform at the Moxy Memphis Hotel, 40 N. Front, tonight from 7 to 9.

The Champions Tour Concert comes to the Cannon Center tonight.

The Downtown Memphis Commission is sponsoring a Mighty Lights Intern Challenge. Up to 12 teams of interns will compete. They will be trained on lighting equipment for 2 hours then will take turns running the light show on the I-40 bridge.

Today is World Redhead Day. Cheers to my friend Misty!

Cossitt Library tip: If you have trouble getting Facebook to load on the library’s Wi-Fi, try switching to another browser. I switched from Chrome to Safari and Facebook loaded right up. Chrome used to be the gold standard but it has become a fat, bloated pig.

Yesterday there was a group of adults at the Cossitt making dresses for dolls. That’s what I love about the library – no one judges anybody. You’re free to be yourself there.

New Wing Order has introduced a new menu item, Crispy Green Goddess Brussels. “This vegetarian dish features flash fried brussel sprouts drizzled with an herbaceous green goddess dressing, topped with crumbled goat cheese, dried cranberries, and crushed pistachios,” they wrote. Get them at the Ghost River taproom on Beale or on the nWo food truck.

Did you know that Dyer’s, the burger joint on Beale, caters? Email to plan catering. If you want to thank me for the information, order Double-Doubles and invite me to your event!

Stix, the fast-casual Asian spot in Peabody Place, will be closed Monday.

Gonna have to take my external phone charger to Bardog tomorrow so I have enough juice to watch TV on my phone. WWE’s Night of Champions premium live event will broadcast live from Saudi Arabia beginning at noon. The big question is, will the Usos finally turn on their leader, Roman Reigns? And whose side will the Usos’ brother Solo Sikoa be on if they do?

Silky O’Sullivan’s has announced its musical lineup for the holiday weekend:

  • Buddy Nemenz 1-5 PM Friday and Sunday
  • Even Odds Band Friday 8 PM to close
  • Dueling pianos 7 PM-1 AM Saturday and Sunday
  • New Era Band Saturday 8 PM-close
  • David Ingle 6-8 PM Sunday

Note for my day drinkers: There is a large, weekend-long “Chicago vs. Memphis” party this weekend. They have events at night but large groups have been known to fill the Downtown bars during brunch hours. My advice is to get there early if you want a seat, especially at the bar.

Controversy over Ja Morant waving guns around on Instagram has not prevented his new Ja 1 sneakers from selling out quickly.

Andrea Jay will lead a yoga class at the Cossitt Library today from 4 to 6 PM. It’ll be in the upstairs performance space.

There’s a $5000 reward for anyone who can help police solve the theft of a truckload of organ pipes from Calvary Episcopal Church.

Charlotte Taylor plays The Central BBQ Sessions at Central BBQ Downtown Saturday from 6 to 9.

Every Friday is EDU Day/Night at Grind City Brewing Co. All day long, students, faculty, and staff of educational institutions can get draft beers for only $5. Must show valid school ID.

Reid Haughton headlines Nashville Hits the Tin Roof on Beale tonight at 8. This is a free concert series featuring up-and-coming names in country music.

Yubu, Kennard, and Amber will provide the music at Memphis Farmers Market tomorrow. The Market runs every Saturday from 8 AM to 1 PM under the pavilion at Front and G.E. Patterson, behind the Malco Powerhouse theater.

Mr. & Mrs. Smith’s food truck will be in Health Sciences Park for lunch today 11:30 to 1:00.

Police departments are advising car owners to stash Apple AirTags in their vehicles to help solve thefts.

That’s it for now. I’m going to enjoy air conditioning and high-speed Internet at home until the Blind Bear opens at 3, then head over there for a while. Back tomorrow.

Thursday update

First of all, CONGRATULATIONS to my friends Jack and Lana who got married yesterday! Two of the nicest and most genuine people I know.

RIP Tina Turner. Did you know there’s a Tina Turner Museum in Brownsville, about 45 minutes northeast of Memphis?

I spent some time job-hunting yesterday (I’ll say more about that at the end of this post). I came across plenty of jobs that are not a fit for me, but they’re in or near Downtown and may be a good fit for my readers:

Today is National Wine Day.

