Jan 292015
 

Happy birthday to Grizzlies All-Star Marc Gasol, who turns 30 today.

For Memphians who have moved away, you have a rare opportunity to see your Grizzlies on TV tonight. The Grizzlies’ home game vs. the Denver Nuggets will be broadcast on TNT tonight at 7. You’ll want to tune in for the pre-game, though, because the All-Star reserve players will be announced. Both Zach Randolph and Mike Conley have a chance at making the team, with Conley being more of a longshot not because of a lack of talent, but because there are a lot of good point guards in the Western Conference right now.

If you didn’t make it to Soup Sunday four days ago, you can still taste one of the winners. Chicken Velvet Soup is Bardog Tavern’s Soup of the Day today.

Central BBQ is selling 6- and 12-packs of ‘que for Super Bowl watch parties. $22.99 for the 6, or $38.99 for the 12.

John Mellencamp’s Plain Spoken tour will make a stop at the Orpheum Tuesday, June 23.

Voting was delayed on the issue of whether to take away the Pinch District’s National Historic Register status. Losing the status could make development easier in the neighborhood, which will boom once Bass Pro opens in May.

More bad publicity for everyone’s least favorite cable company: Comcast apologizes for changing customer’s first name to “Asshole”

I’m not a gamer, but nevertheless, I have a game recommendation: Resident Evil 3. In this game, a character named Jill who has a tube top on gets chased by zombies. If I ever become a zombie, I hope I get to chase some hot women in tube tops.

Note for my fellow pro wrestling fans: Starting Sunday, February 1, if you sign up for the WWE Network they’ll give you February for free, including the Fast Lane pay-per-view to be held here in Memphis and the next of the awesome NXT Takeover specials.

I hadn’t played the Wednesday night poker game at Bardog in two years, but for some reason yesterday seemed like the right day to check it out. It’s a good game and Joe has come up with two innovations that really help: First of all, the blind clock is on the big-screen TV, where everyone can see it, and it shows not only the current blind level but the next. That’s really helpful in figuring out how aggressive you need to be. Also, Joe has two decks at every table, so the person in the small blind can shuffle and have the cards ready to cut and deal by the time the button moves and they become the dealer. That allows more hands to be played per blind level, which makes the game more likely to be decided by skill rather than luck.

I won’t become an every-week regular at Bardog poker, because I have a bartender at Silly Goose who would not be happy if I left her bar early every week. However, I will go back from time to time. It was an enjoyable Wednesday night. As a bonus, last night they had their Rancher’s Pie on special – beef brisket covered in chipotle mashed potatoes, carrots, onion, and cheese.

The same bartender works at the Goose tonight, so I will lead off there after work. Plans for the rest of the evening TBD.

Let’s pretend

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Jan 282015
 

Friday night is a chance for you to relive your childhood in Downtown Memphis. Remember when you were little, and you played “let’s pretend”? Well, Friday night you can pretend there’s a trolley for South Main Trolley Night. Many shops and galleries in the area will stay open until 9 or later, with some having special discounts and some putting out appetizers, beer, or wine for their guests. As I mentioned earlier this week, there will be a singer/songwriter night at 550 S. Main, and there will also be live music at the Green Beetle, Double J, Grawemeyer’s, and Cafe Pontotoc.

Update on the Grizzlies wrestling championship belt giveaway happening at Saturday night’s game: The FedExForum will open at 5 PM, TWO hours early as opposed to the usual one hour. There are only 3000 belts, so if you want a belt plan your schedule accordingly.

Thrillist, the useful and informative list site that covers many large cities, has come to Memphis. The first list is a list of the 14 most essential restaurants in Memphis. Downtown restaurants mentioned include Central BBQ, Chez Philippe, Gus’s, the Rendezvous, and Alcenia’s.

There’s a fundraiser for ArtsMemphis called “A Dollar Goes a Long Way” at the James Lee House this evening. However, if you want to attend the event, you will have to part with 225 of those dollars. More info here.

The Memphis Tigers host the ECU Pirates tonight at the FedExForum at 8.

ApplePay is coming to thousands of vending machines. If you have an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, it will be easier than ever to get that bag of Cheetos.

