How the Left Lost Teen Spirit

One of my favorite things to do these days is to type random names or phrases into Wikipedia and see what comes up.

So the other day I was listening to some MP3s, and some Led Zeppelin came on. That reminded me that I had a biography of the band that I hadn’t read in about 10 years. So I went to the closet, found it, and started reading. In 1973 they hired a publicist named Danny Goldberg who eventually became vice-president of their record label, Swan Song. He was an interesting character because he was several years younger than the members of the band (who were in their mid-20s when he was hired), and at the time he had longer hair than any of the band – not what you’d expect from a “corporate” guy. So I decided to type Danny Goldberg’s name into Wikipedia and see what he’s been up to the past 30 years.

As it turns out, he’s been up to a lot. He’s been the president or chairman/CEO of several record labels, and he managed Nirvana when they were at their peak. He was also CEO of Air America Talk Radio from February 2005 to April 2006 and remains with the company as vice chairman. I noticed he had his own site,, and being a big fan of people who own their own name as a domain, I clicked on it.

The most fascinating part of the site, I thought, was an interview that he did. In the interview he explains that he supports the policy goals of the Left, but that Democrats have been ineffective in wrestling power away from Republicans because they have forgotten how to talk to the common man (and woman). Democrats, he says, come off sounding like they’re only concerned with what people in Washington think. Republicans, on the other hand, learned early on to speak to the people. Reagan was “the Great Communicator.” Dubya wanted his rationale for the Iraq mess to be so simple that “even the boys in Lubbock could understand it.”

Until Democrats learn to connect with the public – particularly young people, Goldberg says, they will continue to lose elections, no matter how destructive the Republicans’ policies are. He outlines how pop culture can be used as a hook to connect with the younger generation in the interview and in several books he has written. John Kerry should have hired this guy as an adviser, because he personifies the problems Goldberg talks about. Hopefully Hillary Clinton will ask his advice in ’08.

Song currently stuck in my head: “Bron-Yr-Aur Stomp” by Led Zeppelin. There will never be another drummer like John Bonham.

Thursday update

I just got home from a meeting of the Center City Commission’s Safety & Traffic Task Force. Very, very productive meeting and well worth taking an afternoon off work. All the major groups were there – Center City, Convention & Visitors Bureau, MPD, Ride the Ducks, Redbirds, Peabody Place Security, and many more… and, of course, Residents for a Safer Downtown Memphis. I took extensive notes, and as soon as I get them typed up I’ll post them on the news section of RSDM’s site.

However, I’m so excited about one thing that I’m going to go ahead and let the cat out of the bag: The Memphis Police Downtown Entertainment District has a new commander, Major Johnny Currin. The EDU is the unit that provides extra coverage from 7 PM to 3 AM when people are out having a good time. Through RSDM I have known Johnny for a couple of months now, and let me tell you, he is ready to take action. He has been out on the streets on foot himself the past several weekends. I can’t tell you how encouraged I am about the safety situation downtown with him in charge.

I finally made it to Wine Wednesday at LoLo’s Table last night, after meaning to go for several months. Every week they select a couple of reds and a couple of whites and put them on sale for $12 a bottle, which for a restaurant is an incredibly low price. So I brought a gorgeous blonde up there and we shared a bottle of Falling Star chardonnay. Food was great too – I ordered the trout, which turned out to be the biggest serving of fish I have ever seen in my life; she had the evening’s special, which was a southwestern pasta with chicken.

Keep in mind that they also have Sangria Saturdays – pitchers of either red or white sangria for $8 when you also order food. I’ve never seen white sangria before – I’m going to have to go back sometime soon and give it a try.

ATTENTION NEIGHBORS IN MY BUILDING: Last Monday evening, the aforementioned gorgeous blonde came over and hung out at my apartment for the first time… and as soon as I mentioned the rooftop deck, the first words out of her mouth were, “We need to have a party up there.” YEAH! Haven’t we been talking about having a party on the roof for months and months? Enough talk; it’s time for action! Let’s make it happen.

I’m not going to the weekly party on the Peabody roof tonight. Sister Hazel is playing, and I avoid that place like the plague when they have a big-name band. Extra expensive and the lines are too long. Instead, I’ll be hitting the Saucer for a couple of hours to type up the meeting notes on my laptop, then I’m going to a private party for my friend Novella Smith Arnold who is running for County Commission. Hopefully it will be a victory party.