Deputies conducted a wellness check on Ja Morant yesterday after he made some social media posts (e.g. “Bye”) that had some of his fans worried about his well-being.

Pretty Taco, the new taco restaurant at 265 S. Front, is now open for lunch Wednesdays through Fridays. Their hours are 11 AM to 11 PM those days.

Big Game Boomer (@biggameboomer on Instagram) posted a list of the best bar in every college town. His pick for Memphis? Blind Bear.

Speaking of the Bear, DJ Tree will spin there Friday and Sunday nights this week. 10 PM start time.

One more piece of Bear news – they’re looking to hire a barback.

Meet Lovie the Memphis Public Libraries therapy dog at the Cossitt Library today at 11 AM. She’ll be there for a program called Do Dogs Talk? Find out what dogs mean when they display particular behaviors. Learn how to avoid being bitten by a dog.

In other Cossitt news, my sweet friend Desiree told me she’s going to start teaching yoga classes there next month. Details should be on the library website within the next week, and I will post them as I get them.

From Action News 5: Great American River Run to take place Memorial Day weekend

Also from Action News 5: Discover the Greenway events kick off June 3. Many of the events happen on the Germantown section of the Wolf River Greenway, but on June 5 there’s Sunset Yoga at the Mud Island Trailhead.

So, why am I job hunting, and what am I looking for?

Independent freelance writing is not producing a reliable, stable income. It would have been better if I had come to this conclusion around September of last year, but I was stubborn. That has led to financial difficulties the past 2 months or so.

The financial difficulties led to health difficulties. I’d go 3-4 days without eating. I lost 40 pounds since January. Friends would tell me “you’ve lost a lot of weight” and they didn’t mean it as a compliment – they meant it in an “I’m scared for you” kind of way.

The financial and health issues led me into a deep depression. That’s why I went 30+ days without blogging. I just couldn’t find the energy.

Worse, I kept my troubles all bottled up inside. It wasn’t until May 1 that I confessed to a few of my closest friends what was going on with me. I should have done it weeks sooner.

Things have improved a little. The financial issues are still present (hence the job hunt) but, as you can tell from my long blog posts the past 2 weeks, the depression has lifted somewhat. Friends are making sure I have good meals to eat every day and I’ve regained 15 of the lost pounds. Friends have told me I look much better than I did a month ago.

So, what kind of job am I looking for?

I’m open to almost ANYTHING provided I’m physically capable. It does not necessarily have to be a job related to my college degrees (in computer science) or similar to past jobs I have held.

I’m looking for something that checks one or more of the following boxes:

  1. Interesting
  2. Fun
  3. Allows me to spread my passion and love for Memphis
  4. Allows me to utilize my outstanding writing skills
  5. Gives me the chance to teach or inspire others
  6. Is Downtown, or work from home, because I no longer have a car. Reachable by the Groove on Demand shuttle might work too.

If you know of anything that might be a fit, please email me at, or text me if you have my number, or private-message me on Facebook if we’re friends on there.

Thanks and I love you all. I enjoy writing for you on this blog so much.

It’s just after midnight on Thursday, and that’s a lot earlier than I normally do a “daily update” post. Some of my main news sources – the local TV stations, the Daily Memphian, the Commercial Appeal – haven’t updated with overnight news yet. E-newsletters I subscribe to won’t hit my inbox for another 5-7 hours.

But I have a highly time-sensitive news item: Lovie the dog at the library at 11. So I need to go ahead and publish.

Tell ya what… I’m going to the library myself in the morning, and I’m taking the laptop with me. I want to get a cover letter and resume together for one position I did find that checks several of the boxes above. Once I get done with that, I’ll check my news sources, and if there’s anything that can’t wait until Friday, I’ll do a “Thursday update #2” post sometime between noon and 3 PM.

Thanks, friends, for sticking with me.

Wednesday update

When I was a little kid and school was out for the summer, my grandmother and I would sometimes spend our afternoons making Betty Crocker Snackin’ Cakes. They were cakes you could mix, bake, and serve all in the same pan. They disappeared from store shelves around 1980. My favorite of all the Snackin’ Cake varieties was banana walnut.

