A displaced artist from New Orleans has set up shop in one of the ground-floor storefronts in my apartment building. Last week I was walking by, and in the window I saw a sculpture that read, “S.O.S. – Stamp Out Seriousness.” What a great slogan. I wish he’d print that on T-shirts. I’d definitely buy one.

The older I get, the more I realize that seriousness is hardly ever a useful emotion. People need to approach everything they do from its opposite, playfulness, a lot more.

If you examine seriousness – if you say, “I’m serious about _____” – there’s almost always an underlying emotion of fear. I could write another 10 paragraphs giving examples of this, but you know what? I’m not going to. I’m going to leave it to you, the reader, to decide if you agree or disagree, and to come up with your own examples.

Rapscallions defeat Team Palm Pilot, win second consecutive first-place

The Rapscallions’ winnings: three $25 bar tabs.
Two from our consecutive first-place finishes,
and one from a second-place finish a few weeks back.

Tonight at the Flying Saucer, the Rapscallions trivia team took home the first-place prize for the second week in a row. This feat was even more astounding because the 4-member Rapscallion team defeated an 11-person team from St. Jude who was flagrantly cheating with the help of a Palm Pilot. “Cheat to win!” I yelled at them as the results were announced. “Eddie Guerrero would be proud!”

So we now have three bar tabs, a combined $75 value. They don’t expire for a year, so we have plenty of time to spend them. We could have a big party one night (I need to check and see if we can spend more than one bar tab at one time – I don’t see why not) or we could wait until we accumulate 6 of them and hand each Rapscallion a $25 tab to do with as they please. (There are two more team members, the two females, who were not there tonight. Must’ve been a Tupperware party somewhere in town)

Can we make it three first-places in a row next Tuesday? Tune in to the blog to find out.

Big Foot

– If you’re downtown tonight, run by Big Foot Lodge between 11 pm and 1 am. They will be serving their 34 oz. Big Foot Beer in keepsake mugs to celebrate being named one of the best new restaurants in town. And the price per beer – 2 bucks. Try getting a deal like that anywhere else downtown. The place will be packed, I bet.

– Big Foot has a 4 lb. burger called the Sasquatch. If you can eat it all by yourself, with fixins, in one hour, you get it for free. Otherwise it’s $19.99. Okay, let’s do the math here. Four pounds in an hour… that’s a pound every 15 minutes… which is the equivalent of eating a Quarter Pounder every 3 minutes and 45 seconds. Now, if I’m really hungry I can probably eat ONE Quarter Pounder in 3:45… but I doubt I could repeat that 15 more times in a row. No one has won the Sasquatch Challenge yet, and I’m not surprised.

– Wonder when the WWE is coming back to Memphis? I’d like to see the Big Show have a go at the Sasquatch Challenge… he might be able to do it.

– They have some unique items on their menu… they have this thing called Poutine (pronounced poo-tin) which is “a delightfully unique cheese” over hand-cut fries, smothered in gravy. Haven’t had it yet but it sounds interesting. Next time I’m walking home drunk from the Tap Room, I’ll stop by and pick up an order.

– Their slogan for that menu item could be “order it and you’ll be Poutine all night long.” Maybe that’s why no one in the restaurant business ever offers me a job.

– I wonder if Vladimir Putin is still president of Russia? I haven’t been keeping up with the news lately.

– If my last name were Putin I’d nickname myself “I.B.” I mean, with a name like that you know you’re going to be a walking poop joke, might as well laugh at yourself first and take the fun out of it for everyone else.

– No, I haven’t been drinking today. Not yet.

– Also on Big Foot’s menu, I notice that you can get a 34 oz. Big Foot import draft for $6.50. Now, they only have one import selection – Newcastle – but still, that’s not bad at all. Down the street you’d pay $4.50 for a 16 oz. Newcastle draft.

– So there you go – a free commercial on my blog for Big Foot. They deserve it though – the owner is a super nice guy, and he advertises on Progressive Talk 680 so their politics are in the right place.

– All right, time to go outside and watch COGIC people parade around in their gaudy suits and dresses and hats. Hmmm… “female COGIC convention attendee”… that’s a possible Halloween costume for next year if I decide not to do the Beer Goddess again. Of course, when I do a Halloween costume I stay totally in character all day, so if I’m out and you wait on me, you can expect me to tip 27 cents on my $15 bill.

– Time to start drinking. See you later.