Other than a private function on Saturday afternoon, I have no plans at all for the weekend at this point. Sometimes those turn out to be the best weekends though. I will say that I plan to be at Pint Nite at the Saucer on Monday. For some reason I have a feeling Pint Nite will be looking better than it has in months… about 10 months.

Dawgie Style, the new restaurant on Madison between Second and Third, is now open. According to the Center City Commission’s Livin’ It Up newsletter, they serve hot dogs, sub sandwiches and wraps. They’re open 7 am to 11 pm Monday-Friday and 11 am to 10 pm Saturday and Sunday. Downtown residents: Please go by and give this place a try. We really need to support restaurants that have the guts to stay open into the evening hours downtown, rather than just for lunch. And they’re open Sundays too – so I have a new place to stumble for a meal after my champagne bottle at Sleep Out’s is finished. Cool.

All right. Time to pack up the laptop and go visit my waitresses.

Copping a ‘tude

What do you do when someone gives you a MAJOR attitude for no reason at all?

A couple of weeks ago, I was at the Black Diamond about 2 in the morning, meeting a friend, who had just gotten off work, for a drink. She was sitting at a table with a few of her co-workers and four or five other people. Then she got up. “Paul, we have to run across the street to Club 152 for about 5 minutes,” she told me. “We’ll be right back.”

“Okay, I’ll be here,” I replied, and she and the other girls walked out. After about a minute, I figured, well, no point in standing when there’s a place to sit… so I took her empty seat. No sooner had my butt touched the chair when a booming voice behind me said, “DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!”

I turned around and saw a nicely dressed guy in a club shirt. “What?” I asked him.

“Don’t even THINK about sitting in that seat! That’s MY girl!” he yelled, motioning toward a blonde sitting to my left. I have to admit I hadn’t even noticed the blonde, because I had been there to meet someone else.

Now, I didn’t appreciate his attitude at all, but he was sitting at a table with people I considered friends, so I figured I’d give him the benefit of the doubt. “Hey man, I didn’t realize it was your seat, take it,” I said, getting up. “And I was here to meet someone – I wasn’t trying to hit on your girl.”

“WhatEVER,” he replied. “Just go. GO!”

Now, I’m not one to cause trouble in bars but you gotta admit, I had every right to be provoked. And I realized quite a few people in Memphis, who take the “respect” thing way too seriously, would have started a fight with him. But instead I thought, why should I ruin my own evening because of this asshole? I was there to have fun with a friend, when she got back. So I decided to give him the attention he deserved, which was none at all. I walked over and sat at another table.

It reminds me of some of the best advice I ever heard – “When someone has an overly strong reaction to you, they’re saying something about themselves, not about you.” If that guy behaves that way all the time, I thought, I don’t need to create problems for him – he’s more than capable of doing that on his own.

Funny thing was, later in the evening I saw him go over and give the bartender at the Diamond a hug. And recently I saw him at Blues City watching FreeWorld, and he went over and gave the bartender there, who I’ve known for 15 years, a hug. So at least some people who I think are good people think he’s good people. Who knows. Maybe he was just having a bad night. I’m happy with the way I handled it.

As usual, I’m sitting at the Union Avenue branch office on my lunch break. This place is very well staffed today. I’ve heard from friends that the owners of The Majestic Grille would like me to name that place as a branch office as well… I haven’t been there in almost a month, which is an unusually long time for me. Their application for branch office status is under consideration, and hopefully I’ll get back there soon. Right now, though, it’s time to spend the afternoon imprisoned in a cubicle…

Tuesday evening post: political controversy, sad news from Little Rock

I want to alert my readers to a news story that ran on Action News 5 tonight. As you know, I am a huge supporter of Novella Smith Arnold, one of the most kind-hearted people I have ever known, for County Commission. Her opponent, Henri Brooks, is not only running for the Commission seat, but also for her District 92 seat as a state representative which she has held for many years. There is no law prohibiting Brooks from running for both seats, but if she wins both it could cost taxpayers up to $250,000 for a special election to fill the seat she decides to give up. As Memphis Flyer editor Jackson Baker put it, “$250,000 is a lot to spend cause somebody couldn’t make up their mind what to do.” Click here for the story, and decide for yourself whether Brooks has taxpayer interests or her own in mind.