Yesterday morning I woke up to a text from Jeannette, the owner of the Blind Bear. It was about our friend Nappin’ Ass Nate, who left us the first week of December. Yesterday would have been Nate’s 44th birthday. Nate’s parents, knowing the Bear was his favorite place, had sent a cake there. His closest friends would gather there at 3 and have a piece of cake (and a few shots, of course) in his memory.

So I walked down there right at 3, getting my favorite seat right at mid-bar. I saw a big green box labeled FROST sitting on the back bar, and I thought, oh yum, Nate’s parents did well. Nate’s friends – the ones who weren’t working at 3 PM on a Monday – started to gather. By 3:45 we had a full bar.

We did a round of Rumple Minze in Nate’s memory. For the record, Rumple is one of my least favorite alcoholic beverages to shoot, in a category with tequila, Ole Smoky Blue Flame moonshine, and Malort. But it was Nate’s favorite, so I held my nose and joined in.

Jeannette and her mom Sheryl then cut the cake. “Paul, do you want a piece?” Sheryl asked. Which, of course, I did.

Perjorie T. Roll doesn’t come out with me much anymore, but remembering the way she used to look up to her Uncle Nate, I just couldn’t leave her at home.

I grabbed a fork and took a bite, having no idea what flavor this brown-and-yellow cake was.

Memories of banana walnut Snackin’ Cakes with my grandmother immediately came flooding back!

I mean, it’s not exactly the same thing. Snackin’ Cakes didn’t have layers. Or frosting. But the cake itself – the flavor was ON POINT! I’m convinced whoever conceived of this cake made banana walnut Snackin’ Cakes in the 1970s.

From Frost’s main menu page:

Banana Cake

Almost a pound of bananas in each cake, with chopped walnuts and our smooth cream-cheese frosting. No other banana cake compares.

A whole banana cake is listed at $42 on the menu page. That seems like a bargain for a cake of this quality.

I’ve been getting a lot of compliments on my hair lately – people have told me it looks extra silky and shiny. That’s because I switched shampoos last week. Here’s what I’m now using:

It’s on the top shelf of the shampoo aisle (I think) at Downtown Walgreens, and it’s one of the more inexpensive shampoos they carry ($5.49). I don’t use conditioner, but I do comb my hair out while still wet within 10 minutes of getting out of the shower.

Let’s get on to the news…

Today is National Escargot Day. Get ’em at Bishop, the French restaurant in Central Station Hotel, where they come as a petite plate with watercress, sourdough, and lemon parsley.

A judge will rule on whether Tennessee’s incredibly stupid anti-drag law is constitutional by June 2, before Pride Month festivities kick off.

From the DM’s Inked column: Plans for University Lofts are moving forward in The Edge at 440 Monroe, on the land where the Holliday Flowers building once stood. The new apartment complex will contain 105 units.

MPD Director C.J. Davis said in a community meeting yesterday that there are no longer plans to use the Greenlaw Community Center as a holding area for juvenile curfew violators. Public feedback from Greenlaw residents led to that decision. Kids will be taken to police precincts if their parents can’t immediately pick them up.

Ja Morant posted “Bye” on Instagram recently, worrying his fans.

A man has been arrested for stealing multiple Infiniti sedans in Downtown Memphis. Check out this quote from the WREG news story: “From the beginning of the year to May 10, 5,390 cars were reported stolen in Memphis. That compares to 2,294 vehicle thefts over the same period in 2022.”

Residents in the Hope Heights Tower at Madison and Danny Thomas have been without elevator service for a week. Disabled residents in wheelchairs are stranded in their apartments and would be unable to get out in case of a fire.

Catherine and Mary’s is hiring a server.

Allworld Project Management seeks a trainee for GIS/mapping work. They’re looking for a sophomore or higher in college with at least a 2.5 GPA. This is a part-time position for summer 2023. $18-$20/hour.

That’s it for today’s post. Back tomorrow, probably.

Tuesday update

Walking home last night, I saw a number of 24-hour construction & emergency trucks parked outside Brinkley Plaza. One of them had vacuum hoses extending into the building and appeared to be pumping out water. I hope there hasn’t been another water main break on that block of Monroe.