As interesting as cat poop: Friday update

(Edited Saturday, November 12: Well, I typed this all up and then forgot to hit the Publish button, so I guess this is now a Saturday update)

– Last night I went to the Dempseys show, and ran into regular blog reader Mallory. She commented that she was sad that my blog didn’t make the top 5 Memphis blogs in the Memphis Flyer “Best of Memphis” awards. Personally, I’m not surprised – this blog is about as interesting as cat poop. I mean, I spent the entire month of June talking about tube tops. Carol Coletta’s blog made the top 5. I have a feeling her blog is probably more interesting than mine.

– Interesting fact: Carol is the only person ever to hand me a loss at Trivial Pursuit.

– My new digital camera has 18 different settings, for taking different kinds of pictures: landscapes, close-ups, night pictures, candlelight, document photos, etc. But there needs to be a 19th setting called “Raiford’s.” I’ve tried 3 times now to get a decent pic in that place and I can’t. All I get is fog and maybe a couple of lights. Guess I’m going to have to get there right at 10 before Raiford starts hitting the smoke machine.

– Plans for this weekend: none so far. What’s going on around town?

– A week from today (November 18) is my birthday, so plans for next weekend will likely involve getting drunk.

– Come to think of it, plans for this weekend will probably involve getting drunk too.

– And on Sunday, November 20, the Dempseys return to Downtown Huey’s after a year-long absence. WOOHOO! Downtown Huey’s is my favorite place to hear the Dempseys. The stage is close to the crowd and the acoustics are good.

– Then on Wednesday, November 23, I’ll drive over to Little Rock to spend Thanksgiving with my mother. Hmmmm… I could come back on Friday the 25th for Trolley Art Tour, or I could spend an extra night in Little Rock and go out to their bars in their River Market district. This is a tough decision, hang on, let me do a little research.

(dialing number on cell phone)

“Flying Saucer, Little Rock. May I help you?”

“Yes, do you have any Romanians?”

“I’m sorry, sir, we don’t carry any beers from Romania.”

“No, I’m talking about the waitresses, the girls in the miniskirts. Are any of them from Romania?”

“No, sir, they’re not.”

“Oh well, thanks anyway.” (click)

Guess there’s no point spending the extra night in Little Rock, then. So I’ll be back Friday the 25th.

Mail bag

337 new messages this morning – I’m getting quite popular! Let’s see what we have in the ol’ Inbox today:

Subj: p(P).-e(E).-n(N).-i(I).-s(S) e(E).-n(N).-l(L).-a(A).-r(R).-g(G).-e(E).-m(M).-e(E).-n(N).-t(T)

Most a(A).-n(N).-n(N).-o(O).-y(Y).-i(I).-n(N).-g(G) message ever.


Subj: Attain all of your goals with our extensive supply of m-e-d-i-c-i-n-e.

I suppose if my goal was to be d-r-u-g-g-e-d up all day long, then this might be worth checking into. But I think most people don’t look at m-e-d-i-c-i-n-e as a way to attain goals. At least not normal people. It would be much more useful to have m-o-n-e-y. This should have been a “Make Money Fast” message.


Subj: Attention all wristwatch addicts!

It’s possible to be addicted to drugs. It’s possible to be addicted to alcohol. It’s possible to be addicted to nicotine. It’s even possible to be addicted to another person. But WRISTWATCHES? I mean, what’s the point? You only have two arms. What are you going to do, wear them on your feet as well?

But, there are all kinds of people in the world, so there probably are some wristwatch addicts. Perhaps they could respond to the previous e-mail and get some m-e-d-i-c-i-n-e to manage their addiction.


Subj: The appearance of success is just a mouse click away


Hey, they were right, I successfully deleted their message.

Subj: Paul – IMPORTANT – please read immediately
From: Marilyn Ryburn

From my mother.


Hope it wasn’t anything important.

Subj: can I ask you a question?

If you live downtown, you hear this all the time – it’s the opening line the bums use when they approach you. Of course, the “question” is always the same – can I have some money.

I guess one of the bums must have used one of the free Internet terminals at the Cossitt Library to send me this message. But, I have to offer a critique. The correct way to phrase it is, “can I aks you a question.” A-K-S. Acceptable alternate spellings are A-X and A-X-E. But never A-S-K. If you’re going to be a bum, you need to know these things.


Too bad the real-life bums don’t have a delete key.

Subj: Impress your co-workers with a genuine immitation R0l3x

Hmmm. There are five other programmers where I work, who have approximately the same job I do, and therefore make approximately what I make. If I show up wearing a “Rolex,” they’re going to wonder how come I can afford one and they can’t. Seems like this would destroy the cohesion and teamwork in my department.


Subj: Obtain the snob appeal with one of our luxury wristwaatches

If there’s one group of people I don’t care about appealing to, it’s snobs.