Also, I want to mention another news story… as many of you know, I grew up in Little Rock, and as I grew up I listened to sportscaster Paul Eells call Arkansas Razorback football games for years. As fellow Little Rock native Charly puts it, “He’s that guy you knew would live forever to be the voice of Arkansas.” But he didn’t. Last night he was killed in a car crash as he drove back to Little Rock from Fayetteville, where he had been interviewing Razorback head coach Houston Nutt. Arkansas football won’t be the same without his distinctive “Touchdown, Arkansas!” call. I can promise you everyone in my home state has a tear in their eye today.

Tonight was team trivia night at the Flying Saucer, and the Rapscallions failed to add to their accumulated stash of 10 gift certificates valued at $270. We had a different trivia guy: Rather than Pete, it was John, the manager who used to do trivia at the downtown Saucer until January when he got sent out to the new East Bumblefuck location. He told us that they’ve actually had to dumb down the trivia questions out there – at the east location it has been possible to get one or two questions per round right and win, whereas downtown if you miss more than one or two questions per round you’re going to lose. Why am I not surprised?

Tomorrow (Wednesday) night: Free Sol at Court Square in the opening night of the concert series, 6 to 8. Not sure I’ll make it to this one – may have other plans, we’ll see. Regardless, at some point later in the evening I’ll probably make an appearance at the Saucer, and depending on how I feel I may catch The Dempseys at Blues City Cafe, starting at 9. The Dempseys, by the way, have just added new pics to their photo archive of themselves with President Bush and the prime minister of Japan, and pics of themselves in the movie “Walk the Line.”

That’s all for now… I bid a fond good night to my readers in Memphis and around the world.

Early Tuesday post

Happy August everybody! Finally, Tube Top Month Extended is over at last, so I can go back to typing posts without having to incorporate a theme.

Got a beer recommendation for you… Avery White Rascal. It’s one of the newest beers at the Flying Saucer (the downtown one… don’t know if the East Bumblefuck location has it). My friend IQ told me about it last night, and since it was on the $2.50 Pint Nite list I decided to try one. Then I decided to try five more. It’s a Belgian-style beer, very light in color and tasty. I hope this won’t be one of the beers that the Saucer has for three weeks and then gets rid of. They always seem to do that with my favorite beers.

Early this evening I will be at the Farmers’ Market Pavilion (Front at GE Patterson) for National Night Out, a block party thrown by the Memphis Police. Check the news section of the Residents for a Safer Downtown Memphis website for details. The party goes on from 4 to 7 – I will be there from the time I get off work until about 6:40, when I have to leave to make it to trivia night at the Saucer on time.

There’s a new magazine being distributed around town called Image Magazine. It’s a little magazine (about 4″ x 6″, 42 pages) that covers nightlife in Memphis. I’ve seen it at Big Foot and Blues City; not sure where else you can pick up a copy. Anyway, on page 11 they have “Hot Spots,” where they list their top 7 or 8 picks for things to do every night of the week in Memphis, and I have to admit, they did a damn good job. Just about everything I would pick is in there. Pint Nite at the Saucer on Mondays. FreeWorld at Blues City on Sundays. Rooftop party on Thursdays. Raiford’s and Wild Bill’s are listed as Friday and Saturday options. If you’re from out of town, or even if you’re from in town, this is not a bad list to get you started on things to do in Memphis. Even I learned a few things. For example, I see Dish has White Trash Night on Wednesdays. I may have to make the drive to Midtown and check that out sometime soon.

I can’t think of anything else right now… so I guess I’ll hit Publish and get ready for work.

A few pictures

I finally plugged my digital camera in and downloaded the most recent round of pics. Let’s see what we have here:

This is the new Saturn Sky two-seat convertible. It was on display in the showroom last week when I took my car in for service.

Another car – but this one is mounted on the side of a wall. Yes, this is a full-sized pink Cadillac. It can be seen at Blues City Cafe.

After I got done looking at the car, I ordered a half-rack of Blues City’s ribs, in my opinion the best ribs on Beale Street.