The Redbirds remain in Memphis this week for a homestand vs. the Norfolk Tides. Here’s a look at what’s going on (first pitch times in parentheses:

  • Today (6:45 PM): No special promotions
  • Wednesday (12:05 PM): Matinee game
  • Thursday (6:45 PM): $2 PBR!!!!! $1 hot dogs. The Redbirds will wear their throwback Memphis Chicks uniforms.
  • Friday (7:05 PM): There’s an all-you-can-eat specialty ticket that gets you BBQ nachos, sliders with pulled chicken and pulled pork, tortilla chips, coleslaw, BBQ sauce, salad with ranch dressing, hot dogs, soda, and water. Dugout tickets $35/field box tickets $32.
  • Saturday (6:35 PM): The first 1500 fans will receive a free Memphis Redbirds beach towel. After the game there will be fireworks.
  • Sunday (6:05 PM): Kids 12 and under receive a free Prairie Farms ice cream sandwich, and after the game they can run the bases.

LOL @ LAL. The Lakers blew a 15-point lead to lose to Denver in 4 straight. Wonder if that will make LeBron lobby hard for changes in the offseason… I’ve read that a LeBron/Kyrie Irving reunion in L.A., probably through a sign-and-trade, is a possibility.

Inkwell, the cocktail lounge at 631 Madison out in The Edge, posted its schedule for this week:

  • Today: DJ Siphne Aaye
  • Wednesday: Bread & Butter
  • Thursday: Ariel Reign, Khidagood (aux)
  • Friday: Bizzle Bluebland
  • Saturday: Kid Maestro
  • Sunday: Taliba Safiyah, Cameron Hamilton (aux)

I have no idea what (aux) means but that’s the way it was printed on their flyers.

Former Grizzlies shooting guard/small forward “The Grindfather” Tony Allen has entered a guilty plea in a fraud case brought against him and other current and former NBA players. They’re accused of filing false claims against the NBA’s health and benefits plan. TA will be sentenced on August 8. Do I have any readers who are legal eagles? If so, what are the chances he’ll see jail time from this?

Also, I wonder if this guilty plea will prevent Tony’s jersey from one day hanging from the FedExForum rafters next to those of Z-bo, Gasol, and Conley?

Tony Allen wants to help current Grizzlies star Ja Morant through his time of troubles. The Grindfather says he has spoken to Ja’s father Tee multiple times.

Feast & Graze, the cheese and charcuterie joint on the Main Street Mall, will be opening at noon this week rather than 11 AM.

Feast & Graze, by the way, is hiring for two positions. One is a combination charcuterie board artist & catering assistant, and the other is a delivery driver. Email if interested.

The Groove on Demand rideshare app is now letting you bring your bike, at no additional charge. You can inform Groove you plan on bringing a bike using the app. Here’s how:

  1. Before you enter the pickup and dropoff addresses, tap the plus sign under the search bar.
  2. Select Bicycle from the dropdown menu.
  3. Tap Confirm Headcount.

You can bring up to two bikes if space is available.

Never tried Groove on Demand? I was telling a friend last night, it’s nearly as convenient as a Lyft or Uber while being as cheap as riding the bus. It covers Downtown, Uptown, Smoky City, New Chicago, Crosstown, The Edge, the Medical Center District, Annesdale, South Main, South City, the STAX/Soulsville neighborhood, and Presidents Island.

One of the restaurants in the Memphis Flyer article Off the beaten BBQ Path is accessible by Groove on Demand. Smoky City BBQ at 1023 Jackson sells classic BBQ sandwiches as well as burgers, catfish, wings, and plenty of other choices.

In a recent post, The Broom Closet on South Main mentioned that their very own Rev. Omma is an ordained minister. Therefore, she is available to officiate weddings. Call 901-497-9486 or email to start a conversation with her about officiating yours.

Drink special alert: Bardog has mango white tea shots for $5.

Courtyard Memphis at N. Main and Jefferson is having a patio party tonight from 6 to 9. Looks like the weather will cooperate. predicts 83/63 with almost no chance of rain.

The Memphis Flyer is seeking nominations for categories in its Best of Memphis poll. You have until Wednesday, June 14 to nominate.

Greenlaw residents are upset with MPD’s plans for their community center. Greenlaw is the neighborhood approximately bordered by the river on the west, A.W. Willis on the south, Thomas on the east, and Chelsea on the north. It is considered part of the larger Uptown community. The community center is at 190 Mill in Greenlaw Park. MPD wants to use the center as a holding pen for juveniles found out in violation of curfew.