You know, the first rule of marketing is, know your customer. If these watch vendors had spent 5 or 10 minutes looking at my blog, they would have been able to craft the perfect e-mail to get my attention. Something like

“Impress women in tu;be t0-ps with our luxury waatches”


“Be appealing to r(R).-o(O).-m(M).-a(A).-n(N).-i(I).-a(A).-n(N) girls with our genuine immitation timepieces”

Now those subjects would get my attention.

There is one thing I’m a snob about though – correct spelling. And since the sender thinks there are two a’s in “wristwatches,” he has not obtained the snob appeal with his message.


Subj: What time is it? It’s an excellent time to obtain a timepiece!

These people sure do want me to buy a watch. I have another marketing suggestion. Hire Morris Day, lead singer of The Time, as your spokesman. Run some TV ads with Morris swaggering around in his leopard jacket and his genuine immitation R0l3x, singing “Jungle Love” or “The Bird.”

Of course, it would probably cost more to produce and run a TV ad than it does to spam 100 million Internet users.


Subj: St0x in play
Subj: Small Cap Express
Subj: Stocks in motion
Subj: Will this stock be the next “Super Nova?”
Subj: One of Wall Street’s best kept secrets
Subj: Top portfolio solutions
Subj: High Performance Stock?

I can double my money overnight, if the stock these e-mails are touting moves in price from $0.01 to $0.02 as predicted.


Whew. All this deleting is making me thirsty. Time to go out and drink a b(B).-e(E).-e(E).-r(R).

Condo fever: some things to consider

I know a lot of Downtowners read this blog, and some of you are consider buying a condo in the next few years. Check out this article on MSN Money – it will give you some things to consider when deciding if a condo is a good investment.

My take on it: The downtown Memphis condo boom will continue as long as interest rates stay low. But, Greenspan has warned that the deficit situation, combined with baby boomers starting to retire, is bound to push interest rates up. When that happens, the downtown condo market will begin to look overbuilt, and core downtown – where parking isn’t included in the purchase of a condo – will be hardest hit.

I also think core downtown condo property values will take a hit if we continue to have earthquakes of any size (magnitude 4 or greater) in the region. CERI has said over and over again that the older buildings downtown will not be able to withstand a major earthquake, and if it keeps coming up in the news people will get skittish and be afraid to buy.

I think there will be a right time to buy downtown – but it’s somewhere between 3 and 10 years from now, after the condo bubble bursts. Until then I’ll keep renting.

Wednesday update: A Rapscallion victory, COGIC, and more

– The Rapscallions, despite the absence of a couple of team members, turned in a first-place finish at trivia night last night at the Flying Saucer. The final question was a classic example of Rapscallion teamwork – in what year was Joan of Arc canonized, closest team to the correct answer gets the points. Another team member and I believed that the Catholic Church wouldn’t have canonized a woman until relatively recently, perhaps during John XXIII’s reign (1958-63) when the church modernized somewhat. Team member Carmel said she thought it wasn’t that recent, and would prefer an answer around 1900. In the end, we decided to split the difference and answered 1930. 1920 was correct, and we were closest and got the victory.

– The grand prize was a $25 gift certificate to the Saucer – we have two of those now. We’re starting a collection. They don’t expire for a year so we can wait until all the team members are present to spend our winnings.

– Also last night, I drank my 185th beer. That means I have 15 left before I get my plate on the wall. Unless the rules have changed since I joined, when you hit 200 beers you get a plate-unveiling party and a $100 bar tab. I’m probably going to slow down drinking the last 15 so that my plate-unveiling won’t happen until January. If I have it in December people will have conflicting holiday plans.

– Been making the list of people to invite to the plate unveiling… some of these people are capable of running $100 bar tabs by themselves. I may have to put some limits in place.

– On to a different topic… COGIC has contacted me and asked to use one of my Memphis Wallpaper images for the cover of their quarterly magazine. They’re in town this week for their annual convocation, and want to use an image of the Memphis skyline.

– To any COGIC attendees who find this page – welcome to Memphis, hope you have a productive week here. Please be sure to treat your servers and waitstaff with courtesy and respect, and tip them well.

– All right… I have much more to say and not enough time to say it. So that’s it for now. Maybe I will post again tonight.

Tuesday update – ballroom dancing, new restaurant, Romanians, and more

– Just got an e-mail from a friend of mine, saying that the ballroom above Jack Robinson Gallery on Huling will begin offering dance lessons January 5. Classes will meet once a week and will cover the waltz, rhumba, swing, foxtrot, slow lounge, cha cha, salsa, and mambo. My friend was trying to get a group of 6 or more together to book a private class, but I think I’d rather just go to the regularly scheduled Thursday night classes. It says “dance partner not required.” Might be an opportunity to meet new people, and if nothing else it’s an alternative to what I usually do on Thursday nights (going to a bar and drinking).