Seen in my Facebook news feed: Crocheted man shorts are sure to be all the rage this summer. If you ever see me in a pair of these, you totally have permission to punch me in the face.

Poker news: The World Series of Poker is changing its Main Event payout structure this year. In recent years, the $10,000 buy-in event had a guaranteed first-place payout of $10,000,000. This year first place will pay less but 1000 players will be guaranteed to finish in the money. If the number of entries remains consistent with last year about 15% of the field will be paid.

Speaking of poker, I came in third in Blind Bear poker last night, earning a $10 gift card and an extra point in the race to the final table in April. Fact I learned last night that I’ll share with poker hosts/tournament directors who read this blog: Cougars don’t like to be seated next to me at poker tables.

After work, I’ll lead off at the Silly Goose as usual on Wednesday, but to borrow a phrase from my friend Neal “you neva, eva know” where else I might pop up later in the evening. Weather will be warm enough for me to wear my favorite winter outfit of PBR hoodie, shorts, and sandals. Fun afternoon ahead at work (I get to configure a WordPress installation!) then out about 5:30 for dranks.

Jan 272015
 

An expensive Maserati crashed into a pole this morning at the intersection of Union and Riverside. There was heavy front-end damage to the car.

The monthly Downtown Neighborhood Association is tonight at the Downtown Central BBQ, at 147 E. Butler cat-a-corner to the National Civil Rights Museum. Tonight’s meeting is FREE for non-members as well, so if you’ve wondered what the DNA is all about, this is a good time to come learn about the organization. Refreshments will be served, with social time at 6 and the program beginning at 6:40. Reid Dulberger will speak. He is president and CEO of EDGE (Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis & Shelby County), the group that recently approved tax incentives for IKEA and which is an advocate for development in the core community. The DNA will also talk about upcoming events and opportunities to get involved.

From Memphis Magazine: eighty3 rolls out the best Elvis dessert you’ve ever tasted, a Memphis take on Bananas Foster.

Northeastern US blizzard update: Milk and bread are not the only staples people need to survive a heavy snowstorm. Alcohol delivery app Drizly reports that orders were up 477 percent above normal for New York City and Boston yesterday.

If you haven’t tried Belle Southern Bistro yet, today might be a good day: On Tuesdays all entrees are $5 off, as are bottles of wine.

Last night I went to happy hour at Bardog and got an unexpected treat: My friends Dennis and Karen, two of my favorite Downtowners, were there for dinner. Later in the evening I joined them for British Bingo at the Blind Bear. Karen gave me a tip, one which I was already well aware of but which I will pass on to my readers anyway: Karen thinks Lisa, bartender at the Majestic Grille, makes the best martinis Downtown. “She asks exactly the right questions,” Karen told me. She makes sure she understands exactly what you want, and then pours it for you.

I have my sights set on Blind Bear poker tonight, 8 PM, free to play, Jamie dealing and my favorite pair of librarian glasses serving. I’m in a poker kind of mood this week and am looking forward to a good night. Life’s been good to me so far…

Jan 262015
 

If you are going to the Memphis Grizzlies’ Saturday home game against the OKC Thunder, you will want to get there early, early, early. The first 3000 fans will get a Grizzlies championship belt, similar to the belts champions in UFC and WWE wear. Here’s a photo of one of the belts.

Speaking of WWE… if you’re a wrestling fan, tonight’s Monday Night RAW should be interesting. The event was scheduled for Hartford, Connecticut tonight, but due to the blizzard the fed cancelled the show for the safety of its fans. However, WWE headquarters is in nearby Stamford, and they plan on producing a live three-hour show from there. Wonder what they will do with the three hours since there will be no in-ring action. It might be a good thing for the federation though, as the live crowd shit all over Roman Reigns last night after he won the Royal Rumble, even booing The Rock who was in the ring to celebrate with Reigns. May be good that there will be no live crowd tonight to bury him even further with their reaction. Poor Roman… all he did was what his bosses asked, and now he’s Batista Part Two. Sufferin’ succotash!

My friend Katie Mac will be excited about this: Choose901 reports that there is a new food truck named Say Cheese that makes different types of grilled cheese sandwiches.

The Super Bowl trophy made it safely to Phoenix thanks to FedEx Express.