Soul & Spirits brewery at 845 N. Main will be closed Sunday, May 28 and Monday, May 29 so employees can spend time with their families.

If you didn’t make it down to BBQ Fest, you can still get BBQ Fest ’23 merchandise in the Memphis in May online store.

I don’t usually do real estate listings on this blog, but for this one I’m going to make an exception. There’s a condo for rent in the Shrine Building at Front and Monroe. $2100/mo, 3 BR/2 BA, 1507 square feet. If you’re interested, I’ll let you click the link to see the list of amenities, but I’ll also mention that the BEST amenity is not one listed – it’s across the street from Bardog. You’d have a short walk to get far-above-average takeout food. And should you choose to drink there, you’d have a short stumble home.

The Shrine is also across the street from the newly-reopened Cossitt Library, so if you’re a book lover (or if you want easy access to Chef Eli’s great food at Dos Hermanos Cafe in the library), that’s an amenity too. When construction is finished, the Brooks Museum of Art will be cat-a-corner to the Shrine.

I will point out, though, that living in the Downtown core is not for everyone. It gets extremely noisy on weekend nights – mostly due to the sound of revving engines and tires squealing on nearby streets. Also, when the condo is across the street from one of the most popular bars in the city, a bar that closes at 3 AM, you’re not going to have total peace and quiet.

Rootstock Wine Merchants at 644 Madison is doing a special tasting this Friday from 5 to 7 PM with wines from Field Recordings. Five different wines will be available for sampling. No need to RSVP; just show up. Of course, you have to be 21 or older to sample.

Jaren Jackson Jr. has a new commercial partnership deal. The NBA Defensive Player of the Year will work with SoFlo Snacks to produce a product called Black Panther Energy Gummies.

From WREG: There was controversy at BBQ Fest as some members of Game of Bones Barbecue were asked to leave the park. The team claims race may have been a factor in how they were treated by sheriff’s deputies. Memphis in May officials say the team was asked to vacate their booth because they obstructed Riverside Drive.

Congrats to Memphis Clover Club, whose upstairs bar recently scored 100 on a health inspection.

Downtown’s Holiday Inn is hiring a short order/prep cook.

Hot Rods on Beale happens tonight from 6 to 10.

Doug McLeod plays The Central BBQ Sessions at Central BBQ Downtown tonight from 6 to 9.

River Garden will host a Sunset Skate this Thursday from 6 to 9. Free lessons from Step and Skate Movement at 6 and then skating to the sounds of DJ Brother John at 7. Pre-registration is recommended and skate rentals are first come, first served.

Memphis in May’s Great American River Run is this Saturday. There are half-marathon, 10K, and 5K options. Finish your race and you get a medal and admission to a post-race party with food and beer.

DJ Snow plays Parties at the Pyramid this Friday evening. Free to get in 6 to 7, $10 cover after 7. Free entry to Big Cypress Lodge guests. Music starts at 8.

Comeback Coffee hosts a free movie screening of Everything Everywhere All at Once Friday evening.

There will be a Spring Soul Fest in Handy Park Thursday from 5 to 7:30 PM. You’re invited to bring a lawn chair or blanket for seating.

Cat’s Ballroom and the Downtown Memphis Commission will host free slow-lounge lessons at Fourth Bluff 7-8 PM Saturday. Beginners’ class, no partner or experience needed.

The first in a series of A Summer of Photography workshops kicks off Saturday at the Cossitt Library The full schedule:

  • May 27: Camera settings and visual fundamentals with Ally, Alex, and Tre
  • June 3: Portraits with Jasmine and Ariel
  • June 7: Polaroids with Ziggy and Ariel
  • June 10: Lighting your subjects with Jordan Danielz
  • June 14: Street photography and how to photograph new people with Brandon Dill
  • June 17: Editing and portfolio design with Amanda and Ariel
  • July 1: Gallery show

Cordelia’s Market will host its May trivia night Wednesday at 6:30.

Happy Heavenly Birthday to our buddy Nappin’ Ass Nate.