– Rumor has it that the space on Main formerly occupied by Gordon Biersch is going to be transformed into a 1920s-themed restaurant with music and dancing. That could be VERY cool if done right, and the dance lessons mentioned above would come in handy. Maybe I should have paid more attention when my grandmother watched Lawrence Welk on TV; I could have picked up some dance moves.

– Me and my big mouth: This past weekend I e-mailed the Romanians and told them about Libertyland’s closing. One of them responded yesterday that she was “devastated” and couldn’t stop crying. She said she really wanted to come back to Memphis next summer, but if Libertyland’s not there, she’s not going to come back. NOOOOOOO!!!!!! Why did I have to tell her that? Now I’m going to have to hack Libertyland’s website and put up a “We changed our mind, we’re re-opening” message to show to her.

– I wonder which park will take over the title of “World’s Most Ghetto Theme Park” now that Libertyland is out of business?

– The predicted high for today is 86F. One last opportunity for the cute girls in this town to put on a tube top. Guess I’ll have to go out tonight. Well, tonight is trivia night, and I’m just dying to see my trivia teammate Carmel again (inisde joke) but I guess I’ll have to stay out late afterward. But for now, I’m going to wrap up this blog entry and attempt to have something resembling a productive day. Catch you later…

You asked for it, you got it, Alito

Here’s a link to a good Newsweek article about Supreme Court nominee Sam Alito.

Personally, I think Alito should be confirmed. He seems to have an excellent track record as a judge. The only objections Democrats/liberals have are over ideological differences, and I think it sets a very, very bad precedent to deny someone a Supreme Court seat on that alone.

It’s true, he could overturn Roe v. Wade, he could vote in the majority of other rulings that deny Americans their civil liberties. But, America asked for it. One of the duties of the president is to make appointments to the Supreme Court, and it seems to me he’s well within his rights to pick someone who shares his ideological views. If we didn’t want a man like Alito on the Court, we should have voted differently in 2004.

I hate to see Roe overturned, but I think it will take a major loss of constitutional rights before America wakes up and starts making intelligent choices at the ballot box.

In the News

This is a new feature for my blog, In the News, in which I will add my own personal spin to current news items.

News item: Libertyland likely to close

This is bad news for all of Memphis. Not because we’d miss the theme park (Libertyland, to be quite honest, sucks) but because they offer summer employment to hot girls from all over eastern Europe – and in particular, Romania. These girls, once here, are able to get out of their Libertyland contracts and get actual decent jobs – waitressing in bars downtown, for example. Up until this year I never realized what an essential role Libertyland played in the local economy. We MUST find a way to keep it open.

News item: Bush Administration announces plans to combat avian flu

More bad news. Part of the plan is travel restrictions to and from countries affected by the new strain of bird flu. And one of the affected countries is Romania. That means that people like these might not be able to travel to America next summer on student visas. Come on, George. So the flu hits America and some people die. It’d just be some old people and some kids, for the most part, and who cares about them, anyway. Do the right thing, George. Keep our borders open.

News item: Eastern European governments deny secret CIA prison camps

And one of the first countries to deny that the CIA was operating prison camps within their borders was… Romania. Now, let’s take a moment to examine their history. During the 1930s-1945 they were a Nazi satellite. From the end of World War II to 1990 they were a Communist satellite. So doesn’t it make sense that they’d buddy up to the Evil Empire of the 21st Century – the Bush regime? I bet there are CIA prison camps all over Romania.

News item: Paul discovers one of his former Blue Monkey bartenders working at Cafe 61 tonight, drinks three stiff drinks

And as a result, we have this stupid blog entry.

You know, about 6 months ago, I had a dream that I was talking to a girl at the downtown Blue Monkey – at the upstairs bar. After I woke up, I thought, that was a weird dream, the Monkey only has one floor. And now the Monkey has burned and they’re rebuilding. Wouldn’t it be odd if they built a multi-story bar, and six months ago I dreamed of sitting at the future Monkey, instead of what was at the time the current one?

All right. First drunk post in a while. That felt kinda good. Maybe I’ll do another drunk post this weekend. Which means, as a prerequisite, I’ll have to be drunk at some point this weekend. I’ll see what I can do about that.

I wonder if, in the 24th century, kids will be required to study this blog as an example of classic American literature.

Probably not.