Former Memphis Tiger Kuran Iverson, who was kicked off the basketball team a couple of weeks ago after a Twitter controversy, is reported to have landed at the University of Rhode Island.

Paul Morris who runs DMC learned this afternoon that Kate Spade has a line of handbags called “Beale Street.” Here’s a look at one of the bags. “Where’s our royalty Kate?” Paul asked.

Twilight Sky Terrace, the lounge atop the Madison Hotel, reminded its fans that it is open year-round, and that from now until April, they spin their own tunes and there is no cover charge.

Home from work and on my way out to Melissa Monday at Bardog. Back tomorrow with more news.

Monday news

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Jan 262015
 

Sunday is the Super Bowl and many Downtown bars will be running Super Bowl specials (or as the bars have to call it, “The Big Game Specials” or “Super Sunday Specials”). I will try to post of many of these as I can throughout the week. If you know of a special, shoot me an email at paul@paulryburn.com.

The Flying Saucer will have a complimentary food buffet featuring many game day favorites starting at 5 PM. They will also have their Bloody Mary bar that is normally out noon to 3 on Sundays, where you can build your own Bloody Mary for $4.50. In past years that have made Super Bowl Sunday a Pint Nite, but I did not see anything about it on this year’s flyer. (Edit: According to Holly, who is putting together a city-wide Super Bowl guide, the Saucer will have $3 pints starting at 4 PM.)

If you’re hosting a Super Bowl party at home, and don’t feel like cooking, Bardog will do it for you. You can order a package of 25 sliders, 25 wings, chorizo cheese dip, and spinach artichoke dip, to be picked up the day of the game. Orders must be placed by noon Saturday.

With Mardi Gras only a few weeks away, Qahwa: Coffee Bar at Main and Adams has added a limited-time King Cake Latte to the menu. It’s a mix of brown sugar cinnamon, caramel, espresso, milk, and whipped cream, topped with cinnamon sugar. That sounds good, even to someone like me who isn’t a coffee drinker.

The History in Pictures Twitter account posted a link to a 1970s band from Davenport, Iowa called the Turds of Misery.

A car was found in the Mississippi River off Mud Island this morning. It was across from the entrance to the Riverset Apartments.

In case you haven’t been following the news today, a major snowstorm will hit the northeast tonight. New York City’s mayor says it could be the worst in the history of the city. The Memphis airport has reported that all flights to and from LaGuardia and Newark have been cancelled.

There will be the first in a new series of singer/songwriter nights this Friday at 550 South Main (Friday is also the monthly South Main Trolley Night). Tentative acts include Rice Drewery, Faith Ruch, Savannah Long, Bobby O’Neal, Steve Schad, Ben Rocky Tallent, and more.

Tamp & Tap is having another Kill the Keg party this Friday starting at 4 PM and lasting until the beer is gone, with beer by local breweries Ghost River, Wiseacre, Memphis Made, and High Cotton.

Last night was the Royal Rumble, the second-biggest WWE pay-per-view of the year. As a WWE Network subscriber, I wanted to be sure to watch it. So I posted to Facebook “Downtown bartenders: I’m not doing any shots today” so I would be sure I would be awake to watch it. So, what happened? Thanks to D-RANKS with B-RAD at the Blind Bear, instead of doing zero shots, I did six. I don’t regret it though. There are always interesting people to talk to at Brad’s bar. The only Rumble match I got to see, the triple threat WWE title match, was reportedly the only good match on the show.

Time to get back to an exciting day of GitHub merge conflicts. For those who don’t speak tech, let me translate: It’s a Monday for sure. At least that means I have Melissa Monday at Bardog to look forward to after work, with either Pint Nite at the Saucer or British Bingo at Blind Bear to follow.

Jan 242015
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jan 232015
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From SI.com: College football’s next hot coach, Justin Fuente

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

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

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

Jan 222015
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you’re looking for a place to order chocolate-covered strawberries for Valentine’s Day, I saw a sign outside Maggie Moo’s last night that says they are accepting orders.

MemphisWeather.net has an update on snow chances for tomorrow. It’s not looking promising if you want snow. The post is worth reading if for no other reason than the animated Florida Evans GIF.

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

Jan 212015
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jan 202015
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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