A few of his closest friends are gathering at Blind Bear at 3 this afternoon to celebrate his birthday. I have a feeling Nate will be sitting at that big bar in the sky, probably with our friends Mac and Rick, looking in on our celebration, happy to know that he’s still such a big part of our lives.

Happy birthday also to The Price Is Right host Drew Carey. He turns 65 today.

That’s it for this very long news post. I’m considering doing a personal post explaining why I didn’t blog for a month and was rarely seen out at my favorite Downtown spots. It’s just a matter of how much I want to open up on here to a public audience. I know that most of my readers who know me personally love me and want to see me do well. But there are always those two or three who feel the need to judge me or lecture me. That is absolutely not what I need right now. That makes me want to withdraw into myself and shut out the world.

Back tomorrow, probably.

All kinds of good things can develop

One of my dearest friends came to town this weekend and we had breakfast and lunch together. I got to try a couple of Downtown dishes I had not had before, and I thought I’d share some photos.

This is the Three Little Pigs omelette from Automatic Slim’s: Smoked sausage, bacon, and ham wrapped in an omelette with a side of potato hash. It was really yummy.

Slim’s is unique in that it opens at 9 AM for Sunday brunch, whereas most of the other restaurants and bars that do brunch in the Downtown core don’t open until 11 or later. It’s definitely not a secret: By 9:45 the place was practically full. Perhaps it’s because of the drink specials – $3.00 Bloodys and mimosas during brunch hours. We sat at the bar and bartender Emma took great care of us.

At 11 we walked over to the Blind Bear. After a couple of hours catching up with the Sunday crew, I ordered lunch.

First time to try the menu item named after me! Paul’s Meatloaf Sandwich comes on Texas toast. It normally comes with sides of mashed potatoes and okra, but they told me they were out of mashed potatoes. No problem, I was happy to substitute a side of the Bear’s delicious mac & cheese.

We closed out the day in the basement of Winfield’s clothing store at Madison and Main for a birthday party. Awesome guest list, fantastic food, and superior sips. What a great way to wrap up the weekend.

Years ago, I was watching a poker training video by one of my favorite players, Daniel Negreanu, and he was playing one of my favorite starting hands, 8-7 suited. “All kinds of good things can develop,” commented Daniel.

I find that’s a great philosophy by which to live life.

All kinds of good things can develop.

They certainly did yesterday.

Sunday update

Yesterday I talked about my adventures with the ChatGPT artificial intelligence app for iPhone. I noted that it’s really good at constructing outlines for essays, and that professors are going to have to download the ChatGPT app to make sure students didn’t use it.

But would it really be so terrible if they did?

I taught math and computer classes at the University of Memphis from 1994 to 1999. One class I taught was College Algebra. Some faculty who taught that class allowed students to use calculators on tests, while others didn’t.

I let my students use their calculators. I figured, those devices are facts of life, and besides, College Algebra is not a basic arithmetic class. I made them show their work. They had to set up their equation and show me how they solved it, step by step. If they let the calculator do all the work and wrote down nothing but the answer, they didn’t get credit.

ChatGPT is great for generating outlines for high school and college essays. Why not just accept that as a fact of life too?

Yesterday I gave a sample essay question: List some reasons the Beatles broke up. Let’s say I ran it through ChatGPT and one of the answers it supplied was George’s emergence as an equally gifted songwriter to John and Paul, creating competition for album space (that was actually one of my answers, not ChatGPT’s, but play along with me here).

If I simply put that down without offering any supporting evidence, I would expect to receive a bad grade on my essay, even though the answer was technically correct.

In actuality, I’d supply the following supporting points:

  • “Taxman” on 1966’s Revolver was perhaps George’s breakout song and fit right in with other late-moptop-era Beatles recordings.
  • Then I’d mention the songwriting maturity shown in his 1968 song “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” I’d be sure to mention that Eric Clapton, not George, played lead guitar on that one.
  • Next I’d mention his twin masterpieces on Abbey Road, “Here Comes the Sun” and “Something.”
  • I’d also mention some of his lesser-known but fantastic Beatles songs such as “Old Brown Shoe” (the B-side to “The Ballad of John and Yoko”) and “I Me Mine” (from the Let It Be album).
  • I’d close up by discussing George’s post-Beatles song “My Sweet Lord” and how you can hear the freedom of George no longer having to conform to the band’s musical style.