Sign advertising Sunday brunch at Sleep Out Louie’s. If you click on the image to see it in full size, you’ll see my name and the names of most of the other regulars.

Here’s a pic of the Nuh-Uh Girl throwing darts at the Flying Saucer. The Nuh-Uh Girl was mad at me for not taking a picture of her in a tube top dress she had on several days before, so I figured I’d make it up by posting this pic of her.

All right… it’s Sunday. Time for me to buy a Sunday paper, write my “Deal of the Week” blog, and then head to Sleep Out’s for brunch. It’s a Must Eat, you know.

Brewer movies, new branch office, and more

Last night I went to the South Main Trolley Art Tour, which this month had an Elvis theme. One thing I learned is that there are Elvis wines, made by Graceland Cellars. You can buy these at various wine shops around the city – visit their website to find out where.

There were also non-Elvis events. Filmmaker Craig Brewer showed a 3-minute trailer of his upcoming movie, “Black Snake Moan,” to be released in February. It was outstanding, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Christina Ricci. From the IMDb entry on the movie: “A God-fearing bluesman (Jackson) takes to a wild young woman (Ricci) who, as a victim of childhood sexual abuse, looks everywhere for love, never quite finding it.” I’m not a movie person normally, but I’ll have to go see this one.

Also, here’s an inside scoop for you: A friend of mine talked to Brewer after the trailer viewing, and told him that he should consider making a stage version, a musical, of his last movie, “Hustle & Flow.” “I’ve thought about that for a while,” Brewer reportedly said.

It was good to see my friend Carmel at Trolley Tour. Hang on, let’s post a pic of Carmel:

There ya go. That’s Carmel. Carmel reminded me that in addition to Steve Cohen and Novella Smith Arnold, there was one more candidate I had been meaning to endorse in the upcoming election – Evan Nahmias, who is running for a judgeship in the upcoming election. Can’t remember which judgeship and I don’t have my sample ballot handy – just remember to look for his name when you go vote. He’s a young guy with a lot of ideas and he seems to have a lot of compassion. I think he’d do well on the bench.

I also stopped by and saw my friends at American Apparel at the corner of Main and GE Patterson. I’d like to point out that they have a sheer jersey tube top on sale at their online store. Tube Top Month Extended is almost over, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop wearing tube tops – they’re always in season. Heck, Carmel wore a tube top to my plate party, and that was in January.

I’m pleased to announce the opening of a new branch office. As you know, I already have a branch office on Union Avenue, where there’s a guy named Louie who’s always sitting around. I also have a branch office on Second Street, where the employees have an excellent dress code, and where you can get water from 70 different water coolers, and if you don’t like coolers there are 130 varieties of bottled water, and the water tastes a little like beer. Well, next week I will be opening my third branch office… on Germantown Parkway.

“Germantown Parkway?” you ask. “But Paul, that’s in Cordova! East Bumblefuck, as you call it! Why would you open a branch out there?” Well, for one thing, the new branch has the same excellent dress code as the Second Street branch, as well as the 70 different water coolers and 130 different bottled waters. However, the reason it has been named as a branch office is because of its international flair. Starting next week, at the G-town Parkway branch you will be able to get a Belgian beer to drink, and a German platter to eat… served to you by a waitress from Romania.

Speaking of that German platter… one of the reasons I like it is, they have little cards listing the different meats and cheeses you can get on it, and on the card is a picture of a sheep. I like sheep. Not in the same way I like Romanians, mind you. Well, unless I’ve had too much to drink. But we all know I never do that.

The international flavor will probably be lost on the East Bumblefuck patrons though… 200 different beers, and I would just about guarantee you that the most popular one at that location is Bud. “Well, hail, I ain’t gonna try IPAs or porters or hefe-weizens or any of that funky shit,” is likely the attitude. “Budweiser may taste like piss-water, but gosh dern it, it’s American piss water.”

Found a very cool toy to play with… Loki, a program that integrates with Internet Explorer or Firefox. If you’re on a wireless connection, Loki will find you and tell you where you are, and it will give you dining, traffic, weather, and more information for your area. If you travel and have a laptop, this would be an especially useful program to install.