If a student can supply supporting arguments, who cares if AI generated the outline for his or her essay?

On to the news…

Today is Waiters and Waitresses Day. Be sure to tip your servers extra generously.

Deep Roots plays Loflin Yard today at noon.

A Memphis Tigers alumni team is headed to The Basketball Tournament (TBT). TBT offers $1 million in prize money to the winner. It uses a modified version of college rules, including 9-minute quarters, 6 fouls to foul out, and the Elam Ending. TBT will feature a bracket of 64 teams and will be played in July and August on ESPN. The U of M alums team will include

  • Shawn Taggart
  • Chris Crawford
  • Will Coleman
  • Willie Kemp (coach)
  • Jeremiah Martin
  • Adonis Thomas
  • Alex Lomax
  • … and they say there are big names yet to be announced.

The team will be called The Beale Street Boys.

Ribdiculous Bar-B-Q became the first rib team in 22 years to win Grand Champion at BBQ Fest. Sweet Cheeks took first in Shoulder, and Hometown BBQ won Whole Hog. Congrats to the winners. Congrats also to my friend Bones who cooked for Moe Cason’s BBQ team (3rd in Shoulder) and my friends on Too Sauced to Pork (3rd in Ribs) and Heath Riles BBQ (9th in Ribs). Full list of “Big Three” category winners

Battle Brothers Que won the Patio Porkers division at Handy Park. They’re a group of military veterans from Jackson, TN. Patio Porkers winners

Check out the new tiger cubs born at the Memphis Zoo.

Grateful Web has a review of Beale Street Music Fest.

Today looks to be a fun day. This morning I’m having brunch at Slim’s with a friend from out of town, then tonight I’m attending a birthday party for one of my favorite people. It’s entirely possible I will take the day off from blogging tomorrow, because I plan to go to Bardog and spend what’s left on my gift card. Back Tuesday, if not sooner, with more news.

Saturday update: Fun with ChatGPT and lots of Downtown news

I mentioned yesterday that I downloaded the ChatGPT artificial intelligence app onto my iPhone. Once I did, I decided to ask it a couple of questions in my area of expertise.

Q: Can you recommend a drink at the Blind Bear in Memphis?

ChatGPT answer: As an AI language model, I do not have personal preferences, but I can suggest a popular drink at the Blind Bear in Memphis: the “Moonshine Martini.” It is made with catdaddy moonshine, triple sec, fresh sour mix, and a splash of soda. Another popular drink at the Blind Bear is the Bloody Mary, made with the house-infused pepper vodka and homemade Bloody Mary mix.

Moonshine is what the Bear is known for, but I don’t see a moonshine martini on its drink menu. As for the Bloody Mary, that’s a pretty generic recommendation. Any bar should be able to make that.

Q: Can you recommend something to eat at Bardog Tavern in Memphis?

ChatGPT answer: As an AI language model, I don’t have personal preferences or tastes, but according to Bardog Tavern’s menu, they have various delicious options. Some popular dishes are the Bardog Burger, the Pimento Cheese Fries, the Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese, and the Memphis Style BBQ Nachos. They also have a wide selection of local and regional beers, as well as cocktails. I suggest checking out their menu and choosing an option that appeals to your taste buds.

Don’t bother trying to order any of those items. They’re not on Bardog’s menu and never have been.

Conclusion: ChatGPT might be good for some things, but not hyper-local recommendations. No AI bot will be writing a Downtown blog better than mine anytime soon.

It’s BBQ Fest Saturday, the last day. Tom Lee Park is open to the public 10 AM to 10 PM today. You can view the full schedule. Here are a few of Paul’s Picks for the day.

  • Don’t forget that today is the Patio Porkers competition in Handy Park at Beale and B.B. King Blvd. This event is FREE to attend (you don’t need a BBQ Fest ticket).
  • Judging Day. If you’ve been invited to a team’s booth, please understand that you may not be allowed in immediately if you go in the morning or early afternoon. Teams generally don’t allow anyone in their booths except presenters and judges when judging is going on. Even the other team members generally wait outside. Presentation is a huge part of a BBQ team’s score.
  • The Grill Mates demos, because they conclude with samples for the audience. They’ll make sweet jalapeno grilled chicken breasts at 1:00 and Montreal steak tri-tip flatbreads at 4:00.
  • Awards ceremony: Ribs, Shoulder, Whole Hog, Grand Champion 6:30
  • Nolan Tayloe 8:00
  • Dale Watson 9:15

The Preakness Stakes, the second leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown, happens today. It will be broadcast on NBC and Peacock from 3:30 to 6:30 Central Time.