Plans for today… once I get a couple loads of laundry done, I’ll be at either the Union or Second branch office getting some work done. Sigh… I hate working on a Saturday, but I have three consulting projects I’ve been putting off. Not sure what I’ll be doing tonight. If you know of anything interesting going on, let me know.

To borrow a phrase from Philip, y’all have fun and don’t get none on ya.

Thursday update: Angry waitress, downtown without a Vue, tube tops

Didn’t get around to voting yesterday. After work I had a news article I wanted to post on the Residents for a Safer Downtown Memphis website, so I took the laptop to Sleep Out’s and knocked it out.

To my female readers: I strongly suggest you click over to the RSDM website and click on the News link. My newest article is about a new, sophisticated breed of purse snatchers that are operating throughout the city but seem to be targeting Beale Street in particular. If you go out this weekend, be sure to keep an eye on your purse at all times, and only leave it in the care of people you are sure you can trust.

So tonight I will definitely go vote after work. Then I am going to the Peabody rooftop party, and this week I mean it – there have been a few weeks in a row when I have said I am going and then didn’t make it. This week I’m ready to go have some fun. If anyone wants to meet me up there, I’ll be there about 7:30.

Bumper sticker I saw on the way down here: “Draft SUV Drivers First” Amen!

What else is going on… one of the waitresses at the Saucer is mad at me. “I’ve seen you at Raiford’s twice and you didn’t dance with me either time!” she told me. I further compounded the problem a few minutes later. A gorgeous blonde who used to work at the Saucer walked by the Second Street window, and I commented that the blonde was my favorite Saucer waitress of all time. “What?” said the already-mad-at-me waitress, “*** I *** AM YOUR FAVORITE WAITRESS OF ALL TIME!” Geez. I can’t seem to please anyone these days. To make matters worse, I couldn’t remember her name – all I knew was that it both started and ended with an A. So for the rest of the evening, I called her Althea, Atlanta, Antarctica, Acrophobia, anything that started and ended with an A. I wonder how many times she spit in my beer.

An article in the Commercial Appeal this morning says that The Vue will not be built. The Vue was to be a 28-story apartment building at Main and Gayoso, which would have brought much-needed rental units to an area overrun with condos. The developers tried to secure financing for three years, but could not get it. They cited the fact that rents have not risen to keep up with construction costs, and therefore it was not feasible to build the building as rental units. That’s quite a blow to Downtown. Pretty much everything is converting to condo and you have to have some serious money to live in the core part of downtown. There are some rental units left but you’ll be lucky to find a decent one-bedroom for less than $900 a month. Not everyone can afford that, especially not people in the arts and education and people fresh out of college. The lack of rental units decreases diversity in the community and I hate that.

All right. In honor of Tube Top Month Extended, let’s have some fun. I’m going to click the Random Article link on Wikipedia and relate whatever comes up to tube tops.

First off, we have European Legions, an album by Norwegian black metal band mayhem. I doubt there are many tube tops in Norway, it’s too cold to wear them there.

Next up is The Mountebanks, a comic opera. Operas make me fall asleep. If I ever go see The Mountebanks, perhaps I’ll take a date in a tube top so I have something to focus on to keep me awake.

Next is “Hurricane Neddy,” the eighth episode of the eighth season of The Simpsons. A hurricane approaches and everyone panics but Ned Flanders, who remains calm. Of course, I was writing about The Simpsons on this blog just the other day, commenting that Marge Simpson wears the same dress every day and my friend Meredith should take after Marge and wear the green tube top every day.

Next we have Lowville, Wisconsin, population 987. The article gives various statistics about the town but doesn’t mention how many women in Lowville wear tube tops.

Okay, one more. Let’s see what comes up: Militias in Bermuda from 1612 to 1815. Tube tops had not been invented back then, so I doubt tube tops were part of the uniform.

Aren’t you glad that you only have to endure a few more days of this tube top nonsense? I’ve decided not to do a theme for August. I’m tired of having a topic that I have to work into every post.

As usual, I’m at the Union Avenue branch office composing this lunchtime post. Cool, there’s a Romanian working! I’m going to log off and talk to her.

Wed. lunch post

I can’t believe how many people who have asked me, “Did you really book The Dempseys to play for George Bush?” For those of you who missed the previous post… Sunday night they announced to the crowd that I was their manager, that I book all their gigs. They were kidding, of course. No. No. Just to remove all doubt… I did not book them to play for Bush. If I were truly the manager of a successful band, why in the world would I spend 8 hours a day working in a cubicle?

This lunchtime post is once again brought to you by the Wi-Fi at Sleep Out Louie’s. Fellow SOL regular Josh just walked in and said, “I just saw one of your Romanians in a tube top,” and I jumped about three feet out of my seat. He didn’t know which one it was, but he said that she was blonde, that the tube top was well filled out, and that she was pulling it up. If she walks back by while I’m still here, I may very well get down on one knee and propose. Wear a tube top, get a green card.

One more item to add to the Friday night festivities: Lamar Sorrento will be appearing at Dr. Bob’s gallery at 10 South Main. Dr. Bob will also be showing the Katrina short films if you missed them last time.

The Rapscallions rolled to a first-place victory last night at trivia at the Saucer. That brings our total stash of gift certificates to $270. Time to have a party! We’re planning it via e-mail this morning.

After talking to several trusted friends, I have decided that I am not ready to take down the June 5-9 posts about downtown crime that led to the formation of Residents for a Safer Downtown Memphis. Previously I had considered removing them, because I worried the posts were hurting the image of downtown, and I felt like the crime problem was starting to be addressed. And it is… but it’s still a problem. When I walk to Jack’s and get hit up by 3 bums in 2 blocks, that makes me mad. So, the posts stay up until January ’07 at least.

Speaking of crime… the gang members who were arrested in last week’s Operation Blue Crush sweep appeared in court today. One of the gang members told the judge that the assault rifle found in his possession was a present from his grandmother. He wasn’t kidding. From now on, whenever someone asks, “WTF is wrong with Memphis?”, that will be the story I tell them.

Last week when I was looking at the sample election ballot, there was a name that looked vaguely familiar – Bren Olswanger. “Do I know that guy?” I wondered. Well, today after seeing his ad in the Flyer, I realized who he was – Bren from the TV show The Apprentice. He was on a couple of seasons ago and made it to the final five. He has a website at and is having a reception tomorrow at Murphy’s, 4 to 7 pm. By the way, Murphy’s address is wrong in the Flyer ad – correct address is the corner of Madison and Avalon.

Oh, cool! The Court Square Concert Series is coming back. Those were a lot of fun last year. They’ll be held every Wednesday in Court Square, near the intersection of Second and Court, from 6 to 8 pm. Good music, beer and wine, bums and pigeons. Free Sol kicks it off next Wednesday, August 2, and the series will continue through October 25. Nice to see them doing it when the weather is a bit cooler this year – good idea. It’s still plenty warm enough in October for outdoor shows. Attn Mikey: I’m sensing an opportunity for Residents for a Safer Downtown Memphis to shake hands and kiss babies at these shows. Actually, babies are kind of gross, I’d prefer to shake hands and kiss Romanians.

I haven’t voted yet… I’ll probably do it today after work. I’ll walk up to the main election office and press the levers for Steve Cohen and Novella Smith Arnold. Or, if I unexpectedly die before I make it to the polls, then I’ll show up there as a ghost and vote for Ophelia.

That was bad. Back to work.

Very quick lunchtime post

Only got about 10 minutes to do this, so it will be short…

I got second place in Huey’s trivia contest last night. I played as Professor Paul, although Mikey came in after about the third question and by then it was too late to switch to the Rapscallions team name. My prize was a $20 Huey’s gift card.

Tonight the Rapscallions will be back at the Saucer for their Trivia Bowl. Reminds me, I gotta study up this afternoon.

Looks like Friday will be a big day this week. Not only will South Main Trolley Art Tour be going on from 6 to 9, but word is that Drake and Zeke will be at Sleep Out’s from 5 to 7 as well. It will be a Red Stripe party, and you can enter to win a trip to Jamaica. Looks like I’ll have a full evening.

I’m sitting here at Sleep Out’s right now, as a matter of fact. Dammit… I had hoped a Romanian would be waitressing, but it’s The Most Annoying Woman On The Planet II instead. And there’s no one in a tube top in here. This is almost as boring as my cubicle at work. Speaking of which, it’s time to head back that way…