Today is World Whiskey Day.

From Tiger Blueprint: Kendric Davis excels at NBA Combine

It’s the 3rd Saturday in May at the Rumba Room. Well, now that I think about it, it’s the 3rd Saturday in May everywhere. But at the Rumba Room specifically, that means it’s time for swing dancing. $5 cover, no partner necessary. The fun starts at 7 PM.

The Redbirds host the Gwinnett Stripers tonight at AutoZone Park at 6:35. The first 1500 fans through the gate get a replica of the original 1998 Memphis Redbirds jersey. Stick around after the game for fireworks.

From the Memphis Flyer: Memphis Beer Blog shines a light on the Memphis craft beer scene

Also in the Flyer: Celebrating Shawn Cripps’ legacy at the River Series. A tribute to his band The Limes happens this afternoon at the Harbor Town Amphitheater.

From Men’s Journal: Book a trip and enjoy the blues in the Hyatt Centric Beale Street Memphis

BBQ legend Melissa Cookston is calling it quits as far as competition goes after this year’s BBQ Fest. Cookston will remain busy with her restaurant, Memphis Barbecue Co., in Horn Lake, and her store The BBQ Allstars in Southaven. She will also continue to be involved with the World Junior BBQ League which she founded four years ago.

From the DM: The best-kept secret of BBQ Fest may be the VIPit Pass. The pass costs around $500. Pass holders get their own hospitality area, a tour of select rib, shoulder, and hog teams, and they get to eat BBQ by some of the top teams in the park. There’s also a meet & greet with BBQ royalty like Melissa Cookston and Tuffy Stone.

WREG has a list of the most and least stolen cars in Memphis. As you might guess, Hyundais, Kias, and Infinitis made the “most” list, with Nissans rounding out the top four. I was pleased to see the last two makes of cars I owned, Volkswagen and Saturn, on the “least” list.

Tater Red’s gift shop on Beale has reopened, and it’s under awesome new operators: Ashley Parham and Daryl Andrews, who also run Walking Pants Curiosities on G.E. Patterson. The name will change to Dreamers’ Revival – Walking Pants on Beale, but they plan to still honor the Tater Red’s name in some way.

Central Station Hotel seeks a bell person.

Tug’s Casual Grill is back open. The Harbor Town restaurant closed temporarily following a shooting there last weekend.

Okay. I’m gonna give my ChatGPT iPhone app the chance to redeem itself. This time I won’t ask a local question; I’ll ask it to list some reasons the Beatles broke up. Before consulting the app, my answer would be

  1. The 1967 death of the Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein left them rudderless
  2. Their label Apple Records was a money drain and stressor for the band
  3. Yoko Ono’s constant presence in the studio punctured the tight brotherhood that the Beatles had become
  4. The emergence of George as a songwriter on par with Paul and John created too much competition for space on each album

So, let’s see what the ChatGPT app thinks.

There were several reasons that contributed to the Beatles breaking up:

1. Creative Differences: The band members had different visions for the direction of the music they wanted to create. This led to conflicts and disagreements during recording sessions.

2. Personal Issues: The members of the band were going through personal issues, such as divorces, drug addiction, and financial problems.

3. Yoko Ono: John Lennon’s relationship with Yoko Ono created tension within the band and caused friction between the members.

4. Managerial Disputes: The Beatles’ manager, Allen Klein, was seen as divisive and the other members, particularly Paul McCartney, did not trust him.

5. Burnout and Exhaustion: After years of non-stop touring and recording, the members of the band were burnt out and wanted to pursue their own projects.

These factors cumulatively led to the decision to dissolve the Beatles in 1970.

Not a bad answer at all! Note that this could have easily been a term paper question in a “History of Rock Music” college course. I wonder if professors will have to start consulting ChatGPT to make sure their students didn’t use it.

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